Some VERY important concerts are included in the Wigmore Hall 10% discount offer on some concerts during January and February 2011
The Arditti Quartet are giving the London premiere of Brian Ferneyhough's String Quartet No 6. This is MAJOR news and you can get in for £10.80. Ferneyhough is I think the greatest of living British composers (and a darn sight better than some dead ones) and the Arditti Quartet are his finest interpreters. If the Ferneyhough were not enough to make headlines, there are also three other new works by well established composers: Hilda Paredes, Dai Fujikura and James Clarke.
The other big news in February is the Wigmore Hall Kurtág series. There's a full price 3 day study workshop at the beginning of the month which includes a ticket to Marino Fomenti's concert on 9/2 which "combines Kurtág’s pieces with works from Beethoven, Bach and Schumann to Messiaen and Bartók." If you can't make the daytime workshops, tickets to this concert are discounted, which is a good idea. To understand a composer, understand his context.
The highlight of the Kurtág series will be Juliane Banse singing Kurtág’s Kafka-Fragmente with violinist András Keller. If you hated Dawn Upshaw and Peter Sellars' version of this work at the Barbican a while back, think again and hear Banse and Keller. Keller is to Kurtág what Arditti is to Ferneyhough. There just isn't anyone who knows the composer's idiom so intimately. Although there are at least 4 recordings of this seminally-important work, the one by Banse and Keller (1996) is the benchmark. It was made with Kurtág himself, advising in rehearsals and in the studio. Hear Banse and Keller and realize just how powerful this piece really can be, shorn of Sellars' silliness. Anyone remotely interested in 20th century music needs to hear Banse and Keller do this live.
Other recommendations in the WH's Festive Offer : Leonidas Kavakos and Enrico Pace on 16th January, playing Korngold, Prokofiev and Frank Auberbach Preludes op 48. Unusual programme - worth catching. Piers Lane plays Schubert, Beethoven and Chopin on 24th.
February is even better. Boris Giltburg - Chopin, Prokofiev on 8/2. the Borodin Quartet play Myaskovsky's String Quartet no 3 op 86 which is getting cult status in some circles. Stéphane Degout sings an ambitious French recital on 10/2 which I'll go to - may be worth keeping an ear on him. And Midori, for whom I have a soft spot even though she's playing Brett Dean, for whom I don't.
This snow is nothing by Siberian standards but I feel "snowed in". So over the next vfew days, I'll write about DVDs , CDs and books. Wagner Rienzi for example, fantastic !