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.
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.
Second (and last this year) concert of Gardiner Schumann cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra. The initial programmed Schumann piano concerto was dropped long time ago as Maria Joao Pires is retiring. Replacement was a Mozart piano concerto by Piotr Anderszewski that didn’t make that much sense in the context of the cycle. However, Anderszewski got the flu and he got replaced by Isabelle Faust playing Schumann own violin concerto, that was much more suited.
This Rinaldo concert version at the Barbican by the The English Concert was sold out a long time ago. As it is a collection of Handel previous hits it makes sense to be so enjoyable in a non-staged version. The cast worked pretty well. Iestyn Davies voice is beautiful and he masters Rinaldo role. He had some minor problems with some coloratura but still delivered a intense performance. The ladies, Jane Archibald as Armida and Joelle Harvey as Almirena were superb.
What a great concert! Ann Hallenberg is one of the top singers nowadays in the baroque repertoire. She, however, takes also part in some specific romantic opera and concert roles. Berlioz Les nuits d’été is a perfect work for her high mezzo voice and allows her to show characteristics other than her agility: character development and expressiveness. With Gardiner complicity she achieved a top level of beauty with a impressive blending with the orchestral textures.
This was a very smart move from the Barbican. As one of the last 20th century mainstream operas it had been premiered though all America and Europe but the UK premiere was still waiting. So the Barbican took the Teatro Real production that has been staging this month in Madrid: singers, conductor, director, stage design, costumes… everything but the orchestra, choir and sets and brought it to London. That meant minimal rehearsal times and minimal cost resulting in an almost fully-stage opera at very low price.
I got a last minute cheap ticked for this hot concert. The trio Kaufmann+Damrau+Deutsch are touring the complete Wolf Italienisches Liederbuch though Europe. Touring it over 7 cities allow such superstars with tight agendas work a lot on the programme. And that is the nicest thing that happened here: not only they are good singers that sang well, they did prepare extensively the work. They created something. They re-ordered the songs creating a narrative through them and worked a lot on the acting side.
This was a nice and totally unexpected free concert. I was just on my way back home from BBC Singers Matthaus passion when I just came across this one at the Barbican. It was the first time I listened to Elgar Piano quintet and I like the work. It was quite interesting to contrast it with Elgar symphonic writing: a lot of similarities and a lot of differences. Melodic lines were much more naked without the dense orchestral textures.
This was the second collaboration between the Spanish pianist Javier Perianes and the BBC Symphony Orchestra after 2017 Prom 51. This time was even better because the good work done by the young conductor James Feddeck. The American took much care to perfectly align the orchestra with Perianes in the Ravel piano concerto in G. The performance had the perfect balance between lyricism and the jazz influenced rhythm games. Before that we enjoyed a not so frequent Barber 1st symphony.
I was excited about this concert. The programme opened with some unknown Janáček (composer that I love so much!) work, followed by one of my fav piano concertos (Bartók 3rd) played by a pianist that impressed me on his last Mozart concert at Wigmore Hall last October: Franceso Piemontesi. Having a solid conductor as Mark Elder was also a guarantee. So far so good. Elder introduced Janáček Schluck und Jau final and unfinished work from the podium.
This was one of the highlights of the Barbican presents season and it not only kept up but exceeded the expectations. Maisky and Argerich have been long term partners on stage and recordings and we all knew how well they worked together. But how well the young Janise Jansen would fit the team was the unknown bit here. But hell, we all known how Martha leads her chamber music making bringing out the best from each of her partners.
Before even the concert started we could see the differences between London orchestras and this fine Filarmonica della Scala: although the first work, a Rossini overture, didn’t involve a piano the piano was already in place ready for the next work. Just in the previous week we saw two different London orchestras re-configuring the stage to bring the piano after just a work shorter than 8 mins: Spartacus Adagio before Rachmaninoff 3rd piano concerto with the LPO and Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune before Ravel piano concerto in G with the Philharmonia.
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