thu 29/10/2020

Classical Features

First Person: harpsichordist Chad Kelly on reimagining Bach's Goldberg Variations

Chad Kelly

As musicians took tentative steps into the unfamiliar world of PPE, socially-distanced rehearsals and audiences watching from home on a computer screen, a common water-cooler question was, “What did you do during lockdown?”.  I am grateful to the Baroque violinist Rachel Podger that part of my lockdown involved rediscovering and reimagining a piece of music that I thought I knew well: the Goldberg Variations, the popular name we ascribe to Bach’s fourth Clavierü...

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First Person: composer Brian Elias on the Music@Malling Festival's retrospective of his works

Brian Elias

It is my very good fortune to be offered by Music@Malling what is, in effect, a retrospective of my work. The music that will be performed was written between 1969 and 2019, exactly half a century.

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First Person: Gregory Batsleer on choirs for the 21st century

Gregory Batsleer

Choral music is one of the UK’s oldest and most-loved art forms. It has been at the centre of my life ever since I started singing in primary school and has grown to become a crucial part of my identity as both a musician and artist. I am a signed-up evangelist of choral music; I do not need convincing of its power.

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First Person: pianist Danny Driver on teaching online and the importance of music education

Danny Driver

There’s an old saying that goes: if life deals you lemons, make lemonade. To say that the COVID-19 pandemic is a lemon would be a huge and trivial understatement – it has had a massive effect on people’s way of life across the globe, it has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and permanently scarred many more physically, psychologically and emotionally.

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First Person: Artistic Director John Gilhooly on an inclusive and diverse Wigmore Hall

John Gilhooly

It is hard to believe that it’s really happening! Despite a few bumps along the way, Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber, one of the greatest Lieder duos of our time, will open the 20/21 Wigmore Hall Season tomorrow night in a programme of Schubert and Berg.

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'Masses of performers are still grounded': pianist Sophia Rahman on a UK music scene in crisis

Sophia Rahman

Have you ever tried watching a film, programme or even an advert without the soundtrack? If so, you’ll know that music is a cornerstone of all the culture you enjoy, not only Strictly or the Proms. From the grandest of ceremonies to the everyday ringtone, music is involved. Could you imagine an Olympic ceremony without bands, symphony orchestras, or national and unofficial anthems?

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A masked elegy: portraits of string players at the Fidelio Orchestra Café

David Nice

Out of a silent and empty City of London, unusually still even for a Sunday afternoon, it felt surreal to come upon a centre of light and activity. Raffaello Morales, Renaissance man, conductor of the Fidelio Orchestra and owner/impresario of its eponymous café which has played host to great performances over the past month, had mustered 23 of the finest London-based players to tackle the ultimate in works for string orchestra.

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'Rehearsing Beethoven with Barenboim felt like an historical moment': Vienna Philharmonic trombonist Kelton Koch on a new normal

Kelton Koch

Joining the Vienna Philharmonic as a student and young professional was an absolute thrill. I had begun to play with the orchestra as an academist in October 2019 and as a full-time member in the Opera in January 2020. I was experiencing many “firsts”: concerts in the Musikverein [Vienna’s magnificent number one concert hall], first tour in Asia, first Vienna Philharmonic Ball and Vienna State Opera Ball.

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First Person: Christopher Glynn on how the Ryedale Festival flows on

Christopher Glynn

An invitation: come to the Ryedale Festival. It's never been easier. All you need is a screen and an internet connection. Because our festival, along with others up and down the land, is waiting in the wings, ready (just) to step out for the first time onto a digital platform.

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First Person: Royal College of Music Director of Programmes Diana Salazar on a transformation in learning and teaching

Diana Salazar

I wasn’t the only one who felt emotional when I left our beautiful building in South Kensington for the last time before lockdown. By that stage in mid-March the corridors had become quiet. The sense of loss was palpable: no concerts, no playing together, no conversation, no sound.

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