sun 05/07/2020

Classical Features

theartsdesk in Bregenz: The Genius of Mieczyslaw Weinberg

stephen Walsh

Ever since I can remember, the composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg has played a walk-on part in histories of Soviet music. If you find him in an index at all (probably under Vainberg or Vajnberg, and usually with the first name given him by a box-ticking Soviet border guard in 1939: Moisey, or even Moshe), you’ll usually end up reading one of those melancholy and unhelpful lists: “Shostakovich’s followers include...”

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theartsdesk in Verbier: Musicians Peak in the Alps

David Nice

You want to see Yuri Bashmet, arguably the greatest living viola player, but you can't because you've chosen to go to a recital by Yevgeny Kissin, one of the world's top pianists, on the same evening in another hall. Even the option of dashing from one half to another is complicated by timing and distance. No, this isn't Berlin, London or Vienna.

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The Man Who Could Upstage Dame Judi At The Prom

Jasper Rees 'You start and you finish and that's it': the profoundly deaf Paul Whittaker signs 'Jerusalem' with The Sixteen

It has just been announced that Dame Judi Dench will be making her Proms debut this Saturday. Sondheim at 80 is the occasion, and she will reprise her rendition of “Send in the Clowns” from the National’s 1985 production of A Little Night Music. “It’s yours now,” Sondheim told her when he heard her performance. She will line up alongside Bryn Terfel,...

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The BBC's new TV dawn for the Proms

Adam Sweeting Paul Lewis, Beethoven specialist and pioneering subject of the Q-Ball camera

For the couch-bound classical music lover, keeping up with the Proms is pretty straightforward. Step one: open bottle of agreeable claret. Step two: turn on Radio 3 and listen, or watch selected Proms on BBC Two or BBC Four. Or, indeed, catch up on the iPlayer. But needless to say, there's a colossal amount of work going on behind the scenes to make it all happen.

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Performing Die Schöne Müllerin

Mark Padmore

Few great works of art are as disarming as Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin. With its folksong-like melodies and deceptively simple harmonic palate, it is quite hard to account for the cycle’s profound emotional effect. How is it that over the course of 20 songs we fall under the spell of a naïve and sentimental lover, a slightly effeminate, self-obsessed boy who, no sooner than he sees a rival, despairs and drowns himself?

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Remembering Charles Mackerras

David Nice

Perhaps we can drop the "sir" here, as he preferred, though most of the contributors below only knew him in his knighted later years. No death of a musical great, at least since the departure of Mstislav Rostropovich, has caused such a flurry of tributes and reminiscences, even if many of us were long prepared for the end and marvelled at the way he soldiered on to give more great performances in his final year. Tributes from Kit Armstrong, Isobel Buchanan, Colin Currie, ...

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Verbier Festival: an Alpine symphony

Jasper Rees

It becomes increasingly hard for a music festival to stick out from the crowd these days. But high culture, high summer and high altitude create a rousing major chord each July in Verbier, which can genuinely claim to be the only festival you reach by cable car. When you get up there you are greeted by an alpine symphony of glaciers slithering off peaks and pastures clanging with cowbells. Streams descant and trill along gutters between chalets.

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BBC Proms 2010: theartsdesk recommends...

theartsdesk

It's that time again. The BBC Proms - in classical music terms, the greatest show on Earth - begin tonight with Mahler's massive Eighth Symphony. From Bryn Terfel in Wagner on the second night of the Proms to Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Monteverdi's Vespers on the second-to-last night. theartsdesk's music writers choose the performances they're looking forward to.

 

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All Das Jazz: the Berlin Phil swing with Wynton Marsalis

Kate Connolly

"It was only on Monday afternoon that the final scores of three of the movements were put into my hands," says Sir Simon Rattle, chuckling at the memory and casting a mock glance of disapproval at the composer and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis who is sitting next to him looking rather sheepish. "It makes us realise that composers are human beings just like we are," the conductor adds. "I'm just praying I get all my tempos right by tonight."

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Nigel Kennedy's Polish Adventure

Adam Sweeting

Brilliant though it was to be shooting an Imagine film for BBC One, we did experience the occasional tremor of foreboding about making a programme with Nigel Kennedy. We (that's me and director Frank Hanly) had a bit of previous with Nigel - I'd done several print interviews with him, and we'd shot a couple of short films with him for EMI.

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