sat 24/08/2019

Classical Features

First Person: Robert Hollingworth on I Fagiolini's 'Leonardo - Shaping the Invisible'

Robert Hollingworth

Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago on 2 May this year. We all know he was a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, pioneer of flight and anatomist – yet according to Vasari, Leonardo’s first job outside Florence was as a result of his musical talents.

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In the spirit of the composer as innovator: Samir Savant on the London Handel Festival

Samir Savant

This is my third year as festival director of the London Handel Festival, an annual celebration of the life and work of composer George Frideric Handel, which takes place every spring in venues across the capital.

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A Previn treasury

David Nice

In a way, he was a second Bernstein.

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Best of 2018: Classical concerts

David Nice

Starry times with the big spectaculars really paid off this year, even if the works performed weren't unusual for London. Pappano's latest Verdi Requiem at the Royal Opera was the classiest perfection imaginable, crowned by the phenomenal Lise Davidsen.

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theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

David Nice

Five of Leoš Janáček's 10 operas are staples of the worldwide repertoire. Two I'd never seen on stage, so the slice I chose of the19-day festival devoted to all of them for the second time in the history of Brno, the cultured Moravian capital where he spent most of his life, tended to the rare and local.

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First Person Plural: the Calidore String Quartet on music for their torn nation

Calidore String

Classical musicians spend much of their lives inhabiting the realms of the past. To effectively practise and perform the music of Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and countless others, performers must combine research and personal intuition to time travel into the era of these great composers’ lives.

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Refreshing the sonic spectrum: disability and excellence in British orchestras

Joe Turnbull

Classical music struggles to shrug off the perception of being something of a rarefied world. Or “hermetically sealed” as Charles Hazlewood, founder of the British Paraorchestra describes it. “Classical music has to break out from its ivory tower," says Hazlewood.

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Like a baton out of hell: Conductors at the 2018 Proms

theartsdesk

Discreetly poking his camera through one of the red curtains around the Albert Hall, chief Proms photographer Chris Christodoulou gets the action shots others would kill for.

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theartsdesk at the Suoni dal Golfo Festival - romantics shine in the Bay of Poets

David Nice

If only Liszt had started at the end of his Byron-inspired opera Sardanapalo. The mass immolation of Assyrian concubines might have been something to compare with the end of Wagner's Götterdämmerung. Instead he only sketched out the first act, complete until nearly the end, and the inevitable comparisons with the Wagner of the late 1840s are not unfavourable by any means.

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theartsdesk at the Lucerne Festival - all-Beethoven and all-Ravel concerts from the greatest

David Nice

Like the Proms, but over a more concentrated time-span, in a much better concert hall and with a swankier audience paying a good deal more, the Lucerne Festival offers a summer parade of the world's greatest orchestras and conductors night after night.

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