May 2018 Concert Reviews

June 2018 Concert Reviews
Berliner Philharmoniker/Simon Rattle at Royal Festival Hall (2) – Widmann, Lutosławski, Brahms
Thursday, May 31, 2018 |  If you ever fancy dancing on a volcano to musical accompaniment then Jörg Widmann’s Tanz auf dem Vulkan should be on your playlist. ... ...when Simon Rattle arrived he feigned indignity that the Philharmoniker was doing just fine without him. ... Also ending as it begins, wrapping the whole, is Witold Lutosławski’s Third Symphony (1983), written for Chicago and Georg Solti. ... Brahms also took the long view with his debut Symphony, it’s not Opus 68 for nothing... 
Quatuor Mosaïques at Wigmore Hall – Haydn & Wölfl
Thursday, May 31, 2018 |  The integrated sound of the Quatuor Mosaïques represented an ideal basis for the opening of Haydn’s rather serious C-minor String Quartet. ... To include lesser-known contemporaries in concerts of eighteenth-century music is always exciting. From his dates (1773-1812) Joseph Wölfl might be expected to have some similarity to Beethoven... 
Opera Holland Park – Mozart’s Così fan tutte – Nick Pritchard, Nicholas Lester, Eleanor Dennis, Kitty Whately, Sarah Tynan, Peter Coleman-Wright; directed by Oliver Platt; conducted by Dane Lam
Thursday, May 31, 2018 |  Mozart’s Così fan tutte can seem a problematic work to modern sensibilities. The music largely and clearly rests in a comic tradition and yet there is a painful and emotionally dark side that is inescapable, particularly if the director remains true to the strong words of Lorenzo Da Ponte’s text. In his new Opera Holland Park staging Oliver Platt achieves this... 
Nicola Benedetti & AAM/Richard Egarr at Barbican Hall – Telemann & Vivaldi
Thursday, May 31, 2018 |  In this belated celebration of Telemann following the 250th-anniversary of his death last year, Nicola Benedetti joined the Academy of Ancient Music to demonstrate the cosmopolitan character of his music through juxtaposition with his most prominent Italian contemporary. 
Berliner Philharmoniker/Simon Rattle at Royal Festival Hall (1) – Hans Abrahamsen’s Three Pieces and Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony with Performing Version of the Finale
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 |  This was the first of two London concerts in Sir Simon Rattle’s parting-company tour with the Berlin Philharmonic, where he has been in charge since 2002. They prefaced Bruckner’s Ninth with the second performance (and UK premiere) of Three Pieces for Orchestra by Hans Abrahamsen... ... One thing that the 2012 “Conclusive Revised Edition” of the Finale to Bruckner 9 (by Nicola Samale, John A. Phillips, Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs and Giuseppe Mazzuca, attached, presumably to the Nowak edition of the other three movements) demonstrates that the composer never solved what even for worshippers at the Bruckner shrine is his Finale ‘problem’. 
The MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall – Gianandrea Noseda conducts Mahler 5 – James Ehnes plays Mozart K219
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 |  This MET Orchestra concert opened with Mozart’s K219 Violin Concerto with James Ehnes, the delicate character of his expression somewhat at odds with the bold introduction conjured by Gianandrea Noseda. ... Noseda’s approach to Mahler’s Fifth combined nervous energy with brash, over-the-top dynamic levels within a basically straightforward reading. 
Akram Khan's XENOS at Sadler's Wells
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 |  Akram Khan’s latest work is his last as a solo performer and, if it did nothing else, XENOS is powerful evidence of his considerable performing talents. But it is more, much more. It is a dark, sombre piece, a 65-minute solo for Khan who holds the stage and our attention throughout, which tackles large questions of history, time, myth, politics, war and humanity. Inspired by the untold story of the 4.5 million ‘foreign’ soldiers who died in The Great War (of whom 1.5 million were Indian), it focusses on Khan’s ‘character’ of an un-named sepoy who has been, before the conflict, a dancer in India.… 
Opera Holland Park – Verdi’s La traviata – Lauren Fagan, Matteo Desole, Stephen Gadd; directed by Rodula Gaitanou; conducted by Matthew Kofi Waldren
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 |  A bout of amplified heavy-breathing opens Opera Holland Park’s 2018 season – its third as an independent company – to get us in the tubercular groove for its new production of Verdi’s La traviata. There are a few more directorial interjections to come, but otherwise Rodula Gaitanou’s staging is broadly traditional. ... Lauren Fagan is on commanding form as Violetta... 
Iestyn Davies & Fretwork at Milton Court – Michael Nyman & Henry Purcell
Monday, May 28, 2018 |  Michael Nyman has highlighted the special qualities of the countertenor throughout his career. In the intimate acoustic of Milton Court Iestyn Davies and Fretwork gave a summary of his works for this voice-type and viol consort, interspersed with miniature masterpieces by Purcell. 
Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Peter Oundjian conducts Diamond Rain & Pathétique Symphony – Jennifer Koh plays Christopher Cerrone’s Breaks and Breaks [live webcast]
Saturday, May 26, 2018 |  Peter Oundjian led a carefully enunciated account of the first movement of the ‘Pathétique’, Robert Williams’s wonderful bassoon solo at the beginning suitably doleful... ... Oundjian was standing in for Leonard Slatkin... ... Roshanne Etezady (born 1973) is one of several beneficiaries of Slatkin’s season-long initiative to commission pieces from pupils of composers he has championed over the years; Etezady’s biography includes William Bolcom... ... Born in 1984, Christopher Cerrone’s new Violin Concerto – which plays continuously – starts favourably... 
The Sistine Chapel Choir at Westminster Cathedral
Saturday, May 26, 2018 |  The Sistine Chapel Choir has been in London, performing at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. It has raised its profile in recent years under the tireless leadership of Monsignor Massimo Palombella... ... Palombella, with his unrivalled access to the Vatican’s manuscripts, is responsible for unearthing the earliest edition of Allegri’s Miserere. 
Opera North – Cole Porter’s Kiss me, Kate
Friday, May 25, 2018 |  Porter needed a boost and when Bella Spewack approached him with an idea for adapting Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, history has shown that was the boost he required. ... From the first notes of the Overture to the Finale two-and-a-half hours later, this Opera North production bristles and fizzes... 
Philharmonia Orchestra – Daniele Gatti conducts Mendelssohn & Brahms – Music of Today: Christian Mason
Thursday, May 24, 2018 |  Daniele Gatti signed in with the most economical of gestures to launch a rather wonderful account of Mendelssohn’s ‘Italian’ Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra in vital and vivid form. ... Earlier in the evening, and just as rewarding, the Philharmonia’s invaluable Music of Today series continued, the spotlight this time on Christian Mason... ... While the platform was being re-set, David Harsent (of much musical collaboration, particularly with Harrison Birtwistle) read with dignity his three poems – Ocean, Rainforest, Icefield – that Mason has set in Man Made. Anu Komsi is no stranger to cutting-edge music... 
CBSO/Ludovic Morlot – Dumbarton Oaks & Prokofiev 5 – Tasmin Little plays Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade
Thursday, May 24, 2018 |  Ludovic Morlot has given some memorable concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and this one was no exception in combining pieces from before, during and after the Second World War for a programme offering a judicious perspective on mid-twentieth-century musical culture. ... Time was when Bernstein’s Serenade (1954) was a rarity... ... Tasmin Little entered fully into its spirit... 
New York Philharmonic – Semyon Bychkov conducts Berio’s Sinfonia & Strauss’s Alpine Symphony
Thursday, May 24, 2018 |  Semyon Bychkov is rounding out a fortnight's stint as guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic with two works he has long championed. Also on this evening the Philharmonic honored four of its musicians for twenty-five years’ service as well as several retiring musicians and staff members, an apt occasion for Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia... ... Bychkov gave Alpine Symphony an enthralling outing. 
With a Little Bit of Lerner – BBC Concert Orchestra/Larry Blank at Royal Festival Hall
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 |  Alan Jay Lerner was born on 31 August 1918 into a wealthy family of shopkeepers. ... ...he met Austrian composer Frederick Loewe... ... ...My Fair Lady... ... Just imagine hearing all those marvellous songs for the first time sung by Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews. ... Gigi was a great success as an original film musical, winning nine Academy Awards, although its subsequent adaptation for the stage was less happy. Maybe it had something to do with the film’s stars, Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdain and Hermione Gingold and their director Vincente Minnelli, as much as the Lerner & Loewe score. 
Britten Sinfonia/Thomas Adès – Beethoven Symphony Cycle & Gerald Barry at Barbican Centre – 3/Symphonies 4 & 5 ... Nicolas Hodges plays Barry’s Piano Concerto
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 |  Thomas Adès and the Britten Sinfonia’s leisurely three-year chronological progress through the Beethoven Symphonies picked up again with the first instalment of year two. With immaculate timing, a mobile-phone chirrup coincided with Symphony 4’s solemn opening B-flat unison... ... This series is also a showcase for Gerald Barry’s music, which Adès has championed. The Piano Concerto, first heard in 2012, takes the traditional Concerto principle of the one pitted against the many to extremes in violent clashes of material and within the orchestra itself. ... The Piano Concerto starts conventionally enough with some gleaming brass fanfares making way for Nicolas Hodges to assert himself with some pulverising forearm clusters. 
Tetzlaff Quartet at Wigmore Hall – Beethoven – Opuses 130, 132 & 133
Sunday, May 20, 2018 |  In Beethoven’s late A-minor String Quartet standard sonata-form is changed and expanded: themes suddenly appear, basic rhythms alter and questioning phrases occur. The Tetzlaff Quartet displayed these characteristics by permitting the disruptive moments to speak for themselves. ... Originally the Grosse Fuge concluded the B-flat Quartet, Opus 130. 
Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2018 – Richard Jones’s production of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier – Rachel Willis-Sørensen, Elizabeth Sutphen, Kate Lindsey, Brindley Sherratt; conducted by Robin Ticciati
Sunday, May 20, 2018 |  Largely recast, Glyndebourne’s first revival of Richard Jones’s 2014 staging of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier comes up freshly minted and emerges as a more thoughtful and likeable production than it did when new... ... Part of the credit must go to Robin Ticciati and the London Philharmonic Orchestra... ... Kate Lindsey is a vocally warm and tireless Octavian... ... The Marschallin is beautifully sung by Rachel Willis-Sørensen... ... Elizabeth Sutphen is a bright, light and occasionally spiky Sophie. ... ...Brindley Sherratt is such a vocally strong Baron Ochs... 
LSO – Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Beethoven’s Missa solemnis
Sunday, May 20, 2018 |  Beethoven’s Missa solemnis had its origin in 1819 when Archduke Rudolf of Austria was elected Archbishop of Olmütz in Moravia. ... Any performance of the Missa solemnis should be an event and this LSO account undoubtedly was exactly that. The London Symphony Chorus... ... Michael Tilson Thomas is nothing if not adept at controlling large forces, and Beethoven usually brings out the best in him. 
Philharmonia Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy: Voices of Revolution Russia 1917 – Prokofiev – Pekka Kuusisto plays Violin Concerto No.1
Sunday, May 20, 2018 |  Bringing to a close his 1917 Russian Revolution series Vladimir Ashkenazy turned back to Prokofiev. ... Ashkenazy generously rehabilitated them, in the Concerto with the quixotic help of Pekka Kuusisto... ... The concert started and ended in choral cacophony. For Seven, They Are Seven the steely tenor of David Butt Philip was on hand... ... It’s also an ideal partner for the October Cantata, which dispenses with a vocal soloist, but demands (for a couple of lines) a Lenin impersonator (here Aidan Oliver in a Lenin cap and using an old-style megaphone to bellow his words), a military band and – all-but-hidden amidst the strings – an accordion group... 
Jonas Kaufmann sings Richard Strauss, including Four Last Songs – BBC Symphony Orchestra/Jochen Rieder – Schauspiel Ouvertüre, Intermezzo, In the South
Saturday, May 19, 2018 |  Rescheduled from February last year, this interesting and experimental programming of Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs has now arrived. Jonas Kaufmann... ... Under Jochen Rieder the BBC Symphony Orchestra delivered of its best... 
Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2018 – Puccini’s Madama Butterfly – Olga Busuioc, Joshua Guerrero, Elizabeth DeShong, Michael Sumuel; directed by Annilese Miskimmon; conducted by Omer Meir Wellber
Saturday, May 19, 2018 |  This revival of Madama Butterfly is a welcome reboot of Glyndebourne’s 2016 touring production – then the company’s first-ever staging of Puccini’s tragedy. Exceptionally well cast and thoughtfully directed by Annilese Miskimmon... ... Taking the title-role is Olga Busuioc whose emotional journey from girl to woman is painfully convincing. ... The superbly gifted Joshua Guerrero makes a hugely sympathetic Pinkerton... 
Richard Goode at Wigmore Hall – Byrd, Bach, Beethoven, Debussy
Friday, May 18, 2018 |  Richard Goode is one of the least flamboyant pianists. This great artist is rising seventy-five, but that hasn’t deterred him recently from taking on some substantial programmes, either those that re-examine established connections, or, as in this Wigmore Hall recital, suggest with his inimitable, lightly-worn breadth of experience how vastly differing styles fire each other up. 
MET Orchestra/Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla at Carnegie Hall – Debussy's Faune & Tchaikovsky 4 – Anita Rachvelishvili in Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death
Friday, May 18, 2018 |  MET Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall usually fill up the house, so I was surprised to see a fair number of empty seats. Perhaps Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla is not yet a familiar name to New York audiences, or it may be that the ongoing, headline-making legal battle between the Metropolitan Opera and James Levine is keeping concertgoers away. In any case, I hadn't yet had the opportunity to hear the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's newish music director... ... Playing Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune in New York City is always a bold move... ... Curiously, Gražinytė-Tyla took a similar approach to Shostakovich's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death. This music is bleak, sharp-edged, and ink-black, but here it was painted in mostly muted colors with broad strokes and a surprisingly soft brush. This fitted with Anita Rachvelishvili's understated reading... ... After intermission came Tchaikovsky's Fourth. 
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment does Der Rosenkavalier
Thursday, May 17, 2018 |  The strong narrative and visual qualities in scores such as Don Quixote and Ein Heldenleben have led some writers to feel that Richard Strauss was the greatest film composer who never was. Concertgoers had the opportunity to put this theory to the test when his only score composed exclusively for film received an airing from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. ... Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, the Rosenkavalier librettist, dreamt up the idea of a film version to give the material further life. 
LSO – Sibelius – Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Symphonies 6 & 7, Ray Chen plays the Violin Concerto
Thursday, May 17, 2018 |  The LSO has form in Sibelius, but his music hasn’t been core repertoire for its Conductor Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas. ... Nor was it that of Ray Chen, who, in his LSO debut, was replacing Janine Jansen. The personable violinist has showmanship and glamour to spare. He plays the 1715 ‘Joachim’ Stradivarius (which once belonged to Joseph of that name) from which he draws an incomparably warm and majestic sound... ... The LSO’s strings were at their most luminous for the lovely opening of Sibelius’s Symphony No.6, which MTT went on to shape with disciplined mobility. 
The Royal Ballet – Swan Lake – A new production by Liam Scarlett
Thursday, May 17, 2018 |  The months, if not years, of meticulous planning, the design and creation of new outfits, the choreography and the rehearsals are finally over: not The Royal Wedding but The Royal Ballet’s new production of Swan Lake, the first in a generation, which has finally opened. And it is a success, albeit with some small reservations. [...] an extremely handsome production from John Macfarlane [...] a version which shows great respect for the company’s tradition in this ballet but which also bears Scarlett’s clear choreographic imprint. ... 
BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus – Sakari Oramo conducts Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius – with Stuart Skelton, Alice Coote and Alan Ewing
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 |  The day before this concert, the BBC Symphony Orchestra announced that Sakari Oramo has renewed his contract as its Chief Conductor, until 2022. Lucky BBCSO, and lucky us, on the strength of this beautifully prepared and profoundly imagined performance of The Dream of Gerontius... ... Stuart Skelton was sparing with his Heldentenor virility, making the first part’s moments of high-voltage anguish all the more visceral. ... As Gerontius’s guardian angel, Alice Coote combined her mezzo’s bloom and shadow with an unaffected immediacy and excellent clarity of words. ... The 120-strong BBC Symphony Chorus was sensational... 
CBSO/Reinhard Goebel – J. C. Bach & Mozart – Mirijam Contzen plays K271a
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 |  Orchestral programmes devoted to the Classical era are hardly frequent and this CBSO concert was the more memorable for being conducted by Reinhard Goebel, director of Musica Antiqua Köln for over three decades and whose commitment is evident in every bar. ... Championed by Enescu and his protégé Yehudi Menuhin... ... ...not least when rendered with such conviction as by Mirijam Contzen. ... There has never been any doubt over the authorship of the ‘Linz’ Symphony... ... It may have appeared just two years later, but Mozart’s Idomeneo proved a game-changer in terms of his output as in that of opera as a genre. 
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Krzysztof Urbański – Scherzo à la russe & The Firebird – Kirill Gerstein plays Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 |  Stravinsky described The Firebird (1910), his first notable score, as “Rimsky-Korsakov with pepper” and the debt is obvious in the orchestration. There are also echoes of Scriabin and Glazunov, thoughts prompted by this compelling reading given by Krzysztof Urbański and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. ... And in support of Kirill Gerstein in the ‘Emperor’, he went for mellowness rather than heroic attack and, although some more rehearsal would not have gone amiss, nuance and detail was not amiss. 
William Tuckett's Elizabeth at the Barbican
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 |  Elizabeth I would not feature high in many people’s choices as the subject for a dance work, but for William Tuckett, her relationship with the many men who featured in her life, from Walter Raleigh to the Duc d’Anjou, from the Earl of Leicester to the Earl of Essex, fired his choreographic imagination. Created in 2013 in Covent Garden’s Linbury Theatre, Elizabeth is now revived at the Barbican, and comfortably fills the larger auditorium with focussed lighting and performances. […] The quality of the performance itself could not be faulted, but the work remains resolutely dramatically low-key; admirable rather than enjoyable. 
Spira mirabilis at Queen Elizabeth Hall – Beethoven 7
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 |  Formed in Italy and with residences in various European venues, Spira mirabilis is a group of young professional musicians many of whom play in leading orchestras. ... At the Queen Elizabeth Hall it was Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony... 
BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Recital at Wigmore Hall – Schumann Quartet
Monday, May 14, 2018 |  If Shostakovich’s Seventh String Quartet is much slighter than Schubert’s ‘Rosamunde’ in running time, it more than compensates with a rawness of feeling – even desperation – that the Schumann Quartet brought out with precision as well as sympathy. 
Ligeti in Wonderland – Concertos – Aimard, Neunecker, Kopatchinskaja, Aurora Orchestra/Collon
Sunday, May 13, 2018 |  This final instalment of the Southbank Centre’s Ligeti in Wonderland weekend focussed on four of the numerous Concertos which extend over the greater part of the composer’s output and which are a pertinent indicator to those stylistic changes that inform his eventful career. 
Ligeti in Wonderland – Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays the piano Études
Saturday, May 12, 2018 |  György Ligeti’s eighteen piano Études (divided into three books, the third left incomplete when the composer died) are spoken of in the same breath as those by Chopin, Liszt and Debussy... ... The overriding factor that Pierre-Laurent Aimard – a friend and champion of the composer – made clear was how far removed the Études are from the irony and anarchy of larger-scale Ligeti works such as Le grand macabre. 
Ligeti in Wonderland – Horn Trio
Friday, May 11, 2018 |  Long associated with a proposed second opera based on Alice in Wonderland (later taken up by his pupil Unsuk Chin), György Ligeti (1923-2006) is a composer who had a reputation not only of titanic rages but also playful wit, and it was this latter side that was the focus in the first of Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s trio of concerts he has curated under the apt title Ligeti in Wonderland. 
Andrè Schuen & Gerold Huber at Wigmore Hall – Schumann
Friday, May 11, 2018 |  Andrè Schuen’s dramatic presence and self-assurance were evident from the start, as he and Gerold Huber embarked on a storm-tossed journey through Robert Schumann’s melded world of emotions. ... The Ladino numbers which followed are wistful love-songs and lullabies... 
The Royal Opera – world premiere of George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence; directed by Katie Mitchell; conducted by the composer
Thursday, May 10, 2018 |  Expectations could not have been higher for this new opera, given the phenomenal international success of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin. The premiere of Lessons in Love and Violence played to a sold-out house... ... The story is loosely based on Marlowe’s 1594 play Edward II... ... ...the themes of love, lust and violence are universal and timeless. ... Aggression and cruelty are present but never overblown in Martin Crimp’s sensitive and evocative text... ... Benjamin conducts with pinpoint precision and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House plays with controlled abandon... ... Barbara Hannigan is thoroughly at home... 
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Daniele Rustioni – Shéhérazade, Musica notturna, Pines of Rome – Avi Avital plays Avner Dorman’s Mandolin Concerto
Wednesday, May 09, 2018 |  In a programme that travelled westwards from Arabia to Italy, Daniele Rustioni returned to the BBC Symphony Orchestra... ... and started this concert with both another rarity and first (in this case, orchestral) piece: Ravel’s ‘Fairy Overture’ Shéhérazade. ... Any sense that the instrumental resources were undernourished for the next piece – for string accompaniment (indeed the composer sanctions performances with string quintet) – were quickly disproved by Avner Dorman’s own soundworld, starting with the tremolos for mandolin, gently amplified by a single speaker beside Avi Avital’s seat. ... Almost sixty years older than the Mandolin Concerto, Giorgio Federico Ghedini’s Musica notturna found the strings now complemented by wind-players... ... The crowd-pleaser (if not, in this instance, the crowd-puller) was left to the end: Respighi’s Pines of Rome... 
Khatia Buniatishvili at Queen Elizabeth Hall – Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Liszt
Wednesday, May 09, 2018 |  There are so many factors jostling for attention in Khatia Buniatishvili’s playing that it’s difficult to get a hold on her style and personality. Her technique is fabulous, she relishes taking risks... ... The Brahms was a fine example of this. She slapped down the gauntlet in its mighty, ‘Hammerklavier’-like opening gesture to capture the essence of the young Brahms at his most heroic and invincible... ... Mikhail Pletnev’s transcription of seven numbers from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker spares nothing in terms of virtuosic glitter... 
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Lighthouse – Kirill Karabits conducts Elgar & Walton – Simon Trpčeski plays Tchaikovsky
Wednesday, May 09, 2018 |  Elgar’s In the South – long associated with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra since Constantin Silvestri’s 1968 recording –was given an impassioned account, Kirill Karabits galvanising his forces to produce a glowing picture-postcard of sweeping panoramas, grandeur and tenderness... ... Nikolai Rubinstein thought Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto as “unplayable and worthless”. Simon Trpčeski gave the lie to that in no uncertain terms... ... Having performed and recorded both of William Walton’s Symphonies, the latter issued recently (review-link below), Karabits was now returning to the First. 
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan at Sadler's Wells – Formosa
Wednesday, May 09, 2018 |  Cloud Gate is known for its rather contemplative, often slo-mo shows, a direct reflection of the deep Buddhist faith of the company’s founder and choreographer Lin Hwai-min. Lin has announced that he is to step-down in 2019 and that Formosa may well be his last new work for the ensemble; for that event, he has departed from his trademark style imbued with meditative and breathing techniques to create something considerably more vigorous, more contemporary. […] The entire undertaking is essentially a musing on Taiwan, formerly Formosa, known as the Beautiful Island, and its conflicting elements: of the past and modernity, of conflict and community, of water and rain, of traditions both lost and preserved… 
Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall
Monday, May 07, 2018 |  The long-established Oratorio Society of New York closed its current season with Kent Tritle leading American music with a shared message: the human spirit cannot be conquered. ... Iranian-born Behzad Ranjbaran’s twenty-minute We Are One, though premiered in New York, was commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in honor of Martin Luther King on the fiftieth anniversary of his death. ... Following intermission, Sanctuary Road. In a little less than an hour, it brought to life an abundant collection of personal histories, interviews, letters, and other texts from William Still’s 1872 memoir, The Underground Railroad Records. 
LSO/Simon Rattle at Lincoln Center (3) – Mahler 10
Monday, May 07, 2018 |  Simon Rattle has championed Deryck Cooke’s performing version of Mahler 10 throughout his career and recorded it twice. ... This LSO performance began with a mildly sorrowful rendition of the violas’ Andante theme. ... The Finale opens with a powerful and continuing punctuating strokes on a muffled drum, a jolt each time. Rattle imbued the eerie opening with otherworldly disquietude. Soft rising-sevenths lead into one of the most beautiful themes Mahler ever wrote, played sublimely by flautist Gareth Davies. 
LSO/Simon Rattle at Lincoln Center (2) – Das Lied von der Erde, with Stuart Skelton & Christian Gerhaher
Sunday, May 06, 2018 |  The LSO, making its first visit to New York with Simon Rattle as music director, has programmed Gustav Mahler’s final three Symphonies... ... Das Lied von der Erde is a Symphony structured as a six-movement song-cycle... ... Stuart Skelton more than held his own against the powerful orchestration of the first setting... ... In ‘Der Einsame im Herbst’ (The Solitary One in Autumn) and ‘Von der Schönheit’ (Of Beauty), Gerhaher used his lyric qualities to essay softer, yet vivid word-pictures. 
Detroit Symphony Orchestra – John Storgårds conducts Rhapsodic Overture, Cantus Arcticus, Sibelius 7 – Louis Lortie plays Beethoven [live webcast]
Saturday, May 05, 2018 |  To give something or somebody “the bird” is a term of derision. Conversely, for Cantus Arcticus (1972), Einojuhani Rautavaara adds self-made recorded birdsong from the Arctic Circle and the upper reaches of Finland as a haunting addition to the orchestra. John Storgårds ensured a meeting and interaction of Nature and Man... ... The concert opened with Carl Nielsen’s Journey to the Faroe Islands, as imagined. ... Sonically things then improved for the centrepiece, a magnificent Beethoven C-minor from Louis Lortie... 
Borodin Quartet at Wigmore Hall – Haydn, Wolf, Borodin
Saturday, May 05, 2018 |  The Borodin Quartet takes a lively view of Haydn’s Opus 33: rhythmically firm in rhythm and always forward-moving in tempo. This approach is well-suited to these works... ... In Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade the Molto vivo marking was taken note off and the richness of melodic invention exploited... ... Less frequently programmed than the Second Quartet, Alexander Borodin’s No.1 initially suffered a strange setback... 
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons at Carnegie Hall (2) – Mahler 7
Saturday, May 05, 2018 |  If the increasing frequency of performances of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony is any indication, this too-often-maligned work – discombobulated, convoluted and unduly diffuse, say its critics – may have achieved at last a more positive acceptance. It would seem that those who hold on to a negative opinion focus on the allegedly bombastic and certainly confusing Finale, with its many twists and turns, sudden shifts of mood and false or incomplete cadences. ... With this account Mariss Jansons has solved the problem of the Seventh... 
Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel at Barbican Hall (3) – Chichester Psalms & Choral Symphony
Friday, May 04, 2018 |  The third and final day of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s residency at the Barbican Centre represented a triumphant conclusion to a daringly original sequence of musical events. In the morning, Gustavo Dudamel had led an open rehearsal... ... It therefore was particularly fitting that the evening concert should commence with a piece by Leonard Bernstein whose enthusiastic work as an educator was a feature of his career. ... Chichester Psalms features highly original use of percussion... ... The power of the LSC and the brilliance of the LA Phil made the pending performance of Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphony an exciting prospect... 
LSO/Simon Rattle at Lincoln Center (1) – Mahler 9
Friday, May 04, 2018 |  Simon Rattle and the LSO’s return to New York City was a masterclass in Mahlerian color... 
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons at Carnegie Hall (1) – William Tell & Eroica Symphony – Frank Peter Zimmermann plays Prokofiev
Friday, May 04, 2018 |  Mariss Jansons was on the Carnegie Hall stage with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for this exciting program, the first of two. The evening started with the Overture to Rossini’s final opera, William Tell. ... Frank Peter Zimmermann infused Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto with lyrical nuances and great technical virtuosity. ... Jansons and his musicians made Beethoven’s poignant and noble ‘Eroica’ Symphony leap to life... 
Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel at Barbican Hall (2) – Rzewski, Eastman, Hearne
Thursday, May 03, 2018 |  As with its previous visits to the Barbican, the Los Angeles Philharmonic is bringing a wide variety of repertoire, which again features an example of its ground-breaking Green Umbrella series. ... I was surprised by the almost-Coplandesque soundscape of Frederic Rzewski’s Attica... ... There is a more overt shock in Julius Eastman’s Evil Nigger... ... Following the interval, the stage had been cleared of pianos and set – quite far back – for an ensemble of eighteen string-players (5.4.4.3.2) for Law of Mosaics, which Hearne himself introduced... 
CBSO/Edward Gardner – Death and Transfiguration & Sibelius 2 – Baiba Skride plays Prokofiev
Wednesday, May 02, 2018 |  His six-year stint as Principal Guest Conductor may have ended in 2016, but Edward Gardner is still a regular visitor to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and here directed a generous programme with matters of life and death intermittently to the fore. ... It might frequently have fallen victim to accusations of false profundity, but Richard Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration (1889) remains as assured a statement by a composer ‘on the rise’ as there has been... ... Such issues were ostensibly far from Prokofiev’s mind while he essayed his Second Violin Concerto... ... ...its emotional ambiguities are everywhere to be heard and Baiba Skride duly underlined these... 
Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel at Barbican Hall (1) – Pollux, Amériques, Shostakovich 5
Wednesday, May 02, 2018 |  This was the first event in the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel’s three-day stay in London... ... This distinctive orchestra started with Pollux by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the LA Phil’s Conductor Laureate. Pollux is the first part in a projected diptych... ... If anything, there is too much voice and style in the French-born, US-naturalised Edgard Varèse’s half-hour Amériques, the anarchic progeny of The Rite of Spring... ... You think Shostakovich’s Fifth is edging towards an agenda, when the composer abruptly whips it away... 
London Philharmonic Orchestra – Łukasz Borowicz conducts Panufnik & Prokofiev, Anne-Sophie Mutter plays Penderecki
Wednesday, May 02, 2018 |  Crowned by an exalted performance of Penderecki's Second Violin Concerto, played by the dedicatee Anne-Sophie Mutter in the presence of the composer, the London Philharmonic's closing concert of its current season took excellence and courageous programme planning to levels of expectation and emotional intensity more than once defying belief. Here was an orchestra in terrific form, working with a new conductor, Łukasz Borowicz... ... Andrzej Panufnik's Heroic Overture – sketched in 1939 in solidarity with the Polish resistance, selected by the authorities for performance in the run-up to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics but then banned for being formalistic... 

 

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