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Friday 25 February 2011
Several of the pieces on oboist Mayer's musical portrait of Paris easily choose themselves: adaptations of Satie's Gymnopédie No 1 and Ravel's Pavane pour une Infante Défunte, along with a couple of Debussy standards – the wistful La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin and Clair de Lune, reminiscent of a moonlit stroll that beds the oboe softly among harp and woodwind. But the longer pieces reflect the paucity of showcase material: Français' L'Horloge De Flore is laboured, while D'Indy's Fantaisie sur des Thèmes Populaires Français is by turns rumbustious and portentous. But Gotthard Odermatt's Été is a delightful modern piece in the style of Ravel at his most pastoral.
Wednesday 09 February 2011
Some collaborations are just meant to be. Bringing David Zinman and the OAE together made for the best kind of mutuality: Zinman’s acute ear and cleanness of execution; the orchestra’s arresting character.
Friday 07 January 2011
Stefano Scodanibbio is a virtuoso whose command of the contrabass has opened up vast new areas of sound.
Friday 17 December 2010
The oboe is the hardest instrument to play, so what drew the young virtuoso Alexei Ogrintchouk to it? "My parents took me to a lot of concerts in Moscow when I was young, and I was always fascinated by its sound. I loved its purity and naturalness."
Sunday 21 November 2010
Pupil of Dvorák, and sometime teacher of Martinu, Josef Suk died in 1935, just a few years before the Czech musical tradition was irrevocably severed by war.
Tuesday 09 November 2010
The collisions intended here were between artists and artists: for this latest venture in the ‘Out Hear’ series, the Japanese composer Dai Fujikura had brought together a bunch of performers who he reckoned would strike sparks off each other.
Sunday 07 November 2010
Beloved the world over for the sweeping minor-major melody of "Vltava", Smetana's cycle of symphonic poems, Má Vlast, has been a monument to Czech independence since its completion in 1879.
Sunday 24 October 2010
This slow and stately trot through some familiar Ibrahim tunes, plus a few new to this reviewer, was recorded just before last spring's UK tour.
Friday 08 October 2010
Antonio Vivaldi wrote so many concertos that news of yet another lost one pitching up usually raises an eyebrow as much as it raises expectations. There are already more than 500, after all, and this composer, a practical sort of fellow, was no stranger to the idea of musical recycling.
Friday 01 October 2010
This second double-CD collection of Cage's saxophone works focuses on the Cagean principle of indeterminacy, applied to Tools on the first disc, and Just Structures on the second.
Friday 10 September 2010
Doubled-up instrumentation is the theme here: both "Double Sextet" (performed here by eighth blackbird) and "2x5" (by Bang on a Can) are designed for twin ensembles of six and five pieces, respectively. In both, the parts can be played simultaneously, or by a sextet/quintet playing alongside a pre-recorded tape of itself.
Friday 03 September 2010
These early pieces by Boulez and Stockhausen may have palled slightly with age, but still impart a powerful evocation of the excitement of the postwar avant-garde.
Friday 25 June 2010
The Fell Clarinet Quartet draw on the broad diversity of 20th-century Hungarian music for this engaging collection – notably Bartók, of course.
Friday 04 June 2010
The title derives from Vivaldi's astonishing roster of patrons – "nine Highnesses", he proudly noted in a letter – for whom the various concerti featured here were written, and from the seemingly angelic virtuosity of his musicians at Venice's Ospedale della Pietà.
Sunday 30 May 2010
The turmoil of the opening movement of Dvorak's Seventh Symphony has rarely sounded so thrilling.
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