Sunday 23 June 2013

July/August at the Barbican

Elijah by James Thornton
July and August at the Barbican encompasses the City of London Festival, the cult Italian pianist composer Ludovico Einaudi, a rare appearance of Charles Strouse and Stephen Schwartz's Rags, the Aurora Orchestra matching Charles Ives with film, Mendelssohn's Elijah and the LSO performing with crack chamber choir Tenebrae.

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is performing Charles Strouse and Stephen Schwartz's musical Rags about a young Russian immigrant mother arriving in America and her search for her husband whilst working in a sweatshop. It sounds rather worthy on paper, but in fact the score has strong jazz and ragtime elements with fascinating influences from Klezmer and other musics. The work premiered on Broadway in 1986 with a cast including the opera singer Teresa Stratas, but it closed after only 18 previews and 4 performances. A slimmed down version, using only nine actors, debuted in 1991, further extensive revisions followed in 1999 and in 2006 a concert performance for World Aids Day celebrated the work's 20th anniversary. (2-10 July).

July opens with Mendelssohn's Elijah performed by the Royal Choral Society and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Richard Cooke with a fine quartet of soloists, Sophie Bevan, Anna Straushkevych, Benjamin Hulett and Christopher Purves. The oratorio will be sung in the original German. (2  July).

The Italian pianist composer Ludovico Einaudi makes an appearance as the Barbican Hall (31 July - 4 August)

There are one or two events off-site events which appeal. The Aurora Orchestra under their conductor Nicholas Collon is performing a fascinating programme at LSO St. Lukes. Charles Ives's Three Places in New England is being matched with a new film from award-winning film-maker Jon Frank. Also in the programme is music by Boulez and Debussy both featuring a solo flute, plus Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. (7 July) And at St. Paul's Cathedral, the London Symphony Orchestra is performing with the chamber choir Tenebrae, in a concert which mixes orchestral and a cappella choral, Josquin's Missa super l'homme arme, Britten's Metamorphoses after Ovid, Strauss's Metamorphosen and Barber's Adagio in its version for string orchestra and its choral incarnation as Agnus Dei. (8 July).

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