Is there too much music surrounding us? In particular, I’m thinking of the seasonal offerings of Wise Men and Angels and Santa’s sleigh bells which constantly cloud the winter air on our high streets. As a musician, I’m supposed to love music, aren’t I? Can there really be too much of such a good thing?
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Monday 18 October 2010
It was Stephen Kovacevich’s 70th birthday party and his highly individual guests represented past, present, and future.
Friday 08 October 2010
John Eliot Gardiner's prodigious output continues apace, with the recent Brahms 4th Symphony and an imminent further pair of his exhaustive pilgrimage series of Bach cantatas - surely the biggest current undertaking in any area of music - joined here by the reissue on his own label of another pilgrimage programme.
Monday 20 September 2010
Orchestral musicians are very like squaddies and schoolchildren, most notably in their penchant for ya-boo jokes: witness their puerile digs about the poor sods who play that instrumental Cinderella, the viola.
Sunday 12 September 2010
Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, John Eliot Gardiner's interpretation of Brahms' Fourth Symphony seemed deeply perverse at the time.
Sunday 22 August 2010
Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor had a traumatic birth. Its first incarnation was as a string quartet, its second as a sonata for two pianos.
Friday 14 May 2010
Not for Yuja Wang the mandatory selection of Chopin preludes and ballades; instead, she's chosen a theme, Transformation, here realised in various forms: most obviously, Brahms' famously tortuous Variations on a Theme by Paganini, but also Ravel's deconstruction of the waltz in La Valse, and most impressively, the gradual humanisation of the puppet in Stravinsky's Petrushka (and its subsequent reversion to wood). Wang's command and artistry is never in doubt right from the opening Allegro Giusto section, described in delicate little left-hand runs against a pointilliste upper-register, the combination lifting the piece in a weightless, dizzying dance.
Sunday 11 April 2010
Monday 29 March 2010
Not all this year’s bicentennial tributes to Chopin will necessarily be by Chopin.
Sunday 31 January 2010
There’s something symbolic of friendship in the interplay of two pairs of hands on one instrument, and never more than in Schubert’s four-hand music.
Sunday 31 January 2010
Performance style in Brahms has lately become as hotly contested an issue as it once was in Bach, with Mackerras arguing for impetuous speed changes and Gardiner so busy identifying thematic strata that the topography is blurred.
Monday 25 January 2010
It was during the Hugo Wolf setting of Mörike’s “An eine Äolsharfe” (“To an Aeolian Harp”) in this marvellous Simon Keenlyside/ Malcolm Martineau recital that it became clear that the ever-delicate art of lieder singing had hit some kind of high, not just for this evening but for the craft in general.
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