sun 08/12/2019

Classical Features

The Composer and the Water-Nymph: Hans Werner Henze's Ondine

ismene Brown

Hans Werner Henze, the composer who died on Saturday aged 86, wrote the music for one of Margot Fonteyn's signature ballets, Ondine, a ballet about an inhuman spirit who longs to be joined to a man - but when she does, he must die. It might almost be a metaphor for the death of the thought the moment it is realised.

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Exclusive: Friar Alessandro, The Voice of Assisi

theartsdesk

By day, Friar Alessandro Brustenghi lives and works in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi. In his spare time, he works as a carpenter.  But he also has a new career as, in the words of his producer Mike Hedges, “the next Italian tenor”. The fruits of his entry into Abbey Road’s recording studio is Voice from Assisi. You can listen here on theartsdesk to the entire album, exclusively until midnight on Thursday.

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theartsdesk in Bonn: Tradition and Innovation at the 2012 Beethovenfest

alexandra Coghlan

It’s Beethoven all right, but not as you know him. The scowl is there, and the broad heroic shoulders too, but the iconic tousled hair is glowing a rather unexpected shade of orange. A purple cloak sweeps down to the floor, setting off a jaunty pair of Elton John-style glasses and a leopard-print waistcoat.

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3D: A First for the Last Night

Simon Broughton

During an orchestral rehearsal, it’s tense in a TV scanner at the best of times. A scanner is one of the huge vans parked outside the Royal Albert Hall with a wall of screens showing the shots from the cameras within. There’s a large huddle of BBC radio and television vans for the whole season. But there was another outside broadcast encampment on Saturday for the Last Night of the Proms, which was being broadcast in 3D for the first time.

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Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage in Song

William Berger

Classical albums are seldom biographical, but Insomnia turned out to be a much more personal journey than I first realised. In the summer of 2010, I was a prize winner in the Ernst Haefliger Competition in Bern, Switzerland. Part of the award was a debut recital in the Lucerne International Festival the following year. The festival theme for 2011 was “Nacht”. That’s it; one tiny word that encompasses so much.

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Opinion: How much noise is too much noise in the classical concert-hall?

alexandra Coghlan

We’ve all been there: the persistent sweet-unwrapper during a Beethoven slow movement, the mobile-phone screen glowing at the corner of your field of vision throughout King Lear, the fidgeter who seems to drop their programme every time the music subsides to pianissimo. But where do we draw the (battle) line between ambient noise and outright intrusion? And how, more importantly, should we address these concerns in the heat of the moment?

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theartsdesk in Verbier: Flowers, Cows and Musical Stars

ismene Brown

Can this really be only an afternoon’s travelling away from traffic-choked London? I’m waist-deep in wild blue lupins on a verdant Swiss mountain looking for a concert hall.

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theartsdesk Olympics: The Golden Age

ismene Brown

Rio Ferdinand did four years' ballet training as a child, England manager Graham Taylor sent the national squad to dance classes, while the Royal Ballet once ran an active football team. Ballet and football have long been secret lovers backstage. But they have only been rarely seen out together in public.

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theartsdesk in Istanbul: East meets West at the Istanbul Music Festival

alexandra Coghlan

There’s a peculiarly boundless quality to Istanbul – a city where private domestic life sprawls publicly out across pavements and parks, the bustle of the city seeps out beyond land onto the commercial waterways of the Bosphorous, and cats stroll casually in and out of concert halls.

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Interview: Film composer Ilan Eshkeri

Peter Culshaw

At his studio near White City in West London (he did say it was Notting Hill) Ilan Eshkeri’s is adding a scratchy cello to a key moment in Ralph Fiennes film of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. It’s the moment the inhabitants of Rome realise that Coriolanus, an exile, is about to attack them.

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