Let me begin with a disclaimer in the hope that it will absolve me from the daft, the ignorant, the downright imbecilic statements that are likely to follow. My knowledge of classical music is, to put it generously, sketchy. What I know about Benjamin Britten, the subject of Radio 3's latest season devoted to a single composer, wouldn't fill a Post-it note.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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Friday 12 November 2010
After being sacked for conducting Jewish musicians in defiance of the Communist regime, Andrei Filipov winds up, 30 years later, working as a lowly cleaner for the Bolshoi Orchestra.
Friday 29 October 2010
The wealth of melodies contained in The Nutcracker, is all the more remarkable, as Simon Rattle suggests, for the depressive state of its composer.
Wednesday 27 October 2010
Igor Talankin was a talented Soviet director and a mentor to others. Many of his films are set during the Second World War and discuss moral issues, but his greatest international success – and an Oscar nomination – came with his biopic of Tchaikovsky in 1969. It is perhaps his least-subtle film; with the composer played by Innokenti Smoktunovsky, the best-known Russian actor of the time, and its safe – not to say leaden – approach to the genre and the subject, it was nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar. Bizarrely it also qualified for original score, its music being a patchwork of original and pastiche Tchaikovsky by the producer Dmitri Tiomkin who, before becoming a successful Hollywood composer, had been a concert pianist in post-Revolutionary Leningrad.
Friday 08 October 2010
Having demonstrated her command of the delicate intimacies and melodious melancholy of Chopin on this year's recording of his Complete Waltzes, Alice Sara Ott here goes to the opposite extreme, hammering out the melodramatic opening chords of Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No 1 in B flat minor", then riding its waves of emotion with a firm hand as it sails through the bittersweet Andantino semplice into the wistful but rousing final movement.
Tuesday 05 October 2010
Saturday 11 September 2010
Friday 20 August 2010
English National Ballet celebrates its 60th birthday this year, with a summer season of Cinderella. And doesn't the company look good! Michael Corder's choreography is full of classical steps, showing off strong footwork, clean lines and a sense of shared identity. At 60, English National Ballet looks happy and confident.
Eugene Onegin, Royal Opera House, London<br/>The Man and Men, Hill Street Theatre, Edinburgh<br/>The Prodigal Son / The Homecoming, Arcola, London
Sunday 15 August 2010
Thursday 12 August 2010
Dmitri Tcherniakov’s revelatory staging of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin unfolds in rich Chekovian detail and with such an acute behavioural eye that at times one feels more of a participant than an observer.
Sunday 08 August 2010
Sunday 01 August 2010
Inside the cover of this disc is a map of old New York. Here is East 17th Street, where Dvorák wrote his Ninth Symphony, "From the New World" in 1893. It's a red herring, as it happens, for Ivá*Fischer's performance with the Budapest Festival Orchestra looks East, exploring the influence of Tchaikovsky on the Czech composer.
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