mon 06/07/2020

Classical Features

Opinion: When artists could speak out

David Nice

Take note of the title, with its “could”, not “must”. “The word ‘must’ is not to be used to Princes,” quoth Good Queen Bess as echoed in Britten’s Gloriana. Yet that was the verb used by New York writer Scott Rose, guest-posting on Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog.

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Opinion: Cuts to music education are a positive step

Christopher Monks

“Without music, life would be a mistake”: Nietzsche. Sadly for many – indeed tragically, Nietzsche would say – music education in the UK has become so inconsistent that now, music barely features in some children’s lives at all. For years, county music services have been tied in to long contracts with services and teachers, some of whom have consistently delivered outstanding musical education, while others are tired and disconnected from the needs of the pupils they are teaching.

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theartsdesk in Oslo: Trumpets sound for Munch

alexandra Coghlan

Back in the 19th century it was violinist Ole Bull who put Norway on the musical map, likened by Schumann to Paganini and celebrated across Europe for his supreme virtuosity. More recently pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has emerged as the nation’s classical champion, a rare performer whose taste is equal to his technique.

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Extract: The Show Must Go On (2012)

Gareth Davies

As we approach the end of what feels like a long season of concerts, I cannot think of a more satisfying way to finish than with Bernard Haitink on the podium. All conductors have different styles, whether dancelike, quivering, rude, tormented genius, or extended baton (others are available). Bernard is one of a precious few who don’t really seem to do anything much when they stand in front of an orchestra.

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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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