Reviews of live performances

It was a good idea to start with the C minor Symphony. It’s not an obvious ‘first-half’ work, but it was the perfect way to give immediate focus to the...
Featuring the likes of Hendricks, Hampson and Gatti, this concert was almost guaranteed to be a memorable event. Especially when reinforced by the nearly symbiotic atmosphere of a venue that...
A near capacity house greeted this latest concert in the Nash Ensemble's 40th Anniversary season – comprising three new commissions, the revival of two earlier commissions and an ensemble classic....
Among the reasons cited for the failure of Ezio (it closed after only five performances at the King’s Theatre in 1732) are the length of the recitatives and the fact...
Anyone not an habitué of Cleveland but who caught the city’s Orchestra on tour last summer (maybe at Lucerne or the Edinburgh Festival) will know of its refinement, discretion and...
Continuing the South Bank’s Mendelssohn celebration were two evenings’ worth of chamber music, specifically the string quartets (six and the two completed movements of a seventh; the youthful E major...
Jiří Bělohlávek's first concert since his appointment as the BBC Symphony Orchestra's next Chief Conductor (with effect from the First Night of the Proms 2006) proved to be a distinguished...
A lot of unnecessary time has been taken up discussing whether English National Opera should be staging Leonard Bernstein’s “On the Town”. Such digression suggests that the folly of pigeonholing...
This concert was one of those remarkable things: just about perfect. Even potential blemishes were turned into jewels. For example, a few bars into the encore Thomas Quasthoff stopped and...
Leading up to the UK premiere of Michael Gordon’s Gotham, the London Sinfonietta built a programme with an urban flavour. Steve Reich’s City Life brings the sampled sounds of the...
This generous programme made for an attractive mix of pieces in which Dvořák’s Symphonic Variations sat slightly out of kilter; a jewel in the repertoire it may be, but it’s...
The London Symphony Orchestra's two-concert Tippett/Beethoven series came to an all-too-premature end with a programme that appeared unpromising but was a striking success in performance. Were Tippett's Suite in D...
Performances of “Manon” and “Werther” apart, Massenet’s operas have still not found a regular place in the opera house, so it was an especial pleasure to encounter his fairy-tale opera,...
Both this venue and its eponymous ensemble are subsets of the organisation that is the London Festival Orchestra. In his introduction to concert, the Orchestra’s conductor, Ross Pople, said that...
“Rarely, rarely comest thou, Spirit of delight”. So wrote Elgar at the top of the score of his Second Symphony. This quotation, from Shelley's poem “Invocation”, could equally apply to...
Philosophy and music are rare bedfellows in any age. Somehow music is regarded as not needing any other mental stimulus to be appreciated. It’s all in the notes for better...
In Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, Mark Elder got so many things right – the orchestral layout of antiphonal violins, cellos left-centre, and double basses behind them; the deliberate tempo for the...
Hearing sacred music performed as a concert, removed from its original context in both time and space, is a little like looking at the altar pieces in the Sainsbury Wing...
Among the many things William Christie has always been renowned for is his knack for talent spotting – so many of his productions contain at least one unknown singer who...
An enterprising yet approachable concert of twentieth-century classics such as Russell Keable and the Kensington Symphony Orchestra have become synonymous with over two decades. As it happened, the most often...
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