Dudamel’s LA Phil perform Norman’s Sustain at the Barbican… oh.. and they played Bruckner too

Ms B & I have just returned from one of the most noteworthy but ambiguous symphony concerts we’ve seen this year. An absolutely mind-blowing, era-defining first part, and a hugely disappointing, misplaced, misdirected main part. We’ve been huge fans of Dudamel for many years (and have blogged about him before), to us he feels like the Jimi Hendrix of classical music. His directing can turn a pretty decent piece by one of the geniuses of centuries bygone into an absolutely genius work. We also like the fact that he’s a political activist and very active with his youth orchestra and plenty of other projects. The LA Phil’s three-day residency at the Barbican closed tonight with Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony, preceded by the European premiere of Sustain by Andrew Norman. Sustain, roughly 40mins long, was commissioned by the orchestra to celebrate their centenary last year, and clearly to do so was the […]

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Hansard – Who wouldn’t like to watch a domestic for 90 minutes?

We’ve just come back from watching actor and playwright Simon Woods’ Hansard at the National Theatre, which is directed by 41-year old, Washington, D.C.-based, Cambridge graduate Simon Godwin. Woods’ debut as a playwright had its premiere on this stage two months ago and is only showing until 25th November, with all except tomorrow’s show sold out. 39-year old Old Etonian Woods is clearly not lacking good connections to get his first attempt featured on the nation’s most prestigious stage. While reading English at Magdalen College, Oxford, in the early Noughties, he was in a relationship with Rosamund Pike for two years. A few years later the two would play lovers Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley in Pride & Prejudice. For the past ten years, Woods has been in a relationship with Christopher Bailey CBE, aged 48, the chief executive of Burberry, the British fashion empire. We weren’t initially planning on […]

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Leonardo – An Immersive Experience at the National Gallery

We’ve just returned from “Leonardo: Experience a Masterpiece” at the National Gallery. We are huge fans of this bedrock of the British museum scene. One of the things we like a lot about it is that the standing collection with all the masterpieces is free. This usually includes Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks. So why, you might ask, would anyone in their right mind pay an exorbitant £20 per person (we paid £10 using our National Art Pass) to see something that they can normally see for free? £20 to see one single painting? If the standing collection charged admission at the same rate, then the tickets would be £5,000 a pop. What?!! Well, the idea is that you pay for an immersive experience, kind of get into Leonardo’s head and the heads of the people that discovered this painting’s secrets. Fifteen years after a hidden drawing beneath Leonardo’s Virgin […]

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Two great new free exhibitions at 180 The Strand: UVA’s ‘Other Spaces’ & Transformer – Don’t miss them

We’ve just returned from the best value art exhibition this year, or actually from a double-exhibition at 180 The Strand: ‘Other Spaces’ by UVA (United Visual Artists) Transformer: A Rebirth of Wonder Both exhibitions are fabulous and absolutely free. Until 8 December ‘Other Spaces’ is being shown at The Store X The Vinyl Factory in collaboration with the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. It consists of three major, site-specific installations by UVA, the London-based, technology-focused, multi-disciplinary art & design collective founded by Matt Clark in 2003.   According to their website, their sources of inspiration range from philosophy to modern science and their art aims to “explore the cultural frameworks and natural phenomena that shape our cognition, creating instruments that manipulate our perception and expose the relativity of our experiences.” UVA’s website states that their works “are better understood as events in time, in which the performance of light, […]

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Ai Weiwei’s Roots Exhibition at the Lisson Gallery – Only until 2 Nov!

We have been huge fans of Ai Weiwei for many years. We find his art immediately intuitive and aesthetic, we love the versatility, the materials, (in many cases) the sheer physical scale, how he’s often at the forefront of what’s technically possible, and not least of all we love angry art and this feller is angrier than a dozen wives whose wedding anniversaries have been forgotten. Weiwei’s art always comes with a message, he’s risked more than most artists for his beliefs, suffered at the hands of the Chinese regime, but nothing will stop this one-man army. What’s even more: he doesn’t stop at the message and actively runs projects worldwide.   The Roots exhibition at Lisson Gallery mainly consists of giant, rusty iron sculptures cast from tree roots collected in Brazil for Weiwei’s biggest exhibition so far, which took place in São Paulo last year. To be more precise, […]

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