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Wednesday 17 June 2009
Così fan tutte, Theatre Royal, Glasgow<br>English Concert/I Fagiolini, Victoria and Albert Museum, London<br>Songs of Wars I Have Seen, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Sunday 03 May 2009
Monday 23 March 2009
Harry Christophers has put together a programme of Purcell and James Macmillan for the 30th anniversary Choral Pilgrimage around Britain of his justly celebrated chamber choir The Sixteen. And although the dryish Queen Elizabeth Hall is hardly flattering to choral textures, such was the focus and intensity of their approach that the music suffered surprisingly little. Whether the programme worked as a whole was another matter.
Friday 13 March 2009
Arnold Schoenberg and Alexander Zemlinsky – pupil and teacher – reunited at the twilight’s last gleaming of romanticism.
Monday 02 March 2009
How fitting that the opening concert of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Philharmonia series “City of Dreams: Vienna 1900-1935” should conclude with the mightiest wake-up call in all music.
Pacifica Quartet, Wigmore Hall, London<br />Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment/Norrington, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Monday 16 February 2009
Performing end-to-end the five string quartets that Elliott Carter composed between 1951-95 might seem simply too much, with their over two hours of unremitting musical invention, harmonic dissonance and expressive intensity. But that would be to reckon without the astonishing virtuosity and insight of the Pacifica Quartet.
Thursday 22 January 2009
Mahler had a superstitious fear of tackling his Ninth Symphony, and the score he completed in 1909 is duly riven with anguish, nostalgia and farewell gestures. Its 1912 premiere did indeed prove posthumous.
Thursday 20 November 2008
We'll be hearing a lot more of Boris Giltburg.
Tuesday 18 November 2008
This was a concert of first and last things. Or, more or less. Karlheinz Stockhausen's Drei Lieder for alto and chamber orchestra (1950) survive among his earliest student efforts, while he completed a new orchestration of his zodiac pieces Tierkreis (1975/2007) only the night before his sudden death last December. In between, we had an electronic world premiere of the "19th Hour: Urantia" from KLANG, his (not quite completed) cycle celebrating the 24 hours of the day.
Thursday 31 July 2008
Well, it's "Ha, ha, ha. Ho, ho, ho – and a couple of tra-la-las" for Christmas seems to have come early to the South Bank in the shape of Jude Kelly's production of The Wizard of Oz. The timing is a tad bizarre – rather as though a TV channel were to schedule It's a Wonderful Life on August Bank Holiday. But sometimes the out-of-season can be a welcome wonder: just think of that magical fall of snow on the sunny field of poppies that awakens Dorothy and her chums and saves them from the Wicked Witch.
Sunday 13 July 2008
Sunday 08 June 2008
Tuesday 06 May 2008
One sensed a certain puzzlement among the Queen Elizabeth Hall audience after the first item in this Britten Sinfonia concert: the late Stravinsky arrangement of Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor from Book 1 of "The 48" sounded so radical as scarcely to resemble Bach at all.
Monday 21 April 2008
At the outset, an Michael Finnissy array of percussion and electronics was to be seen, picked out in the fancy lighting that is now de rigueur for cutting-edge events in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. And the works, chosen for this London Sinfonietta bill by Julian Anderson and conducted by Pierre-André Valade, were sufficiently contrasting in provenance and sonorous imagery to justify the concert's title, Invented Worlds.
Thursday 20 March 2008
Concerts mixing recitations and music tend to prove a mixed blessing, entirely pleasing neither to music- lovers nor to the more literary minded. When a programme also involves a modicum of production – lighting effects, back-projections etc – it can too easily suggest a lack of faith in the music alone to speak.
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