fri 13/12/2019

Classical Features

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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The Seckerson Tapes: Conductor John Wilson

Edward Seckerson

John Wilson and the orchestra which bears his name created an absolute sensation at the 2009 Proms with their celebration of 75 years of MGM musicals. A total of 3.5 million people watched the broadcast live; countless more all over the world will relive the experience on DVD. Wilson has made a speciality of restoring and recreating great movie scores and presenting them in all their very particular glory in concert halls up and down the UK.

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Interview: Eric Whitacre, Virtual Choirmaster

Adam Sweeting Eric Whitacre: From electropop to choral music for the cyberspace era

McDonald's (the hamburger people) are rarely acknowledged for their contributions to the arts, but without them we may never have witnessed the meteoric rise of composer Eric Whitacre. When he was 14, he heard a casting call on the radio for a McDonald's TV ad, persuaded his mother to drive him into Reno, Nevada to join the throng of hopeful teenagers, and ended up making a brief appearance in the "McDonald’s Great Year" commercial.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Conductor Stephen Layton

Edward Seckerson Conductor and choral scholar Stephen Layton: One of the lucky ones

Conductor and choral scholar Stephen Layton once said that he often wondered what happened to the little boy at his primary school who he thought sang better than he did. The discovering and nurturing of raw talent is an issue very close to his heart and he offers three heartfelt cheers for the work of TV's Gareth Malone in that regard. Stephen was one of the lucky...

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theartsdesk in Berlin: More Venezuelans, Even Younger

Kate Connolly

Just seconds into a performance by the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil Teresa Carreño it is immediately clear what Sir Simon Rattle meant when he said, “I have seen the future of music.” The passion and physical and mental energy with which they play, along with the sheer joy they seem to glean from it, is enough to instill hope in even the staunchest cultural pessimist.

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