wed 26/02/2020

Classical Buzz

Sibelius's Eighth: pages from a lost symphony?

David Nice

The rest, it seems, is not to remain quite silence from the 32 years Jean Sibelius lived on after completing his last major work, the astonishing incidental music for a production of The Tempest in 1925.

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How many French horns can play Wagner at one time?

Jasper Rees

The business of setting musical records does not normally have much to do with actual music. The longest an oboeist can play with circular breathing, the fastest piccolo player, the highest note sung by a human etc – these are not about music-making. A record of a rather more impressive order is due to be attempted at the Royal Opera House on Sunday, 23 October. The largest number of French horns ever gathered in one place will attempt to make music together.

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Paganini's Daemon

Hilary Whitney

Niccolò Paganini was the most controversial classical musician who ever lived. Although widely acknowledged to be one of the most brilliant performers of his lifetime, he provoked wildly contradictory opinions amongst his contemporaries and was constantly denounced as a charlatan in league with the devil – a spell in gaol for a paternity suit gave rise to the myth that he had acquired his dazzling technique from a pact with the devil during his incarceration.

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The Arts Desk Birthday Event - Join Us on 9/9!

ismene Brown

On 9 September theartsdesk, Britain's first professional arts journalism site, will be two years old. To celebrate we’re holding a live debate with four leading performers during the Kings Place Festival. An actor, a singer, a dancer and an instrumentalist will share their different experiences of performance. Join us, live or online, for a stellar event.

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Music while you queue at the airport

theartsdesk

Waiting for a plane has rarely been an amusing, surprising and enjoyable experience - unless a girl takes a flute out of her hand luggage and starts playing Ravel's Bolero. Ignore it, perhaps, but then a man going by pulls a clarinet out of his case and joins in. And then one notices the tapping sounds emerging from the soporific airport buzz. A bloke wheels up a drum on a trolley.

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BBC Proms Gallery: Horrible Histories

theartsdesk

After two Proms devoted to Doctor Who, this year's children's Prom ceded the floor today to the hugely popular CBBC television series Horrible Histories. The series is based, in case you don't know your Horrible Histories history, on the books initially written by Terry Deary.

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BBC Proms 2011: theartsdesk recommends...

theartsdesk

Tonight the doors open for the biggest classical music festival in the world, the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. To help you plan your summer visits and listening, theartsdesk's critics gently steer you with their own preferences from the 90 concerts on offer. You can also check the complete list of all Proms on another page.

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Milking classical music in Dortmund

David Nice

What does it take to get the masses into the concert hall? Here's an ingenious marketing campaign which is both mad and clever (though hardly an enticement if you're lactose intolerant). All I can say is, lucky cows, being force-fed Philippe Jaroussky. I wouldn't moo in a bad way at...

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Another Brit conductor makes lightning progress

David Nice Nicholas Collon, already winning his laurels

Anyone who's attended an Aurora Orchestra concert at Kings Place will know that twentysomething conductor Nicholas Collon - oddly, the birth date seems elusive - is a force to be reckoned with. When he speaks, he looks as if butter wouldn't melt, but in action his technique is disciplined as...

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Classic Brits 2011

Adam Sweeting Arvo Pärt: A political classic

In case anybody had the bizarre notion that the Classical Brits was getting a trifle too classical, the 2011 version of the event was rebranded as the Classic Brit Awards. That would seem to open the door to almost anything - classic rock perhaps, or classic schmaltz (well, waltzmeister Andre Rieu did win Album of the Year). The night climaxed with Dame Shirley...

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