Hyperbolic classics at seaside festival

Hyperbolic classics at seaside festival


norman lebrecht

March 21, 2023

The press release for this year’s Brighton Festival is, even by music biz standards, a bit high.

This year’s Brighton Festival classical events (6-28 May) include international artists and broad musical influences, reflecting the invitation of Guest Director, musician, DJ and broadcaster, Nabihah Iqbal, to Gather Round in an ambitious celebration of collaboration and exchange. Alongside brand new and well-loved classical compositions, Iqbal’s love of folk music as a mode of storytelling can be seen across the programme.

On 26 May, the sensational pianist Yuja Wang joins London Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Magnus Lindberg’s new Piano Concerto No.3, led by pioneering French conductor Francois-Xavier Roth. Written especially for Wang, the piece is a huge three-movement work of almost operatic dimensions and drama, with two flamboyant cadenzas designed to showcase the soloist’s virtuosity. To end the concert, Beethoven’s profound love of the countryside is expressed in a performance of the evergreen Pastoral Symphony.< World leading ensemble Britten Sinfonia perform Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending, part elegy for the culture of folksong-singing lost to the Great War and part tribute to the English pastoral tradition, on 17 May. The concert features the Brighton Festival Chorus, led by Adam Hickox, son of renowned conductor Richard Hickox, and includes a world premiere of new work from British composer Joseph Phibbs and Brighton-born Frank Bridge’s folk-inflected lament for Shakespeare’s Ophelia alongside Vaughan Williams’ desperate plea for peace, Dona nobis pacem.

On 7 May, the multi-award-winning Takács Quartet return to Brighton Festival from their base in Colorado, bringing together musicians from Hungary, Britain and America. In an afternoon concert at Glyndebourne, Arvo Pärt’s Summa offers a wordless setting of the Credo in the style of a musical mantra and a pair of quartets by Schubert span his teens up to two years before his death.


Waving, or drowning?


  • Malatesta says:

    Good in Pärt don’t you think?

  • Anon says:

    I’m trying to work out which bit you object to. All the bits in bold are fairly easily defensible. I was hoping at least for a “world-class tenor Andrea Bocelli” or an “internationally renowned Brighton Philharmonic playing John Williams’ timeless Star Wars music”.

  • DH says:

    Exam question:
    Schubert was born in 1797 and died in 1828. Which two years ‘span his teens up to two years before his death’?

  • Will says:

    I mean it’s really dull standard arts marketing speak, but I can’t see what is especially wrong with it?

  • Tony Sanderson says:

    The Yuja Wang/LSO concert featuring Lindberg’s third piano concerto and the Pastoral Symphony at the Barbican on 25th May is a sell-out.

    She certainly packs them in. Glad to say I have a ticket.

  • James says:

    Well, it worked at getting them free advertising on “the #1 classical music news site” didn’t it?