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Classical review: Prom 14, Daniel Barenboim, Das Rheingold, Berlin

For a Proms audience chock-a-block with enthusiasts determined not to be distracted by Royal baby news or excessive heat, Daniel Barenboim took the Proms podium to open Das Rheingold – the first opera in the Proms’ hungrily-anticipated, first-ever Ring cycle. Moments later, that spacious E flat build-up was immersing us in some seriously luxurious Wagnerian waters.

Classical review: Budapest Festival Orchestra - Bohemian rhapsody

In 2011, Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra played two BBC Proms in one night. The first was a meticulously disciplined programme of Liszt and Mahler, the second a jamboree of party pieces and encores, selected by raffle from a list of some 200 works. Encores are the great disinhibitors of classical music and they have served Fischer and his orchestra well. Now 30 years old, the BFO can melt the cognoscenti with musical kitsch, compete with the finest in core symphonic repertoire, and deliver Beethoven with the transparency of period instruments. Whether this should all be attempted in one performance is another matter.

Classical review: Imogen Cooper, Ivan Fischer, Budapest Festival

The cadenza in a classical concerto is a curious thing. Originally devised as a way of letting the soloist show off, it became a commentary on the work it adorned, as well as a holiday from it: the soloist could take you on a switchback journey before bringing you safely home. These days, with so many other opportunities for display, its bravura function has faded, so soloists often use it instead as a slot to puff their own wares – as Kennedy does when he injects jazz and Gypsy music into his Brahms.

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Storgards, Hardenberger, BBC Philharmonic, Bridgewater Hall,

The most powerful weapon in the opera designer’s armoury is lighting, which allows musical atmosphere to be changed by the flick of a switch: Ravel’s ‘L’enfant et les sortileges’ was never more resonant than when lit by David Hockney’s glowing reds, greens, and mauves.