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Manchester music reviews
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Manchester music reviews

A feast for the senses

A Feast for the Senses by Richard Whalley

Reviewed by Denis Joe November 2012


I discovered the music of Richard Whalley having attended a concert in Liverpool given by Ensemble 10/10 last year. On the programme was a piece, specially commissioned by Ensemble 10/10, A Very Serious Game, which is the first composition on this albums, is based around three lithographs by the Dutch Artist M.C. Escher: The House of Stairs, Three Worlds and Metamorphosis.

 

The piano opens the first movement with a feeling of walking that tries to maintain an order as the woodwind instruments threaten to undermine the pace. Yet House of Stairs section grabs the listener from the outset and repeated listening only reinforces  the order as each instrument battles for dominance with its own melody. To that extent the piece reminds me of Elliot Carter’s work, particularly the Cello Sonata. And like the approach of Carter, Whalley keeps a tight rein on the music.

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Manchester music reviews

Così fan tutte - Welsh National Opera

Così fan tutte by Welsh National Opera

Reviewed by Denis Joe November 2012


Conductor: Mark Wigglesworth
Director: Benjamin Davis
Designer: Max Jones

 

Over the years I have seen around five different productions of Così fan tutte, and however beautiful the music, I always come away feeling unsettled by what is a morally repugnant libretto; and perhaps the fact that the music is so wonderful seems to make the experience all the more distasteful.

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Christine Tobin: Sailing to Byzantium

Sailing to Byzantium at the RNCM

A collection of 12 poems by W B Yeats, set to music by Christine Tobin for the Manchester Literature Festival

Reviewed by Helen Nugent October 2012


If you ascribe to the view that song lyrics are essentially lines of poetry, it should come as no surprise that someone has set the works of one of Ireland’s most respected poets to music.

 

A lesser artist might have baulked at the prospect of scoring the literary canon of W B Yeats but, judging by yesterday’s performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, Christine Tobin relished the opportunity. Part of the hugely diverse Manchester Literature Festival, Tobin tackled one of poetry’s modern greats and, for the most part, succeeded in capturing Yeats’ passion and intensity.

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Welsh National Opera - Jephtha

Jephtha by Welsh National Opera

Reviewed by Denis Joe October 2012


Cast includes
Jephtha: Robert Murray
Zebul: Alan Ewing
Storge: Diana Montague
Iphis: Fflur Wyn
Hamor: Robin Blaze (ex 7 Nov); Andrew Radley (7 Nov)
Angel: Claire Ormshaw

Katie Mitchell’s operatic staging (this Revival Director: Robin Tebbutt) of Jephtha was first produced in 2003, was first revived in 2006 and WNO have thankfully felt it worthy of restaging.

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Cry Baby at Helium Records

Cry Baby - EP & Album

Reviewed by Yvonne Cawley September 2012

 

I’m not quite sure what is going on at the moment, but there seems to be a definite 60s revival in the air. Now maybe I am a little bit more sensitive to this having, just hosted a 60s themed Murder Mystery Party (which was well ‘groovy’ by the way) with the fantastic music of the time helping to set the mood. What with the current Sainsbury’s advert with the ‘Hey, Hey, we’re the Monkees’ track and, on my recent trip to Primark, being hit with the abundance of black and white mod style clothing plus lots of psychedelic prints and short pink and blue bobbed wigs, I wondered if I was perhaps missing something.

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