thu 21/01/2021

Classical Features

'Having to establish a real conversation with the audience is a good challenge': Raffaello Morales on a possible musical future

Raffaello Morales

As this most remarkable year prepares to enter the history books, most of us who are part of the music industry have come to realise that the western world is desperately looking for solutions to an emergency of unprecedented dimensions in post-war times, and that music is not widely perceived to provide a

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Dame Fanny Waterman (1920-2020) - some recollections, with love and affection

Adam Gatehouse

Dame Fanny Waterman was a true force of nature, in the best sense of the word. Her diminutive height belied a giant intellectual force and a steely determination to achieve the seemingly unachievable through every means she could muster.

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First Person: conductor Johannes Vogel on Beethoven’s Ninth as re-orchestrated by Mahler

Johannes Vogel

Think of the finale at a big fireworks show: the anticipation; the build up. There is nothing bigger than the Ninth Symphony. It is the climax of this year’s Beethoven celebrations.

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Not-quite-solitude on the 34th floor: violinist Maxine Kwok on the short film 'Rising'

Maxine Kwok

2020: a year that at some point felt like the end of live performance for the world of the performing arts, certainly for the foreseeable future. Artists spent months without any form of collaboration, leading to a serious lack of motivation due to the decimation of performance opportunities.

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First Person: Avi Avital on 'Art of the Mandolin'

Avi Avital

The mandolin is an instrument everybody has heard of without necessarily knowing much about it. Its history has been written by lovers of the instrument, often amateur players who are drawn to its approachable and appealing character, integrating it into their own lives, and in turn popularising it throughout the world.

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First Person: horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill on authenticity and enlightenment in lockdown

Alec Frank-Gemmill

The UK’s music industry is in dire straits and my heart goes out to friends and colleagues in financial need. For a proper discussion of the current situation, I refer you to Sophia Rahman’s excellent article for theartsdesk. What I have written here is comparatively superficial.

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First Person: Jessica Duchen on writing about Beethoven's Immortal Beloved

Jessica Duchen

The identity of Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved” is one of the biggest cans of worms in musical history. I hadn’t the slightest intention of writing a novel about it. At first I thought I’d create a narrated concert for the anniversary year... but that was then.

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'Josquin has defined our career': The Tallis Scholars’ Peter Phillips on the end of a major recording project

Peter Phillips

I have never been a fan of recording “Complete Works”. These projects almost inevitably include music that one would not normally spend time and money on, just to claim that one has done it all. For this reason the Gimell catalogue, from the earliest days, will be found to have marked out the Renaissance territory, one disc per composer, each disc a distillation of the best of the writer in question...

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First Person: Cellist Alban Gerhardt on why concert-hall life must go on

Alban Gerhardt

With horror I heard on Wednesday that the proud cultural nation of Germany, which invests probably more money per capita in its concert, opera and theatre life than any other country in the world, had decided to close down what I as a German citizen am particularly proud of - precisely this rich cultural life.

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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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