One of that select band of British pianists to achieve international recognition, Bernard Roberts was in constant demand as a recitalist, chamber musician, accompanist, concerto soloist and teacher. He was acclaimed by audiences and critics, the remarkable breadth of his industry bringing greater recognition for the instrument itself and proving pivotal in inspiring generations of aspiring performers.
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Sunday 18 January 2009
The narcotic beauty of Die Tote Stadt (pictured) sets the tone for a season of music inspired by obsessive love. Opening 27 January at the Royal Opera House, London (020-7304 4000), Willy Decker's Salzburg Festival production of Korngold's opulently scored opera represents another chance for British audiences to assess the "Viennese Puccini", though they won't have to wait too long for the real one.
Wednesday 14 January 2009
Wigmore Hall's tiny platform was almost as crowded as Richard Wagner's staircase on Christmas morning 1870 when he presented his beloved wife Cosima with a performance of his newly composed Siegfried Idyll. Forest murmurs from the second act of his Ring opera "Siegfried" will have wafted through the lakeside house at Tribschen near Lucerne, dappled instrumental colours broken with bird-call and the sound of the super-hero's horn.
Saturday 10 January 2009
Wigmore Hall's tiny platform was almost as crowded as Richard Wagner's staircase on Christmas morning 1870 when he presented his beloved wife Cosima with a performance of his newly composed Siegfried Idyll.
Thursday 08 January 2009
In juxtaposing two recitals by thirtysomething Russians, the Wigmore Hall has reminded us that the golden age of Soviet pianism is not dead: Evgeny Samoyloff cut his teeth in the Special Music School of Novosibirsk, while Natalia Strelchenko fledged in the St Petersburg conservatory, and both employ a brilliant technique to pursue keyboard poetry.
Tuesday 23 December 2008
Wednesday 10 December 2008
Tuesday 09 December 2008
Even in a hall as famed for its intimacy as the Wigmore, I doubt we've ever heard quieter or more meaningful sounds than Steven Isserlis breathed into his cello during the last of four Gyorgy Kurtag pieces, Kroo Gyorgy in memoriam. Descending scales so ghostly that it hardly seemed possible that the strings were even so much as grazed by the bow became like silent footsteps to eternity. How typical of Kurtag to honour a great Hungarian musicologist with near-silence – the most elusive music of all – and how clever of Isserlis to have placed these pieces at the heart, the still centre, of this generous recital.
Friday 05 December 2008
Even in a hall as famed for its intimacy as Wigmore, I doubt we've ever heard quieter or more meaningful sounds than Steven Isserlis breathed into his cello during the last of four Gyorgy Kurtag pieces, "Kroo Gyorgy in memorium".
Monday 01 December 2008
No wonder the hall is full: a recital by the German baritone Thomas Quasthoff is not to be missed.
Monday 24 November 2008
The legendary 80-year-old pianist Leon Fleisher has had at least three careers. The first was famously cut short by a neurological disorder that took two fingers of his right hand out of commission. Classic recordings kept the memories alive, but for nearly 40 years he focused on repertoire for the left hand – until, that is, medical science caught up and he was a two-handed pianist once more.
Boris Godunov, Coliseum, London<br/>Berezovsky/Kniazev/Makhtin, IndigO2, London<br/>Kozená/Martineau, Barbican Hall, London
Sunday 16 November 2008
Friday 26 September 2008
Kicking off with 20 events on its first day alone, Kings Place is hammering home the point that it's London's first purpose-built concert complex in 25 years. To walk in off the street is to swap industrial grunge for the most exquisite modernity. The main auditorium is like the inside of a sailing ship: honey-coloured timbers, a raised gallery running right round, and a very high ceiling. Sitting at the back – and unlike the seats in most other halls, these really are for sitting in – I listen to a whispered conversation between composer Simon Holt and oboist Melinda Maxwell, who will play his new piece as the first work to be heard in the hall next Wednesday. The acoustic here's superb, and will rival the Wigmore Hall.
Monday 22 September 2008
Jews were expelled from England in 1290, and were not "readmitted" until 1655, so in 16th-century England there were theoretically no Jews, and no Jewish musicians. That we now know better is due in large part to the detective work of Professor Roger Prior, who caused a flurry in the musical dovecote by suggesting that many musicians, composers, and instrument makers in the Tudor and Stuart courts were of Jewish origin.
Wednesday 17 September 2008
Wednesday 02 July 2008
The Academy of Ancient music sounded in fine form on their latest visit to the Wigmore Hall: spirited, expressive, well together and what was not invariably true in their earlier years perfectly in tune. As well they might be under the volatile and cultivated direction of the distinguished conductor-violinist Giuliano Carmignola, giving just sufficient guidance without imposing an "interpretation" on the symphonic works, while plying his fiddle in the concertos with a perfect balance of elegance and fire.
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