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Friday 26 March 2010
Peter Greenaway offers a masterclass in the intrigue behind Rembrandt's enigmatic painting of Amsterdam militia, The Night Watch, which he believes explains the drastic ignominy that befell the painter himself.
Sunday 21 February 2010
An enigmatic fusion of baroque and classical styles, the music of Manuel Blasco de Nebra languished in manuscript for 180 years after the composer's death.
Friday 15 January 2010
Performed with period ensemble Les Arts Florissants, Ombre De Mon Amant reflects mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter's affection for the airs of the French Baroque.
Sunday 20 December 2009
Florilegium's third disc of music from the Bolivian missions opens with a carol. "Fuera, Fuera!" is a dialogue between local Indians and Spanish shepherds in which both groups hurry to Bethlehem, laughing at each other.
Tuesday 15 December 2009
Sunday 22 November 2009
Sung by Furio Zanasi and played by the viol, harp and lute trio La Chimera, this recital is both a portrait of the poet, composer and singer Francesco Rasi (1574-1621) and a study of the different "amatory conditions" of Baroque song.
Saturday 19 September 2009
When it last went under the hammer in 1930 it fetched the princely sum of £18,500. Yesterday auctioneers expressed confidence that a Rembrandt masterpiece, unseen in public for more than 40 years, will fetch up to £25m, this time around.
Friday 18 September 2009
Obvious differences of scale prevent this alliance of American indie luminaries
Saturday 11 July 2009
Baroque is having a moment. It seems that the style that dominated Europe throughout much of the 17th and 18th centuries with its dazzling expressions of wealth and opulence could turn out to be a surprising but perfect antidote to our gloomy, penny-pinching times.
Sunday 05 July 2009
Half-fossil, half-innovator, organist and composer Alexandre Pierre François Boëly (1785-1858) was the self-appointed guardian of the classical style.
Sunday 05 July 2009
Reminiscent of Don Pullen's Ode to Life, or a Keith Jarrett ballad without the grunting, "Chorale", the final, astounding track on this second album by pianist John Law's co-op trio, is a work of real grace and beauty.
Monday 29 June 2009
Friday 27 March 2009
Thursday 12 March 2009
The titles for Orangutan Diary freeze on an image that is a perfect emblem of its seductive appeal: a small hairy hand clutching dependently at a human arm. That, at one level, is what primates mean to us, however big and muscular they become. We see them, thanks to a broad misreading of Darwin, as ourselves in infancy, and when they're brought into conjunction with human clothing or human objects, our familial (and faintly condescending fondness) is amplified. When the primates are actually infants, even the sternest rationalists are likely to find themselves melting into a puddle of anthropomorphic sentiment. Orangutan Diary contains images of such concentrated cuteness that they should probably read out one of those warning statements at the beginning, alerting particularly susceptible viewers that it contains "extreme scenes of winsomeness from the beginning". When they wheeled on a wheelbarrow full of baby orang-utans in disposable nappies, you could probably hear the audience reaction coming through the window, a strange collective moo of delight.
Thursday 15 January 2009
Haydn said – let there be enlightenment. And there was. The Creation is a loveable and audacious work and part of the problem with this well-drilled performance was that loveability was achieved at the expense of the audacity. Haydn's wondrous series of special effects failed to amuse or startle, while the succession of recitatives, arias, and choruses came and went offering pleasure but rarely astonishment.
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