August 2019 Concert Reviews

July 2019 Concert Reviews
Edinburgh International Festival 2019 – Meta4 at Queen’s Hall – Fanny Mendelssohn, Kaija Saariaho, Robert Schumann
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 |  Fanny Mendelssohn (sister of Felix, and sadly as short-lived as he) wrote her sole String Quartet as a married woman (a Hensel). The opening movement is soulful, inwardly expressive, beautifully played by Meta4, the group going on to show precise teamwork in the scampering second movement... 
Edinburgh International Festival 2019 – Maxim Emelyanychev & SCO Friends at Queen’s Hall – Schumann, Brahms, Dohnányi
Monday, August 12, 2019 |  In charge was the newly appointed Russian conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Maxim Emelyanychev, born in 1988, a former student of Rozhdestvensky in Moscow. Trained as a pianist and harpsichordist, he's an efficient player without, on present evidence, going for much individuality. ... Ernö Dohnányi's Sextet, completed in 1935, ranges far, the skilled craftsmanship resolutely old world in reference. Brahms lurks in the wings (the Clarinet Trio in the third movement), and there's plenty of spring and giocoso spirit in the Finale... 
Edinburgh International Festival 2019 – Llŷr Williams at Queen’s Hall – Grieg, Liszt, Wagner
Friday, August 09, 2019 |  Nine of Grieg’s numerous Lyric Pieces graced the first half of Llŷr Williams’s Edinburgh Festival recital, perfect morning listening, especially when played with such affection, sensitivity and, when required, technical wizardry... ... As centrepiece, Williams played an original Wagner piece for piano, a single-movement Sonata for the poet and author Mathilde Wesendonck... 
Fulham Opera @ Greenwood Theatre – Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – directed by Paul Higgins; conducted by Ben Woodward
Friday, August 09, 2019 |  Fulham Opera, formed in 2011, is a relative newcomer to the London amateur-professional fringe. Under its artistic director Ben Woodward, the company already has a Ring, the Dutchman, Puccini and Verdi under its belt, and its latest, equally ambitious project is this Meistersinger, performed at the modern Greenwood Theatre near London Bridge station, not the usual base at St John’s Church, Fulham, with its smaller capacity, wallowy acoustic and awkward sightlines. 
Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart – Louis Langrée conducts Haydn, Schnittke & the Haffner Symphony – Steven Osborne plays Shostakovich
Friday, August 09, 2019 |  Next Steven Osborne delivered an articulate and electrifying rendition of Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto, a piece written as a nineteenth-birthday present for the composer’s son, Maxim. The rollicking outer movements bristled with wit and rhythmic vitality, and with wonderfully supportive accompaniment from Louis Langrée and the MMFO... 
Edinburgh International Festival 2019 – Michael Volle & Helmut Deutsch at Queen’s Hall – Schiller/Schubert | Wunderhorn | Rückert/Strauss & Mahler
Thursday, August 08, 2019 |  You know you are in the company of great artistry when within a second you are drawn completely into music that you don’t know – such was the case when Michael Volle and Helmut Deutsch launched their Edinburgh Festival morning recital with Schubert’s Schiller-inspired twenty-seven verse Der Taucher... 
Tȇte à Tȇte Opera Festival 2019 – For Peace and Country by Isabella Gellis
Thursday, August 08, 2019 |  In summer, with the country-house operas either over or coming to an end, the Grimeborn and Tȇte à Tȇte festivals, in London, rush in to fill the vacuum with short runs (Grimeborn) and one-offs (Tȇte à Tȇte), with fairly basic staging and a fringy feel geared to accessibility for what is deemed a ‘difficult’, exclusive entertainment. ... Isabella Gellis’s half-hour For Peace and Country is the result of her discovery of a long-forgotten video her sister made as a child of her production of the battle between the king and queen (two stuffed toy pugs) and the marauding Elephantonia... 
Tȇte à Tȇte Opera Festival 2019 – Her Face was of Flowers by Elfyn Jones
Thursday, August 08, 2019 |  Elfyn Jones is a Welsh composer and soundscape artist and he has used a story from the Mabinogion, the compendium of ancient Welsh myth and magic, for Her Face was of Flowers, a three-hander relating the sad tale of Blodeuwedd, unhappily married to Lleu, and her mystical attraction to the stranger Gronw, a story similar to Siegmund’s and Sieglinde’s, but without the incest. 
Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2019 – Robert Carsen’s production of Handel’s Rinaldo – Jakub Józef Orliński, Kristina Mkhitaryan, Giulia Semenzato, Tim Mead; conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev
Thursday, August 08, 2019 |  Robert Carsen's production of Handel's first London opera, Rinaldo (1711) – revived here for the second time by Glyndebourne – has already acquired a certain renown, even notoriety, for its re-imaging of a fictional mediaeval Christian knight's crusade as a schoolboy's dream of heroic adventures against various fantastical and improbable enemies in the form of his disguised masters and contemporaries. ... This revival has taken on an apparently additional alluring dimension in that, as some media excitably reported, the break-dancing countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński stepped up to assume the title role after Elizabeth DeShong dropped out. ... Maxim Emelyanychev sustains a fairly sober, but never staid, account, the Orchestra of the Age Enlightenment largely avoiding bold Affekt in the arias or excessive contrast... 
Edinburgh International Festival 2019 – Cuarteto Casals at Queen’s Hall – Haydn Bird, Bartók 3, Beethoven F-major Razumovsky
Tuesday, August 06, 2019 |  An attractive 11 a.m.-starting programme on paper, and even more so in the listening, complemented by Radio 3 presenter Donald Macleod being so dignified with his words... ... ...Cuarteto Casals made a wonderful job of Haydn’s ‘Bird’... ... Following the interval (which for me was twenty minutes of silence, further music not wanted) was the First of Beethoven’s ambassadorial-named ‘Razumovsky’ Quartets, expansive enough to be the combined length of the preceding Haydn and Bartók... 
Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart – Louis Langrée conducts Prague Symphony & Dances of Galánta – Joshua Bell plays Dvořák's Violin Concerto
Tuesday, August 06, 2019 |  This MMFO program, a gem of imagination and sequence, presented a Central European kaleidoscope, offering a glittering combination of urban refinement and rural tradition representing three nationalities within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 
Edinburgh International Festival 2019 – Steven Osborne at Queen’s Hall – Schubert & Messiaen
Monday, August 05, 2019 |  This mid-morning recital was to have seen Beatrice Rana play Chopin, Ravel and Stravinsky. Faced with her unfortunate indisposition at less than twenty-four hours notice, Steven Osborne stepped into the breach, opting, however, for a radically different programme, less virtuosic than spiritual, substituting Schubert's final Piano Sonata (1828) and five of Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'enfant-Jésus... 
Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart – Takács Quartet & Jeremy Denk –Mozart, Beethoven, Dohnányi
Monday, August 05, 2019 |  Excellent performances by the Takács Quartet of Mozart and Beethoven; and, with Jeremy Denk, a delightful romp through Ernö Dohnányi’s Opus 1. 
Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart – Budapest Festival Orchestra – Iván Fischer conducts Haydn & Mozart – Jeanine De Bique sings Handel
Sunday, August 04, 2019 |  A glowing account of Haydn’s exuberant and alluring Symphony 88 opened. With Iván Fischer in complete control the playing was precise, nuanced and perfectly balanced... ... The centerpiece was three Handel arias – each exhibiting a different mood and aspect of the composer’s style – sung by Jeanine De Bique. 
Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart – Gianandrea Noseda conducts Schubert – Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays Beethoven
Friday, August 02, 2019 |  Pierre-Laurent Aimard opened with an exceptionally well-crafted and -performed recital of about twenty numbers from Schubert’s more than three-hundred dances. ... The main event began with a spontaneous, crisply articulated and masterful rendition of Beethoven’s G-major Piano Concerto. Aimard opened the expansive first movement with tenderness, and with Gianandrea Noseda and the MMFO providing a matching accompaniment... ... The echoes of Beethoven were apparent in a magisterial account of Schubert’s ‘Great C-major’ Symphony... 

 

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