thu 03/12/2020

Classical Features

Why Kipling Scuppered Elgar's Sea-Songs

Tom Higgins The Fringes of the Fleet: the cast of the 1917 premiere

Elgar’s flag-waving nautical song-cycle The Fringes of the Fleet was performed to packed houses up and down the country in 1917, then sank virtually without trace for the next 90 years. As the work receives its first professional orchestral recording since Elgar's own, Tom Higgins, the conductor of the recording, explains how the work came into being, and why Rudyard Kipling had it banned.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Messiah, ENO

Edward Seckerson

With its powerfully emotive stagings of Bach's St John Passion and Verdi's Requiem English National Opera has built something of a reputation for bringing sacred masterworks to the secular stage. Award-winning director Deborah Warner, conductor and Handel specialist Lawrence Cummings, and ENO's indefatigable chorus master Martin Merry tell Edward Seckerson about the challenges of making a credible stage spectacle...

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Interview: William Christie

Peter Culshaw

"It's mostly very clipped and formal, but parts of it have been getting wonderfully wilder and wilder in the last few years." William Christie, whom I’ve met several times in the last decade, is describing his famous French garden in La Vendée, which has featured in many a glossy magazine. But he could also be describing himself.

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The Night Shift, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, QEH

Jasper Rees

Go on, admit it. You’ve done it too. Someone is talking in your vicinity and you’ve turned round to give them evils. It’s a manoeuvre I’ve been perfecting for years. The classic rebuke is in the speedy twist of the neck, a withering glance in the perpetrator’s general direction (but not, crucially, into their eyeballs: too confrontational) followed by the slow, affronted turn back to face the front. For one night only, the gesture says, you are singlehandedly ruining my life. I didn't pay...

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The Seckerson Tapes: Jamie Bernstein on Leonard Bernstein

Edward Seckerson

theartsdesk.com presents The Seckerson Tapes, a series of live and uncut audio interviews from acclaimed broadcaster Edward Seckerson. We start with Jamie Bernstein - Leonard Bernstein's eldest daughter - who has been in London launching the year-long Bernstein Project at the South Bank. Seckerson, a long-standing Bernstein devotee and disciple, sat down for a frank and open discussion about exactly who her "dad" was.

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I Found My Horn special: The Art of Dennis Brain

Jasper Rees

I Found My Horn is both an autobiography of sorts and a biography of sorts. It tells the story of those phases of my life, as a schoolboy and then again aged 40, when I happened to have a French horn in my hands. But it is also an account of the instrument's long and extremely colourful history. In the 20th century that history is inextricably connected to the name of Dennis Brain, probably the greatest soloist the instrument has ever known.

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Kurt Masur & the Leipzig Gewandhaus

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

There aren’t many composers or musicians who can say that they changed society. And by that I mean really changed it. Few have ever come close to materially or politically transforming their surroundings in any truly meaningful way. There are many who claim they have, or wish they had: Wagner or Beethoven in the 19th century, Barenboim most notably – but doubtfully – in our own. But there is only one musician who actually did: the conductor, Kurt Masur.

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