tue 09/08/2022

Classical Features

Newcomers triumph at BBC Music Magazine Awards

David Nice

We had, as presenter James Naughtie so wryly remarked, set aside our mourning weeds for the low-key glamour of celebrating a far from moribund classical recording industry. Movers, shakers and humble BBC Music Magazine contributors all shifted from the airy dining space at the ever-accommodating Kings Place yesterday - I won't forget the mint marshmallow - and descended to woody Hall One for the magazine's 2013 awards.

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Leif Ove Andsnes, Wigmore Hall

alexandra Coghlan

If ever there was such a thing as a safe pair of pianistic hands then they would belong to Norway’s Leif Ove Andsnes. There’s a cool, patrician control to everything he does that speaks to thorough preparation, careful interpretative choices and immaculate technique. Thrill-seekers and risk-takers may want to look elsewhere, but for everyone else Andsnes offers the chance to hear cleanly through to the skeleton of a work.

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Interview: Stephan Micus, the world's largest one-man band

Simon Broughton

"Multi-instrumentalist" is a catch-all phrase that usually means somebody who plays flute, clarinet, sax and perhaps a bit of guitar. When it comes to Stephan Micus, he’s a multi-instrumentalist of an altogether different calibre. He plays hundreds of instruments – he doesn’t know how many – which he’s collected and commissioned from all over the world.

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Filming John Adams

mark Kidel

When I first approached John Adams with the idea of making a documentary about him, he gently but firmly turned me down: he had unequivocally bad memories of a film made a few years back, an uncomfortable ride with a director who thought nothing of editing a sequence in which John spoke about one piece, while a completely different one was being played to illustrate his comments. When John had objected, the director in question had dismissively refused to make any changes.

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Q&A Special: Conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch on Strauss and Wagner

David Nice

In many ways the most well-tempered of conductors, Wolfgang Sawallisch (1923-2013) brought a peerless orchestral transparency and beauty of line to the great German classics. Even the most overloaded Richard Strauss scores under his watchful eye and ear could sound, as the composer once said his opera Elektra should, “like fairy music by Mendelssohn”.

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Manchester International Festival 2013 Preview

Peter Culshaw

Yesterday Kenneth Branagh was thanking Manchester – saying that he felt he had “come of age” the previous time he had performed Shakespeare in the city 25 years ago, the audience being so “generous, quick-witted and lively".

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Save The Conservatoire: Blackheath and the Arts Funding Climate

joe Muggs

As a south-east Londoner and a parent, I was overjoyed recently to discover the Blackheath Conservatoire and its range of family-friendly musical activities – and sad to realise that like so many arts institutions in the current climate it is under threat of closure. It is in fact in the very final stages of a fundraising drive to refinance its debt and prevent its demise – moving steadily towards a donation target of £175,000 needed by the end of this month.

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Q&A Special: Memories of Lutosławski

alexandra Coghlan

While the history of 20th-century music is undoubtedly the history of the 20th century – from the decadent expressionism of fin-de-siècle Berlin to the imagined surrealist worlds of 1920s Paris – few composers lived or wrote the century quite as vividly as Witold Lutosławski. He is celebrating his centenary this year.

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Barbican and Southbank 2013-14 seasons: still neck and neck

David Nice

With the cuts still to bite deep, it's enterprising business as usual for both of London’s biggest concert-hall complexes and their satellite orchestras in the newly announced season to come. I use the word "complex" carefully, because as from September, the Barbican Centre, which already has access to LSO St Luke's up the road, will also be using the 608-seater hall constructed as part of its neighbouring Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Milton Court development.

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Galina Vishnevskaya on Britten and his War Requiem

David Nice

One of Russia’s greatest and most inspirational sopranos, Galina Vishnevskaya died on 11 December at the age of 86. To the world at large, she will probably be most famous for taking an heroic stand alongside her husband, cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, against the Soviet authorities over the treatment of Alexander Solzhenitsyn; in 1974, the couple were stripped of their citizenship as a result.

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