wed 28/09/2022

Bach

River review – gorgeous visuals and a timely message: so what’s not to like?

I would suggest watching River on the largest possible screen, so you can bask in the breathtaking beauty of the visuals. Directed by the Australian Jennifer Peedom, who won awards for Mountain and Sherpa, the documentary celebrates the magnificence...

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Classical CDs: Pealing bells, abandoned ballrooms and abrasive brass

 Americascapes – music by Loeffler, Ruggles, Hanson and Cowell Basque National Orchestra/Robert Trevino (Ondine)This is great: a compilation of lesser-known American orchestral music played with panache by a Spanish orchestra teamed with an...

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Classical CDs: Muesli, mindfulness colouring and a trip to the boulangerie

 Malcolm Arnold: Complete Symphonies and Dances National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Penny (Naxos)Working through these nine symphonies in chronological order is a fascinating and disturbing experience,...

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Nicola Benedetti, Barbican Hall review – from Bach to the Highlands via New Orleans

If a standard-sized recital hall can be a lonely place for a solo violinist, playing an auditorium of Barbican dimensions must feel like crossing a desert under pitiless spotlight sun. Happily, Nicola Benedetti’s prowess as a communicator means that...

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First Person: pianist Filippo Gorini on head, heart and the contemporary in Bach's 'The Art of Fugue'

A past work of art either still speaks to us in the present, or it is dead. To try and understand a masterpiece, we tend to look at its past: we study it, analyse it, read biographies of the artist behind it and chronicles of its historical...

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Classical CDs: Star sopranos, forest spirits and a Mexican funeral march

  Die stille Stadt: Songs by Alma Mahler, Franz Schreker and Erich Wolfgang Korngold Dorothea Herbert (soprano), Peter Nilsson (piano) (7 Mountain Records)German dramatic soprano Dorothea Herbert will be playing Leonore in a new...

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St Matthew Passion, Arcangelo, Cohen, BBC Proms review – journey to the end of night

No disrespect to Sakari Oramo and his colleagues in tomorrow’s farewell jamboree, but I wonder whether this performance should have featured as the Last Night of the Proms. After all its terror, grief and sorrow, the St Matthew Passion ends with...

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Classical CDs: Viols, violas and symphonies from a Latvian polymath

 Imants Kalniņš: Complete Symphonies and Concertos Liepāja Symphony Orchestra/Atvars Lakstīgala and Māris Sirmais (Skani)If the eye-catching box design doesn’t attract your attention, the first track on CD 1 will, an extract from the veteran...

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Ólafsson, Philharmonia, Järvi, BBC Proms review - a ravishing Proms debut

What does it mean to be Classical? It’s the question award-winning Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has consistently asked in a career that has collided music from Bach to Debussy, presenting them as part of a single conversation and continuum....

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Classical CDs: wolves, woodwinds and a masonic funeral

 Martha Argerich Edition (EuroArts)Almost eight hours of Martha Argerich on film. What a glorious prospect! This six-DVD set mostly consists of recordings of live concerts. The set was released to celebrate the great Argentinian’s 80th birthday...

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Dunedin Consort, Butt, Wigmore Hall review – bijou Bach

The Edinburgh-based Dunedin Consort are regular visitors to the Wigmore Hall, and their concert on Saturday night was greeting by a full house. In these Covid times, that meant an audience of just 200, but from the applause, they were clearly...

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Bach & Sons, Bridge Theatre review - humorous and deeply intelligent

In John Eliot Gardiner’s magnificent wide-ranging biography of Bach, Music In The Castle of Heaven, he tells the story of the composer’s early run-in with a bassoonist with his typical zest for detail. “[H]e called him a Zippel Fagottist. Even...

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