Sunday, 8 January 2017

Barbican Spring programme picks

At last, green shoots of Spring emerging from the gloom. The Barbican Spring schedule offers plenty of hope

First off from 13-15 January, Simon Rattle conducts György Ligeti Le Grand Macabre, with the LSO and a strong cast headed by Peter Hoare as Piet the Pot. I love Ligeti's quirky music and enjoyed the ENO production by Alex Ollé and Las furas del Baus back in 2009  Read more here   That was the one with the giant woman whose body "was" the stage.  Le Grand Macabre is as frustrating as it is inventive, so staging it takes some doing  But I'm not sure what Peter Sellars will do to it  No doubt it attracts the mega-trendy crowd as it's selling fast though very expensive. (ROH balcony prices)  On 19/1, however, and just as high profile, Rattle is conducting  Mahler Symphony no 6 together with the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Remembering 'in memoriam Evan Scofield'.  This is a keynote concert, which will also be streamed on the LSO website, a wonderful development, since it brings the orchestra to the world

Another British music world premiere the next day, 20/1, Philip Cashian's  The Book of Ingenious Devices, conducted by Oliver Knussen, together with Strauss Macbeth and Elgar Falstaff  An intriguing programme in true Ollie style – will Cashian's piece have Shakespearean connections?  Huw Watkins is the soloist so presumably it's a piano concerto of some sort. A big theme this season is "Russian Revolutionaries",  so plenty of Shostakovich, but more unusually, Galina Ustvolskaya's Symphony no 2 with the Melos Ensemble at LSO St Luke's on 21/1  That weekend, a Philip Glass Total Immersion with better choices than some recent Total Immersions.

All ears and eyes alert for Jonas Kaufmann's four-day residency at the Barbican at the beginning of February That's been sold out for months, so let's hope he will be well enough   Wagner, Strauss (Vier letzte Lieder, nach!)  he's also doing an "in conversation".  Sakari Oramo with the BBCSO and Antonio Pappano with the LSO, both interesting non standard programmes, and Daniel Harding with the LSO on 15/1 with Rachmaninov Symphony no 2 and another Mark-Anthony Turnage premiere,  Håkan with dedicatee Håkan Hardenberger as soloist.

Yet another British composer premiere, Nicola LeFanu's The Crimson Bird for soprano (Rachel Nicholls) and the LSO, conducted by Ilan Volkov on 17/2 and  a Detlev Glanert premiere on 3/3 with Oramo and the BBC SO.  An extended Nash Ensemble residency at LSO St Lukes (lots of RVW chamber music)  and Andreas Scholl on 14/3  Then two concerts with Fabio Luisi on 16th and 19th March I'm opting for the second, with Brahms's German Requiem

François-Xavier Roth starts another After Romanticism series on 30/3 with the LSO - Debussy Jeux, Bartok Piano Concerto no 3 and Mahler Symphony no 1. Then a three-concert series with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert - John Adams, Mahler, and the European premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Cello Concerto.  Janine Jansen, Murray Perahia and Mariss Jansens with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and a keynote Dvořák Requiem on 13/4 with Jiří Bělohlávek, the BBC SO, the BBC Symphony Chorus, Brindley Sherratt, Richard Samek, Jennifer Johnston and Katerina Kněžíková   Then Easter is upon us!

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