The sound of silence. How the ‘space’ around music affects the way we listen

The June issue’s cover story explores the borders existing between genres, but in My Music, the feature in which we interview a leading figure from outside of the classical music world, landscape architect Kim Wilkie reflects on sound borders in an even wider sense. There’s usually a timely ‘peg’ as to who we interview in […]

Read More

Stravinsky – Symphony of Psalms Mvmt III = 48/80

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPNrvzdn3qI “Released by Decca records, this is Sir Georg Solti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Symphony of Psalms Movement III = 48-80, composed by Igor Stravinsky. This piece was composed in 1930 and was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. There are no names for the movements other than what the […]

Read More

ANTON BRUCKNER: Sex, death and dissonance: his strange, obsessive world

Tom Service writes ….. There’s no doubt Anton Bruckner was an oddball, a man with an unhealthy interest in dead bodies and teenage girls. But the composer’s obsessions and terrors also gave us some astonishing music. A credulous yokel who propositioned girls half his age. A death-obsessed ghoul who kept a photo of his mother’s corpse. […]

Read More

A-Z of Wagner: A is for Alberich

Stephen Moss writes: This year is the bicentenary of Richard Wagner’s birth, and to celebrate our new series takes an alphabetical tour of the composer, updated fortnightly. In our first stop, A stands for Alberich, antisemitism and Apocalypse Now. A is for Alberich, the vertically challenged, sex-crazed villain whose theft of the gold at the […]

Read More

Karajan: Portrait of the conductor as celebrity

A classic Gramophone article, by HC Robbins Landon, March 1964 Herbert von Karajan in 1969 (Reinhard Friedrich / Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker) SCENE I. A warm summer’s day in Salzburg. The square in front of the Festspielhaus is the scene of subdued activity; from within come sounds of rehearsing. Chorus members are lounging about, waiting for […]

Read More

ANGELA HEWITT: My battle with Bach

  Pianist Angela Hewitt has played Bach everywhere from Beijing to Bogotá. But she always avoided his final work – thinking it was too tough. She relives how she overcame fear and major surgery to love The Art of Fugue. In August 2007, I set off on a 14-month recital tour performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s masterpiece […]

Read More

Grieg and Prokofiev piano concertos, Nikolai Lugansky and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, cond Kent Nagano, review

Geoffrey Norris writes: Neither the Grieg Concerto nor Prokofiev’s Third is exactly a stranger to the catalogue, but Nikolai Lugansky’s collaboration here with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester refreshes, rejuvenates and, in terms of interpretation, replenishes each work with a whole range of perceptive refinements. The Grieg concerto is so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget […]

Read More

Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd turns Melville’s novel into a gripping psychosexual drama, says Sameer Rahim.

There is a very funny scene in The Sopranos when the family get into an argument over whether Herman Melville’s Billy Budd is a gay novel. Carmela, who has seen the 1962 movie version with Terence Stamp, claims it’s “the story of an innocent sailor being picked on by a cruel boss”. But her daughter […]

Read More

BRITTEN: At last, we have fallen for our great Britten

The composer’s pacifism seems an irrelevant curiosity now, his homosexuality of even less concern. Benjamin Britten’s coronation opera Gloriana had its early performances in the gilded splendour of the Royal Opera House. The new monarch herself attended the premiere on June 8 1953.  Two months later, the work had its next outing, in Bulawayo, second […]

Read More

Research is the key to making yourself a better musician

Pianist Ivan Ilić embarks on a journey of discovery for his new album of Feldman, Scriabin and Cage Until a few years ago, I had no interest in reading composers’ biographies or anecdotes from their lives. I concentrated exclusively on the music. But then I had a couple of experiences that led to a change […]

Read More

The opera novice

Originally published January 2012 I grew up in a household where not a note of classical music was played. I must have heard some at school, but all I remember of music classes was mucking around on a synthesiser playing the Batman theme tune. As a teenager watching telly, I recall humming along to The […]

Read More

Mastering Monteverdi’s Orfeo

David Vickers speaks to Andrew Parrott on the 40th anniversary of the Taverner Consort and Players. You’ve conducted a lot of opera around the world, but you haven’t recorded many. The Taverner Consort and Players made two different recordings of Dido and Aeneas, and then there’s a famous recording of the Florentine intermedi performed at a […]

Read More

Paavo Järvi / Estonian Festival Orchestra Shostakovich: Symphony No. 6; Sinfonietta – AllMusic Review by James Manheim

The Alpha label has been reconfigured into part of the larger OutHere group, with a general repertory replacing the Renaissance and Baroque specialties of the sumptuously packaged former label. One thing has remained the same, however, at least in this release by conductor Paavo Järvi and the ad hoc but highly talented Estonian Festival Orchestra: […]

Read More

Top 10 symphonies according to Gramophone magazine

For those seeking to build a classical collection, these 10 symphonies are an ideal place to start A brief history of the symphony The symphony first appeared on programmes – inevitably in aristocratic settings – during the early years of the 18th century, often a natural development from the Italian overture (which usually comprised three […]

Read More

The 10 greatest sunrises in music

They report: Jeremy Nicholas listens to his favourite musical depictions of sunrise No 1 Ravel Daphnis et Chloé Scene 3 of the ballet, commissioned by Diaghilev (who didn’t like what he heard), opens with a sunrise and ‘Daphnis prostrate at the grotto of the nymphs’. The second of the two suites which Ravel drew from the […]

Read More