Catch up with some of the highlights from a bumper month. We've been everywhere from Sydney to St. Petersburg, so take a look here to find out what we've been up to.
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This month we're focusing on new concert seasons for next year: we've already got a lot of 2012-3 seasons listed in our database, and after a close look through we've compiled a few of our highlights. It's amazing to see what trends are emerging in concert programming around the world – we've already got 10 performances of Korngold's Violin Concerto listed, for example – so have a browse here and see what catches your eye.
We're very excited for this year's BBC Proms and hope you are too – the plan is to cover quite a lot of them... Our top picks are here. Look out for John Eliot Gardiner's Pelléas, the Beethoven/Boulez cycle from Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and the splendid final week which includes a concert performance of Nixon in China with the BBCSO and John Adams, as well as the Vienna Phil with Haitink and Murray Perahia.
The Bachtrack reviewer team is reaching truly mammoth proportions, and we're finally starting to get strong coverage in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with Ted Ayala in LA and Brenden Guy in San Francisco. They will soon be joined by more, and it's thrilling to be starting to cover such important groups as LAPO and the San Francisco Symphony with reviews.
Our American coverage still remains a bit patchy, however, and we're particularly keen to find more reviewers in Boston, Seattle, Cleveland and Chicago. Please do get in touch if you think you can help us!
Reviewer and editor Paul Kilbey headed to St. Petersburg for a week this month, to find out about a new contemporary choral music competition. The St. Romanos Melodos International Composers Competition was a fascinating event – culturally as much as musically – and you can read Paul's thoughts on the competition as well as the concerts here.
A month of orchestral music
Among the orchestral highlights of the month on Bachtrack have been our coverage of Daniel Barenboim's "Bruckner Project" with Staatskapelle Berlin in London: performances of Bruckner 7, 8 and 9, in two cases coupled with a Mozart piano concerto. Bruckner Journal editor Ken Ward reported on each of the three concerts for us. And while we're on massive Romantic symphonies in London, April started very too, with a stunning account of Mahler 3 from Semyon Bychkov and the LSO. Other noteworthy orchestral events included an enterprising concert of arrangements from the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, a mixture of Vivaldi, Mozart and Tchaikovsky from Itzhak Perlman and the San Francisco Symphony, and a journey back in time with Scottish Ensemble. Concerto highlights included Elisabeth Leonskaja playing Rach 2 in Vienna, and some stunning Prokofiev from Hilary Hahn and the Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal.
A month of chamber music
Matthias Goerne and Christoph Eschenbach provided the Lieder highlight of the month, with a series of "Sublime Schubert" recitals at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Most striking was a devastating rendition of Winterreise, which had a powerful effect on our reviewer Ted. We were also lucky to catch Anna Caterina Antonacci in a rare New York appearance, and an evocative and cleverly structured recital from Christoph Prégardien in London.
Solo recitals ranged from guitarist Craig Ogden in Cardiff to pianist Jonathan Biss in Princeton, and violinist Anthony Marwood and Aleksandar Madzar were on great form in Dallas in a capricious, fascinating programme of Debussy, Bartók, Schnittke and Berio. There were some masterful sextets from Quatuor Ebène and friends in Vienna, an experience to remember from the Pacifica Quartet in LA, and a gutsy display from Quatuor Mosaïques at 92Y, New York. Curveball event of the month was courtesy of the Amici Ensemble in Toronto, who played Janáček's Capriccio with an artist painting live to the performance.
A month of choral music
April began with a late flurry of passions, unsurprisingly enough, and we were in Vienna for a one-per-part Matthew Passion and at the London Handel Festival for a slightly larger one as well. Chorus sine nomine in Vienna provided some rarer repertoire, with a stunning performance of Bruckner's Mass no. 2 alongside some Ligeti and Lauridsen, and John Daly Goodwin bid farewell to the New York Choral Society with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in a concert including some more Lauridsen and some Charles Ives as well.
A month of early music
Alongside the numerous passions and Baroque operas we attended, our man David Fay was at Wigmore Hall to catch the Academy of Ancient Music celebrating the dawn of the cantata, with an exuberant performance of Monteverdi's perplexing, fascinating Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. Alexandre Tharaud flirted with Scarlatti at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York, and we heard some familiar Bach from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Edinburgh as well as some hidden Haydn from the OAE in Bristol.
A month of contemporary
It's certainly been a strong month for contemporary music on the site, especially in Amsterdam, where repertoire has ranged from James MacMillan's extraordinary Violin Concerto to a mixture of works by Nico Muhly and emerging composers for string quartet and trombones. There was also a 75th birthday tribute to Philip Glass in Amsterdam, the US West Coast première of his monumental 9th Symphony with John Adams and the LA Phil, and a concert with Glass himself performing with violinist Tim Fain at the Met Museum. Mark Padmore sang some compelling cycles by Henze and Larcher in Vienna, and a whole series of fascinating new songs took the stage in Leeds. We also made it to a decent amount of the Nancarrow festival at London's Southbank Centre, catching the London Sinfonietta and the Arditti Quartet in the process. We even made it to a flute trio recital.
A month of opera
A stunning Traviata in Sydney Harbour was just one highlight from another exciting month in opera around the world. A new production of Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet was a fascinating event in Vienna, and Chicago Opera Theater explored another less-frequently performed piece in Handel's Teseo. Contemporary opera ranged from the lyrical in Boston Lyric Opera's The Inspector to the off-the wall in BCMG's The Importance of Being Earnest at the Barbican. An ultra-modern Faust in Baltimore competes with a Così fan tutte with gasmasks in London for the title of weirdest production of the month, but if traditionalism is more your thing then an immaculate La Bohème from the Royal Opera House should fit the bill. This month, there was something for everyone in opera, and long may this continue.
A month of dance
How do you condense Anna Karenina into a ballet? Ask Boris Eifman Ballet, who took their adaptation to the London Coliseum at the start of April, alongside another adaptation, of Pushkin's Onegin. It was a great month for narrative ballet elsewhere in London as well, with a Streetcar from Scottish Ballet, a little love story at The Place, and a revival of Alice in Wonderland at the Royal Ballet. New York was treated to two tastes of Spain, with Barcelona Ballet and Ballet Hispanico as well, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater were in Boston for a quadruple bill. Dance is getting bigger and bigger on Bachtrack and, excitingly, this looks set to continue.
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Paul Kilbey, David Karlin and Alison Karlin