The Labour leader has been rightly scorned for music that merely ticked boxes. He could so easily have been a lot less boring…
Ralph Vaughan Williams
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Wednesday 04 November 2009
Philip Langridge may have lost his youthful glamour as Britten’s post-Pears tenor mouthpiece - presumably he doesn’t have that vital picture in the attic - but at 70 he’s still debonair.
Saturday 31 October 2009
A schoolboy who recently joined an anti-Scientology demonstration in London had his name taken by the police when he refused to lower a placard which called Scientology a cult. Luckily the case against him was dropped after the human rights organisation Liberty intervened on his behalf.
Tuesday 13 October 2009
It's taken 104 years for Vaughan Williams's Heroic Elegy and Triumphal Epilogue to have its first fully professional outing. Composed in 1901 when he was still virtually unknown, and with no clues left as to its inspiration, the score is headed with a quote from the Bible's Song of Solomon, "Terrible as an army with banners". The first movement, Heroic Elegy, begins with an uneasily insistent string motif, over which a meandering theme is introduced on trombones then horns. The brass worries away at this material until a blazing climax is followed by a threatening timpani ostinato and suggestions of a martial violence are finally subdued with an eerie quietness.
Wednesday 19 August 2009
Friday 19 June 2009
Few conductors have negotiated the line between populist appeal and artistic validity with the elegance of Andre Previn, but even so, it's hard to discern who this supposed birthday celebration is aimed at, so perversely does it fall between all available stools.
Tuesday 12 May 2009
Wednesday 08 April 2009
Another night, another student orchestra. If you want to learn the secret of classical music's perennial good health, look no further; the conservatoires are bristling with talent. The Orion draws its players from all four London conservatoires, and the Sonitus Chamber Choir, which joined it for this event, does likewise. One purpose of this orchestra is to promote "unjustly forgotten masterpieces"; another is to give the players experience of working under real-world pressure.
Thursday 05 February 2009
Near ideal for chamber music and song recitals, the intimate acoustics of the Wigmore Hall might be thought to lack spaciousness enough for unaccompanied choral singing. Not even the accomplished line-up of Andrew Carwood's choir, The Cardinall's Musick, it seemed, could entirely avoid generating a fierce, dry edge to their sound at climactic moments. None the less, their latest appearance in this venue proved an inspiring experience.
Wednesday 31 December 2008
<a href="http://edseckerson.independentminds.livejournal.com/3000.html">Edward Seckerson: Classical pickings 2008</a>
Sunday 21 December 2008
In no particular order.... English National Opera: "Riders to the Sea" - Fiona Shaw's "quietly devastating" staging of Vaughan Williams' one act opera; a fitting tribute to to the late lamented Richard Hickox who did so much for the cause of English music.
Riders to the Sea, Coliseum, London <br>Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Jansons, Royal Festival Hall, London
Sunday 07 December 2008
Monday 01 December 2008
It was always going to be an intense evening, but factor in the untimely death of the man who was to have conducted, Richard Hickox, and it became a profoundly sad one.
Friday 28 November 2008
It was always going to be an intense evening – but factor in the untimely death of its conductor, Richard Hickox, and it became a profoundly sad one. How typical that Hickox should have been the motivator for English National Opera’s first ever staging of Vaughan Williams’ exquisitely understated setting of J.M.Synge’s Riders to the Sea in the 50th anniversary year of the composer’s death.
Tuesday 25 November 2008
The sudden death of the conductor Richard Hickox from a heart attack in a Cardiff hotel bedroom puts an abrupt end to a career that was reaping the high-profile rewards of long years of devotion to his craft – in a profession where he might reasonably have expected to enjoy another three decades of music-making.
Monday 24 November 2008
Richard Hickox, described as "one of the world's leading conductors", has died from a suspected heart attack aged 60.
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