mon 14/10/2019

Classical Features

Extract: The Show Must Go On (1912)

Gareth Davies

New York City, the movie star, is so familiar now even to those who have never visited that it’s difficult to imagine the impact on the LSO players of arriving there for the first time. As they stood on the deck of the Baltic, the Statue of Liberty must have been a welcome sight after 10 days at sea. First impressions of the city were not entirely favourable: before they could get to their hotel, the entire orchestra with its baggage, instruments, and music had to be checked through customs...

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theartsdesk in Dresden: Wagner and Vivaldi at the 2013 Dresden Music Festival

alexandra Coghlan

Sitting in the concert hall in Dresden’s Albertinum – the city’s modern art gallery – is a paradoxical experience. You are indoors, but faced on all sides by external walls, framed by Dresden’s typical bourgeois 19th-century architecture but looking up to a giddyingly contemporary, asymmetric ceiling. Neon-lit signs cover one wall, while the other gives way to a gallery of classical sculpture.

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theartsdesk in Göttingen: Handel goes east

David Nice

Let me confess: I had to return to lovely Göttingen as much for the frogs as for the Handel. Puffing out their throats like bubblegum, the amphibians' brekekekek chorus in the ponds of the great university’s botanic gardens actually made a more spectacular showing, in my books, than the main opera of this year’s Handel Festival, the 93rd, with its canny theme linking the German honorary Englishman with the Orient.

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BBC Proms 2013: Ring operas for a fiver each

David Nice

First, the good news: you can see Wagner’s entire Ring at the Royal Albert Hall, with absolutely the world’s finest Wagner singers and conductor in concert, for a grand total of £20. The bad news is that unless you have a season ticket – in which case it works out even cheaper – you’ll probably have to queue for most of the day to guarantee a place in the Arena or Gallery, and then you’ll still need the energy to stand for up to five hours an evening.

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'For him, maestro was an ironic term': Sir Colin Davis remembered

theartsdesk

Still the tributes come thick and fast, celebrating the greatest performances of the public figure who is remembered with the most universal affection and admiration this week (and on this day). We asked some of the top musicians to focus on an event, a meeting or a recording which made a special impact on them.

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Sir Colin Davis: 'He simply knew how Mozart should go'

Humphrey Burton

Colin was an enormous influence in my youth and I’d like to share some memories of those days. It was over 60 years ago, on a Sunday afternoon in May 1952, that  I attended a concert performance of The Marriage of Figaro given by Chelsea Opera Group in a school hall in Hills Road, Cambridge. The singers were all young, gifted and sparky. The orchestra purred.

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Sir Colin Davis, 1927-2013

Adam Sweeting

In its ebbs, flows and final grand flourishing, the career of Sir Colin Davis was reminiscent of some of the great musical masterpieces with which he became closely identified. From Mozart to Tippett, Berlioz to Beethoven and Sibelius, Davis proved himself one of the major international conductors of the post-war era.

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Newcomers triumph at BBC Music Magazine Awards

David Nice

We had, as presenter James Naughtie so wryly remarked, set aside our mourning weeds for the low-key glamour of celebrating a far from moribund classical recording industry. Movers, shakers and humble BBC Music Magazine contributors all shifted from the airy dining space at the ever-accommodating Kings Place yesterday - I won't forget the mint marshmallow - and descended to woody Hall One for the magazine's 2013 awards.

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Leif Ove Andsnes, Wigmore Hall

alexandra Coghlan

If ever there was such a thing as a safe pair of pianistic hands then they would belong to Norway’s Leif Ove Andsnes. There’s a cool, patrician control to everything he does that speaks to thorough preparation, careful interpretative choices and immaculate technique. Thrill-seekers and risk-takers may want to look elsewhere, but for everyone else Andsnes offers the chance to hear cleanly through to the skeleton of a work.

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Interview: Stephan Micus, the world's largest one-man band

Simon Broughton

"Multi-instrumentalist" is a catch-all phrase that usually means somebody who plays flute, clarinet, sax and perhaps a bit of guitar. When it comes to Stephan Micus, he’s a multi-instrumentalist of an altogether different calibre. He plays hundreds of instruments – he doesn’t know how many – which he’s collected and commissioned from all over the world.

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