sat 20/07/2024

Mahler

Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a fine and fitting finale for Sir Mark

When it was first announced that Mark Elder was to become music director of the Hallé, I phoned a friend who knew him well from serving on his staff at English National Opera in earlier years. “He’s completely devoted,” he said. “He never does...

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Coote, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - the triumph of life

Programme notes for Mahler’s monumental symphonies will often blithely chat about the works’ epic struggle between life and death, creation and destruction, joy and dread. In a comfy hall with a slick orchestra and a polished maestro, all of that...

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Balanas Sisters, Anonimi Orchestra, The Bomb Factory, Marylebone review - talented Latvian conductor heads exciting new ensemble

In an evening filled with "firsts" one of the many striking aspects was the effect the Anonimi Orchestra debut had on people walking past on the Marylebone Road. As we sat in the warehouse space of the Bomb Factory – with its exposed brick walls and...

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Mahler 2, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - an interpretation of superlative resonance and clarity

Epic and intimate, philosophically anguished and rhapsodically transcendent, Mahler’s "Resurrection" Symphony remains one of the most mountainous challenges of the orchestral repertoire. For the opening of the Southbank’s new season Edward Gardner...

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First Person: conductor Edward Gardner on some of his questions and obsessions about Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”“What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.”With these two quotations from Mahler, I already feel like putting my pen down. I had...

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Mahler 9, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - beginning a celebration

For someone who said when he first took the helm at the Hallé that he “didn’t do much Mahler”, Sir Mark Elder has a pretty good track record. He’s conducted all the symphonies except one over 20 or so years at the Bridgewater Hall, and two of them...

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Classical CDs: Penitence, pipe smoking and soot sprites

 Otto Klemperer: The Warner Classics Remastered Edition (Warner Classics)The young Otto Klemperer’s conducting career was encouraged by no less than Gustav Mahler, Klemperer’s meteoric rise leading him to become director of Berlin’s Kroll Opera...

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Prom 6: Hough, BBC Philharmonic, Mark Wigglesworth review - poetry and power

This Prom by the BBC Philharmonic was billed as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Royal Northern College of Music, in distant Manchester.By design or lucky accident, the RNCM was well represented, with a new work by recent graduate Grace-...

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Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer, RFH review - elegy and ecstasy

Standing ovations on the less-than-passionate South Bank can have a dutiful, grudging quality. However, I’ve seldom heard more heartfelt ardour at the Royal Festival Hall than the acclaim for Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra last...

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Bell, Dreisig, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - royal rifts, and uplifting Mahler

Brett Dean’s opera Hamlet will play at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in June: the next stage of an acclaimed progress that began at Glyndebourne in 2017. Now on the last stretch of his three-year stint as composer-in-residence with the London...

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LPO, Jurowski, RFH / LSO, BBC Singers, Rattle, Barbican review - spiderwebs, sublimity and a powerful speech

Complex, ambiguous late romantic works in concert programmes need something more direct to keep them company. Mozart and Richard Strauss make excellent bedfellows (and Strauss was an extraordinary Mozart interpreter): no wonder Vladimir Jurowski’s...

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Shibe, NYOS, Larsen-Maguire, Usher Hall, Edinburgh - young Scottish musicians storm the heights

One can only admire the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland for its steadfast indifference to the laws of box office gravity. A little known contemporary guitar concerto allied to a relatively unpopular Mahler symphony would be a hard sell even in...

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