Was 1876 classical music’s most important year?

Mike Ashman writes: 1876 was a melting-point for music, a watershed year in both concert hall and opera house. With the premiere of Wagner’s four-evening Ring cycle, and the composition of Bruckner’s 65‑minute Fifth Symphony, it saw great peaks of Romantic operatic and symphonic writing. The appearance of Mahler’s first significant score, a Piano Quartet, […]

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New podcast: Sean Shibe on English guitar music

Guitarist Sean Shibe has just released his first disc, called ‘Dreams and Fancies’, on the Delphian label – and we’ve named it an Editor’s Choice recording in the September 2017 issue of Gramophone. In this Gramophone podcast he talks to Editor Martin Cullingford about English music for guitar, about Julian Bream, and about the unique […]

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Gould: a tribute by Jed Distler

Known by an audience far wider than the average ‘classical music lover’ for his Bach discs, Glenn Gould assumed an iconic status during his life. Eccentric and opinionated, Gould abandoned concert-giving aged 31 to focus on studio recording Continues HERE

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Why is Sibelius’s piano music so neglected?

Leif Ove Andsnes champions the composer’s keyboard music. I am fascinated by famous composers who have areas of music that are unknown, not only to the general audience but even to musicians and people in our field. This is especially the case with piano music, and no wonder! After all, there is so much piano […]

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Podcast: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Martin Cullingford writes: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is one of the most admired sopranos – indeed classical artists – of our age. Last night, Gramophone celebrated her enormous contribution to music over an extraordinary career by giving her our 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Presto Classical. In a special Awards podcast, Editor-in-Chief James Jolly […]

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How music can always offer us something new

Martin Cullingford writes: Recently I used this space to praise those who support contemporary music, who ensure that music written today is an integral part of our listening life. The occasion then was that James MacMillan’s Stabat mater was our Recording of the Month. Well, three issues on, and this month we bestow that accolade […]

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An ever-changing industry grows and blooms

Martin Cullingford writes: Every year, around this time, I report back from the annual gathering of the classical industry at the Classical:NEXT conference. Bringing labels, distributors, innovators and artists together always breeds good ideas, goodwill and a better, shared understanding of where, as an industry, we are heading. Year after year, the constant is the […]

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How we made: Ivan Fischer and Tom Randle on ENO’s The Magic Flute

Interviews by Imogen Tilden. “When English National Opera asked me to conduct Mozart’s Magic Flute in 1988, I said I’d do it with [director] Nick Hytner but nobody else. I’d been involved in many productions of the opera before, and I told Nick and designer Bob Crowley at our first meeting that I always wished […]

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Teodora Gheorghiu: There’s no magic to opera singing

As Teodora Gheorghiu prepares to sing in Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne, she tells Rupert Christiansen how she overcame an illness that threatened her career. It may only be something they put in the water, but over the last century or so Romania has produced an extraordinary succession of velvety lyric sopranos: notable names in this […]

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JOHN TAVENER: His final interview

Just before his death the great maverick composer John Tavener, who played at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, told Ivan Hewett how he had previously cheated death many times. “You know, my consultant keeps telling me sudden death could come at any moment,” says John Tavener with a sudden, mischievous laugh. It’s a […]

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BRAHMS: The Symphonies (3 cd)

  We are told: The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons are pleased to release their latest recordings on BSO Classics–a three-disc set of the four Brahms symphonies, recorded live during concert performances at Symphony Hall in November 2016, engineered by the same in-house team that produced the BSO’s Grammy-winning Shostakovich recordings under Maestro Nelsons […]

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Cipriani Potter was encouraged by Beethoven and admired by Wagner:The Romantic Piano Concerto Vol.72

  We are told: Volume 72 of Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series comes to the rescue of yet another neglected figure. London-born composer, pianist, writer and educator (he was an early Principal of the Royal Academy of Music), Cipriani Potter was encouraged by Beethoven and admired by Wagner. Howard Shelley and his Tasmanian forces give […]

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Pavarotti versus Corelli: who’s really king of the high Cs in Il Trovatore? Judge for yourself

From the archives; Tim Wong writes: I grew up listening to a recording of Verdi’s Il Trovatore my father bought. It’s the Franco Corelli version with Thomas Schippers conducting. I was instantly captivated by his heroic style and especially how he threw himself into the aria Di quella pira. In an extremely silly plot, it’s […]

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THE FRATERNITY: Requiem

  We are told: Be transported throughout ancient history to all regions of the world with this beautiful and unique presentation of Requiem from The Fraternity. With the exceptional art form of Gregorian chant, this recording has a mystical quality. With an ethos reflecting a time of sadness, representing that period of mourning inherent in […]

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Bryn Terfel: ‘I’d like to sing Citizen Kane’

One day, Bryn Terfel’s eldest son fell asleep at the opera. It was during the first act of Welsh National Opera’s 2010 production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Cardiff. Only when his father came on and started singing as Hans Sachs, did he awaken. “My first line woke him up. He apparently stayed […]

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