wed 27/01/2021

First Person

'Having to establish a real conversation with the audience is a good challenge': Raffaello Morales on a possible musical future

As this most remarkable year prepares to enter the history books, most of us who are part of the music industry have come to realise that the western world is desperately looking for solutions to an emergency of unprecedented dimensions in post...

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First Person: conductor Johannes Vogel on Beethoven’s Ninth as re-orchestrated by Mahler

Think of the finale at a big fireworks show: the anticipation; the build up. There is nothing bigger than the Ninth Symphony. It is the climax of this year’s Beethoven celebrations. A year ago, no-one would have expected 2020 to be turned upside...

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First Person(s): soprano Susan Bullock and baritone William Dazeley on filming Britten’s Owen Wingrave

Two of the singers in an ambitious project to film Britten’s opera based on a Henry James story – part timeless tale of repressive tradition which chimed with the composer's pacifist beliefs, part ghost story – which was originally “made for...

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Not-quite-solitude on the 34th floor: violinist Maxine Kwok on the short film 'Rising'

2020: a year that at some point felt like the end of live performance for the world of the performing arts, certainly for the foreseeable future. Artists spent months without any form of collaboration, leading to a serious lack of motivation due to...

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First Person: Avi Avital on 'Art of the Mandolin'

The mandolin is an instrument everybody has heard of without necessarily knowing much about it. Its history has been written by lovers of the instrument, often amateur players who are drawn to its approachable and appealing character, integrating it...

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‘Our whole industry is supported by vulnerable freelance creators': Chen Reiss on the artist in a time of Coronavirus

I am not the first to say this, and I won’t be the last, but what a strange year 2020 has become! I am learning afresh what it is to be both a singer and a parent and, although we have all been kept closed in our little home “bubbles,” we are...

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First Person: horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill on authenticity and enlightenment in lockdown

The UK’s music industry is in dire straits and my heart goes out to friends and colleagues in financial need. For a proper discussion of the current situation, I refer you to Sophia Rahman’s excellent article for theartsdesk. What I have written...

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First Person: Jessica Duchen on writing about Beethoven's Immortal Beloved

The identity of Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved” is one of the biggest cans of worms in musical history. I hadn’t the slightest intention of writing a novel about it. At first I thought I’d create a narrated concert for the anniversary year... but...

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'Josquin has defined our career': The Tallis Scholars’ Peter Phillips on the end of a major recording project

I have never been a fan of recording “Complete Works”. These projects almost inevitably include music that one would not normally spend time and money on, just to claim that one has done it all. For this reason the Gimell catalogue, from the...

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First Person: Cellist Alban Gerhardt on why concert-hall life must go on

With horror I heard on Wednesday that the proud cultural nation of Germany, which invests probably more money per capita in its concert, opera and theatre life than any other country in the world, had decided to close down what I as a German citizen...

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First Person: harpsichordist Chad Kelly on reimagining Bach's Goldberg Variations

As musicians took tentative steps into the unfamiliar world of PPE, socially-distanced rehearsals and audiences watching from home on a computer screen, a common water-cooler question was, “What did you do during lockdown?”.  I am grateful to...

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First Person: composer Brian Elias on the Music@Malling Festival's retrospective of his works

It is my very good fortune to be offered by Music@Malling what is, in effect, a retrospective of my work. The music that will be performed was written between 1969 and 2019, exactly half a century. Inevitably, such a survey makes me think about the...

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