tue 28/09/2021

Classical Features

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.

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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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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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