Entries by Aaron Davies

A glimpse down the corridors of time with Adam Walker and Mahan Esfahani in Manchester

Despite the cold Manchester evening, this was a performance full of warmth and sparkle, an appreciative audience at the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society’s programme at the Royal Northern College of Music, treated to an evening of music spanning the Baroque and early Classical periods. Showcasing both obscure and better-known works, the concert brought together the hugely talented […]

Excellent Hallé delivers a solid evening of Elgar

It was here in Manchester, only a stone’s throw from the modern Bridgewater Hall, where Hans Richter gave the first – and by all accounts, highly acclaimed – performance of Elgar’s First Symphony. Quizzed about whether the work had any specific programmatic reference, the great composer wrote “There is no programme beyond a wide experience […]

Radu Lupu delivers assured performance at the Concertgebouw

Much has been said about Radu Lupu’s enigmatic, even ethereal style of playing. Given the infrequency with which this true master of the keyboard performs in public, this was indeed a rare opportunity to see a legend at work. Here in Amsterdam’s hallowed Concertgebouw, where the names of the illustrious great composers are inscribed into […]

Prom 16: Drama, modernism, philosophy and grandeur from Ilan Volkov and the BBCSSO

A wide-ranging programme, which incorporated romantic era staples such as Pictures at an Exhibition counterbalanced by the world première of Julian Anderson’s sparkling new Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, was delivered with technical brilliance and measured artistry by the excellent BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and its understated, somewhat professorial maestro Ilan Volkov. Hamlet, the first of […]

Prom 21: An underwhelming performance of MacMillan and Beethoven

The noble themes of hope, freedom and brotherhood figured prominently in a performance which featured Sir James MacMillan’s new choral work A European Requiem – a plea for unity in a troubled world – alongside Beethoven’s magnificent “Choral” Symphony. Beethoven’s great masterpiece required no introduction, having appeared in every single Proms season for nigh on […]

Exquisite Uchida plays to her strengths at Salzburg Festival

World renowned pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida is rightly known for her intimate and delicate interpretations of Mozart and the much celebrated Japanese musician did not disappoint, opening the evening’s concert with Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C major, K545, a piece which is clearly close to her heart, such was the delicate craftsmanship emanating from her […]

Prom 52: An excellent evening of innovation from Elder and the Hallé

Prom 52 saw Sir Mark Elder’s excellent Hallé join forces with Gerard McBurney and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s acclaimed Beyond the Score® series, which weaves performance, unique projections of moving and still images, actors, soloists and narration into presentations which set composers and their masterpieces into an artistic, social, political and cultural context. The subject in […]

Prom 73: A Bach masterclass from András Schiff

There is something timeless about the music of Johann Sebastian Bach – intensely spiritual whilst abstract and logical at the same time. Perhaps Hans von Bülow captured the essence best when he canonised The Well-Tempered Clavier as “the Old Testament of Music.” For seasoned professionals, this work has symbolised a career summit or “holy grail” of the […]

Engaging and fluent performances from Elder’s Hallé

Composed and performed in 1894, Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un fauneproved an instant success on its première. Arguably, the French composer’s most famous work, its score was considered by Pierre Boulez to be the beginning of modern music, observing that “the flute of the faun brought new breath to the art of music”. Opening with a mercurial […]