Classical highlights: concerts and opera to watch in January | Classical music


Baroque at the Edge

The annual boundary-crossing weekend that takes the baroque repertory into new territory necessarily goes online this year. There’s a guitar and lute recital by Sean Shibe to begin, an evening of synthesiser-Bach from Art of Moog, “Cubaroque” from tenor Nicholas Mulroy with theorbist Elizabeth Kenny and guitarist Toby Carr, and “FolkBaroque” from soprano Lucy Crowe and La Nuova Musica.
From 7 to 10 January (£) and then on demand until 31 March.

12 Days

For anyone with remaining vestiges of festive spirit – or who needs to come up with a belated Christmas gift – the Ryedale festival and Tidze have collaborated on 12 streamed programmes of seasonal choral music. All were recorded at Yorkshire’s Castle Howard; Echo Vocal Ensemble, the Gesualdo Six and the Swan Consort are the vocal groups taking part.
Available on demand (£) until 31 January.

English Touring Opera

Though its autumn tour of staged song cycles by Britten, Tippett and Shostakovich had to be cut short, ETO did get a chance to record their productions (at Hackney Empire) before the November lockdown. The four-part series is being released in weekly instalments throughout January; works performed include Britten’s Holy Sonnets of John Donne and The Poet’s Echo, Tippett’s Boyhood’s End, and Shostakovich’s Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva.
Each episode available on demand for seven days from release.

Alina Ibragimova performing at the Wigmore Hall in June 2020 (with pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout) Photograph: Wigmore Hall

Wigmore Hall recitals

The Wigmore Hall plans to continue with as much of its new-year programme as practicable, all livestreamed on its website and YouTube. Among the events announced so far are a day devoted to the music of Morton Feldman, performed by Apartment House (9 January), a recital by tenor Ben Johnson (12 January), a programme by the Britten Sinfonia that includes music by Oliver Knussen and Jürg Frey (13 January), and a violin-and-piano recital by Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien (14 January).
All concerts available on demand for 30 days after the performance.

Wind, Sand and Stars

The Orchestra of the Swan weaves an almost all-French programme around the life and writings of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. The programme includes music by Ravel, Debussy, Saint-Saëns and Satie, and there’s some Piazzolla too, making a connection with Saint-Exupéry’s exploits in Patagonia.
Available on demand (£) from 11 January until 9 February.

Hallé Orchestra

Composer Hannah Kendall
Composer Hannah Kendall

Jonathan Bloxham takes over the baton for the third programme in the Hallé’s winter season. The poet laureate, Simon Armitage, reads two of his works, and there’s the world premiere of Hannah Kendall’s Where is the Chariot of Fire? together with Copland’s Quiet City, Ravel’s Mother Goose, and Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto, with Jess Gillam as soloist.
Streamed from Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester, 14 January (£) and available on demand until 14 April.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

There’s an eclectic range of repertoire in the SCO’s streamed concerts this month – chamber music by Dvořák, Krása, Haas and Martinů, Boulogne, Handel and Mozart with soprano Katie Bray, Hasse, Haydn, Bruch and Bottesini with the orchestra’s principal conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, and Sibelius and Tüür from violinist Pekka Kuusisto.
Streamed on demand on 14, 21, 28 and 29 January, and each available for a month afterwards.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

The Bournemouth orchestra continues its livestreamed concerts with Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. Karl-Heinz Steffens is the conductor, and he prefaces the symphony with the suite from Fauré’s incidental music to Pelléas et Mélisande.
Streamed live from The Lighthouse, Poole, 20 January (£), and available on demand until 19 February.

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Composer/clarinettist Mark Simpson
Composer/clarinettist Mark Simpson

The BBCSSO launches its series of studio concerts with a portrait of composer-clarinettist Mark Simpson; he is the soloist in his own clarinet concerto, while his wind-ensemble piece Geysir is conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. In the second concert, conducted by Ben Gernon, Steven Osborne is the soloist in Mozart’s A major Piano Concerto K414, alongside symphonies by Haydn and Mozart.
• Broadcast live on Radio 3 from City Halls, Glasgow, 21 January and 28 January, and each available on BBC Sounds for 30 days afterwards.

London Symphony Orchestra

With its home at the Barbican currently closed, the LSO is rehearsing and recording close by at LSO St Luke’s. The first programme recorded there is conducted by Simon Rattle and pairs Berg and Schubert; Leonidas Kavakos is the soloist in Berg’s Violin Concerto, and Rattle conducts Schubert’s Ninth Symphony, the “Great C major”.
Streamed on 21 January, and available free on demand until 28 January.


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