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 21 March 2011
Ask not for whom the bell tolls. Rachmaninov didn’t: he knew. Or rather he was convinced that they all tolled for him. His splendid choral symphony The Bells is full of ominous premonition with even the “Silver Sleigh Bells” of a lost youth - scintillating with some of the composer’s most expensive orchestration - promising only oblivion.
Tuesday 22 February 2011
They’ve called this unprecedented five-day residency “The London Concerts” and having already shown off the youthful core of players at the heart of this venerable and venerated orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra duly expanded from chamber to symphonic proportions and crossed the river from the Southbank to the Barbican for what was by any standards a wondrous display of high-end artistry.
Monday 21 February 2011
Sunday 20 February 2011
Two perfect works in perfect equilibrium; Mozart and Mahler well met indeed.
Monday 31 January 2011
Elgar’s The Kingdom arrives in the heat of inspiration on a surge of orchestral magnificence. A glorious theme representing “New Faith” is announced in the strings, as noble and aspirational as anything Elgar wrote.
Monday 10 January 2011
Friday 07 January 2011
Programming Liszt is like counting calories: you can blow your entire month’s intake in less than an hour.
Thursday 16 December 2010
In a programme note for the premiere of his 2nd Violin Concerto in 1943 Bohuslav Martinu wrote of the eternal tension between “absolute music” and music with an expressive purpose.
Saturday 11 December 2010
Kinshasa, the chaotic capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is used to just about every noise imaginable.
Sunday 05 December 2010
Under Marin Alsop, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra raised its game with recordings of Bernstein and Adams. Now its new director, Kirill Karabits, has chosen an impactful selection of music from Khachaturian's ballets for his debut recording, affording a lively workout for the percussionists.
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.
Jiri Novak: Violinist who eschewed a solo virtuoso career to lead the Smetana Quartet for more than 30 years
Monday 08 November 2010
Jiri Novak, the leader of the celebrated Smetana Quartet, was considered to bethe foremost string-quartet leader of his time, and was one whose modesty concealed an enormous talent and profound musicianship.
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall, London<br/>Markus Werba, Wigmore Hall, London<br/>London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London
Sunday 31 October 2010
Friday 29 October 2010
Next week, 20 young conductors will compete in London for a prize of £15,000 and the chance to work for a year as assistant conductor to the London Symphony Orchestra. Whence comes this contest, some of whose winners are now established stars? Step forward Donatella Flick, daughter of an Ossetian prince and fanatical donor to musical and humanitarian charities.
Sunday 26 September 2010
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
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