fri 27/05/2016

Classical music Features

theartsdesk in Warsaw: Moniuszko Vocal Competition 2016

Gavin Dixon

We don’t hear much about composer Stanisław Moniuszko in the West, but in Poland he’s considered a key figure in the history of opera. Moniuszko’s statue stands at the entrance of the National Opera...

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theartsdesk in Göttingen: HandelFest 2016

David Nice

What Auden called "the sexy airs of summer" arrived early in Göttingen this year. Frog action in the Botanical Gardens of the town's pioneering University may have been less clamorous than when I...

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theartsdesk at Tectonics Glasgow 2016

David Kettle

For a festival of wild, genre-colliding musical experimentation, Tectonics is almost starting to feel like part of the establishment. Which shows, if nothing else, that it must be getting somewhere...

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theartsdesk in Tallinn: Estonian Music Days

David Nice

A young nation with a small population and the most untarnished democratic credentials in Europe today can do certain things with festivals not so easy to imagine here. When Estonian Music Days,...

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Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016) - 'Music for anyone and everyone'

Peter Quantrill

With the death of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies from leukaemia at the age of 81, the UK has lost the most prolific composer of his generation, as well as one of the most passionate advocates for art music...

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Remembering Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)

Marshall Marcus

2016 began with the passing of Pierre Boulez, arguably the doyen of modernism in the field of classical music. Now, only a couple of months later, it is the turn of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a musician...

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theartsdesk in Oslo: Vasily Petrenko, the Leningrad Dynamo, comes to town

Adam Sweeting

I've never thought of myself as a Shostakovich fan, tending to regard what I know of his output as bleak and forbidding. Photographs of the stone-faced composer with the mortuary attendant's...

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White smoke at the CBSO: Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla for Music Director

Richard Bratby

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's appointment of the Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla as its new Music Director won’t have surprised many concertgoers in Birmingham – or indeed...

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Boulez, The Rite and the National Youth Orchestra

theartsdesk

David Nice writes: 2016 began by ringing in the new with concerts by the ever-astonishing National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and continued by ringing out the old-new with funeral bells on the...

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Opinion: The new London hall - 10 Questions we need to ask

Jessica Duchen

So the feasibility study for the new concert hall – The Centre for Music – has finally surfaced, a little later than planned. It’s being greeted, generally speaking, as if it’s to be the next London...

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theartsdesk in Örebro: Brandenburgs plus

David Nice

In 1981 a 20-year-old Swedish trumpeter on national service turned up in the town – city, by Swedish reckoning – of Örebro as soloist in Bach’s Second Brandenburg Concerto. The ensemble, then a...

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Kurt Masur (1927-2015)

David Nice

This is difficult. An official obituary, such as the one I’ve just finished for The Guardian, has no problem in pointing out the achievements of Kurt Masur’s distinguished career. Whatever his party-...

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Jaap van Zweden: ‘A great orchestra needs to be a chameleon’

Gavin Dixon

Jaap van Zweden is going places. At 55, he is already 16 years into a second high-profile musical career. His first, as a violinist, saw him appointed leader of the Concertgebouw, the youngest ever...

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Farewell to Stravinsky's right-hand man

David Nice

Missionary angel or twelve-tone devil? Musical figures like Poulenc, perhaps too much attached to the diabolical element in Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus, were inclined to see the incursion of Robert...

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First Person: 'We Have Found a Better Land'

Mark Bowden

"Helo, ti yw Mark?" A friendly-looking woman on the tiny plane asks me my name. She is a teacher from a Welsh-speaking school in Patagonia, Ysgol yr Hendre, escorting her pupils home from a trip to...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Pianist Stephen Kovacevich

David Nice

“Whatever happened to Stephen Bishop?” is not a question likely to be asked by followers of legendary pianism. Born in San Pedro, Los Angeles on 17 October 1940, the young talent took his stepfather’...

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theartsdesk at the Music@Malling Festival

David Nice

One of the summer’s greatest pleasures has been to confirm an often untested truism: that you may hear some of the finest and rarest music-making in out-of-the-way places. Just take a local who’s...

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theartsdesk at the Lammermuir Festival

David Kettle

It’s hard to believe that East Lothian’s Lammermuir Festival has only been around for six years. In that short time, it’s become a cherished fixture in Scotland’s musical calendar. For regular...

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Sir David Willcocks (1919-2015)

theartsdesk

Even if you never saw him conduct, you may well have sung one of Sir David Willcocks's carol arrangements. I remember the unnatural excitement in our church choir when the orange-jacketed Carols for...

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'We have a duty to all children to share our rich artistic history'

Sarah Connolly

Two hundred and 74 years ago today, on 14 September 1741, Georg Friedrich Handel completed the first edition of his legendary oratorio, Messiah. It is a work associated with children’s charity, and...

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