wed 22/09/2021

Classical Features

theartsdesk in Svalbard: cultural excellence at the top of the world

David Nice

You should not die or be born on Svalbard, 1,985 kilometres above Norway's northernmost coast, and at 18 you work or leave for the mainland. Hunting is over, mining nearly so. Tourism, carefully managed, and Arctic research are the future; the Global Seed Vault is also here, and Syria has been the first country to take from it.

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Roger Wright on Oliver Knussen: ‘his challenge to us all to remain curious lives on’

Roger Wright

The composition course founded more than 25 years ago at Snape by composers Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews is in full swing. The scene is the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings on the Suffolk coast. Like Colin, Olly's connections to Aldeburgh and Snape are deep and long lasting, including his Artistic Directorship of the Festival.

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theartsdesk in Gothenburg: concert-hall storytelling rivets at the Point Music Festival

David Nice

There was a special celebratory aura to the start of Swedish city Gothenburg's first Point Festival. Earlier in the week its Symphony Orchestra's Chief Conductor, electrifying Finn Santtu-Matias Rouvali, had not only announced a renewed contract there but also been appointed to the same position with our own Philharmonia Orchestra, to succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen.

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First Person: Liam Byrne on bringing Versailles to the City's 'Culture Mile'

Liam Byrne

When you dedicate your life to studying and performing on a musical instrument that essentially went extinct at the end of the 18th century, nostalgia plays a certain unavoidable role in your daily routine.

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theartsdesk in Tallinn and Tartu: Estonian Music Days go global

David Nice

First under Soviet rule, then in the remarkable flourishing of a liberated nation, Estonian contemporary music has held its independent head high and showcased it, under the aegis of the Estonian Composers' Union, first for a few days and now for more than a week in spring. In this, its 40th anniversary year, Estonian Music Days became World Music Days, hosting composers from 60 countries as the base for the 96-year old ISCM.

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First Person: Robert Hollingworth on I Fagiolini's 'Leonardo - Shaping the Invisible'

Robert Hollingworth

Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago on 2 May this year. We all know he was a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, pioneer of flight and anatomist – yet according to Vasari, Leonardo’s first job outside Florence was as a result of his musical talents.

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In the spirit of the composer as innovator: Samir Savant on the London Handel Festival

Samir Savant

This is my third year as festival director of the London Handel Festival, an annual celebration of the life and work of composer George Frideric Handel, which takes place every spring in venues across the capital.

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A Previn treasury

David Nice

In a way, he was a second Bernstein.

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Best of 2018: Classical concerts

David Nice

Starry times with the big spectaculars really paid off this year, even if the works performed weren't unusual for London. Pappano's latest Verdi Requiem at the Royal Opera was the classiest perfection imaginable, crowned by the phenomenal Lise Davidsen.

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theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

David Nice

Five of Leoš Janáček's 10 operas are staples of the worldwide repertoire. Two I'd never seen on stage, so the slice I chose of the19-day festival devoted to all of them for the second time in the history of Brno, the cultured Moravian capital where he spent most of his life, tended to the rare and local.

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