To classical music lovers of a certain age, the words “BBC Northern Orchestra, conducted by John Hopkins”, spoken by the veteran BBC North Region announcer Tom Naisby, remain a vivid memory of 1950s wireless listening.
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Friday 12 August 2011
Friday 29 July 2011
Despite the title, this 43rd volume of Mode's John Cage Edition focuses more on his early experiments with radios, tape and turntables.
Sunday 29 May 2011
It says something for Sir Colin Davis’ eternal vitality and musical curiosity that he should come to the dynamic Carl Nielsen symphonies so late in life.
Friday 13 May 2011
As sometimes happens in live performances a soloist’s encore might display a brilliance and precision that one might have felt lacking in the main event – or, in this case, events.
Sunday 01 May 2011
Wednesday 27 April 2011
Shostakovich’s ‘24 Preludes and Fugues’ may be seldom performed, but they are one of the miracles of twentieth-century pianism, and their genesis was suitably strange.
Friday 22 April 2011
Appearing at the Southbank on successive nights, Janine Jansen and Sarah Chang allow interesting comparisons between two virtuoso fiddlers in their early thirties, who are in every other respect as different as the sun and moon.
Thursday 21 April 2011
It’s regarded as a truism to say that Bach remains Bach, no matter what instruments his music is played on, or in what idiom. But listening to the London Philharmonic playing Mahler’s ‘Bach Suite’ injected – for me at least – a smidgen of doubt.
Monday 28 March 2011
Yakov Kreizberg was one of the finest conductors of his generation, a man whose musicianship, intellect and integrity produced performances of a passion and intensity far superior to those by some better-known names. In May 2000, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the Royal Festival Hall, he conducted a reading of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 11 searing in its power and concentrated ferocity – the best Shostakovich 11 I have heard and one of the most transcendent experiences I have had in a concert hall: it both exposed the tragedy of Shostakovich’s awful times and, with Putin then tightening his grasp on power, seemed to give the music appalling renewed relevance.
Friday 11 February 2011
Lisa Batiashvili grew up listening to her father's string quartet playing Shostakovich, so it's no surprise that she should choose the composer's Violin Concerto No 1 as the centrepiece of her Deutsche Grammophon debut, on which she's accompanied by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Monday 31 January 2011
Lumbering and lugubrious-looking, Yefim Bronfman is a pianist with a wondrous capacity to galvanise a hall, particularly with the Russian repertoire which is his speciality. And in addition to his kosher achievements he has some odd additional ones up his sleeve. He had a bit part in Disney’s ‘Fantasia 2000’, for whose soundtrack his performance of Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto was also roped in; his recordings of the Rachmaninov concertos were pirated and passed off as being by the now-notorious Joyce Hatto.
Tuesday 25 January 2011
When Shostakovich set six poems by Marina Tsvetayeva for voice and piano in 1973, he completed a chain of human suffering in which he himself was final link.
Thursday 25 November 2010
What a journey we took here from the muted half-lights of Stravinsky’s Scherzo Fantastique to the tumultuous bell-laden prophecy at the close of Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony.
Sunday 21 November 2010
The premise is simple: can Professor Filipp Filippovich take a starving mongrel from the street and with a simple transplant of a man’s testicles and pituitary gland make him human?
Rudolf Barshai: Viola player and conductor whose career continued to flourish after exile from the Soviet Union
Thursday 18 November 2010
Rudolf Barshai was one of the last surviving members of the cohort of great Russian musicians who came to prominence in the middle of the last century, among them Gilels, Oistrakh, Richter and Rostropovich. Barshai will be remembered chiefly as a conductor, but he first made his mark as a violist, and for two decades was as predominant a player as Yuri Bashmet in more recent times.
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