fri 29/07/2016

Classical music Features

Pick of the BBC Proms 2016

theartsdesk

"Refreshingly traditional" is how one of our writers describes this year's BBC Proms programme. Alarmingly unadventurous might be another way of putting it, though only in comparison with many of the...

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First Person: the Herbert Howells Cello Concerto completed

Guy Johnston

In June 2014, I was invited to the late Sir John Tavener’s Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey. It was a poignant occasion, marked by a number of special tributes and performances. ...

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Nocturnes for Midsummer

David Nice

After a grey start, there was a spectacular sunset around midnight on the second of my two days in Reykjavik. It's what brings one of Iceland's most brilliant younger-generation talents, pianist...

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theartsdesk at the Istanbul Music Festival: classics alla Turca

David Nice

Flashback to 1981, when the Bolshoy Ballet danced Swan Lake Act Two to a tinny Melodiya recording in Istanbul's Open-Air Theatre (seats were cheap for Interrailing students). Turkey was friends with...

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theartsdesk in Prague: Czech Spring with Smetana and Martinů

David Nice

On the itinerary of musical tourists around Europe, the opening of the Prague Spring Festival comes a close third to the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year's Day Concert and the Bayreuth experience. That...

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Is Wales really the land of song?

Professor Gareth ...

Culture, said Aneurin Bevan, comes off the end of a pick. A hundred years ago there was no shortage of picks when a quarter of a million coalminers were employed in south Wales. By now the mines have...

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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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