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Rae Woodland: Singer hailed for her performances as Queen of the Night in 'The Magic Flute' at Sadler's Wells and Glyndebourne
Wednesday 15 January 2014
I first heard Rae Woodland at the Nottingham Albert Hall in the mid-1960s when she sang the soprano solos at one of the Nottingham Harmonic Society's annual performances of Handel's Messiah.
Friday 08 November 2013
Simon McBurney successfully conveys this work's evanescent mystery
Sunday 06 October 2013
With its satisfyingly fat vinyl platters, audiophile-friendly downloads and imaginative catalogue of rediscovered gems (plus new recordings), LP specialist Gearbox is becoming one of the wonders of the age.
Saturday 07 September 2013
Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet was a literally unique combination at the time he wrote it, requiring a judicious balance of parts: usually when an extra instrument was added to the quartet format it would involve two violas, but here the use of two violins leads to refinement in the higher register, rather than more clutter.
Wednesday 31 July 2013
Using the pseudonym William Mysterious, Alastair Donaldson played saxophone and bass guitar with the Scottish punk band the Rezillos. Combining a sci-fi, day-glo aesthetic, references to Thunderbirds and The Flintstones, and a fast, fun take on 1960s beat music, the group burst on to the Edinburgh scene in January 1977 and later that year signed to Seymour Stein's Sire Records, the home of New York punk-pioneers the Ramones and Richard Hell. Credited as Mysterious on their exuberant debut Can't Stand the Rezillos, which made the Top 20 in August 1978, Donaldson left before the band appeared on Top of the Pops to promote their paean to the very same television show but returned to contribute to their swansong release, Mission Accomplished... But the Beat Goes On, recorded live at the Glasgow Apollo on 23 December 1978.
Friday 26 July 2013
The small size, thin sound and restricted harmonic adaptability of 18th-century harps explains the paucity of serious repertoire for the instrument. Virtually the only work of note Mozart wrote for the harp is the Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra in C major, commissioned by an amateur father/daughter duo, here given a subtle but rousing interpretation by de Maistre, his harp trailing delicate tendrils around Magali Mosnier's lead flute line. Elsewhere, de Maistre has capitalised on advances in harp design to perform re-arranged versions of the popular Sonata Facile and the Concerto for Keyboard and Orchestra No 19 in F major.
Saturday 20 July 2013
Edward Cowie draws on the natural world for compositional inspiration, echoing Gyorgy Ligeti in his interest in birdsong. “Bell Bird Motet” here mimics the sounds of Australian frogs and birds in the isolated vocal chirps and croaks of the BBC Singers which coagulate into a climactic whooping, while “The Soft Complaining Flute” relies on flautist Stephen Preston's unique “ecosonic” technique, around which six soprano voices flutter, butterfly-like.
Saturday 20 July 2013
Former stalwart of minor American indie bands like The Ackleys and Bad Banana, Katie Crutchfield now ploughs a solo furrow as Waxahatchee, whose second album, Cerulean Salt, sounds like a throwback to the days when Liz Phair anatomised the emotional ups and downs of slacker-era America. Only not quite so openly: Waxahatchee's raw electric guitar chords mostly support a string of non sequiturs which defy illumination.
Saturday 29 June 2013
Something very exciting happens in Philippe Herreweghe’s recording of Mozart’s last three symphonies.
Saturday 22 June 2013
Francesco Piemontesi brings together two oddities: Schumann's Piano Concerto is a dreamlike dialogue between soloist and orchestra, while Dvorák's rather dull work has slid into obscurity.
Saturday 25 May 2013
"Welcome to the afterli-i-ife" is trilled like a creepy lullaby at the beginning of CocoRosie's fifth album.
Friday 10 May 2013
The teaming of Mark Lanegan with multi-instrumentalist bluesman Duke Garwood is an alliance of congruent attitudes and approaches, Garwood's layered guitar lines and soft shaker percussion forming an apt backdrop to Lanegan's weathered baritone on the gospel-blues of "Pentecostal", while more saturnine drones and loops colour the darker concerns of "Death Rides a White Horse" and "Thank You".
Saturday 20 April 2013
Junip's second album, although less cloying than singer Jose Gonzalez's solo stuff, still resides in the folktronica zone.
Album review: Ulrike Anton, Russell Ryan, David Parry, Lost Generation: Schulhoff, Ullmann, Tauský (exil.arte)
Friday 05 April 2013
The Austrian label exil.arte is dedicated to unearthing lost works by forgotten composers deemed “degenerate” by the Nazis – in most cases, simply a synonym for “Jewish”.
Album review: Pierre Boulez, Wiener Philharmoniker, Mahler: Das Klagende Lied; Berg: Lulu-Suite (Deutsche Grammophon)
Friday 01 March 2013
Rarely performed, Mahler's Das Klagende Lied is a grisly fantasy in which the bones of a victim of regal fratricide are used to make a magic flute which, when played by the murderer, reveals his guilt – a sort of cross between Hamlet and Saw.
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
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