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Saturday 27 April 2013
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.
Saturday 27 April 2013
Louis Armstrong singing spiritual-jazz anthem "The Creator Has a Masterplan" (and sounding great) is one of the more bizarre experiences on this neat compendium of black consciousness from the vaults of Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label.
Friday 26 April 2013
The second volume of James MacMillan's projected four-album series for Challenge finds him conducting the Netherlands Chamber Philharmonic and Netherlands Radio Choir on the premiere of his Advent antiphon “Ó”, in which lowering strings shade treble choral harmonies either side of a central solo trumpet passage, its divine nobility haloed by the choir's extended “O”.
Saturday 13 April 2013
A perpetual voyager is saved by selflessness and a terrific chorus
Saturday 13 April 2013
Early woodwind virtuoso François Lazarevitch, Les Musiciens and the earthy-toned singers Simone Sorini, Enea Sorini and Marc Busnel take us back to the time when street parties lasted a week or more.
Monday 08 April 2013
Ethnomusicologists are like bees, with melodies being the pollen they transfer from culture to culture. In the 1950s the great American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax went on a song-collecting trip to Italy, and brought back recordings of a wealth of music which is now mostly extinct.
Friday 05 April 2013
Over three decades as They Might Be Giants, the Brooklyn duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell have developed into a sort of post-modern Flanders & Swann, crafting sharp, witty and entertaining little satires on contemporary mores, set to a dizzying range of styles chosen for humorous emphasis.
Saturday 30 March 2013
Stravinsky's 1913 ballet, The Rite of Spring, premiered to catcalls and fisticuffs.
Friday 15 February 2013
As with his larger musical works, Charles Ives' songs occupy a peculiar position that offers a bridge between Old World classical art-song traditions and the more demotic, folksy New World modes, but charged with the questing experimental spirit that characterises his entire output.
Sunday 20 January 2013
This Otello is pitifully vulnerable to the lies that will destroy him. But something's wrong when the orchestra steals the show
Album review: Tugan Sokhiev, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Stravinsky: The Firebird, The Rite of Spring (Naïve)
Saturday 12 January 2013
Scandalous in its early performances, the stylised primitivism of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring can these days sound merely rumbustious – unless attacked with the youthful gusto of a Dudamel, whose 2010 interpretation with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra restored some of its pagan spirit.
Sunday 25 November 2012
Jos van Immerseel and Anima Eterna Brugge explore the timbres of the Parisian orchestra on the cusp of the 20th century in this absorbing period-instruments performance of three of Debussy’s most famous works.
Friday 19 October 2012
Anyone still ready to dismiss Hot Chip as geeks or middle-class ironists would be disabused of that notion as soon as the south London five-piece appear.
Sunday 14 October 2012
From within the death camp, a picaresque story of redemptive love
Saturday 01 September 2012
Performed by Morton Feldman's original ensemble at a posthumous celebration of his work held at the 2000 season of June in Buffalo – the annual new-music festival he established in 1975 – this version of his classic "Crippled Symmetry" perfectly captures the poise at the heart of his music.
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