First seen as part of a 1912 double bill, Ariadne auf Naxos was revised and reshaped as Europe plunged into the carnage of the First World War. Strauss was profoundly relieved when his son, Franz, was declared unfit for military service. But his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, had already served as a reservist when the now familiar version of their backstage comedy on high and low art premiered in Vienna in 1916, four days after the assassination of the prime minister in the dining room of a hotel a few minutes' walk from the opera house.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
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Monday 26 May 2008
The world premiere of Tsunami by Dominic Muldowney (the second recipient of the Elgar Bursary for mature composers) registered barely a ripple. Here was a highly experienced theatre composer working with a significant poet, James Fenton, and a charismatic actor-singer, Philip Quast. But Tsunami, played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis, patronised the popular styles to which it alluded.
Friday 25 April 2008
The Berlin Philharmonic could part company with its conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, over his programme for 2009, which includes a performance of Stockhausen in an airport hangar.
Thursday 03 April 2008
Alban Berg was in poor shape, financially and bodily, when he accepted the commission for a violin concerto in 1935, and shattered to learn of the death of Alma Mahler's 18-year-old daughter, Manon, of whom he had been fond.
Album: Beethoven, Symphony No 3 – Eroica – Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/Manze (AHarmonia Mundi)
Sunday 16 March 2008
Some slippery moments in the opening and closing movements do little to detract from this reading of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony from Andrew Manze and the Helsingborg SO. This is Manze's debut recording as a conductor and though the attack is occasionally clumsy, he succeeds in making the music new. Radical rubato, violent coups d'archets, beautiful woodwind detailing, and a strikingly slow "Marche funèbre" contribute to a sense of freshness and dynamism, while the "12 Contretänze" and the finale of "Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus" illustrate how one modest melody ignited a music revolution.
Wednesday 12 March 2008
It used to be regular practice among purist critics to deplore the concert programming of Wagner in "bleeding chunks". Actually, Wagner himself extracted passages from his music dramas to use on fundraising tours, even patching his own endings for some of them. And why not, when the presentation, full on, of his scoring from the concert platform can often gloriously enhance sonority and reveal detail lost in pit?
Friday 22 February 2008
Ewa Strusinska, a 30-year-old musician and a rising star in the predominantly male world of conducting, had her "glass ceiling" breakthrough yesterday to become the first female assistant conductor with the oldest orchestra in Britain.
Friday 18 January 2008
There was a full house at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne to hear this concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. On the rostrum was one of the best and most energetic of today's young conductors, Michael Dworzynski, a Pole, who recently won the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition.
Thursday 10 January 2008
The significance of a youth orchestra lies less in its achievement, than in what it portends for the future – and in what it says about the climate in which its playing has developed. We currently have two global benchmarks against which all youth orchestras should be measured.
Tuesday 08 January 2008
Vasily Petrenko, the young Russian principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, attracts such glowing reviews that it's only fair to assume that there will be one hurdle at which he'll fall.
Friday 13 October 2006
Sunday 21 May 2006
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- 3 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories