tue 13/04/2021

First Person

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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First Person: tenor Nicky Spence on working with Blackheath locals on screen Stravinsky

As patron for a community organisation, I see clearly how opera is the biggest collaboration going. Between stage, orchestra  pit, school liaisons, chorus leaders, make-up bays and the magicians of the technical team, every cog is of equal...

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First Person: Gregory Batsleer on choirs for the 21st century

Choral music is one of the UK’s oldest and most-loved art forms. It has been at the centre of my life ever since I started singing in primary school and has grown to become a crucial part of my identity as both a musician and artist. I am a signed-...

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First Person: pianist Danny Driver on teaching online and the importance of music education

There’s an old saying that goes: if life deals you lemons, make lemonade. To say that the COVID-19 pandemic is a lemon would be a huge and trivial understatement – it has had a massive effect on people’s way of life across the globe, it has cost...

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'Masses of performers are still grounded': pianist Sophia Rahman on a UK music scene in crisis

Have you ever tried watching a film, programme or even an advert without the soundtrack? If so, you’ll know that music is a cornerstone of all the culture you enjoy, not only Strictly or the Proms. From the grandest of ceremonies to the everyday...

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'Rehearsing Beethoven with Barenboim felt like an historical moment': Vienna Philharmonic trombonist Kelton Koch on a new normal

Joining the Vienna Philharmonic as a student and young professional was an absolute thrill. I had begun to play with the orchestra as an academist in October 2019 and as a full-time member in the Opera in January 2020. I was experiencing many “...

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First Person: Antonia Bain on directing a short kitchen opera for film

The Narcissistic Fish is a brand new opera specifically created to be filmed. Set in Leith and written in Scots, it tells the story of restaurant owner and chef, Angus, and his brother Kai who are arguing over the death of their father, while the...

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‘We are still standing and planning for the brightest future we can’: Svend McEwan-Brown on the survival of a festival

They say that you discover who your true friends are when you find yourself in direst need. East Neuk Festival, our success story on the Fife coast, which should have been happening this week, faced the deepest crisis in its 16-year history this...

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