Classical Music Composers
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Classical review: Prom 49 - Bad parenting has rarely been portrayed with such delicacy or such pummelling power
Saturday 24 August 2013
A fleet performance of the German master’s Third Symphony offers a reminder of its revolutionary impact, two centuries on
Wednesday 21 August 2013
OperaUpClose specialises in bold transpositions, best exemplified by its witty setting of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera in an IKEA store. For Tosca their writer-director Adam Spreadbury-Maher has effected a different kind of transposition, but one which is entirely logical.
Friday 09 August 2013
Once again, the protean malleability of J.S. Bach's genius is demonstrated by the unusual transcription of his work - in this case, the Violin Sonatas and Partitas - to another instrument, the mandolin. The Punch Brothers' mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile was first drawn to Bach by the rhythmic “groove” of Glenn Gould's 1981 re-recording of The Goldberg Variations. Thile's country and improv roots lend more rubato accents than some might prefer, but he liberates the pieces from their conservatoire corsets. The dazzling deftness of his fingering in the Presto and Double Presto sections evokes a kind of giddy delirium and his feathery technique wrests the tenderest of emotions from the second Sonata's Andante.
Classical review: Acis and Galatea - Handel among the hollyhocks – one of the pleasures of reaching a certain age
Saturday 03 August 2013
There comes a time in one's life when instead of switching channels when Gardeners' Question Time starts on BBC Radio 4, you find yourself soothed by discussions of wintersweet, sawfly and lousewort. Devotees of the programme will know of Iford Manor because of its garden, designed by Harold Peto to the Italian model, its terraces heavy with wisteria, its cloisters peppered with statuary from long abandoned churches. For those of us who can kill a pot of basil with a single glance, it hosts the most enchanting of the summer festivals, Iford Arts.
Sunday 07 July 2013
Why did Angela Gheorghiu look so uneasy taking her curtain calls at the revived Rondine's first night? It couldn't just have been her unflattering wardrobe for Act 3. One had the sense that there was, for her, some underlying problem with her part, or with the production, or even with the opera itself. Puccini was never satisfied with this un-categorisable hybrid, and he was still tinkering with it at the end of his life.
Album review: Einav Yarden, Oscillations: Piano Music by Beethoven & Stravinsky (Challenge Classics)
Friday 28 June 2013
This is an unusual juxtaposition of seemingly incongruent composers, not least because of their contrasting attitudes to piano music – such an integral aspect of Beethoven's work, virtually an afterthought for Stravinsky, despite the instrument's centrality to his compositional process.
Thursday 09 May 2013
The news that OperaUpClose were planning to stage Verdi’s A Masked Ball in an IKEA store did not sound promising, as we’d been there before. In 2009 Flatpack Opera made Wembley IKEA the venue and subject of a work whose audience was joined by bemused shoppers, not all of whom were keen to be plunged into an art event which began in the bedsit department and ended in kitchens. At least OperaUpClose were doing it in a kosher theatre.
Wednesday 08 May 2013
Ever since she made history by winning the BBC Musician of the Year contest at the age of twelve, Jennifer Pike has been setting a furious pace as a performer, while maintaining a healthy academic balance.
Saturday 27 April 2013
In 2011, Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra played two BBC Proms in one night. The first was a meticulously disciplined programme of Liszt and Mahler, the second a jamboree of party pieces and encores, selected by raffle from a list of some 200 works. Encores are the great disinhibitors of classical music and they have served Fischer and his orchestra well. Now 30 years old, the BFO can melt the cognoscenti with musical kitsch, compete with the finest in core symphonic repertoire, and deliver Beethoven with the transparency of period instruments. Whether this should all be attempted in one performance is another matter.
Friday 19 April 2013
A toy glockenspiel given to him aged six fuelled his passion for the piano. It served him well – already he has played for the Prince of Monaco alongside Lulu.
Friday 19 April 2013
Thursday 18 April 2013
Here are the listings of the BBC Proms season 2013 in full:
Monday 15 April 2013
The word 'accompanist' comes loaded with prejudice: the singer is the thing, with the shadowy figure at the keyboard merely expected to play the notes. Yes, of course it’s nonsense, but until Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau publicly proclaimed the brilliance of the great Gerald Moore, this was the prevalent view.
Monday 15 April 2013
The French organ virtuoso Marie-Claire Alain was that rare jewel: a teenage musical prodigy who matured into one of the finest and most sought after recitalists and teachers.
Tuesday 09 April 2013
Just over a decade ago, acclaimed classical pianist Janina Fialkowska discovered a tumour that would leave her left arm paralysed.
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