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Posts Tagged ‘Ashley Wass’

CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

It wouldn’t be a Sondheim celebration year without a Maria Friedman concert and her selection at Cadogan Hall was better than ever. She became the Broadway Baby of the song, reprised her terrific turn as Mrs Lovett of pie fame (yet again, I was one seat from being picked on as her victim!) and gave possibly definitive versions of Losing You and Being Alive. Some compensation for missing the Sondheim Prom.

My first Puppini Sisters concert at the same venue a week later proved a little disappointing. They do specialise in 40’s Andrews Sisters-type stuff, but billing it as part of the ‘Hits from the Blitz’ mini-season rather misrepresented the content which included Blondie, Kate Bush and Beyonce! Some of it really worked but some of it left me cold, so it ends up on the ‘OK’ list I’m afraid (the seriously over-excited man in the front row certainly wouldn’t agree with that!).

CLASSICAL MUSIC

My second (and last, this year) Prom was an English selection (no surprise there then) from Elgar, Vaughan Williams and less well known, Foulds. VW’s Serenade to Music is rarely performed as it requires 16 soloists for its 11 minute length. Last time I heard it here 16 years ago it featured a stellar line-up that included three knights and a dame! This time it was given to new singers for whom it was a bit of a challenge to be honest. The other VW, The Lark Ascending, was beautifully played by young Nicola Benedetti; the Foulds piano concerto, played brilliantly by Ashley Wass, was a revelation and Elgar’s 1st Symphony has never sounded better. Great to see a full house for English music too!

ART

Wolfgang Tilmans is a German photographer based in London whose exhibitions are fascinating, partly because he arranges the photos on the gallery walls (most actually attached to the walls) and includes ‘collages’ on tables with news cuttings, product labels etc. His exhibition at the Serpentine is a typically eclectic collection from people to objects to landscapes to abstracts; always interesting, sometimes beautiful. Outside, the summer pavilion is a riot of red with a touch of green and is one of the best in the ten years they’ve been building one. There are tables for chess, draughts, and other games; table tennis tables; chill-out spaces and a café.

The title ‘Sargent and the Sea’ at the Royal Academy rather misrepresents an exhibition which has c.7 seascapes and lots of beaches and harbours. Not being a big Sargent fan, it was a pleasant surprise though if I’d paid £10 for 42 finished paintings, I think I might have felt cheated!

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