mon 27/05/2024

Classical music/Opera direct to home 13 - piano marathons and string masterclasses | reviews, news & interviews

Classical music/Opera direct to home 13 - piano marathons and string masterclasses

Classical music/Opera direct to home 13 - piano marathons and string masterclasses

Igor Levit meditates on Satie for 20 hours, while Nicola Benedetti educates with joy

Nicola Benedetti: an inspiration in music educationAlister Firth

In an atmosphere of uncertainty created by a government desperate to boost the economy despite the COVID-19 infection rate not reducing significantly, some UK venues and organisations are moving responsibly towards some kind of new normality.

The Wigmore Hall has lunchtime concerts every weekday from 1 June, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and livestreamed on the hall's website. The BBC Proms has announced live concerts for the last two weeks of "the biggest music festival in the world", with plenty online before that. Meanwhile, it's time to focus again on some great instrumentalists.

Igor Levit in 20 hours of Satie Satie's VexationsThe most audacious as well as, arguably, the most wide-ranging pianist of our time technique-wise is going in to a Berlin studio good news for those who gave up on the poor sound of his still welcome recitals from home to present Vexations as its composer intended it. Barbican audiences may remember if experienced, how could it ever be forgotten? the relay performances of the short, melancholy inspiration (all of it pictured above), 840 times as Satie recommends, in the conservatory (the writer deeply regrets chickening out of the chance to participate). The fascination there was to compare approaches, from the comical to the hypnotic and meditative. It will be equally revelatory to see how Levit single (or rather double) handedly goes about it, though the pianist may well ask many of us "could you not watch with me one hour?" Levit has used a grant from The Gilmore to support the event, and that admirable organisation is one of several to livestream the event starting tomorrow (Saturday) at 13.00 BST

Virtual Benedetti Sessions Grand Finale Benedetti Foundation workHaving already put into action the tenets of her Foundation, inspirational violinist Nicola Benedetti (pictured above pre-Lockdown by Alister Firth) has been applying all her phenomenal energy and creativity to three weeks of online tutorials and workshops. Over 7000 participants have readied themselves for a weekend of vibrant activity, culminating in a celebration concert on Sunday at 16 00 BST. Says Benedetti: "even though I don’t know many of the people who have participated, I am deeply proud of each and every person and I hope that everyone has enjoyed the experience, learnt a great deal, and now feels inspired to continue with their musical journey whatever stage they might be at." All playlists and sessions remain to be viewed on YouTube.

Llŷr Williams' Mexican festival Beethoven livestreamed from Wales Llyr WilliamsAnother true original among pianists is working his way through the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas again (his earlier cycle is available on the Signum Classics label, and well worth investing in). Due to appear performing the set at Mexico's Festival Cultural de Mayo en Jalisco, Williams is instead livestreaming the recitals from his home in Wales. The sound will be first-rate, as it's being monitored for the festival by top engineer Mike Hatch and Steve Long of Signum. Five down, three to go, one of them tonight, culminating in the stupendous trilogy of the last three sonatas on Wednesday 3 June. Note: these are all live and once-only, though the festival may put up the series at a later date.

Wigmore Hall lunchtime recitals Lucy CroweIt's business as nearly usual for London's foremost home of chamber music - except, as in all the excellent concerts now coming from Scandinavia, Germany and Czechia, there won't be a live audience. But you really do get the best of both audio and video online: BBC Radio 3 is broadcasting each concert, and the hall will livestream in High Definition (it already has a treasury of performances to watch in that format). The list of top artists is mouth-wateringly good.

Only look at this coming week: much-loved pianist Stephen Hough kicks off on Monday, followed by the equally adored soprano Lucy Crowe (pictured above) with pianist Anna Tilbrook on Tuesday. On 3 June guitarist Sean Shibe won't be stunnning (and horrifying) regulars with the noise of an electric guitar, as he did in the controversial second half of his last big concert at the Wigmore; this time it's back to the source, the God of music, as you please Bach. Top oboist Nick Daniel is there with pianist Julius Drake on Thursday, while the young piano duo of Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy will hopefully be equalling their success in an earlier Wigmore lunchtime with Friday's programme, following the brilliant Ravel and Bartok of that event with Beethoven variations and the lilt of the waltz from Schubert and Brahms. Full programming here on the Wigmore's website.

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