tue 11/05/2021

Classical Features

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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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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