MOZART: Violin Concertos

“With this recording we wish to present a fresh version of the most elegant violin concertos in the history of music. While respecting the origin and tradition of this music, we have sought a new and dynamic musical experience rooted in our present time. To us, Mozart is as solid as rock, as soft as […]

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WAGNER: A-Z – A is for Alberich

Stephen Ross writes: A stands for Alberich, antisemitism and Apocalypse Now. A is for Alberich, the vertically challenged, sex-crazed villain whose theft of the gold at the beginning of Das Rheingold – the prelude to the Ring Cycle – triggers a train of deranged events, which concludes four evenings and 15 hours later with the […]

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Top 10 song-cycles (with piano)

Beethoven may have invented the song-cycle but Schubert raised it to extraordinary heights of expression and beauty Beethoven, with his An die ferne Geliebte, may have invented the concept of the song-cycle (a group of songs linked by a theme, and usually a poet, that are performed as a sequence without a break), but the […]

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Joélle Harvey: Interview with the soprano

A native of Bolivar, New York, Joélle Harvey was the First Prize winner of the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition in 2011. In October 2012, she sang the role of Susanna in the Glyndebourne Festival Tour’s production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro; San Franciscans may well remember her as Zerlina with the Merola Opera […]

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MAHLER: Symphony of a Thousand

………… we ask: which recording of his vast Eighth Symphony is best? Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is the calling-card for all orchestras with ambition: but which ones should you welcome in, asks Ken Smith.(Originally published in Gramophone, December 2008.) As soon as I got the invitation I immediately called my wife to tell her why I’d […]

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MOZART (He) would be ‘outraged’ to hear classical music is for the elite

From the archives: Mozart and Verdi would be “outraged” to hear classical music was considered the “exclusive preserve of an educated elite”, Clemency Burton-Hill says. “Rock stars” of classical music such as Mozart and Verdi would be “outraged” to know their works are considered the “exclusive preserve of an educated elite”, Clemency Burton-Hill has said, […]

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FOR A SHORT TIME ONLY: What’s so great about Bach?

Isn’t it obvious? Surely Bach’s music has that solid sense of incontrovertible “rightness”, with every note in its right and proper place, as if it had always been there and always will be. It seems not the work of a mere man, but something immutable and timeless reached down from the heavens, as if Bach […]

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BEETHOVEN: Riccardo Chailly – all is revealed

“Riccardo Chailly’s view of the Beethoven symphonies has been a well-kept secret, but now in a single well-coordinated gesture all is revealed. At concerts in Vienna’s Musikverein, Paris’s Salle Pleyel and London’s Barbican, Chailly and his Leipzig Gewandhausorchester will present all nine symphonies alongside five specially commissioned works that reflect their individual composer’s attitude to […]

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OPERA: It makes less sense than ever – but it isn’t ready to die

  From the archives: In today’s economic climate, opera houses are in trouble. Yet at the same time, more people are watching opera than ever before. What’s going on, asks Rupert Christiansen. It seemed all too grimly appropriate last week that Opera Europa – the umbrella support group and talking-shop for European opera houses – […]

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MOZART: Piano Concertos Performed by Jan Lisiecki

Anthony Tommasini writes as follows: Jan Lisiecki, pianist; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christian Zacharias. Deutsche Grammophon B0016888-02; CD. The pianist Jan Lisiecki, born in Canada to Polish parents, was 16 when he made this debut recording for Deutsche Grammophon and 17 when he made his debut with the New York Philharmonic in December. […]

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Gareth Malone has built a career coaxing emotion out of nervous performers. So why is the nation’s favourite choirmaster so eager to brush away his own feelings?

Cole Moreton finds out! Is Gareth Malone really as nice as people think? He’ll happily coax a weeping military wife or a distressed shop keeper into singing through the tears, but when was the last time he put himself on the line and sang in public? “I had to choose the music for the funeral […]

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Henry Purcell – a concise biography

“Born in 1659, Henry Purcell was the finest and most original composer of his day. Though he was to live a very short life (he died in 1695) he was able to enjoy and make full use of the renewed flowering of music after the Restoration of the Monarchy. As the son of a musician […]

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A to Z of Wagner: C is for Cosima

C is for Cosima Wagner; AKA Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt, illegitimate daughter of Franz Liszt; AKA Cosima von Bülow, wife of the conductor Hans von Bülow, who proved remarkably understanding when Cosima fell in love with the sexually rampant Wagner in 1863. Cosima was tall, aloof, beak-nosed, antisemitic and altogether a bit weird. According to […]

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