wed 21/08/2019

Classical Features

theartsdesk at the Pärnu Music Festival 2019 - super-orchestra, top clarinettists, transcendent strings

David Nice

Little has changed about Pärnu, with its concentric rings of eight-mile sandy beach and dunes, wooded gardens and wooden old town, in the five years I've been going there.

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2019 - a musical journey through the Périgord

alexandra Coghlan

We’ve all had the experience of wandering into a church, only to discover it filled unexpectedly with music: the choir rehearsing for Evensong, a local orchestra practising, a soprano and organist getting ready for a weekend wedding.

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theartsdesk at the Ravenna Festival 2019 - in heaven with Dante's Purgatorio and Estonian rites

David Nice

Two years ago Ermanna Montanari and Marco Martinelli, the visionary partners who have powered Ravenna's revolutionary Teatro delle Albe since 1986, led local people and international visitors down through the circles of Dante's Inferno. In 2021, the 700th anniversary of the greatest Italian poet's birth, they will take us into the presence of God.

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'A product not only of his era but also of his travels': Ian Page on Mozart's cosmopolitan education

Ian Page

When Mozart was an established composer living in Vienna during the final years of his short life, a young student seemingly came to him to seek his advice. The would-be young composer said that he was planning to write a symphony, and asked Mozart what advice he could give to him. Mozart replied that a symphony was a complex undertaking, and suggested that the youngster should first write a few keyboard sonatas and string quartets before undertaking an orchestral work.

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theartsdesk in Treviso - cultural patronage, Italian style

David Nice

Fortunate those Italian towns and cities whose Renaissance rulers looked to the arts to enrich their domain. Now neglect of cultural heritage can be laid at the doors of successive governments, but regional enlightenment can make a difference even in the era of Salvini.

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theartsdesk in Svalbard: cultural excellence at the top of the world

David Nice

You should not die or be born on Svalbard, 1,985 kilometres above Norway's northernmost coast, and at 18 you work or leave for the mainland. Hunting is over, mining nearly so. Tourism, carefully managed, and Arctic research are the future; the Global Seed Vault is also here, and Syria has been the first country to take from it.

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Roger Wright on Oliver Knussen: ‘his challenge to us all to remain curious lives on’

Roger Wright

The composition course founded more than 25 years ago at Snape by composers Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews is in full swing. The scene is the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings on the Suffolk coast. Like Colin, Olly's connections to Aldeburgh and Snape are deep and long lasting, including his Artistic Directorship of the Festival.

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theartsdesk in Gothenburg: concert-hall storytelling rivets at the Point Music Festival

David Nice

There was a special celebratory aura to the start of Swedish city Gothenburg's first Point Festival. Earlier in the week its Symphony Orchestra's Chief Conductor, electrifying Finn Santtu-Matias Rouvali, had not only announced a renewed contract there but also been appointed to the same position with our own Philharmonia Orchestra, to succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen.

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First Person: Liam Byrne on bringing Versailles to the City's 'Culture Mile'

Liam Byrne

When you dedicate your life to studying and performing on a musical instrument that essentially went extinct at the end of the 18th century, nostalgia plays a certain unavoidable role in your daily routine.

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theartsdesk in Tallinn and Tartu: Estonian Music Days go global

David Nice

First under Soviet rule, then in the remarkable flourishing of a liberated nation, Estonian contemporary music has held its independent head high and showcased it, under the aegis of the Estonian Composers' Union, first for a few days and now for more than a week in spring. In this, its 40th anniversary year, Estonian Music Days became World Music Days, hosting composers from 60 countries as the base for the 96-year old ISCM.

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