POULENC: A composer who deserves greater recognition. fifty years after his death, Poulenc deserves a better anniversary showing, says Ivan Hewett

  From the archives: It’s a bumper year for composer anniversaries. There’s the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, fabulously gifted and with something odd and dark that fascinates us. There’s the 200th of Giuseppe Verdi, musical voice of an entire nation. And there’s also the 200th of Richard Wagner, one of those […]

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CHRISTOPHER BREUNIG: Three conductors, and a German thread

Three conductors, and a German thread Each chapter heading in My Century by Günter Grass is a year, from 1900-1999, and although Grass is somewhat disgraced by his belated admission that he joined the Waffen-SS, this fictionalised chronicle is nonetheless worth reading for the light it sheds on German thinking – not least on the […]

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JULIAN BREAM: The Gramophone interview

  We reprint this revealing interview with Julian Bream from January 2007… Sixty years ago, the classical guitar was little more than a musical curiosity in Britain, despite the work of Segovia in Europe – a small-voiced, exotic instrument that wasn’t to be taken seriously. But then a determined Londoner changed everything. Julian Bream’s single-handed […]

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Dame Janet Baker: Speaking to Joyce DiDonato

From the archives: An abridged version of this interview was released by Gramophone to celebrate Dame Janet’s 80th birthday on Wednesday (August 21). This fascinating full 30-minute version of the interview covers all aspects of Dame Janet’s career, including what it was like to work with Benjamin Britten and what it feels like to disagree […]

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COMPOSERS: What makes a great one?

Ivan Hewett (The Telegraph) analyses what qualities are needed to make a great composer and takes issue with the suggestion that Stravinksy is not among the finest. What makes for greatness in classical music? My colleague Damian Thompson had some fun with this question in his Saturday column. He declared that only pompous music lovers […]

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BRAHMS: His piano concertos, which are the best?

Usually we mentioned like best #1 Clifford Curzon-George Szells performance, and like best#2 Sviatoslav Richter-Erich Leinsdorf version, a recording that curiosly Richter in his own words hated! But times have changed and at this time there are 100 or more new recordings of this marvelluos works, and because of that the competition is very fierce […]

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The Best Classical Violin Music

  Aaron Green / ThoughtCo writes: Great classical music for violin is always within arms reach, you just need to know where to look. These classical violin pieces were selected based on melody, popularity, and overall likability. Here’s a list for those of you looking to expand your classical music horizons or for anyone needing […]

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Video of the day: Yo-Yo Ma Stuns Shoppers with Pop-Up Concert in Chicago Mall

 “Holiday shopping can be exhausting. And stressful. But a new video making the rounds on YouTube shows a smiling, if somewhat surprised crowd of shoppers after Yo-Yo Ma begins to perform at a downtown Chicago mall on Tuesday night.  The setting is the Shops at North Bridge, a glossy mall on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. At […]

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How Beethoven’s symphonies changed the world

Phillip Clark writes: Ludwig van Beethoven, the composer who, more than any other, changed music, the sound of music and what it is that composers do, wrote nine symphonies that jolted music out of itself. Life could never – would never – be the same again. The “classical” rationality of structure, harmony, form, melodic development […]

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BEETHOVEN: Daniel Barenboim on the beauty of Beethoven

  It is always interesting and sometimes even important to have intimate knowledge of a composer’s life, but it is not essential in order to understand the composer’s works. In Beethoven’s case, one mustn’t forget that in 1802, the year he was contemplating suicide – as he wrote in an unsent letter to his brothers […]

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Video of the day: Nicola Benedetti plays Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No 1 (complete performance)

Benedetti is the soloist with the Gothenburg Symphony and Thomas Søndergård Now this video is completely captivating. Published by the Gothenburg Symphony today, here is Nicola Benedetti performing Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with an deeply introspective intensity and quite stunning virtuosity. You won’t be able to stop watching once you start – so make sure […]

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Video of the day: Daniel Barenboim and Christoph Waltz in conversation

Barenboim and Waltz discuss the importance of the text in the respective creative disciplines Today’s video is a fascinating conversation between Daniel Barenboim and the actor Christoph Waltz in which they discuss the differences between the texts that they use in performance – for Barenboim the score, for Waltz the script. They also explore how […]

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