International Festival Review

Georges Enescu Festival – Baroque Opera

Is listening to four baroque operas in concert versions on successive nights, each starting at 10.30pm and finishing in the earliest hour of the next day, a pleasure or a form of musical masochism? Surprisingly, mostly a pleasure, even after a long day of (in the case of your correspondent) writing and listening to a lot of other performances in very different genres…

Georges Enescu Festival – Modern Music

Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra may now have achieved the status of a modern classic but it is still special to be able to hear a pair of remarkably different but equally admirable and beautifully played interpretations as Lawrence Foster’s in Bucharest and Daniel Barenboim’s at The Proms …

Georges Enescu Festival – Piano

If ever there was a week to show up the differences between early nineteenth and early twentieth century piano concertos, this was it. Whereas in Beethoven and Chopin’s time piano and orchestra had a conversation, in Prokofiev’s and Rachmaninov’s it was a shouting match with occasional lulls to catch the breath and spin a melody, at least in the view of the performers playing in Bucharest…

Georges Enescu Festival – Violin

One of the joys of this festival is that you can hear three very different violinists, in very different repertoire, between tea and suppertime. It is revealing not just in terms of relative quality but of their attitudes to music-making…

The BBC Proms

Just what a force to be reckoned with the founder of the Proms, Henry Wood, must have been was beautifully demonstrated by this 150th birthday concert in his honour, concentrating on works he either premiered, arranged or introduced to London. He had a delicious habit of not telling audiences at the time when he was popping one of his ”novelties” into the programme so as not to frighten them in advance…