fri 14/08/2020

Classical Features

Elliott Carter Remembered

stephen Walsh

It’s hard to imagine that a composer’s death at the age of 103 could be a loss to music, in the sense of possible future work, as well as a personal loss, which of course death will always be. But Elliott Carter was a unique exception.

Read more...

Opinion: why arts education matters

graham Rickson

There’s been a star-studded attack from leading figures in the arts on the decision by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, to exclude the performing arts from the English Baccalaureate, the planned replacement for the GCSE examination. To the Coalition’s credit, they've also published a National Plan for Music Education, “part of the Government’s aim to ensure that all pupils have rich cultural opportunities alongside their academic and vocational studies”.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Calgary: Innovation and Iconoclasm at the 2012 International Honens Piano Competition

alexandra Coghlan

Can you name the last three winners of the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition? The Van Cliburn? The Queen Elizabeth? Chopin? Probably not. There was a time when winning a piano competition was a ticket to success, a star-making, career-changing event. Now it’s lucky to land you an agent, let alone a record contract.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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?

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Spree review - a wild ride through social media madness

Allergic to that word “influencer”? Afraid that social...

Mandy, BBC2 review - Diane Morgan's new creation

Mandy started life in the Comedy Shorts season last year, and has now been given a six-part series. Diane Morgan, who has a...

Babyteeth review - teenage love and terminal illness in the...

Babyteeth gets off to a terrific start. A semi-naked, manic Moses (Toby Wallace, full of scabby charisma) almost pushes 15-year-old Milla...

Theatre Unlocked 4: Shows in concert and a contemporary clas...

After months spent sifting amongst the virtual, I'm pleased to report that live performance looks to be on the (socially distanced) rebound. The...

Pinocchio review - wooden heart

This seems a perfect project for Matteo Garrone, a director who has found new ways to conjure old Italian dreams, and invests even his most grimly...

AIM Awards 2020, SBTV review - a game attempt to rewire awar...

Music awards shows are a strange beast: part window display, part industry conference and part party. Especially if you don’t have Brit Awards or...

Charles Owen, Fidelio Orchestra Café review - high-profile,...

Composer Gian-Carlo Menotti once asked rhetorically what society wanted of performing artists – “the bread of life or the after-dinner mint?”...

Album: Biffy Clyro - A Celebration of Endings

Together for over 20 years and with a string of incredibly successful albums, the...

Fanny and Stella, Garden Theatre review - a saucy slice of q...

In a purgatorial summer, this boisterous, camp and chaotically charming...

Cuba: Castro vs the World, BBC Two - turbulent life and time...

During World War Two, President Franklin D Roosevelt described the USA as “the arsenal of democracy”. Only a couple of decades later, Fidel Castro...