wed 29/07/2015

Classical music Features

theartsdesk in Pärnu: Top players, great Estonians

David Nice

In 1989 Neeme Järvi, already rated one of the world’s top conductors and soon to be voted “Estonian of the Century” by his compatriots, returned with his Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra to the homeland...

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First Person: Poems to Messiaen

Michael Symmons R...

I am currently in the middle of a project called Messiaen 2015: Between Heaven and the Clouds, a year-long series of commissions and events around the UK, exploring Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l‘...

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10 Questions for Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes

Adam Sweeting

Though perhaps not quite the "long strange trip" once hymned by the Grateful Dead, Leif Ove Andsnes's Beethoven Journey has been a marathon undertaking. It has spanned four years, during which the...

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Q&A Special: Pianist Lucas Debargue

Ismene Brown

Last week the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow was rung down with a sigh of relief for the home team, with once again a Russian pianist in possession of the gold medal, Dmitry...

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theartsdesk at the Lichfield Festival

Richard Bratby

“I lately took my friend Boswell and showed him genuine civilised life in an English provincial town. I turned him loose in Lichfield, that he might see for once real civility”. In Lichfield, it’s...

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theartsdesk in Orkney: St Magnus Festival

David Kettle

Ebb of Winter felt about right. It’s one of Peter Maxwell Davies’s most recent works, a yearning for the brightness and warmth of spring at the end of an Orcadian winter, written in 2013 for the...

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Habemus maestrum: the Berlin Phil chooses

David Nice

Earlier this year only black smoke came from the chimney of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s orchestral conclave: a new chief conductor to follow Simon Rattle had not been decided upon. Rumours...

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theartsdesk in Denmark: 150 years of Nielsen

David Nice

Music-lovers outside Denmark will have come to know Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) through his shatteringly vital symphonies as one of the world-class greats, a figure of light, darkness and every human...

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theartsdesk at the Cottier Chamber Project

David Kettle

The Cottier Chamber Project is coming to feel increasingly like Glasgow’s answer to the Proms. If the Proms took place in a former church high on shabby-chic charm, that is. And if they ran for just...

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theartsdesk in Bergen 2: Leif Ove Andsnes curates

David Nice

If this were only the usual international festival – and it’s still a big “only” where Bergen’s flagship fortnight of theatre, dance, art and music is concerned – it might not be easy to justify...

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Listed: Essential BBC Proms

theartsdesk

Hottest tickets for seats at the Proms have probably all gone already. Yet the beauty of it is that so long as you start queueing early enough you can always get to hear the greatest, or rather the...

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theartsdesk in Dresden: Fire and Ice

Paul Gent

Dresden is slowly opening up to the world. All but destroyed by British bombing in the Second World War, locked away inside Communist East Germany for 40 years, it is now becoming a tourist honeypot...

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theartsdesk in Thuringia: Easter with Bach

David Nice

Sing, dance, breathe: those are the three imperatives for successful Bach performance, and three superlative interpretations at the Thuringia Bach Festival glorified them in excelsis. Frankly, I...

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Ronald Stevenson (1928-2015): A virtuoso remembered

Christopher Lambton

Ronald Stevenson, who died on Saturday at the age of 87, was a composer and pianist who will be much missed both in the small Borders village where he lived and by the much larger musical community...

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Building a Library: Living with Sibelius

David Nice

I’ve just spent five weeks in the company of a very austere and sometimes frightening masterpiece, Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony, hearing a great many recordings of it for Building a Library, the...

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Rattle for the LSO: great or just good news?

David Nice

Having manoeuvred to get a new concert hall for London earmarked in principle, Simon Rattle has finally agreed, as we thought he would, to take charge of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2017. By...

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Sci-Fi Week: Scoring the Impossible

Graham Rickson

Classical composers have always enjoyed depicting the implausible. Operas based on mythological subjects abound, creating near-impossible staging demands. Musical works based on science fiction are...

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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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