wed 27/01/2021

Classical Features

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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theartsdesk in Rome: Orchestral Manoeuvres on the Dark Side

william Ward

One of the downsides of the international media’s obsession with the crimes and misdemeanours of Silvio Berlusconi and his make-it-up-as-you-go-along style of government is that anything that doesn’t fit in with the overall narrative of the crazed, corrupt media mogul destroying an otherwise magnificent, well-organised country, tends not to make the headlines.

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European Festivals 2010 Round-Up

ismene Brown

istanbulIstanbul, Turkey, 3-30 June

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theartsdesk in Istanbul: Salzburg, Here We Come

Kate Connolly A traditional melting-pot: 'Istanbul would lose its identity if it became too local.'

At a sprawling car plant in the suburbs of north-eastern Istanbul mechanics are busy repairing camshafts and dynamos, applying blow torches to the undercarriages of a range of luxury cars and retouching paintwork. Visitors to the building are met by signs reading: “Sheer Driving Pleasure” and “Check Your Engine”. Upstairs, away from the mechanical buzz, fine-tuning of a completely different kind is going on as the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra is taken through its paces by its...

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The Seckerson Tapes: Petrenko's Shostakovich Eight

Edward Seckerson Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's latest CD release

The charismatic St Petersburg-born Vasily Petrenko has really been turning things around at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra since he took over as principal conductor in 2005. With both standards and audiences on the up he has embarked upon his first major recording project – to record all 15 Shostakovich symphonies for the Naxos label. The two previous releases have received tremendous notices and in this exclusive podcast he talks about the project in general and the latest...

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theartsdesk in the Vatican: In an Audience with the Pope

Andrew Hammond

At the Vatican, recently, the Pope attended a concert in his honour in the Sala Clementina. This is the great double-height room which stands at the entrance to the private papal apartments; it is where Pope John Paul II’s body lay in state almost exactly five years ago. I was one of about 150 guests, at least a third of whom were cardinals, bishops and other senior clerical figures. As we arrived there was the most ornate and intricate gavotte of seat-taking, lasting a good 40 minutes.

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theartsdesk in Helsinki: Sunflowers By the Frozen Baltic

David Nice

Venezuela's joyful musical education programme known as El Sistema is the phenomenon of the age, the success story that many western countries now seek to replicate. And that's great. But Britain, for a start, might re-engage its own back-to-basics in music quicker by looking closer to home and seeing how Finland does it. In a small population, every child has free access to an instrument until secondary school.

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theartsdesk in Lucerne: Simón Bolívar Meets William Tell

David Nice

Glaciers melted early this year when a Venezuelan army of well over 100 generals arrived in central Switzerland. The Swiss spring coincided with their visit, a gentle thaw with bees buzzing confusedly around the primroses, snowdrops and winter jasmine; but the first appearance of the now stellar Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela at the Lucerne Easter Festival was more like the violent icebreak Stravinsky said he had in mind for The Rite of Spring.

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theartsdesk at Savannah Music Festival

Kate Connolly

Over four days I've gorged on some world-class music. If you take a pretty city in the full swing of spring, add a dose of Southern US hospitality, some exquisite venues, and a music promoter able to garner the cream of musical talent from across the genres, you have arguably found the perfect ingredients for a top-class musical extravaganza - and a wonderfully restorative experience for a music-lover ready for anything.

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