Concert Reviews

This concert was part of the South Bank Centre’s Voices series of concerts – a tribute to Henze on his impending 75th birthday. The Fifth Symphony is nearing its fortieth...
Another concert in the Bohemian Spring series brought together the series’ most familiar composers – Dvorak and Janáček in a concert of fervent and enthusiastic music-making. The series has (quite...
In a short but well-planned concert, the Nash Ensemble provided a window onto Henze’s chamber and vocal music. There could not be a better piece to illustrate the composer’s rapprochement...
An arbitrary choice of repertoire! Tan’s piece swells the ranks of percussion concertos – is there much left for a composer to do within this genre? As in Michael Daugherty’s...
A further instalment in this welcome series, and the only incidence of Martinu’s orchestral music. A pity none of the symphonies could be included - No. 3, in particular, urgently...
49 years and 31 days after its Hanover première (17 February 1952) Henze’s first opera received due recognition from the Royal Opera House. Not that Henze had been ignored by...
A concert with potentially too much Brahms in it! I did wonder if Brahms 4 would have been the better choice – it closes with a passacaglia – and only...
The Philharmonia trotted out three magnificent war-horses and a delectable but unusual starter to a packed Royal Festival Hall under veteran Russian Yevgeny Svetlanov.Both the short mood-setting prelude to Tchaikovsky’s...
What an innovative idea Music of Today is. Before the Philharmonia Orchestra’s main evening offering, the Royal Festival Hall opens its doors to all – this is a free, no-ticket,...
I imagine Im Sommerwind comes as something of a surprise to anyone familiar with Webern’s 31 official opuses, a body of work re-defining compositional thinking; as such Webern might well...
I am usually sceptical of music inspired by birdsong; Messiaen’s use of it is often complex and pedantic. Hence my initial disappointment at reading the background to David Matthews’s new...
As part of the South Bank’s “Voices – Henze at 75”, the BBC Symphony Orchestra made a relatively early return to what was (until last May) its winter-season home, the...
It is important that the current Henze retrospective includes representative work from the composer’s ’political phase’; more correctly, that period when his music was pervaded by the quality of commitment....
It’s some little while since I heard the RPO live; this concert suggested an orchestra in fine fettle. The RPO’s relatively few London appearances and its somewhat nomadic existence (with...
Following his welcome revival of Dvorák’s Stabat Mater to open the LSO’s Bohemian Spring series, Jiri Belohlávek conducted a rounded selection from the Czech orchestral repertoire, opening with the delectable...
One of Bernard Haitink’s most characteristic conducting gestures is his courteous invitation to players to commune a phrase; the expressive curve of his baton not only elicits something intrinsic for...
The LSO’s Bohemian Spring festival opened with a rare performance of a work which enjoyed wide exposure in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Dvorák’s Stabat Mater was completed in 1877,...
Stephen Hough is an Apollonian pianist. He brings an order and even-temper to everything he plays however agitated the music, however complex its structure, however technically demanding, and however varied...
Parisian Marc Laforet introduced himself as a chap with a ready wit and sparkling repartee – Mozart’s outer movements raced along crisply. Laforet ’bulged’ a few incidents to highlight them...
One of Haydn’s finest symphonies (and that’s saying something), what I would argue is Shostakovich’s greatest (if most enigmatic) achievement as a symphonist, and a welcome chance to re-visit a...
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