Violin and music

Violin and music

Concert Reviews

Scriabin/Chopin/Messiaen - Valery Gergiev/Daniil Trifonov

Sun 13 Apr 2014, Barbican

The Times, 16 Apr 2014
Above all, Trifonov tapped into Chopin’s sense of freedom at the piano, and his joy in its potential.
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The Guardian, 14 Apr 2014
Valery Gergiev's three-concert sweep through the symphonies of Alexander Scriabin has proved to be one of the most rewarding and genuinely revelatory of his recent projects with the London Symphony Orchestra...the quality of the solo wind playing was exceptional.
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The Arts Desk, 14 Apr 2014
...there was plenty to enjoy, and it was performed with great conviction by the LSO and Gergiev, for whom this is clearly of a labour of love.
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Classical Source, 14 Apr 2014
Gergiev had its measure both rigorously and conceptually, binding its cyclical structure yet giving it a certain freedom, to which the LSO responded innately and with impressive character and ensemble.
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Scriabin/Messiaen - Valery Gergiev/Denis Matsuev

Thu 10 Apr 2014, Barbican

Financial Times, 13 Apr 2014
Gergiev was in his element, firing up the musicians in the boisterous outer movements and stressing elegance in the sensuous slow centrepiece. Here was the unadorned Russian soul – apolitical and all-embracing.
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Classical Source, 11 Apr 2014
In lesser hands this kind of composition can fall apart in performance, but Gergiev controlled the disparate rhythms and meters in a masterly fashion, so that the music moved logically and purposefully ahead to its final triumphant resolution.
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Scriabin/Lizst - Valery Gergiev/Denis Matsuev

Sun 30 Mar 2014, Barbican

The Times, 1 Apr 2014
I don’t think I’ve ever seen [Gergiev] smile so much as during and after The Poem of Ecstasy, a work he clearly loves, and whose delicate and dance-like spirit he liberated.
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The Arts Desk, 31 Mar 2014
Gergiev did both works proud, without the slightest trace of apology. These were fine, controlled performances, correctly free in style but never rambling or diffuse, and wonderfully well-played by a full-strength LSO. In both quality and quantity, the sound – orchestral and choral – was terrific. 
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Financial Times, 31 Mar 2014
In this later symphony, with its pre-echoes of Stravinsky’s fairytale score for The Firebird, the combination of high-quality playing and Gergiev’s ability to get the music to pulsate with spontaneity will have won Scriabin new admirers.
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The Guardian, 31 Mar 2014
With Gergiev fully endorsing Matsuev's approach, this was a performance that married a barnstorming manner with real musical distinction.
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Evening Standard, 31 Mar 2014
Gergiev paced the sprawling six-movement structure skilfully, just as he held something in reserve for the cataclysmic conclusion to the Poem of Ecstasy.
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Classical Source, 31 Mar 2014
an impressive demonstration of the LSO’s skill in a work of which it has given numerous fine performances in recent years
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Daily Telegraph, 31 Mar 2014
Deservedly better known, [Poem of Ecstasy] was delivered with voluptuous virtuosity and plenty of decibels.
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Boulezian, 31 Mar 2014
Strings were voluptuous, and the LSO brass excelled itself, not least in Philip Cobb’s excellent, vibrato-laden solos, as ‘Russian’ a sound as one is likely to hear from a non-Russian orchestra.
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Mendelssohn/Schumann - Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Alina Ibragimova

Sun 23 Mar 2014, Barbican

The Times, 26 Mar 2014
It’s debatable whether any other London orchestra, including Gardiner’s Orchestre Romantique et Révolutionnaire, could have delivered the first and fourth movements of the Italian Symphony at this speed with this precision.
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Financial Times, 25 Mar 2014
This most recent concert in John Eliot Gardiner’s series of Mendelssohn and Schumann with the London Symphony Orchestra ... showed how asking a traditional symphony orchestra to play in something approaching period style can send a jolt of electricity through its performances.
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The Guardian, 25 Mar 2014
The LSO players rose to it all – this was no imitation period band, but a modern orchestra responding brilliantly and unapologetically to a famously demanding conductor.
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Evening Standard, 24 Mar 2014
this reading of the Italian exploited the exhilarating athleticism of the first movement and the frenzied Neapolitan dance rhythms of the saltarello finale.
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The Independent, 24 Mar 2014
Alina Ibragimova set out to make the strongest possible case for this missing link. It opens with Handelian grandeur, then settles into a soulful mode for which this young violinist’s expressively lyrical sound was well suited: not big, but very sweet and pure.
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Classical Source, 24 Mar 2014
Gardiner made the finale, a ‘Saltarello’, into a hectic display of virtuosity, admirably realised by the LSO as a whole and the flutes in particular.
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Mendelssohn/Schumann - Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Alina Ibragimova

Sat 22 Mar 2014, G Live Guildford

The Guildford Dragon, 24 Mar 2014
This was romantic orchestral performance at its best, and every section played a vital part – well done the violas! The whole symphony was beautifully shaped and finely phrased, the climactic horns and timpani sending us home with a smile.
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Mendelssohn/Schumann - Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Alina Ibragimova

Fri 21 Mar 2014, Portsmouth Guildhall

The Edge, 26 Mar 2014
The LSO’s performance was breath-taking ... most definitely one of the best concerts of its genre that will be seen all year.
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The News, 24 Mar 2014
Two Mendelssohn symphonies were the popular attraction in the LSO’s long-awaited return to Portsmouth, but the revelation was Schumann’s late and seldom-played Violin Concerto.
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Elgar/Mahler - Daniel Harding/Tim Hugh

Fri 14 Mar 2014, NCPA Mumbai

Financial Chronicle, 27 Mar 2014
It seems like an odd thing to say since we are still only in March, but the recent concerts by the London Symphony Orchestra are likely to be the highlights of the year.
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Rachmaninov/Mahler - Daniel Harding/Yuja Wang

Sat 8 Mar 2014, Hong Kong Cultural Center

South China Morning Post, 11 Mar 2014
The third [movement of Mahler 1] lingered over the beauty of each moment, while the finale's outer sections were played unashamedly white hot, with no holds barred in the brass and percussion. The brazen encore was a medley from John Williams' score for the film Star Wars. An exhilarating evening.
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Huw Watkins/Mahler - Daniel Harding/Adam Walker

Sun 23 Feb 2014, Barbican

Bachtrack, 25 Feb 2014
It was an exhilarating end to a quite brilliant concert.
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The Guardian, 25 Feb 2014
Walker, playing with staggering virtuosity and charm, kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout, and brought the house down at the end.
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The Times, 25 Feb 2014
...the glitter-bomb finale — horn players on their feet, clarinets and oboes raised like peashooters — was simply thrilling.
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Classical Source, 24 Feb 2014
Adam Walker's playing was miraculous, his tone shifting imperceptibly from seductive roundness to an edgy astringency and adding layers of nuance to Watkins's already thoroughly imagined, translucent writing. Walker literally breathed character into the music, with an effortless, assured virtuosity that played games to great effect with the orchestra, and with Daniel Harding superb in his control of balance and attack.
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Evening Standard, 24 Feb 2014
Flute concertos don’t come along every day, and it’s a measure of the depth of LSO talent that it could pluck a player from its own woodwind section to take the solo part in Huw Watkins’s new Flute Concerto. Watkins is not afraid of either melody or drama, and Adam Walker seemed up for every challenge thrown at him.
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The Independent, 24 Feb 2014
Under Daniel Harding’s direction the London Symphony Orchestra cast a matching spell, at one point answering the flute’s busy monologue with a ravishing blend of high strings, woodwind, and harp.
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Rachmaninov/Stravinsky - Daniel Harding/Yuja Wang

Thu 20 Feb 2014, Barbican

Classical Source, 21 Feb 2014
The LSO responded brilliantly to [Daniel Harding's] clear, precise direction, and the dramatic ending of the ballet, where Petrushka’s ghost appears, was quite chilling, even though there was no stage action to see.
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Yuja Wang solo recital

Sun 16 Feb 2014, Barbican

Seen and Heard, 20 Feb 2014
The ultra-gestural second piece was perfectly judged, while the finale held its share of surprises, not least the post-Debussian haze of its opening. The technique, again, was jaw-droppingly good, in fact in places improbable.
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The Guardian, 18 Feb 2014
Of her fabulous technique there can be no doubt, nor of the weight of sound she can conjure from a piano. The control is sometimes breathtaking. And she also has the tender touch in her fingers, conjuring sounds of deliquescent beauty from the keyboard when she chooses.
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Debussy/Prokofiev/Ravel - James Gaffigan/Yuja Wang

Thu 13 Feb 2014, Barbican

Classical Source, 14 Feb 2014
[Yuja Wang] sailed through the brief scherzo with nonchalant brilliance, and her pungent account of the march-like third movement was succeeded by a finale that once more showed a combination of sensitivity and brilliance. Throughout, Gaffigan and the LSO were ideal, expert partners.
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Beethoven/Rachmaninov - Jaap Van Zweden/Yuja Wang

Sun 9 Feb 2014, Barbican

The Guardian, 11 Feb 2014
The climax of the introduction was big enough to be the climax of a whole symphony – how could van Zweden keep up the energy? But he did: drawing the music into huge arcs and keeping momentum fierce, he paced things superbly.
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Financial Times, 11 Feb 2014
It was only in the finale that the dextrous fingers also found a characterful sparkle and humour. The closing rush to the end was quite exhilarating.
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Classical Source, 10 Feb 2014
Here was a reading – most notably in the wonderfully grasped and played slow movement – that was remarkably fine throughout, especially in Chris Richards’s long clarinet solo, and the manner by which van Zweden built the finale was enormously impressive and undeniably thrilling.
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Panufnik/Dvorák - Michael Francis/Anne-Sophie Mutter

Wed 5 Feb 2014, Barbican

The Times, 7 Feb 2014
Hearing two of [Panufnik's] most skilfully constructed works, vividly performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Michael Francis, afresh was something of a revelation.
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Daily Telegraph, 6 Feb 2014
Fittingly, the LSO was in charge of officially launching this year’s Panufnik centenary celebrations...It did so impressively
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The Guardian, 6 Feb 2014
Among the most remarkable and original of Panufnik's scores, [Lullaby] was exquisitely done – a perfect performance. 
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Financial Times, 6 Feb 2014
Can the slow movement [of Dvorak's Violin Concerto] ever have been played with a tone so tender and withdrawn, as though revealing some long-lost romantic secret? Mutter remains a truly first-class draw.
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Bachtrack, 7 Feb 2014
The LSO captured [Panufnik's Lullaby's] haunting, broken-music-box quality, sounding at once totally contemporary and like a child’s lullaby. Aside from a few slightly heavy moments in the solo melody instruments, the deft performance was utterly entrancing.
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Elgar/Britten/Maxwell Davies - Sir Antonio Pappano/Maxim Vengerov/Markus Butter/LSC

Sun 2 Feb 2014, Barbican

The Sunday Times, 9 Feb 2014
In the new symphony, Davies turns baroque architecture into bloody narrative with an unmistakeable personal twist.
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The Observer, 9 Feb 2014
Creativity, mortality and renewal: this was the collective message that imprinted itself on our hearts as Max took his bow and beamed at his cheering audience.Creativity, mortality and renewal: this was the collective message that imprinted itself on our hearts as Max took his bow and beamed at his cheering audience.
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Finacial Times, 7 Feb 2014
Davies was visibly moved at the end of the performance, which had the buzz of a big musical occasion – not least because it found the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus on superlative form and the conductor Antonio Pappano at his most inspirational.
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New York Times, 4 Feb 2014
... this work turns on its head the old trope about architecture being frozen music. Here is music functioning as liquid architecture: monumental, certainly, but lightened by a grace and brilliance worthy of the buildings that inspired it.
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Classical Source, 4 Feb 2014
Not since Tippett has British music had a choral work comparable in its combining of innovation with experience.
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The Times, 4 Feb 2013
The LSO offered plenty of variegated colours. Brass burbled in their boots; the marimba chortled; strings massed lyrically.
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Daily Telegraph, 3 Feb 2014
conductor Antonio Pappano had led a fabulously full-blooded yet crystal-clear performance of Elgar’s Alassio: In the South.
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The Guardian, 3 Feb 2014
It's one of the most movingly personal of Davies's recent scores, and a major new symphony.
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Evening Standard, 3 Feb 2014
In music that is neither ancient nor modern, the symphony unfolds at a steady pace, incrementally building a carefully controlled tension so that the closing moments feel like a genuine release. The audience, liberally sprinkled with composers, responded with warm enthusiasm.
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The Arts Desk, 3 Feb 2014
Pappano and the LSO shone in a very well rehearsed performance of this substantial and complex new work.
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Maxwell Davies/Brahms/Walton - Sir Antonio Pappano/Janine Jansen/LSO On Track

Thu 30 Jan 2014, Barbican

MusicOMH, 1 Feb 2014
After the interval, the orchestra’s performance of Walton’s Symphony No. 1 in B-flat minor saw Pappano demonstrate a deep understanding of the mechanics of, and nuances in, the symphony, without ever losing sight of the work’s expansive elements.
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Bachtrack, 1 Feb 2014
Jansen seemed in a trance throughout, listening deeply to the orchestra when not playing; the orchestra, for their part, could hardly have been more alert, or indeed more thoroughly Brahmsian in the sound they produced, playing with extreme strength and depth that was somehow never overblown.
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Evening Standard, 31 Jan 2014
...the finale soared like a film score, reaching its climax with a confident swagger. Pappano and his players delivered a performance of wide-screen magnificence.
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The Arts Desk , 31 Jan 2014
...if certain pages already seemed to yearn for Walton’s eventual haven in Ischia in the Bay of Naples the “last post” trumpet solo immediately prior to the blazing coda of the finale - beautifully played with a gently nostalgic vibrato by Philip Cobb - surely belonged to Oldham, Lancashire, Walton’s home town. Great piece, great performance.
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Classical Source, 31 Jan 2014
It’s not often that a loud ending is greeted by stunned silence, cued here by a statuesque Pappano, but that’s what happened initially – testimony to another triumph for Antonio Pappano and the LSO.
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Mendelssohn/Schumann - Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Maria João Pires

Tue 21 Jan 2014, Barbican

The Times, 23 Jan 2014
This was the London Symphony Orchestra; but, with violins and violas all standing, and with a new suppleness and brilliance in their voice, they sounded both Romantic and revolutionary.
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Evening Standard, 22 Jan 2014
The deep-hued textures of the symphony (four horns, prominent violas and cellos) were offset by robust upper strings, their visceral attack enhanced by having the players standing.
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Classical Source, 22 Jan 2014
You take the LSO’s responsive style for granted, but the subtlety of colour and expression were in another league, entirely at the disposal of what is in effect a tone-poem. 
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Haydn The Creation - Richard Egarr et al

Sun 12 Jan 2014, Barbican

Financial Times, 15 Jan 2014
The best feature was the freedom Egarr gave the LSO’s wind section to shine, especially the three flutes and Andrew Marriner’s clarinet.
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The Guardian, 14 Jan 2014
As one would expect from such an orchestra and chorus, there was plenty of thump and oomph in the large moments, but it was consistently matched with delicate vocal and instrumental shading and detail elsewhere.
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The Times, 14 Jan 2014
Vivid details continued as Haydn’s oratorio pressed ahead on streamlined modern instruments. Avian flutes chortled with character. No blandness, either, in the brass’s roaring lion and the footfall of “heavy beasts”. And Gerald Finley’s vocal menagerie couldn’t have been more piquant, with its bleating sheep, slithering worms and creepy-crawly insects.
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Rimsky-Korsakov/Tchaikovsky/Prokofiev - Michael Tilson Thomas/Evgeny Kissin

Thu 19 Dec 2013, Barbican

Classical Source, 20 Dec 2013
The finale, playful and carefree until the mechanisms of the coda that seem to warn as much as power the Symphony to its insistent conclusion, continued to find the LSO and MTT on ‘old friends’ top form; and, boy, they really nailed the final chord with formidable togetherness.
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The Independent, 20 Dec 2013
[Kissin's] approach at the Barbican to that most hackneyed of piano concertos, Tchaikovsky’s first, was typical, avoiding the usual schmaltz of the opening through the sheer perfection of his sound, delivering the virtuoso passage-work with lightness and precision, investing the start of the cadenza with Chopinesque delicacy, and answering the orchestra’s staccato entry in the slow movement with a pearlised staccato of his own.
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Rimsky-Korsakov/Tchaikovsky/Prokofiev - Michael Tilson Thomas/Evgeny Kissin

Wed 18 Dec 2013, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Birmingham Post, 2 Jan 2014
Veteran conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, a fine exponent of Tchaikovsky, and the LSO (groomed by Valery Gergiev) sounded as authentically Russian as anything from St Petersburg.
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Liszt/Prokofiev/Tchaikovsky - Michael Tilson Thomas/Simon Trpceski

Thu 12 Dec 2013, Barbican

The Guardian, 15 Dec 2013
This was a big, daringly stark reading, with the dynamics dramatically well disciplined and the climaxes allowed to build steadily to an almost unbearable tension. The LSO, as so often with Tilson Thomas, were on their best form.
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The Independent, 13 Dec 2013
And under Michael Tilson Thomas’s direction the London Symphony Orchestra responded adroitly to [Simon Trpceski's] challenge, in the Andante providing ethereal textures over which he laid leisurely figurations, and in the crazy finale allowing him to let rip while maintaining steely technical control.
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Classical Source, 13 Dec 2013
The finale was strongly delivered and exhilarating. I cannot think of anybody who could have surpassed the performance that Michael Tilson Thomas gave us.
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Beethoven/Dvorák - Nikolaj Znaider

Thu 5 Dec 2013, Barbican

Classical Source, 6 Dec 2013
Once the slightly tentative account of the opening pages passed, the musical narrative took off and Znaider led the LSO through a notably rousing development and climax to the recapitulation in the first movement.
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LSO On Film: The Music of Patrick Doyle

Sun 1 Dec 2013, Barbican

Cineworld, 2 Dec 2013
Derek Jacobi received a standing ovation for his forceful delivery of 'My Thoughts Be Bloody' from Hamlet, his rich tones lent additional power by the portentous, powerful orchestra. On a more tender note, Thompson was reduced to tears by Doyle's solo violin piece 'Corarsik' (making its UK concert debut) – composed specially for the actress' 50th birthday.
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