thu 02/07/2020

Classical Features

In memoriam Dmitri Smirnov (1948-2020) - a personal tribute by Gerard McBurney

Gerard McBurney

November 1979… and a small group of Soviet composers (dubbed the "Khrennikov Seven") unexpectedly found themselves the targets of a boorish public assault by that once infamous General Secretary of the Union of Soviet Composers, in a speech at the organisation’s Sixth Congress in Moscow, describing them as “pretentious… pointless… sensation seeking… noisy filth… a so-called ‘avant-garde’…” Dima and his wife,...

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Classical Music/Opera direct to home 9 - musicians start cautiously reuniting

David Nice

It seems like a different world when the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle gave a full concert to an empty hall as the world began to go into lockdown. Now, on continental Europe at least, orchestral musician plus the occasional star conductor and soloist(s) are cautiously reuniting in smaller numbers, though still as yet without a live audience.

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First Person: CEO Stephen Maddock on the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's strange centenary year

Stephen Maddock

This year was supposed to be so very different. For the best part of the last decade we have been planning a series of major events to take place in 2020 to mark the centenary of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

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Waiving the fees: Rob Adediran on how London Music Masters’ Team Teach is responding to a crisis

Rob Adediran

Our brains are hardwired to respond to crisis by fleeing or fighting. Crisis creates fear and fear demands action so we protect ourselves by running from danger or battling against it. You can see these instinctive responses in the language of the moment where the coronavirus is described as an invisible enemy that must be defeated, and in our actions as we move away from one another to maintain a crucial social distance to protect ourselves and others.

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'Most significant is the experience of being confronted by different ideas': Steven Osborne on free piano lessons from quarantine

Steven Osborne

How fast the world can change. What seemed unimaginable just weeks ago, the effective shuttering of our societies, is now a reality in many countries for at least weeks and quite possibly several months to come. I hope for the health and security of all of you reading this. I’m not going to reflect on our situation at any length as I’m sure many of you have read far more on the subject than is good for you - I certainly have!

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Remembering Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020)

Gavin Dixon

No composer since Stravinsky has defined his age as comprehensively as Krzysztof Penderecki, who died on Sunday aged 86.

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Classical Music/Opera direct to home 4 - Rattle in the ether

David Nice

He may no longer be the Berlin Philharmoniker's Chief Conductor, but by a combination of serendipity and foresight on the orchestra's part, Simon Rattle's last concert in Berlin for the foreseeable future was filmed without an audience and led the way for other, smaller-scale ventures before...

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Notes on a no-show - Nico Muhly

Jenny Gilbert

The following is adapted from a programme note for a show which was to have premiered last Thursday – the very day Sadler's Wells went dark. Nico Muhly – Drawn Lines was part of an occasional series featuring composers who are making an impact on dance.

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'Pause. Notice. Breathe': Elena Urioste on self-love in a time of coronavirus

Elena Urioste

In my second year as a violin student at the Curtis Institute, my right arm started going numb from my elbow to my fingertips on a fairly regular basis. It was rather like how your limbs feel right before they fall asleep: not full-on pins and needles, but a dull, hot emptiness, like there was no blood to keep that piece of me alive and vibrant.

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Classical music/Opera direct to home: 2 - Boris Giltburg and Igor Levit

David Nice

Maybe it's not so surprising that the musicians one has long thought of as true Menschen of the profession - that applies to both sexes, of course, and maybe it's just more about the artists in question being natural communicators - have been among the first to rally in the current crisis.

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