Sometimes one hour could be enough. Like this lunchtime recital at Wigmore Hall by Javier Perianes which created a path from the early Chopin to the late one linking with Debussy impressionism and the evocation of Falla music. Perianes Chopin was poetic but still reflexive, showing the seed that was grown and developed by other like Debussy. Isolated preludes from the later are not easy to present but Perianes showed some good ideas.
Giandrea Noseda presented a muscled version (for nowadays standards for classical repertoire) of the London Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven 4th piano concerto. Nikolai Lugansky had not problem at all to get his sound filling the Barbican. The fierce attacks from Noseda were usually relaxed when the piano was coming in. Lugansky specially shined on the candezas. The second part, in consonance with the first one, was pure energy. Loudness and exhibitionism suits well to Shostakovitch 8th symphony but Noseda kept it classy by giving all the grows a proper meaning.
It was the first time I was seeing this children opera by Britten. When I left the Blackheath Hall I was even more convinced of the genius of Britten. He managed to compose an opera for children to be made by children, putting them in the very center of the musical creation experience. The production presented here by Blackheath Opera was smart. While exposing the story in a clean way it manages to tell a subtext enriching the biblical narration.
In the middle of the London Handel Festival, mostly filled with English/London performers, we had the visit of one of the French baroque groups that better play Handel music: Le Concert d’Astrée. Major attraction of this concert at the Wigmore Hall was Sabine Devieilhe presence. Initially programmed Marianne Crebassa was replaced by the younger Lea Desandre. But the biggest surprise was Thomas Dunford playing a sublimely varied and rich continuo from his theorbo.
I reckon that part of the problem with this concert was on my side: I don’t enjoy traditional lectures that are statical, rigid and without live audience engagement. I’d rather read an article about the subject. So if I go to a show I expect a real performance with a brilliant lecturer. Unfortunately this was not the case of this concert. The music was interrupted constantly by bits of information about Handel’s times delivered by Lars Tharp like if he was trying to get an Olivier award nomination: very theatrically and boring.
Update: Barbican, Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall 2019/2020 seasons added In order to properly planning my London concerts diary I used to keep a combination of present-season calendar with booked events and future season spreadsheet. As the data geek I am I have moved forward from manually collecting the event information to automatically extracting the data from concert venues websites. In case it could be useful for anyone else I am publishing a calendar file with all the concerts:
Ok, Proms 2018 were announced at 7am. Let see what we god (spoiler: MEH) Prom 1: First Night of the Proms BBCSO with Oramo doing… The Planets???? Seriously???? One more time? Damn. So British. Of course also some RVW and a new work by a british female composer. All the cliches to be politically correct. Prom 2: Mozart, Ravel and Fauré RPO with Francesco Piemontesi conducted by Alain Altinoglu. This is nice because we got the full Daphnis and Chloe with the full chorus singing MMMmmmMmmMm.
Clean and clear performance by The Tallis Scholars of music by Victoria, Guerrero and Lobo. In their usual presentation of two voices per part they showcased their trademark clarity. However I had the felling that everything was a little bit cold. Maybe because other groups taking approaches richer in contracts are more fashionable nowadays. The best thing of the concert was the encore, a revealing Loti Cruxifixus a six voices that was sung with more passion.
A 2000 people full house and four encores could mean all or nothing. Some artists fame and marketing can sell all the tickets and get the audience with their minds set for a big applause. Those artists could be tempted to not take risk, do an easy thing an an easy triumph. Fortunately for us this was not the case of Evgeny Kissin: he took risks (serious ones) and triumphed. Win win.
Rafael Payarre debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was not an easy gig. Replacing Charles Dutoit, who has stepped down as principal conductor of the orchestra for the infamous reasons we all know, put extra pressure on. Dutoit only two concerts during RPO 2017/2018 season were the only two ones scheduled to happen in the Royal Festival Hall instead of in the smalled Cadogan Hall because his name used to attract more audience.
This Passion by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was announced as conducted by Mark Padmore and that was not fully true. Maybe he conducted during the rehearsals, maybe the idea and conception of the performance was his but he was not conducting anything during the public performance. It’s ok to have a chamber orchestra without conductor, and many baroque ensembles rely on the continuo players to get tempi indications and attacks.
I was excited about seeing for the first time Firebird Orchestra. I am subscriber of their mailing list and once a month they send an email with information about the music they are going to be perform in the next concert. Theres emails are the best one among all of those I receive. Delightful, well written and to the point. The programme was quite interesting, so expectations were quite high. Did it meet expectations?
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