thu 16/07/2020

Classical Features

First Person: Poems to Messiaen

Michael Symmons

I am currently in the middle of a project called Messiaen 2015: Between Heaven and the Clouds, a year-long series of commissions and events around the UK, exploring Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l‘Enfant-Jésus, curated by pianist Cordelia Williams. 

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10 Questions for Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes

Adam Sweeting

Though perhaps not quite the "long strange trip" once hymned by the Grateful Dead, Leif Ove Andsnes's Beethoven Journey has been a marathon undertaking. It has spanned four years, during which the Norwegian pianist and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra have toured the world, performing all five of Beethoven's piano concertos with Andsnes conducting from the keyboard.

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Q&A Special: Pianist Lucas Debargue

ismene Brown

Last week the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow was rung down with a sigh of relief for the home team, with once again a Russian pianist in possession of the gold medal, Dmitry Masleev following 2011’s Daniil Trifonov. It was all very satisfactory for President Putin as he delivered his speech at the winners’ gala, being Tchaikovsky’s 175th anniversary year, but it was not a result that many disputed.

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theartsdesk at the Lichfield Festival

Richard Bratby

“I lately took my friend Boswell and showed him genuine civilised life in an English provincial town. I turned him loose in Lichfield, that he might see for once real civility”. In Lichfield, it’s more or less obligatory to begin with a quotation from Dr Johnson – no lover of music, although his native city does have a modest musical pedigree to set alongside its literary hall of fame.

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theartsdesk in Orkney: St Magnus Festival

David Kettle

Ebb of Winter felt about right. It’s one of Peter Maxwell Davies’s most recent works, a yearning for the brightness and warmth of spring at the end of an Orcadian winter, written in 2013 for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s 40th anniversary.

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Habemus maestrum: the Berlin Phil chooses

David Nice

Earlier this year only black smoke came from the chimney of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s orchestral conclave: a new chief conductor to follow Sir Simon Rattle had not been decided upon. Rumours circulated that it could be many months, even a year, before the choice was made.

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theartsdesk in Denmark: 150 years of Nielsen

David Nice

Music-lovers outside Denmark will have come to know Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) through his shatteringly vital symphonies as one of the world-class greats, a figure of light, darkness and every human shade in between. For Danes it is different: since childhood, most have been singing at least a dozen of his simpler songs in community gatherings, probably without even knowing the name of the composer.

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theartsdesk at the Cottier Chamber Project

David Kettle

The Cottier Chamber Project is coming to feel increasingly like Glasgow’s answer to the Proms. If the Proms took place in a former church high on shabby-chic charm, that is. And if they ran for just three weeks. And only covered chamber music.

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theartsdesk in Bergen 2: Leif Ove Andsnes curates

David Nice

If this were only the usual international festival – and it’s still a big “only” where Bergen’s flagship fortnight of theatre, dance, art and music is concerned – it might not be easy to justify swanning off to one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. What drew me in the programme, though, were two unique and probably unrepeatable concerts put together by local boy made more than good Leif Ove Andsnes.

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Listed: Essential BBC Proms

theartsdesk

Hottest tickets for seats at the Proms have probably all gone already. Yet the beauty of it is that so long as you start queueing early enough you can always get to hear the greatest, or rather the most popular, artists, for £5 in the Arena which is of course easily the best place to be acoustically in the notoriously unpredictable Royal Albert Hall.

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