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Bling on the dancers, but add an old hand
When the Royal Festival Hall was being refurbished, the Philharmonia moved next door.
The Saturday Column
A veteran artist has a history. And, it could be argued, a responsibility.
Fateful prophecies and exultant perorations – the enduring spirits of Leos Janacek and Josef Suk ascend from the valley of the shadow of death and another of Vladimir Jurowski’s beautifully crafted programmes for the London Philharmonic makes connections that will profoundly affect the way we hear these works in the future.
Letter uncovered in museum reveals how Edward Elgar was so bad at the trombone it made people laugh
You can only imagine Rachid Taha's reaction if he were to know that his early career as a DJ mixing Western and Eastern records in a Parisian nightclub in the 70s would lead him eventually to the throbbing makeshift dancefloor of the Royal Festival Hall's first two rows three decades later. It would probably be a cause of some jubilation for a man who's prided himself on his ability to cross geographical and stylistic boundaries.
Bryn Terfel arrived in the capital armed with countless sneers and as many ways to make mischief. His latest album, Bad Boys – a comprehensive gallery of operatic rogues and villains – was now a tour, and there was a big, glossy, souvenir programme to prove it.
It doesn't make the heart leap
As a Member of Parliament, Boris Johnson's expenses claims ranked among the more mundane (78p for a postage stamp here, the odd Diet Coke there). Naturally, Pandora would never suggest the same of the London Mayor himself; indeed quite the opposite.
The alternative prince still rules
At the close of their 5-day residency at London’s South Bank Centre the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra played “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations with such unbridled fervour as to suggest that Venezuela might be our last remaining colony.
One might have expected a better turn-out for Sir Roger's 75th-birthday bash, especially since the highly eclectic programme – spanning some three centuries of music – contained a little bit of something for everyone. But maybe the Classic FM approach was unwise for an event of this kind, and maybe Norrington himself is still too much of a connoisseur's delight, too much of a maverick, ever to pull in the big crowds. And that's quite an irony, given that there are few more erudite, entertaining, communicative, or influential musicians on the planet. He is, in every sense, a one-off.
One might have expected a better turn out for Sir Roger’s 75th birthday bash – especially since the highly eclectic programme – spanning some three centuries of music – contained a little bit of something for everyone.
Arnold Schoenberg and Alexander Zemlinsky – pupil and teacher – reunited at the twilight's last gleaming of Romanticism. But where Schoenberg's masterpiece Verklärte Nacht was breathless with anticipation of new beginnings, Zemlinsky's rarely heard Lyric Symphony was going nowhere. If ever there was a concert of two halves, this was it.
This culminating concert of the Southbank's synoptic Olivier Messiaen festival, on the very day of his centenary, should have felt like a celebration.