BACH: Mahan Esfahani records CPE Bach

Nalen Anthoni joins the harpsichordist as he records the ‘Württemberg’ Sonatas. Things ain’t what they used to be. Borough High Street as ‘a continued ale house with not a shop to be seen between’ – recounted by 17th-century playwright Thomas Dekker – is no more. But turn into Trinity Street for architectural changes that achieve […]

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CATRIN FINCH: The harpist who is adding new strings to her bow – by Adam Sweeting

For all its delightful and ethereal tinkliness, the harp suffers from something of an identity crisis. It lacks the versatility of the piano or the piercing qualities of the violin, let alone the brute force of the brass, so if it isn’t careful it can find itself relegated to a soothing, background role. Catrin Finch […]

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BENJAMIN BRITTEN: A Classic interviews from the Gramophone archive

“This month sees the issue of several records of Britten’s music from Decca including one in the ‘World of…’ series. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the night that transformed the face of British opera – the premiere of Peter Grimes on June 7, 1945, at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Britten himself had not thought […]

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Ian Bostridge on Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: ‘I’d never have sung without him’ English tenor Ian Bostridge tells Rupert Christiansen how the late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau came to inspire him.

Some 30 years ago, a 14-year-old schoolboy called Ian Bostridge was sitting in his first German lesson, when his teacher Richard Stokes had a brilliant idea: he would introduce the class to the glory of the language and the culture it inspired by playing a recording of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s Erlkönig […]

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Elgar Rediscovered

Andrew Achenbach writes: Here’s another fascinating haul of historic Elgar recordings from Somm expertly compiled and restored by Lani Spahr. The 77-minute programme is launched in delectable fashion with the first-ever appearance of the composer conducting his own Op 58 Elegy with the strings of Adrian Boult’s magnificent BBC Symphony Orchestra. The April 1933 Abbey […]

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Video: Maria Callas’s shattering ‘Vissi d’arte’ at Covent Garden in 1964

Callas sings Puccini’s Tosca with an unrivalled intensity Maria Callas’s 1953 recording of Tosca, opposite Giuseppe di Stefano’s Cavaradossi and Tito Gobbi’s Scarpia, remains one of the greatest of all opera recordings (go here for an insight into the tempestuous recording sessions). And here is Callas at Covent Garden in 1964, in Franco Zeffirelli’s production. […]

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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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J.S. BACH: Four Concertos for Harpsichords and Orch. = Fritz Neumeyer/Lily Berger/Konrad Burr/ Ilse Urbuteit/Ch. Orch. of the Saar/Karl Ristenpart – HDTT

Orinally published in 2013 Transferred from a 1965 Nonesuch LP, having been recorded by Club Francais du Disque, this happy collation of multiple-klavier concertos by Bach reminded me of my old LP days, when the Nonesuch label offered such appetizers as “Music for the King’s Supper” and other musical repasts. Upgraded acoustically using the Lynx […]

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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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SCHUBERT: Ferocious, tender, sublime

From the archive; Tom Service writes: The simple facts of Franz Schubert’s life shed little light on the enormous emotional range of his music, and the seismic effect his work has had. Living almost entirely in his home town of Vienna, he was a loyal but occasionally cantankerous and drunk friend to a tight-knit groups of […]

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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 describe such […]

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