fri 31/10/2014

Classical music Features

theartsdesk in Stockholm: A Nobel Prize for Musical Excellence

David Nice

Should you not have caught one of the 20th century’s handful of greatest Wagnerian singers live - I did, just once, in a Prom of uneven excerpts - chances are that you first heard Birgit Nilsson in...

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theartsdesk in Bamberg: Top Town, Top Orchestra

David Nice

As a town of 70,000 or so people, Bamberg boxes dazzlingly above its weight in at least two spheres. The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, risen to giddy heights under its chief conductor of the last 14...

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Remembering Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014)

theartsdesk

He was not only a bracing conductor/harpsichordist pioneer in period-instrument authenticity, writes David Nice, but also a gentleman and a scholar. My only direct acquaintance with Christopher...

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theartsdesk in Verbier: Festival with Fireworks

Alexandra Coghlan

Mahler’s Sixth Symphony is dominated by the doleful clang of cowbells. They are an other-worldly intrusion into an otherwise familiar musical scene – unless you happen to be in Verbier, that is, in...

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theartsdesk in La Foce: War and Peace in Val d'Orcia

David Nice

“If this isn’t nice, what is?” Kurt Vonnegut’s vow to repeat his Uncle Alex’s mantra when things were going “sweetly and peacefully” has been much on my mind during various idylls this war-torn...

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theartsdesk at the East Neuk Festival: Littoral Schubertiad

David Nice

Schubert played and sung through a long summer day by the water: what could be more enchanting? The prospect did not take into account the pain in that all too short-lived genius’s late work: when...

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Lorin Maazel (1930-2014) on Puccini's Golden Girl

David Nice

I met one of the 20th century’s most impressive, if not always sympathetic, conductors twice, on both occasions to talk Puccini before La Scala recordings of La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the...

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theartsdesk in Setúbal: Youth and music under the jacarandas

David Nice

José Mourinho is Setúbal’s most famous son. Non-Portuguese readers are not expected to know the two other celebrities most feted by this extraordinary port city on the estuary of the River Sado, with...

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Extracts: John Tusa - Pain in the Arts

Ismene Brown

In the midst of ferment as the arts world faces fast-shrinking public subsidy, Sir John Tusa, former managing director of the BBC World Service and the Barbican Arts Centre, publishes this week a...

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theartsdesk in Dresden and Berlin: Happy Birthday, Richard Strauss

David Nice

Richard Strauss was born in Munich 150 years ago today. Christian Thielemann is celebrating the fact by conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden in the juiciest of all-Strauss operatic potpourris, a...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Robin Ticciati

David Nice

Poised when I met him six weeks ago between 40th anniversary celebrations of  the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, of which he has been a shaping chief conductor for the past five years  and...

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Unfinished business: completing Mozart

Roger Montgomery

Horn concertos don't make frequent appearances in the standard concert repertory and when they do it will usually be a work by Mozart or Richard Strauss. It wouldn't be entirely true to say that horn...

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RE:naissance: Festival under the influence

Matthew Sharp

Shakespeare's ubiquitous “planetary influence” is well-documented. As Stephen Marche points out in How Shakespeare Changed Everything, not much from our sex lives to the assassination of Lincoln...

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theartsdesk in Basel: More than Minimalism

David Nice

In a near-perfect, outward-looking Swiss city sharing borders with France and Germany, on a series of cloudless April days that felt more like balmy June than capricious April, anything seemed...

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Bright Nights, Dark Music Days

David Nice

Nature declined to reveal the Northern Lights over a long winter weekend in Iceland. My hotel was geared up to the spectacle, offering the option of a phone call any time in the night should they...

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Listed: How I Do Love Thee

theartsdesk

Love is in the air. Today, men and women and boys and girls will be pondering how to say it with roses and cards and candlelit dinners: those three words that contain multitudes. As the old strip...

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theartsdesk in Oslo: Barocking Handel in the Opera House

David Nice

Oslo is a winter wonderland, and adults seem to be outnumbered by children, flocking from all over Norway to Disney on Ice. It’s the deep snow and the silence in pockets of the city rather than the...

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theartsdesk in Brussels: Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth at 75

Sebastian Scotney

There was deliberate symbolism in the way Maria João Pires chose to make her first entrance onto the stage at the birthday gala of the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Brussels earlier this week...

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Abbado Memories of the Berlin Phil Horns

theartsdesk

Claudio Abbado became the Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1989 and continued his association with the world's most illustrious orchestra until very recently. Two members of the...

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Addio, Claudio Abbado

theartsdesk

“It is at the end that a composer can achieve his finest effects,“ declared Richard Strauss. He was thinking of his great operatic and symphonic epilogues, but apply that to the art of conducting,...

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