From Handel's Semele to breaking moulds at Wigmore Hall: the best classical concerts in October

Book now for concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Usher Hall, and the Wigmore Hall
September 13, 2017


Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Royal Festival Hall, 18th October

Fresh from their triumphant performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt at the Proms, the Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment perform Semele—a baroque oratorio that tells a racier tale of adultery and jealousy, set among the Gods and mortals of Roman myth. Ivor Bolton conducts a starry young British cast, led by rising soprano Louise Alder, who sings the title role, rivalling mezzo Catherine Wyn-Rogers for the fickle affections of James Way’s Jupiter. Semele features some of Handel’s most sumptuous and demanding ensemble writing; the instrumental colours are richer and action more vividly drawn than all but the best of his operas.

RSNO, James Ehnes, Edward Gardner

Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 18th October

John Adams’s Chairman Dances imagines a youthful Mao Zedong dancing a foxtrot with his mistress. The result is the slinkiest of orchestral dances—a work whose anarchic spirit carries through to Beethoven’s expansive Violin Concerto, performed by Canadian soloist James Ehnes. Ehnes has attracted comparisons with Paganini, but it’s his instinctive musicality and emotional generosity that makes him so compelling, especially conducted by Edward Gardner.

Jordi Savall, Hesperion XII

Wigmore Hall, 29th October

Jordi Savall returns to the Wigmore Hall with a typically mould-breaking programme. Savall’s music will draw on ancient Turkish, Armenian and Sephardic works, combining his own ensemble with musicians from Greece, Israel and Morocco to create a fusion of textures and techniques. Pieces range from wistful laments to stamping dances, offering a distinctive collision of East and West.