Spacious Schubert from Prégardien at the Oxford Lieder Festival

With an all-star line-up and an average of four concerts each day, The Schubert Project has taken the Oxford Lieder Festival to a new level. Performing every song written by Schubert over three weeks (interspersing them with masterclasses, talks, plays and Viennese coffee mornings), this is their most ambitious season to date: quite a statement, given that their previous venture was recording the complete songs of Hugo Wolf. Bringing the second weekend to its close was one of the composer’s greatest and best-loved works, Die schöne Mullerin, performed by the German tenor Christoph Prégardien and pianist Roger Vignoles. Before the performance began, though, a brief foray into a different side of 19th century Vienna: four performers in period dress performed a trinklied, lending a light-hearted start to proceedings.

Read the full review at Bachtrack.

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Evocative contemporary string music from the ESO

A sensitively curated programme of contemporary music for strings presented a variety of approaches to the medium over the past 13 years. Bound together by themes of nature, colour, and life, the works performed by the English String Orchestra ranged from the blissful pastoralism of Emily Doolittle’s falling still to the extended effects of Kaija Saariaho’s Terra Memoria. While the pieces complemented one another, not all of them were effective and the performances given by the ESO were of mixed standard.

Read the complete review at Bachtrack.

Romitelli intrigues with An Index of Metals

A decade after Fausto Romitelli’s death, the Italian composer is still a far from familiar name. Despite a string of successes at numerous European festivals throughout his career, Romitelli’s music is rarely performed. The London première of the composer’s swansong was long overdue, and it was only right that the work should receive a first-class performance at the hands of the London Sinfonietta.

Read my full review at Bachtrack.

Britten Sinfonia fails to impress at Milton Court

It seems odd that a concert based around Mozart should leave one cold. The pivotal figure of the Britten Sinfonia’s “Kaleidoscopes” concert is known for the humanity, warmth and charm of his music. In tribute, the ensemble presented a programme of Kurtág, Adams and Tavener, three composers for whom Mozart has been an important influence. With exception of the Kurtág though, the Britten Sinfonia’s performances seemed oddly passionless, leaving me frustrated.

Read my full review at Bachtrack.