sat 02/07/2022

Classical Reviews

George Fu, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - high intellect and visceral shocks

David Nice

Semi-standing ovation at a lunchtime concert in a London church? Predictable, perhaps, from the first recital I heard George Xiaoyuan Fu give at the Two Moors Festival, an avian programme which made me long to hear him play Messiaen’s complete Catalogue d’oiseaux. Yesterday’s “Chopin Revisited” sequence heightened the sense of originality in planning and confidence in presentation. This is one of the most exciting young pianists of our time, no question.

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Hughes, Manchester Collective, Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester review - new work and stunning singing

Robert Beale

Manchester Collective were back on home ground last night in the tour of a programme featuring the first performances of a new song cycle by Edmund Finnis, Out of the Dawn’s Mind. Soprano soloist was the amazing Ruby Hughes.

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Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, Wigmore Hall review - surprise and spontaneity

Gavin Dixon

Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov concluded their three-concert survey of Beethoven’s violin sonatas on the warmest day of the year. But the Wigmore Hall is always comfortable, and the temperature was well under control.

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theartsdesk at the Dublin International Chamber Music Festival - extraordinary women to the fore

David Nice

The organisation now proudly and legitimately re-named the Dublin International Chamber Music Festival may be half a century old – of its 52 seasons, those of the two lockdown years can be lopped off the live reckoning – but its outlook is youthful and progressive in so many ways.

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Hewitt, Concerto Budapest SO, Keller, Cadogan Hall review - magical Mozart and bullish Beethoven

Bernard Hughes

Considering its status as the most famous piece of classical music [citation needed], Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is actually quite rarely programmed in London. I can’t remember the last time I heard it live before last night, and it took the visiting Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra to return it to the repertoire. They played this often stern music with a smile on their faces, as they did the accompanying Mozart and Bartók.

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Davidsen, Oslo Philharmonic, Mäkelä, Barbican review - full workout for the nervous system

David Nice

It could have been the most electrifying week of the musical year. Alas, Heathrow meltdown kept me from two of Klaus Mäkelä’s Sibelius concerts with his Oslo Philharmonic in Hamburg. But there was still what should have been the grand finale, the heavenstorming Fifth Symphony following Mahler and Lise Davidsen in Berg (and more Sibelius). The euphoria I’d experienced in one live Oslo concert and the Sibelius symphonies on Decca was rekindled.

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LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - four centuries of Italian music on parade

David Nice

If you sought a spectacular shrugging-off of jubileemania last night, you could have done no better than this programme to coincide with Italian Republic Day from our own national treasures Antonio Pappano – Knight of the British Empire, if you’ll pardon the expression – and the London Symphony Orchestra.

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Wigmore Soloists, Wigmore Hall review - superb Janáček

Sebastian Scotney

Wigmore Soloists is such a good idea, and still at an early stage of its development. The group brings together top players to perform the wider chamber music repertoire, normally septets and upwards. The hall also gives the players a place they can call their home, plus a sprinkling of Wigmore branding to help them make their way in the world.

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Berrut, ECO, Guzzo, Cadogan Hall review - Schubert with a smile

Bernard Hughes

I came for the Schubert and it didn’t disappoint. Which was good, as the Mozart and Stravinsky did, a little.

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Vondráček, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - mixed messages

Gavin Dixon

Conductor and pianist came at Liszt from opposite directions last night. Michael Tilson Thomas is a venerable presence at the podium and has been Laureate Conductor of the London Symphony for decades. Their relationship speaks of deep empathy and close communication.

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