wed 23/10/2019

Classical Features

theartsdesk in Cuenca: Religious Music Week

Peter Culshaw Houses perched precariously in the medieval town of Cuenca

It’s Holy Wednesday in Cuenca, and going round the corner into Cathedral Square I’m surrounded by hordes of guys in multicoloured mufti who look like the Ku Klux Klan, with unnecessarily pointy hoods. Twenty of them are carrying a heavy float with a large statue of Jesus on it. In Cuenca things are fairly austere, compared to other places where there’s a lot of self-whipping, or where, if you have sin on your conscience, you may end up banging nails into your hands, as in Mexico. Still there...

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Interview: Violinist Daniel Hope

Adam Sweeting Daniel Hope sets off to explore the legacy of Joseph Joachim

In the later 19th century, violinist and composer Joseph Joachim was hailed as the most brilliant fiddler of his day, but today his name lives on via the great works that he helped to bring into the classical repertoire. Brahms dedicated his Violin Concerto to Joachim, while Bruch's First Violin Concerto was substantially revised by Joachim and became closely identified with him. Both the Schumann and Dvořák concertos were written for him, though Joachim never performed the latter.

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Interview: Pianist Nick Van Bloss

Jasper Rees Nick Van Bloss: 'The piano was a safe haven for me'

A new recording of The Goldberg Variations is now available, by Nick Van Bloss. In the annals of British pianism, it’s not quite a name to be conjured with. Or not yet. Until he performed at Cadogan Hall in 2009, he had not visited the concert platform in 15 years. After a promising early career, he retired at the age of 26. It’s not as if he didn’t play the piano at all in the interim. He just didn't play to anyone but himself. The reason why he gave up performing is simple....

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Elgar's Enigma - A Love Child Named Pearl?

ismene Brown

UPDATE 2015: Four years ago, in January 2011, I wrote this article about the music critic and biographer Michael Kennedy's search for the missing portion of Elgar's life. It identified a Mrs Dora Nelson as the composer's mistress and mother of a lovechild, who might have influenced some legendarily enigmatic aspects of Elgar's compositional output.

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Opinion: If the classical concert scene ain't broke, don't fix it

David Nice

Most of us don't object to experiments in concert presentation - the occasional one-off showcase to lure the young and suspicious into the arcane world of attentive concert-going, the odd multimedia event as icing on the cake. It's only those pundits obsessed with the key word "accessibility" who tell us that the basic concept of sitting (or standing, as they have at the Proms for well over a century) and listening with respect for those around us needs overhauling. It's a typical...

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Charles Hazlewood On Music In Bristol

Charles Hazlewood

Next Friday, my amazing period-instrument orchestra, Army of Generals, begins a new residency at St George’s Bristol. The aim of this unconventional and high-octane series of concerts - which will be performed by what I refer to as my crack squad of period instrumentalists - is to raise the bar for people’s engagement with music and to bring some musical protein to a city which I think is so desperately in need of it.

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Year Out/Year In: Classical Music and Opera

theartsdesk

Earlier this month, George Osborne, Vince Cable and Jeremy Hunt were spotted in a Royal Opera House box surveying the country's most expensive artistic patrimony. What they thought - and how they and the Arts Council might wield their axe - will change the musical landscape of Britain forever.

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theartsdesk's Christmas Presents Guide

theartsdesk

With the lightning speed of online delivery, there is still masses of time to select the best and most enjoyable presents for Christmas, thanks to the taste and wisdom of theartsdesk's pack of writers.

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theartsdesk in Colombo: Where Music Matters as East Meets West

ASH Smyth Eshanta Peiris: the multifaceted Sri Lankan musician

For hundreds of years now the island currently known as Sri Lanka has had a thriving musical culture (or cultures, not to politicise the issue). There’s been folk music for as long as there’ve been folks. The various strata of society have refined their ceremonial music, be it sacred or profane. Each ethnic group in each part of the island has hived off its own sub-genres over the centuries. And in the colonial era (eras) a whole new batch of influences arrived, fully formed, ready...

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Interview: Violinist Nicola Benedetti goes Romantic

Jasper Rees

It’s not often that a serious musician goes into the recording studio to play requests. But as the closest that classical music strays to The X Factor (unless you count Paul Potts), Nicola Benedetti has a different kind of relationship with audiences.

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