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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Why Beethoven tugs at the heart strings: The rhythms of the German composer’s music may have been prompted by a coronary disorder

Roger Dobson writes: Beethoven’s music may really have come from the heart. The composer may have been suffering from a heart rhythm disorder, arrhythmia, which is reflected in his works, researchers say. And the irregular heartbeat sensations he felt – and his increased sensitivity due to deafness – could be literally at the heart of […]

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STRAVINSKY: Violin Concerto, Works for Violin & Piano CD review – power and poetry

Fiona Maddocks writes ….. Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto remains puzzlingly underplayed, a neoclassical masterpiece dating from 1931. The composer worried that, as a non-violinist, he wasn’t equipped to write idiomatically. It’s certainly fiercely hard, opening with big, strident chords and exploiting the instrument’s staccato brilliance. The inner movements, Arias I and II, are more song-like, mysterious […]

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Alban Gerhardt: Rostropovich Encores CD review – sparky and apt tribute to a great cellist

Erica Jeal writes ….. Cellists are lining up to pay tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich in what would have been his 90th year, but Alban Gerhardt’s is an especially apt homage, showcasing the Russian master’s commitment to expanding his instrument’s repertoire and popularity, at the same time as celebrating his sense of fun. It’s not a […]

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MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto; String Octet CD review – thrilling intensity

Stephen Pritchard writes ….. Oh, not another Mendelssohn violin concerto recording, I hear you cry. Well, yes, but wait: this one is worth exploring. These Dutch musicians treat the piece as a chamber work, the cut-down forces of the Het Gelders Orkest giving light and airy support to Liza Ferschtman’s carefully judged, singing solo line. […]

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Symphony guide: Sibelius’s Sixth

From the archives: Was Sibelius’s symphony of ‘pure cold water’ intended as a corrective to a musical world of modernist angst? Tom Service looks at the Finnish composer’s self-effacing, but hugely influential, work. Sibelius on his Sixth Symphony: “Whereas most other modern composers are engaged in manufacturing cocktails of every hue and description, I offer […]

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Double-Blind Violin Test: Can You Pick The Strad?

Originally published 2012 Christopher Joyce writes: In the world of violins, the names Stradivari and Guarneri are sacred. For three centuries, violin-makers and scientists have studied the instruments made by these Italian craftsmen. So far no one has figured out what makes their sound different. But a new study now suggests maybe they aren’t so […]

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Handel: Belshazzar, review

This new recording grippingly responds to Handel’s theatrical genius, says Geoffrey Norris. A new year. A new CD label. A new recording of Handel’s dramatic 1745 oratorio “Belshazzar”, that monumental three-acter lasting just short of three hours and boasting some of Handel’s most inspired, humane, thrilling music. Les Arts Florissants, the specialist Baroque ensemble, ventures […]

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JOHN CAGE: The chaos and joy of John Cage’s Musicircus

Hannah Nepil writes:  Taking part in Musicircus at Aldeburgh was a bewildering musical experience. They never told me that music journalism could be like this: that one day I’d be playing the violin at the Aldeburgh festival, at the mercy of the elements and the judgement of professional, bona-fide musicians who, on another occasion, I […]

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BARTÓK Violin Concerto No 2 LIGETI Violin Concerto

Gramophone write: Patricia Kopatchinskaja performs these three concertos by composers born in Hungary with her trademark panache and the recorded balance gives her all due prominence. The importance of the orchestral contribution can’t be denied, however, and there’s an impressive sense of common purpose and collaborative zeal throughout. Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto has long since […]

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CHRISTOPHER BREUNIG: Bruckner Symphony 8 MAHLER Symphony 6 Concertgebouw Orchestra / Eduard van Beinum Tahra TAH614-615

BRUCKNER Symphony 8 MAHLER Symphony 6 Concertgebouw Orchestra/Eduard van Beinum Tahra TAH614-615 You sometimes wonder at the seeming profusion of  immaculate copies of complete sets of 78s from which restoration engineers work. The source for 18 acetates of a Dutch Radio transmission of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony, from April 1955? Eduard van Beinum’s Concertgebouw performance was […]

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Why it’s time to end our Cold War view of Soviet music says Ivan Hewitt

Posterity is cruelly haphazard towards composers. A lucky few geniuses are recognised in their own lifetime. Beethoven, Josquin, Wagner, Mozart, all entered posterity wearing their laurels, and they stayed there, serene and untouchable. Others are not so lucky. Some fine composers wait decades or even centuries after their death to be rediscovered, like Charpentier. Some […]

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