Wednesday 29 February 2012

Kuusisto wows; Vengerov steps in

A review and a bit of good news to bring you.  First: I was again bowled over by the refreshingly quirky Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, who joined Thomas Adès on Monday for a Britten Sinfonia gig.  He tore through Adès’s Violin Concerto, titled ‘Concentric Paths’, making a far better impression in it than Anthony Marwood did at the Proms, back in 2005.  Then there was an utterly lovely encore.  Read my full review at Classicalsource and listen to the concert (UK readers only) on the BBC iPlayer until next Monday.

Secondly, Intermezzo brings great news for violin fans:  Maxim Vengerov returns, replacing Martha Argerich in a concert with the St Petersburg Phil at the Barbican next month.  He’ll be playing Prokofiev’s 1st Violin Concerto.  A Wigmore Hall recital follows in April, though both concerts are predictably sold out (it’s worth checking the Barbican website for returns, which are listed as they appear).  Incidentally, I met Vengerov, briefly, this week, and he’s a jolly nice chap.

UPDATE:  If you're happy to pay full whack (£55) then you'll have no problem getting hold of a returned ticket.  More than 15 have appeared since this morning.  The rest of us might have to wait until next time.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Changes to this blog

Regular readers will have noticed a certain lack of action in this blog since the beginning of the year, which is down to great plans and little time, which generally equals nothing getting done.  I’ve been reviewing for Classicalsource quite regularly, though not always covering concerts of interest to the string music community.  I’d like to do more with this blog, but figure it might end up being more productive to plan to do less.  With this in mind, the blog will now feature two updates a week: one of which will be a review of a relevant disc (boy, have I got a backlog of those at home!) or concert; the other will be a small feature, interview or profile. So, dear readers, your patience and loyalty will be rewarded with less, but more.  If you see what I mean.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Marc-Andre Hamelin: Automaton

We've all heard the recent stories about phones in concerts, whether it's the NY Phil or the ringtone viola bloke.  Marc Andre Hamelin has his own solution, as seen in the video above, but read the comments on the youtube page and you’ll find this antidote to the usual youtube flame wars:

“Well actually...Marc Andre Hamelin is robot. You only ever see films of him from the right hand side so the technicians at the Music Robot Company of Canada only fabricated a face to cover his right hand side to save costs. In the video the robot took the company by surprise so they only had a few hours to make a left side of his face and the result wasn't really a good match to what we know and love. Hope that clears things up.”