November 2017 Concert Reviews

December 2017 Concert Reviews
Philharmonia Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen – Mahler 9
Thursday, November 30, 2017 |  When Mahler’s music was making its way into the concert hall and record industry repertoire, the Ninth Symphony was generally regarded as valedictory and death-fixated, carrying on from where Das Lied von der Erde (Mahler’s ‘Not the Ninth Symphony’) left off into new realms of existential crisis. ... This was the line Esa-Pekka Salonen took in this superbly crafted performance that zoomed in on Mahler’s complex personality while explaining its universal application, a Symphony listeners identify with, often to the point of obsession. The Festival Hall was packed... 
New York Philharmonic/Edo de Waart – Bent Sørensen’s Evening Land & Brahms 2 – Emanuel Ax plays Mozart K466
Thursday, November 30, 2017 |  Edo de Waart returned to lead the New York Philharmonic for the first time in over thirty years, replacing Christoph von Dohnányi... ... The evening began with the Dane Bent Sørensen’s Evening Land... ... Following the Sørensen, Emanuel Ax played Mozart. All ears were upon him from the start. 
BBC Symphony Orchestra – Sakari Oramo conducts Sibelius 4 & 6 – Lisa Batiashvili gives UK premiere of Anders Hillborg’s Violin Concerto No.2
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 |  The thoughtfully serious nature of two Sibelius Symphonies suitably complemented Anders Hillborg’s Second Violin Concerto... ... The very opening of Sibelius’s Sixth Symphony with its sea of closely harmonised strings has a strong similarity to the beginning of the Concerto. That Sakari Oramo had antiphonal violins made the glowing commencement of the Symphony all the more effective... ... Hillborg’s Second Violin Concerto (2016) is dedicated to Lisa Batiashvili and for this occasion Hillborg wrote a new cadenza. 
London Philharmonic Orchestra – Vladimir Jurowski conducts UK premiere of Joseph Marx’s Autumn Symphony – Julia Fischer plays Chausson & Respighi
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 |  Rare and very rare meditations on Autumn were the seasonal offerings in this London Philharmonic concert, which was prefaced by Julia Fischer leading us into the turbulent passions of Chausson’s Poème, inspired by a story by Turgenyev called The Song of Triumphant Love. ... Her playing opened out more in Respighi’s Autumn Poem... ... The orchestra increased to gargantuan size for Joseph Marx’s An Autumn Symphony – ten percussionists, ten double basses, quadruple woodwind… The Austrian Marx (1882-1964) is known today mainly for his Lieder, but Autumn Symphony caused a scandal at its 1922 premiere in Vienna. 
Welsh National Opera at Oxford’s New Theatre – Janáček’s From the House of the Dead
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 |  Such is the vigour of this production that it rightly makes ironic the title of Janáček’s last, not-quite-finished opera (1927-8). That is especially necessary seeing that the elemental cycles of existence which are written into the course of the three-Act scenario are not otherwise observed in David Pountney’s staging, namely the phases of the day from morning through to morning again and, intersecting that, the longer cycle of the seasons implied with the scenes in Winter and Spring. 
Welsh National Opera at Oxford’s New Theatre – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 |  James Macdonald’s production of Eugene Onegin impresses for its directness and consistency, whilst also offering a broader slant upon the drama. In terms of costume it is faithful to the era in which Tchaikovsky composed... ... In the midst of this, Onegin himself is a striking presence, dressed in black (except for his white wing-collar shirt, and white gloves at the ball) manifesting outwardly his sombre, inscrutable character. His dress looks funereal, perhaps implying that he mourns someone or something, and Nicholas Lester’s appearance – with broad forehead and lean, sharply defined facial features, and mutton-chop whiskers – is possibly also intended to resemble Pushkin himself. ... Natalya Romaniw grows in stature as Tatyana... 
Mitsuko Uchida plays Schubert Piano Sonatas at Royal Festival Hall (1) – D958, D664, D894
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 |  As Mitsuko Uchida gets nearer to venerable status, some of the tension in her playing style has worn off... ... Uchida was giving the first of two Schubert programmes this week in the Southbank Centre’s International Piano Series... ... Interestingly, for an artist who can get agonisingly close to perfection, there were a few bumps in the uncompromising C-minor Sonata (the first of the last three), casualties of her stupendously driven performance of the first movement that placed volatility above all... 
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Cristian Mandeal at Cadogan Hall – Romanian Rhapsody & Francesca da Rimini – Alexandra Dariescu plays Grieg & Lipatti
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 |  This concert, sponsored by the Romanian Cultural Institute, marked the centenary of the foundation of Greater Romania, Romanian National Day (which occurs on December 1), and the centenary of the great pianist Dinu Lipatti, who died in 1950, aged thirty-three. ... George Enescu’s First Romanian Rhapsody has its share of beguiling tunes and irresistibly infectious rhythms. We were fortunate to hear it from Cristian Mandeal... ... Lipatti famously recorded Grieg’s Piano Concerto in London during November 1947, Alceo Galliera conducting. With Alexandra Dariescu the first movement’s opening was rather less commanding than it might have been... ... This intriguing material, discovered by Lipatti-researcher Orlando Murrin, offered tantalisingly brief clips of a relaxed Lipatti, as well as Paul Sacher, Karajan, Furtwängler, Hindemith, Honegger and Schwarzkopf. 
Emerson String Quartet at Alice Tully Hall – Beethoven & Shostakovich
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 |  In their final years Beethoven and Shostakovich immersed themselves in writing String Quartets and composed some of their greatest and most profound music. In this Emerson Quartet recital the key of B-flat (major or minor) dominated. Beethoven originally intended the Grosse Fuge to conclude Opus 130 but was persuaded that its length and complexity was too much. Consequently, he wrote a shorter and lighter Finale. The difference in temperament between these Beethoven works and Shostakovich’s Opus 138 is apparent as well as extraordinary: the meditative passages in the former’s works generate warmth and serenity, while the troubled, sometimes bluntly brutal, character of the Shostakovich evidences an embittered temperament. 
Fiftieth-anniversary concert of the European Broadcasting Union, including Mozart K364 with Esther Yoo & Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad, and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with Pavel Kolesnikov
Monday, November 27, 2017 |  Hence this review from the wireless, a term more apt to 1967 when the European Broadcasting Union music exchange scheme started... ... Only right that the current concert should feature something new and Dobrinka Tabakova’s piece proved to be arresting... ... Back then Britten’s beloved Mozart had featured Norbert Brainin and Peter Schidlof (members of the Amadeus Quartet). Half-a-century later this mellifluous, warm-sounding, well-paced account found Esther Yoo and Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad... ... As they were for Kolesnikov in an expansive ‘Emperor’... 
BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Recital at Wigmore Hall – Andrei Ioniţă & Itamar Golan
Monday, November 27, 2017 |  Another BBC New Generation Artist took the spotlight at Wigmore Hall lunchtime for a performance of remarkable maturity and individuality... ... The Bach Suite was striking from the beginning with Andrei Ioniţă’s avoidance of lushness... 
Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra/Mark Fitz-Gerald – Shostakovich 10 – Tim Lowe plays Dvořák’s Cello Concerto
Sunday, November 26, 2017 |  A concert notable for its consistently high standard of musicianship from all concerned, the programme opening with a suitably bracing and adroit account of Glinka’s unforgettable Overture, a perfect prelude to an engrossing performance of Dvořák’s great Cello Concerto, which presents interpretative difficulties for both soloist and conductor. ... Tim Lowe not only brought out the gentle and poetic aspects of this many-sided work but also his playing was never lacking in brilliance, breadth, warmth and technical mastery. It was heartening to encounter such superior stature in his playing, with Mark Fitz-Gerald ever the perceptive partner... 
LSO – Antonio Pappano conducts Liszt – Alice Sara Ott plays Totentanz
Sunday, November 26, 2017 |  Despite Malcolm Hayes's not unjustified asserting that it is “today regarded as one of the supreme achievements of the 19th century”, Liszt's Faust Symphony (1854) is only intermittently revived – thereby making this performance, of the even less often heard revised version, by Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra a welcome means of reassessment. ... A rare Liszt programme had featured in its first half the hardly less welcome revival of Totentanz... ... Alice Sara Ott has previously seemed a fluent if interpretatively unremarkable pianist, but here she had the measure of the work's formal ingenuity no less than of its expressive high-jinks... ... Opening the concert was ‘Sposalizio’ (1849) – the opening item from the Italian volume of Liszt's Années de pèlerinage, here given in a typically ingenious orchestration (2015) by Salvatore Sciarrino. 
London Sinfonietta at St John’s Smith Square – Martyn Brabbins conducts Xenakis, Colin Matthews, Rihm & Birtwistle
Saturday, November 25, 2017 |  Taking a night off from conducting Marnie at English National Opera, Martyn Brabbins conjured a classic London Sinfonietta “Landmarks” concert... ... We are just a couple of months away from celebrating the Sinfonietta’s fiftieth birthday, and this concert was something of a retrospective of important works (of many) in the ensemble’s history. 
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Pieter Schoeman & Marius Stravinsky – The Seasons – Vivaldi, Kabalevsky, Glazunov
Friday, November 24, 2017 |  

The London Philharmonic was slimmed down for the most-famous of seasonal works, the first four Violin Concertos from Vivaldi’s twelve-part “The Trial of Harmony and Invention”, aka The Four Seasons, Spring to Winter. ...There were nineteen players present (eighteen strings and a harpsichordist) … and then there were twenty, enter Pieter Schoeman... ... Following the interval the LPO was fully resourced awaiting the arrival of Marius Stravinsky... ... The masterpiece of the evening was Glazunov’s The Seasons (1900), written for Petipa’s Imperial Ballet in St Petersburg and with Pavlova as one of the dancers. 

Guildhall School of Music & Drama presents Noël Coward’s Post-Mortem, directed by Lucy Bailey at Milton Court Theatre
Friday, November 24, 2017 |  Noël Coward wrote Post-Mortem in 1930, following his own appearance in a production of R. C. Sherriff’s antiwar play Journey’s End. ... However, it did appear on television as part of a BBC series called The Jazz Age in 1968. The recently deceased Keith Barron played the leading role of John Cavan, an officer in the trenches in France in 1917. Others in the cast included Brian Croucher, Colin Farrell, Colin Jeavons, Bernard Lee, Garfield Morgan, Moira Redmond, Yvonne Antrobus, Nora Swinburne and Kynaston Reeves. ... That said, this revival by director Lucy Bailey works on every level and does not seem dated or implausible at all. Bailey is aided by a supremely talented young cast... 
The Strada Stretta Concept – Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci's production of Puccini’s Turandot – Maryana Bodnar, Mirjana Pantelic, Charles Vincenti
Friday, November 24, 2017 |  In the Colonial period Strada Stretta – Strait Street – was the heart of Valletta's jazz scene and red-light district. It's a long, lamp-lit, narrow place... ... Supported by the Valletta 2018 Foundation under the artistic curatorship of the university academic, fine art historian and philosopher Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci, The Splendid (The Strada Stretta Concept) has become a justifiably well-supported culture hub... ... Oscillating between high culture and the vernacular, his one-off seventy-five-minute abridgement of Turandot, without interval, proved a journey offsetting the familiar with complex subtexts, its soundworld one of Italian opera interposed with jazz breaks, local troubadoury and English narrative links filtered through bar-room piano, trumpets, saxophone and guitars. ... The principal roles were finely cast. As Turandot, Maryana Bodnar... ... Creating the part of The Unknown Prince (Calaf), Charles Vincenti did all that was vocally required of him... 
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons at Barbican Centre – Prokofiev 5 – Yefim Bronfman plays Beethoven
Friday, November 24, 2017 |  And the regular visits of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons are cause for great anticipation, a hot ticket. This said, Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony are not exactly rare... ... Yefim Bronfman is a powerful presence... ... Jansons showed all of his customary flair and expressively exact technique; in fact he gave everything he has... 
Philharmonia Orchestra/Long Yu – Shostakovich 5 – George Li plays Rachmaninov
Thursday, November 23, 2017 |  It was a game of two halves for the Philharmonia Orchestra in its concert under Long Yu. ... George Li is a twenty-one-year-old Chinese-American who won the silver medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015. He is a spirited pianist but it took him some time to assert his personality in Rachmaninov. ... Things were very different after the interval. Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony has been given so many outings in London in the last few years but Long Yu offered a reading that was well-prepared and distinctive. 
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Sondergård – Concerto in Pieces & Also sprach Zarathustra – Behzod Abduraimov & Alan Thomas play Shostakovich
Thursday, November 23, 2017 |  The BBC Symphony Orchestra is going to run out of money if it continues to produce this sort of programme. ... This concert opened with the revival of a BBC commission of Concerto in Pieces, for the Last Night of the Proms in 1995. The composer is the esteemed Dane, Poul Ruders... ... The Concerto slot was filled with the early (1933) Piano Concerto No.1 by Shostakovich, a display piece more for piano (taken originally by the composer, who was a considerable virtuoso) than the often-ignored trumpet. At this performance the role of displaying his credentials was taken by Behzod Abduraimov, who didn’t flinch in the face of the fireworks. The trumpeter came from the BBCSO, Alan Thomas... 
Hay Festival Winter Weekend – Mid Wales Opera presents William Walton’s The Bear
Thursday, November 23, 2017 |  Chamber opera doesn’t get much funnier than William Walton’s The Bear, presented at the Hay Festival Winter Weekend by Mid Wales Opera as part of its Small Stages initiative. 
The Royal Ballet – Frederick Ashton's Sylvia
Thursday, November 23, 2017 |  Three cheers, more even, for Sylvia, now happily returned to the stage of the Royal Opera House. The Royal Ballet’s season has not, until now, been in any way glittering. The year started with Alice, the overlong children’s entertainment, and then on through the disturbing The Judas Tree, hardly a crowd-pleaser, to the recent dreadful triple bill bringing together Hofesh Shechter’s insistence and Arthur Pita’s flamboyance, both unwelcome. And now, at last, Sylvia by Sir Frederick Ashton, a genuine first-class choreographer – this faintly ridiculous mythological romp may not be from his top drawer of works, but it is so full of real ballet dancing that any minor quibbles must be dismissed. 
Guildhall Symphony Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen & Adrian Leaper
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 |  This was a two-part concert with the esteemed composer-conductor (or is it still the other way round?) Esa-Pekka Salonen was in command for the first part and Adrian Leaper the second. Salonen performed his massively scored LA Variations, written in 1996 while he was Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. 
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Michail Jurowski – Frank Bridge’s Summer & Tchaikovsky’s Winter Daydreams – Beatrice Rana plays Prokofiev
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 |  Michail Jurowski – father of the London Philharmonic’s chief conductor, Vladimir – has enjoyed a considerable conducting career... ... As a prelude, we were treated to Frank Bridge’s Summer, dating from 1914 when World War One – its onset horrified the composer – was already in progress. Beatrice Rana played Prokofiev’s extravagant Second Piano Concerto at the Royal Festival Hall in November 2015, with the LPO and Susanna Mälkki. On that occasion, Rana demonstrated just how attuned she is to this composer, temperamentally and technically. The Third has always been the most popular of Prokofiev’s five Piano Concertos... 
Ivan Putrov's Men in Motion at London's Coliseum
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 |  ‘Men in Motion’, Ivan Putrov’s celebration of male dancing, is an object lesson in how more very often means less; so many and disparate were the pieces on show, so diverse the styles and so haphazard their scheduling, that the evening became a succession of numbers without discernible structure or direction. That is a pity, as there were items of genuine interest delivered by a grouping of fine dancers from both the UK and abroad. … 
New York Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda – Rimsky-Korsakov & Rachmaninov – Frank Huang plays Saint-Saëns
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 |  Gianandrea Noseda returned to the New York Philharmonic for the first time in twelve years, leading off this concert with Rimsky-Korsakov’s alluring music about Russia’s Atlantis, the Suite from The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh... ... Philharmonic concertmaster Frank Huang was the soloist in Saint-Saëns’s Third Violin Concerto. 
Anne Page plays Bach’s The Art of Fugue on the Royal Festival Hall organ
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 |  J. S. Bach’s Art of Fugue is rarely performed in its entirety, and poses some challenges beyond the merely technical: notably, how to maintain an audience’s interest through more than an hour of music that has an inevitable sameness in motif and form, as well as longish sections with little variation in tempo? ... Organists are at an advantage with their instrument’s smorgasbord of tone colours, and Anne Page (no relation) made the most of that advantage... 
Kenneth Woods’s orchestration of Brahms’s Opus 26
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 |  Hotfoot from Wyastone in Monmouth, where Kenneth Woods's new orchestral arrangement of Brahms was recorded for Nimbus, the English Symphony Orchestra and Woods brought the work for its world premiere to Cheltenham Town Hall, together with Elgar’s Violin Concerto, Alexander Sitkovetsky the wonderful soloist. 
Kensington Symphony Orchestra – Russell Keable conducts Schoenberg – Five Orchestral Pieces and orchestrations of Bach & Brahms
Monday, November 20, 2017 |  One expects Russell Keable and the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, now in its sixty-second season, to put on bold, adventurous programmes that few of the 'big five' in London would either think of or get away with. Central to this concert was Arnold Schoenberg – Schoenberg the classicist, the romantic, the progressive, a man whose profundity you'd never question... ... The only original work of the evening, the expressionist, pantonal Five Pieces Opus 16 (following the 1909 version, richer orchestrally than the 1922 and 1949 revisions), was also the earliest chronologically, dating from the radical time of Das Buch der hängenden Gärten and Erwartung. Premiered by Henry Wood at the 1912 London Proms... ... Contrasting the imperialism (and fuller doublings) of Stokowski's or Wood's Bach transcriptions, Schoenberg's 'St Anne' (1928), first performed under Webern, is a leaner, more registrally terraced homage, making for a cumulatively commanding overview crowned with a final E-flat prolongation Masonic rather than Romantic in character. 
Basel Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall – Heinz Holliger conducts The Hebrides, Meta arca, and Great C-major Symphony – Stephen Hough plays Mendelssohn
Monday, November 20, 2017 |  The Swiss connection – an ensemble from Basel, Heinz Holliger born in Langenthal, and this concert under the umbrella of Cadogan Hall’s Zurich International Orchestra Series. The Basel Chamber Orchestra was formed in 1984... ... The ten-minute Meta arca (2012) for strings, fifteen of them plus a solo violin (here leader Daniel Bard), reminds of Lutosławski’s Preludes and Fugue... ... Meta arca came between Mendelssohn, first an engaging outing for The Hebrides... ... Vibrancy was also a hallmark of the concentrated G-minor Piano Concerto (a three-movements-in-one design), Holliger conjuring a thrilling crescendo to kick things off, Stephen Hough then sizzling the keys with romantic fire before expanding into Mendelssohn’s melodic ease... 
Stockhausen – Stimmung & Cosmic Pulses
Monday, November 20, 2017 |  Marking the tenth anniversary of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s death the Barbican Centre mounted two remarkable works conceived at opposite ends of an equally remarkable career... ... Six amplified singers sitting around a low table lit by a solitary spherical lamp in a shrouded auditorium contributes to the special aura of Stimmung... ... Perhaps that’s why Cosmic Pulses (2007) – his final purely electronic work, part of the Klang sequence exploring the twenty-four hours of the day – prompted my subdued response, fascinating and powerful as its hallucinogenic journey was. 
Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Fabien Gabel conducts Don Juan & Brahms 2 – Bertrand Chamayou plays Richard Strauss’s Burleske [live webcast]
Sunday, November 19, 2017 |  Guest-conductor this week with the DSO, Fabien Gabel launched into Don Juan with a vigour and swashbuckling athleticism that found Lenau’s version of the philanderer in peak stalking form... ... A rather different Richard Strauss surfaces in Burleske... ... ...Bernard Chamayou brought affection, Lisztian bravura and the suggestion of nightclub-pianist grin. 
The Royal Opera – Rossini’s Semiramide – Joyce DiDonato, Lawrence Brownlee, Daniela Barcellona; directed by David Alden; conducted by Antonio Pappano
Sunday, November 19, 2017 |  Semiramide was the last opera Rossini wrote for Italy before moving to France and it marked a high-water mark of the florid Italian style. David Alden’s Covent Garden production, first seen in Munich earlier this year, is London’s first since 1887... ... Moreover, as Antonio Pappano’s inspirational conducting makes abundantly clear, you can hear the style moving confidently from high Baroque, to Classical and on to the sort of Romantic Italian lyricism you get in early Wagner. ... Musically, this performance made me go weak at the knees. ... Semiramide is officially a soprano role – it was one of Joan Sutherland’s triumphs – and the mezzo Joyce DiDonato doesn’t fling out stratospheric top notes with abandon, but the quality and artistry of her intonation, coloratura and trills are astounding... 
English National Opera – world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie – Sasha Cooke, Daniel Okulitch; directed by Michael Mayer; conducted by Martyn Brabbins
Saturday, November 18, 2017 |  The American composer Nico Muhly has, he says, gone out of his way to exorcise any influence of the film of Marnie on his new opera, its world premiere here from ENO. Muhly, though, could have taken some tips from Alfred Hitchcock in terms of dramatic pacing. Both Winston Graham’s 1961 novel and the 1964 film are gifts to an opera composer. Marnie, damaged goods from childhood at the hands of a feckless mother, becomes a tormented, kleptomaniac wraith repelled by the thought of sexual intimacy, who compulsively steals money from her employers before moving on to another town, a new identity and yet more lies, and who meets her match in the handsome, lonely young widower Mark Rutland who, while almost destroyed by his love for her when he blackmails her into marrying him, triggers her rehabilitation. 
EFG London Jazz Festival – Stefano Bollani at Cadogan Hall
Saturday, November 18, 2017 |  Stefano Bollani is as Italian as Vespa scooters and gelato, and performs like he chain-drinks espresso doppio. ... Ideas rushed by so fast it was sometimes hard to keep up: tempo changes executed as hard as handbrake turns; mood-shifts from Classical to Blues to Klezmer to Italian pop; and sly quotes ranging from Für Elise to Jesus Christ Superstar to the shameless kitsch of Richard Clayderman’s ‘Ballade pour Adeline’ and even ‘London Bridge is falling down’ and ‘Frère Jacques’ 
Basel Chamber Orchestra at The Anvil Basingstoke – Heinz Holliger conducts The Hebrides, Meta arca, and Great C-major Symphony – Stephen Hough plays Mendelssohn
Saturday, November 18, 2017 |  The Basel Chamber Orchestra began its whistle-stop UK tour with an individual account of Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, conveying two sharply defined images of the composer’s Scottish experiences, Heinz Holliger conjuring a storm-tossed Atlantic swell ... Swiss-born Holliger – famous as an oboist – is also a composer. Meta arca (2012) reflects his preoccupation with exploring instrumental capabilities. ... There followed Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto, Stephen Hough variously charming with vigour, intimacy and sparkle. ... Such energy continued in a dynamic and buoyant account of Schubert’s ‘Great’ C-major Symphony – first given complete under Mendelssohn in 1839... 
EFG London Jazz Festival – Henri Texier’s Hope Quartet at Kings Place
Friday, November 17, 2017 |  Sixty minutes plus ten more for an encore – blimey, this was a short gig. But a musically satisfying one, the band tight and free of the self-indulgent riffing and noise interludes that can mar live improvisatory music. And Henri Texier was a generous raconteur... 
John Barry – Bond and Beyond – Philharmonia Orchestra/Nicholas Dodd, presented by Robert Lindsay
Thursday, November 16, 2017 |  Few film composers have left such a legacy of music as John Barry. ... His influences are eclectic and include Chet Baker, Stan Kenton and Carl Orff, as well as Eric Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner. ... Barry won Oscars for both original score and song with Born Free. ... Barry won Oscars for both original score and song with Born Free. It can seem mawkish but Dodd led a tasteful and restrained reading with a notable emphasis on exceptional cellos and double basses. Barry could also do comedy – Dodd brought out the pathos in Chaplin, directed by Richard Attenborough... ... ...Elsa Bradley’s cimbalom dominated the theme for the TV series The Persuaders (Roger Moore and Tony Curtis). 
Víkingur Ólafsson at St John’s Smith Square
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 |  On the basis of what I had heard from and read about the Juilliard-trained Icelandic pianist with the unequivocally Icelandic name, I was expecting Víkingur Ólafsson to be the epitome of Nordic cool and armour-plated technical accomplishment. ... Bach’s beautiful abstractions had a powerful resonance for Chopin, as you could hear in Ólafsson’s playing of three Etudes... ... The F-minor link continued with the Brahms Sonata, in as powerful and as positively dangerous an account as I’ve heard in years... 
English Chamber Orchestra at Barbican Hall – Beethoven programme – Julian Rachlin plays the Violin Concerto and conducts Coriolan & Symphony 7
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 |  By a curious coincidence a performance of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus was taking place at the adjacent Barbican Theatre when this English Chamber Orchestra and Julian Rachlin concert opened with the Coriolan Overture (albeit written for Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s play) to begin a Beethoven programme that is set for an European tour. 
The Metropolitan Opera – John Cox’s production of Massenet’s Thaïs – Ailyn Pérez, Gerald Finley, Jean-François Borras; conducted by Emmanuel Villaume
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 |  Jules Massenet’s Thaïs is staged infrequently – it requires a diva of star quality. In 1978, after a forty-year absence, the Met borrowed San Francisco’s production starring Beverley Sills. The current staging, by John Cox, was imported from Chicago Lyric a decade ago, Renée Fleming in the title role. In Ailyn Pérez, the Met has found a worthy successor to them. 
Shostakovich & Messiaen at St John’s Smith Square – Osborne, Ehnes, Gerhardt, Johnson
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 |  As part of Southbank Centre's International Chamber Music Series, and also the year-long Belief and Beyond Belief festival, Steven Osborne, James Ehnes and Alban Gerhardt played Shostakovich, and then Jean Johnson (Osborne’s wife) joined for Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. 
Cédric Tiberghien at Turner Sims
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 |  Cédric Tiberghien’s debut at Turner Sims was memorable for an artfully conceived programme... ... Prokofiev’s pre-Revolution Visions fugitives comprises twenty short pieces, fleeting images... ... Tiberghien gave full rein to his imagination in Pictures at an Exhibition, a tribute by Mussorgsky to his artist-friend Viktor Hartmann... 
Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery Gergiev at Carnegie Hall – Shostakovich & Scriabin – Denis Matsuev plays Prokofiev
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 |  In this magnificent concert, Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra displayed dramatic power, kinetic energy and riveting intensity. ... Soviet dignitaries attending the premiere of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony in November 1945 expected something monumental and must have been shocked by this audacious work. ... Prokofiev’s dizzying Second Piano Concerto followed. In this overpowering account, Denis Matsuev interposed massive chords during savage passages... ... Scriabin’s ‘Divine Poem’ attempts to convey a metaphysical philosophy based upon Oriental mysticism with Nietzschean overtones... 
EFG London Jazz Festival – Herbie Hancock at Barbican Hall
Monday, November 13, 2017 |  Can the stately-looking man ambling onto the stage really be only three years shy of eighty, and is it really fifty-five years since his debut album Takin’ Off (1962)? And what’s he going to play: classic Blue Note from his earliest days? Electronic space-jazz and funk from the seventies and eighties? Densely woven neo-bop? Jazz tributes as per his albums dedicated to Miles Davis, Gershwin and Joni Mitchell? Hip-hop? ... The website blurb wasn’t much help but the publicity photo gave the game away, a shot of Herbie Hancock playing... 
BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Recital at Wigmore Hall – Gabriela Montero
Monday, November 13, 2017 |  If it was a slight disappointment that Gabriela Montero concluded her Wigmore Hall recital with a free improvisation... ... Montero’s creation “to describe my broken country” (referring to her native Venezuela, not her adopted Catalonia) opened in a cantabile manner... ... Earlier, if the episodic effect of Schumann’s Kinderszenen was inevitable given the nature of the pieces... ... There was much drama in the wartime Shostakovich Sonata... 
Kirill Gerstein at Wigmore Hall
Saturday, November 11, 2017 |  To know an artist, forget studio recordings. Get the 'live' experience. In concert Kirill Gerstein – Soviet-born, American naturalised, German-based – is a very different personality from the “inside the instrument” one you'll find on his recent release of Liszt's Transcendental Studies. ... Camera at the ready, Book I of Debussy's Préludes looked to the cinematic. ... Thomas Adès's three Mazurkas (2009) were written for Emanuel Ax to commemorate the bicentenary of Chopin's birth. 
EFG London Jazz Festival – Andy Sheppard Quartet + Kadri Voorand & Mihkel Mälgand at Kings Place
Saturday, November 11, 2017 |  No surprise that Andy Sheppard’s latest album, promoted here, is on ECM: menthol-cool saxophone improvising on folk-like melodies, effects-drenched guitar, spacious bass and minimalist drumming – all hallmarks of the label. Jan Garbarek might seem an inevitable touchstone.... ... As a warm-up act, Estonians Kadri Voorand and Mihkel Mälgand provided a marked contrast to Sheppard’s set, playing a style of music almost impossible to describe: a bit Joni Mitchell at times, a bit cabaret at others, sometimes plain bonkers. 
Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Giancarlo Guerrero conducts Romeo and Juliet & Scottish Symphony – Daniil Trifonov plays his Piano Concerto [live webcast]
Friday, November 10, 2017 |  The Detroit Symphony Orchestra welcomed Giancarlo Guerrero as its latest guest-conductor. From the off Romeo and Juliet (desert-island Tchaikovsky) exuded atmosphere, tragedy in the air for the clandestine and star-crossed lovers... ... As the centerpiece, Daniil Trifonov featured as composer and pianist. His Piano Concerto (2014) – opening descriptively, dreamily – suggests Rachmaninov’s The Rock. ... Mendelssohn’s ‘Scottish’ Symphony (he saw the country first-hand) culminated this Friday-morning concert, Guerrero now without baton and such a loosening-up facilitated greater expression and a fantasy element... 
Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia – Eliahu Inbal conducts Stravinsky and New World Symphony – Varvara Nepomnyashchaya plays Mozart Piano Concerto K595 [live webcast]
Friday, November 10, 2017 |  In PR jargon the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, established in 1992, must be one of Spain's best-kept secrets. Under principal conductor Dima Slobodeniouk it has evolved into a distinctively individual band of cosmopolitan players... ... Eliahu Inbal may enjoy muttering and singing but it isn't that helpful and his cueing wasn't always clear... ... Cutting a fragile, red-haired presence, Varvara Nepomnyashchaya – Varvara as she calls herself these days – won the 2012 Géza Anda Competition (with Beethoven's musically exacting Third Concerto – not an obvious contest choice but, famously, the making of Radu Lupu in Leeds). 
EFG London Jazz Festival – An evening with Pat Metheny at Barbican Hall
Friday, November 10, 2017 |  A fresh quartet playing lots of old repertoire, An evening with Pat Metheny proved to be old wine in new skins. At around two-and-a-half hours with no intermission, it was a long concert too – but then Metheny has a large vat to draw from. 
Britten Sinfonia – Mark Elder conducts Mahler/Britten, Finzi and Brahms – Elisabeth Kulman sings Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder
Thursday, November 09, 2017 |  

With a Symphony per year starting now, Brahms’s cycle is getting the Britten Sinfonia long-term treatment (longevity being its watchword and currently enjoying twenty-fifth-birthday jaunts), Mark Elder favouring smaller forces in this four-part series that also embraces Mahler Lieder and English pastoral pieces... ... One’s place in the human race also figures in ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’ (I am Lost to the World), one of the most transporting and transcendental of songs, here ending Mahler’s five Rückert-Lieder (there’s no fixed order), tenderly traversed by Elisabeth Kulman... ... Brahms’s Symphonies played by an orchestra whose strength is less than ‘symphonic’ proportions isn’t to everyone’s taste... 

Paul Berkowitz plays Schubert’s Last Three Piano Sonatas D958-960 at St John’s Smith Square
Thursday, November 09, 2017 |  Paul Berkowitz's recorded Schubert cycle for Meridian has garnered largely favourable attention over the years, the recognition at least that here is an artist with a viable view, performance-wise, of the trickiest composer of the classical-romantic era. 
Philharmonia Orchestra/John Wilson – Sinfonia Antartica & The Planets
Thursday, November 09, 2017 |  Close on forty years separate Holst’s Planets from Vaughan Williams’s Sinfonia Antartica and yet the cross-references between them make intriguing listening when placed side by side – as here in these stirring if uneven performances from the Philharmonia Orchestra and John Wilson. 
Schubert Ensemble at Kings Place – Martinů & Dvořák Piano Quintets
Thursday, November 09, 2017 |  The bad news is that the members of the Schubert Ensemble are well into their final season. The good news is that the musicians are still playing to a very high standard, so they going out on a high tide. This concert was the sixth and last in a series they called “Quintessentials”, in which they subjected a series of Piano Quintets to analysis before playing them. In Part One, lasting some twenty-five minutes, Simon Blendis and William Howard revealed some of the building blocks of two masterpieces, Martinů’s Second Quintet of 1944 and Dvořák’s Second Quintet of 1887. 
Bernstein’s Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival (3) – New York Philharmonic/Leonard Slatkin – Kaddish & Don Quixote
Thursday, November 09, 2017 |  It was Leonard Slatkin’s turn to salute Leonard Bernstein with the New York Philharmonic, a performance of his ‘Kaddish’ Symphony. ... First off, Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, which Bernstein had conducted in his 1943 Philharmonic debut, when he stepped in at very short notice and without rehearsal for the ailing Bruno Walter... ... After intermission, Slatkin directed a thrilling account of ‘Kaddish’ Symphony. Jeremy Irons recited the text in the composer’s revised version... 
London Philharmonic Orchestra – Alain Altinoglu conducts 1812 Overture & Eroica Symphony – Patricia Kopatchinskaja plays Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 |  Napoleon defeated, and Beethoven’s dedication to him revoked – thus in the 1812 Overture Tchaikovsky commemorated a Russian victory, and the ‘Eroica’ Symphony’s title-page had Bonaparte’s name crossed-through when he turned out to not be the man the composer believed – self-proclaimed Emperor rather than a democrat. ... The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Alain Altinoglu tackled both. ... In between these notable scores, Patricia Kopatchinskaja played Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto... 
LSO – Marin Alsop conducts Leonard Bernstein – Jeremiah – Mahler 1
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 |  The most remarkable thing about Marin Alsop is that she is an American musician in charge of a major US orchestra. As things stand, she might just be the only one left when MTT retires from the San Francisco Symphony! It’s a state of affairs that would have puzzled Leonard Bernstein... ... For all their seriousness of purpose not one of Leonard Bernstein’s three Symphonies conforms to the generic stereotype of the big abstract statement. .. But Jeremiah comes closest. 
Doric String Quartet at Wigmore Hall – The last three Quartets of Haydn’s Opus 20
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 |  This concert completed the Doric Quartet’s survey of Haydn’s Opus 20 at Wigmore Hall; and, as with the first three, sympathetic attention to every phrase was of the essence. 
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta at Carnegie Hall (2) – Mahler’s Third Symphony
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 |  Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic came to Carnegie Hall to mark their fifty-year partnership with Mahler’s Third Symphony. 
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta at Carnegie Hall (1) – Footnote Suite & Ein Heldenleben – Yefim Bronfman plays Beethoven
Tuesday, November 07, 2017 |  This was the first of three Carnegie Hall concerts by the Israel Philharmonic and the long-serving Zubin Mehta... ... The concert opened with music from Amit Poznansky’s score for the 2011 film Footnote. ... In the lengthy introduction to Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, well-paced by Mehta, dark textures were produced. Yefim Bronfman was terrific... ... Following intermission, Mehta led a wonderful reading of Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben... 
A Night Under the Stars – Charity Concert at Royal Festival Hall in aid of The Passage
Tuesday, November 07, 2017 |  This was the seventeenth annual fundraiser given in aid of The Passage, a charity that works with homeless people around the Victoria area. As I walked from The City to the Royal Festival Hall on this rather chilly evening, I passed quite a few rough-sleepers... ... Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini tested the mettle of the orchestra’s members, and they were on their best form, with ensemble crisp. Toby Purser’s conducting galvanised the players, a few smudges aside, dovetailing Boris Giltburg’s occasionally eccentric reading... ... Raymond Yiu was present for the premiere of his arrangement of ‘The Song of the Volga Boatman’... 
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Ben Gernon – Sinfonia da Requiem & Winter Daydreams – London premiere of Shadows on the Wall with Marta Fontanals-Simmons
Tuesday, November 07, 2017 |  In this instance Ben Gernon, who six years ago graduated from the Guildhall School, is markedly at the onset of creating his maestro persona... ... Beginning with Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, Gernon laid-out his determination to reflect the aura of inevitable death in which the work is drenched. ... Alasdair Nicolson describes Shadows on the Wall (2017) as “five pieces as character studies”... ... Marta Fontanals-Simmons (replacing Anna Stéphany) performed with a rich middle register and determination to do justice to poems by Christina Rossetti and Chaucer. 
Maria João Pires at Birmingham Town Hall – Mozart K332 & K333 and Schubert D935
Monday, November 06, 2017 |  She may long have operated primarily within the Austro-German tradition, but Maria João Pires has few equals when it comes to that axis which extends from Bach to Brahms, and this recital of Mozart and Schubert reinforced this point in no uncertain terms. 
The Royal Ballet – Mixed Bill – The Illustrated 'Farewell' / The Wind / Untouchable
Monday, November 06, 2017 |  Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, is a man in the thrall of the new – his stated aim is to create modern classics, to re-forge the repertoire, in other words. In one way he could not be more right, as new creations are the lifeblood of any repertoire dance company, as acknowledged by Ninette de Valois, The Royal’s own founder. [...] For anyone coming to ‘see’ The Royal Ballet, the company of Ashton and Fonteyn, MacMillan and Bussell, it would have been a pretty perplexing experience ... 
Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Juraj Valčuha conducts Liadov’s The Enchanted Lake & Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances – Stefan Jackiw plays Korngold’s Violin Concerto [live webcast]
Sunday, November 05, 2017 |  The Detroit Symphony Orchestra welcomed Juraj Valčuha as guest-conductor. He opened with Liadov’s The Enchanted Lake... ... ...Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Violin Concerto featured on the DSO’s recent tour of Asia with Leonard Slatkin, the soloist being Akiko Suwanai... ... ...Stefan Jackiw and Valčuha collaborated in the most positive way... ... Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances proved to be his swansong, dedicated to Eugene Ormandy and his Philadelphians... ... Valčuha was on top of this superb score... 
Philharmonia Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall – Mark van de Wiel gives London premiere of Joseph Phibbs’s Clarinet Concerto – Edward Gardner conducts Elgar’s In the South & Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast ... Beat Furrer Music of Today
Sunday, November 05, 2017 |  Into which category the Austrian composer Beat Furrer may well find himself unfairly put, yet by including two works of his in the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series he has been cast pretty widely... ... The Concerto was staggeringly well-played by Nicolas Hodges... ... The main Philharmonia programme began with Elgar’s In the South.... ... ...but Edward Gardner’s approach initially exposed less of the music’s spaciousness and dignity than its emotional response to the Italian landscape... ... ...but not Joseph Phibbs’s new Clarinet Concerto, outstandingly well-played by Mark van de Wiel. ... With the concert marking the sixtieth-anniversary of the founding of the Philharmonia Chorus, the programme ended with a thrilling account of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast... 
LSO – Marin Alsop conducts Leonard Bernstein – Halil & Kaddish – Mahler 10 Adagio
Sunday, November 05, 2017 |  Marin Alsop launched the LSO’s “Bernstein 100” series with two of her mentor’s overtly political works. They both show that Leonard Bernstein’s genius still robustly sidesteps categorisation... ... The two Bernstein works here included Halil... ... The LSO’s Adam Walker turned every mood beautifully... ... This cogent and highly charged performance rather sabotaged the impact of ‘Kaddish’, the most difficult of Bernstein’s so-called Symphonies... ... Claire Bloom, her majestic voice amplified, animated the narration intensely... 
London Philharmonic Orchestra – Lawrence Renes conducts Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony
Saturday, November 04, 2017 |  his concert would have been conducted by a ninety-four-year old Stanisław Skrowaczewski, but, following his death in February this year, Lawrence Renes took up the reins. His account of Bruckner 8 – conducted without a score and utilising antiphonal violins – was generally lucid and crisp... ... particular section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra dominated another, but often an array of instrumental detail was revealed which can be submerged, including some sequences from the brass. 
Philharmonia Orchestra at The Anvil Basingstoke – Mark van de Wiel gives world premiere of Joseph Phibbs’s Clarinet Concerto – Edward Gardner conducts Edward Elgar’s In the South & First Symphony
Saturday, November 04, 2017 |  An evening of first-class music-making, beginning with Elgar’s In the South, written and orchestrated at lightning speed in 1904. From star-burst opening to thunderous close it was given a blistering account under Edward Gardner’s superb focus, the Philharmonia Orchestra bringing to this evocation of Italy a cinematic brilliance. ... Joseph Phibbs’s Clarinet Concerto is scored for medium-sized orchestra and is in four movements, its character largely shaped by the expressive and technical range of Mark van de Wiel... 
The Royal Opera at Wilton’s Music Hall – La tragédie de Carmen, Peter Brook’s adaptation of Bizet’s opera – with Jette Parker Young Artists
Friday, November 03, 2017 |  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Make her big, make her small, put her in a film, a play or a musical, Bizet’s and Merimée’s Carmen continues to baffle, arouse and appal audiences. Peter Brook’s 1981 version is just one of many to play fast and loose with opera’s most unknowable heroine. ... Marius Constant’s arrangement of the score for a one-of-each band of fifteen players uses the much-loved melodies, although, Morecambe & Wise-style, not necessarily in the right order. ... The singers have the opportunity of Wilton’s stage for some old-fashioned music-hall-style audience rapport, but, except for Gyula Nagy’s boisterous Escamillo, are rather diffident in using it. ... As Carmen, Aigul Akhmetshina was directed more as pouting wild child than as a man-eating, man-hating force of nature, but her voice is potent, confident and voluptuous... 
BBC Symphony Orchestra – John Storgårds conducts Lili Boulanger, Betsy Jolas and Mahler 4, with Håkan Hardenberger, Roger Muraro and Susanna Hurrell
Friday, November 03, 2017 |  With a first half of French music by Lili Boulanger and the Betsy Jolas we were assured of works to tickle the ear if not of earth-shattering importance perhaps. ... D’un matin de printemps is an energetic bordering-on-fun work that cannot be accused of wallowing in the composer’s real-life situation with a terminal illness... ... The twenty-minute Histoires vraies (True Stories, 2015) is for piano, trumpet and orchestra. The soloists are sometimes less busy than the percussion players.... From a paucity of themes in the first half we are spoilt for choice in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. 
Welsh National Opera at Birmingham Hippodrome – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
Friday, November 03, 2017 |  A very distinguished performance this with some sensational playing, particularly from the woodwinds (especially the dovetailing of clarinet, flute and oboe), under Ainārs Rubiķis. ... Natalya Romaniw, fielding all the dark tones in her lustrous voice, was an appealing Tatyana... ... Nicholas Lester’s tall Onegin was an aloof, almost isolated customer in dramatic terms... ... Sadly this fine revival suffered appalling behaviour from some in the audience... 
Bernstein’s Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival (2) – New York Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert, with Anthony McGill & Makoto Ozone – Prelude Fugue & Riffs, Age of Anxiety, and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
Friday, November 03, 2017 |  Alan Gilbert continued to honor Leonard Bernstein, whose centenary falls next year. Between the two Bernstein works was George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, with Makoto Ozone... ... Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (1949) – for clarinet, with saxophones, brass, piano, double bass, and percussion – was intended for Woody Herman (but his jazz ensemble disbanded before the work was completed) and it was taken up by Benny Goodman. ... Ozone returned for 'The Age of Anxiety', which is nominally a Symphony (Bernstein’s Second), but is just as much a Piano Concerto – or perhaps neither. It was inspired by, and structured to reflect, the eponymous “Baroque Eclogue” by W. H. Auden... 
Birmingham Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells – Mixed Bill – Arcadia, Le Baiser de la fée, and 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café
Friday, November 03, 2017 |  Lachlan Monaghan took centre-stage in a welcome revival of Michael Corder’s Le Baiser de la fée. […] Of especial interest, the music for Ruth Brill’s Arcadia, a work by saxophonist John Harle in which the composer himself played the solo. […] As a narrative, Arcadia is pretty thin, and the choreographer does not always achieve what she sets out to do […] To finish, Bintley’s now venerable eco-ballet, ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café, created in 1988 for The Royal Ballet.… 
Welsh National Opera at Birmingham Hippodrome – Janáček’s From the House of the Dead
Thursday, November 02, 2017 |  So atmospherically powerful is David Pountney’s staging of Janáček’s From the House of the Dead that it comes as a shock to realise that it was first mounted thirty-five years ago! From distant recollection, there have been some modernising modifications... ... They were helped by the WNO Orchestra performing wonders under Tomáš Hanus. He has the blood of Brno coursing through his veins and the legacy of the city’s most-famous composer to protect and promote. 
The Metropolitan Opera – Anthony Minghella’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly – Hui He, Roberto Aronica, Maria Zifchak, David Bizic; conducted by Jader Bignamini
Thursday, November 02, 2017 |  The late Anthony Minghella’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly occupies a significant place in the Met’s history. ... Cio-Cio-San is the cynosure of the opera. Hui He gives a dramatically powerful portrayal of the teenaged geisha who marries naval lieutenant Pinkerton... ... In his house debut, Jader Bignamini infuses the music with vitality and romanticism... 
Birmingham Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells – Aladdin
Thursday, November 02, 2017 |  It is always good to welcome Birmingham Royal Ballet back to the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, its spiritual, if not actual, home; this always-likeable company continues to have a loyal London support-base, and it is important that the capital sees them dance in their own repertoire. For this visit, David Bintley’s full-length Aladdin was offered, replacing the initially scheduled new production of La Bayadère, which had to be shelved when the company’s grant was cut. ... 
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall – Barry Wordsworth conducts The Wasps & Enigma Variations, Mark Bebbington plays John Ireland and Duncan Riddell plays The Lark Ascending
Wednesday, November 01, 2017 |  This programme of British music included John Ireland’s once-regularly-performed Piano Concerto, and opened with the Overture from Vaughan Williams’s music for The Wasps, written in 1909 for a production of Aristophanes’s play. ... Mark Bebbington is closely associated with John Ireland’s piano music... ... The evening’s most effective and gratifying contributions arrived in Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending, Duncan Riddell an outstandingly eloquent soloist. 


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