Byrd/Britten: Choral Music CD review – warm sounds, if not always sharply defined

Kate Molleson writes ….. William Byrd was a Catholic in the service of an Anglican monarch; Benjamin Britten was a gay pacifist in second world war England. It never hurts to remember how many of the artists we end up deifying faced some kind of bigotry in their day. This album presents the two composers […]

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Schumann: Scenes from Goethe’s Faust CD review – deeply impressive

Andrew Clements writes ….. Even Schumann’s greatest admirers – and I’d count myself among them – would never claim that his choral music is the most significant or rewarding part of his output. But Scenes from Goethe’s Faust, which he worked on for a decade and completed in 1853, a few months before his final […]

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Bartók: Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion CD review – deft playing of most tuneful material

  Kate Molleson writes … Cédric Tiberghien’s Bartók series has been an ear-opener – expressive and sharp-witted performances that clinch the music’s essence in original terms. The French pianist has saved some of Bartók’s most straight-up tuneful material for last, and this instalment includes the Three Hungarian Folksongs from the Csík District (melodies Bartók learned […]

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BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonatas Nos 6 & 9 CD review – light touch and searing focus

Kate Molleson writes … Violinist James Ehnes and pianist Andrew Armstrong play together with an easy spark and suppleness that only old friends really can. In the past they’ve done excellent things with Franck, Strauss, Debussy and Elgar; now they turn to Beethoven with the same combination of light touch and searing focus. There’s a […]

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Bloch/Dallapiccola/Ligeti: Cello Suites – melancholy vignettes and beautiful melodies

Kate Molleson writes ….. The lone cello has played gateway to many a composer’s soul. Bach and Britten, most famously. Ernest Bloch wrote his three solo cello suites in the 1950s, near the end of his life, and they are fleeting and strange. As performed by Natalie Clein, their small scale is poignant – melancholy […]

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From the archives: Christopher Breunig – Davis’s new Fidelio, Haitink’s Beethoven completed – and more.

Davis’s new Fidelio The New Year brings a sea-change to the London Symphony Orchestra as workaholic Valery Gergiev takes over from Sir Colin Davis as principal conductor, his senior colleague becoming its president. (The Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestras have also announced new appointments: Esa-Pekka Salonen and Vladimir Jurowski.) Happily, Sir Colin is to make […]

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Esa-Pekka Salonen: 10 tips to becoming a conductor – by Alison Feeney-Hart

Esa-Pekka Salonen is the principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. His career took off when he stood in at the last minute for a sick conductor when he was just 25. Almost 25 years later, he was recently named conductor of the year. 1. Love the music I think the most important thing […]

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HAYDN: String Quartets

  An enthusiast writes: At the moment I can’t think of anything more sublime in the field of chamber music than Mozart’s output; the string quintets is surely the summit (K593!!!), closely followed by the Piano Trios, the String Quartets, and the 2 Piano Quartets. However, I am preparing to delve into Haydn’s output. I […]

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A REALLY good listen via the BBC: Women in the Shadows: Joanna MacGregor (piano)

From the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, celebrated pianist Joanna MacGregor OBE begins this week of lunchtime concerts, highlighting unjustly neglected works alongside their more celebrated contemporaries. Sofia Gubaidulina: Chaconne Errolyn Wallen: I wouldn’t normally say Gabriela Ortiz: Suy-muy-key Stevie Wishart (arr MacGregor): Proem, Prelude and Fugue Freya Waley-Cohen: Southern Leaves Trad arr MacGregor: Sometimes I […]

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STEPHEN HOUGH (Pianist): Discusses blogging, new recordings and how to attract young people to classical music.

“At 48, he performs around the globe and records on the piano in solo, chamber and concerto music. He composes music. He writes and blogs prolifically. He paints and writes poetry, and has won awards for both. He champions rarely performed composers and works. He takes his own photos for his blog, and, as an […]

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Bryce Dessner is best known as the guitarist with the much-loved art-rock band The National, but …..

    First published November 2013 Bryce Dessner is best known as the guitarist with the much-loved art-rock band The National, but over the last few years he has steadily been carving out another branch to his career in modern composition and contemporary classical music – and the various other terms that are used to […]

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