Unfulfilled passion for Clara Schumann underpinned Brahms’s four symphonies, believes conductor and also, here, piano accompanist Axelrod.
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Album: Kent Nagano, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Beethoven: In the Breath of Time (Sony Classical)
Friday 26 August 2011
The latest in Kent Nagano's pairs of Beethoven symphonies, In the Breath of Time posits the 6th and 8th Symphonies and the "Grosse Fuge" as illustrating Beethoven's attempt to confront the dangers of the constant march of progress while simultaneously operating at its cutting edge.
Friday 12 August 2011
Both a writer and a conductor, Sachs registers the huge shock achieved by a composer who in his final years had his "big-calibre artillery aimed at the future".
Monday 18 July 2011
Two entire blocks of stalls and at least a third of the arena had been commandeered by the children’s choruses and four brass bands, each with its own timpanist; the combined BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Concert Orchestras sported 15 percussion players between them and the phalanx of choruses including the LSO, Brighton, Huddersfield, and Bach Choir rose either side of the organ like something out of Gormenghast.
Sunday 12 June 2011
Sunday 05 June 2011
Best known today for his piano music, York Bowen (1884-1961) was once hailed as the most talented of British composers.
Friday 03 June 2011
The latest in Signum's edition of live recordings of the Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the most satisfying, featuring the late Charles Mackerras conducting Tchaikovsky's Pathétique.
Friday 15 April 2011
This splendid recording of Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, whose young players hail from all sides of the various Middle East divides, displays their consummate harmonious communality in their interpretations of these two pieces.
Friday 15 April 2011
Notwithstanding Hans Gál's lengthy residence in Britain – initially in flight from Nazi persecution, later by choice – Thomas Zehetmair here regards him as the epigone of the grand Viennese classical tradition that was effectively snuffed out by the Second World War.
Friday 08 April 2011
I can't abide The Horrors' second-hand Goth schtick, but singer Faris Badwan's side-project has much to recommend it.
Monday 21 March 2011
Ask not for whom the bell tolls. Rachmaninov didn’t: he knew. Or rather he was convinced that they all tolled for him. His splendid choral symphony The Bells is full of ominous premonition with even the “Silver Sleigh Bells” of a lost youth - scintillating with some of the composer’s most expensive orchestration - promising only oblivion.
Sunday 20 March 2011
Composed in 1824 between Death and the Maiden and the Ninth Symphony, the Octet, scored for string quartet plus clarinet, bassoon, horn and double bass, is a leisurely and sunny respite between demanding monoliths.
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