sat 19/09/2020

Classical Features

theartsdesk in Kraków - Easter music with a British focus

Miranda Heggie

Held annually every Holy Week, Kraków’s Misteria Paschalia is one of the continent’s most vibrant early music festivals.

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theartsdesk at the Lucerne Easter Festival: Haitink, Schiff and an alternative Passion

David Nice

Anyone passionate about great conducting would jump at the chance to hear 89-year-old Bernard Haitink giving three days of masterclasses with eight young practitioners of the art, his eighth and possibly last series in Lucerne (though he's not ruling anything out). That was the hook to visit this year's Easter Festival.

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theartsdesk in Korea: national pride and candour

Peter Quantrill

Fear not. The Arts Desk has not suddenly sprouted a Sports Desk. Heaven forfend. Korea in late February had more to offer than luge, bobsleigh, skeleton and all the other bemedalled and potentially life-threatening variants of hurling bodies down icy slopes. The host region of every Olympic Games throws open a window to the world on its culture, and PyeongChang 2018 was no different.

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theartsdesk in Germany - Baltic mastery in Berlin and Leipzig

David Nice

Punching well above their weights, population-wise, on the international music scene, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are celebrating, and being celebrated, in style over the year of their 100th birthdays.

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Best of 2017: Classical concerts

David Nice

Did Simon Rattle's return to the UK as Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra live up to the hype? Mostly, and when it did, the music-making was superbly alive.

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Bach Cantatas - not just for Christmas

David Nice

Faced with yet another new work premiered by the Borodin Quartet, Shostakovich asked a daunting question: "but have you played all of Haydn's quartets yet?". Of course they hadn't, and felt justly rebuked.

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theartsdesk in Stockholm - HK Gruber and sacred monsters

David Nice

It was excellent, flesh-creepy fun back in 1978, when a young Simon Rattle conducted the Liverpool world premiere with the composer declaiming, but how well has Austrian maverick H(einz) K(arl) "Nali" Gruber's "pandemonium" for chansonnier and orchestra Frankenstein!! stood the test of time? One word: brilliantly.

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theartsdesk in Katowice - energy and imagination at the Fitelberg Conducting Competition

Gavin Dixon

Music competitions are big in Poland. Every five years the classical music world turns its attention to Warsaw for the International Chopin Piano Competition, with much commentary and speculation, and a succession celebrity laureated to maintain its global reputation.

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Radically different: Horn player Anneke Scott on The Prince Regent's Band

Anneke Scott

The Prince Regent’s Band was formed in 2013 and, like very many chamber ensembles, was created when a group of us found that we shared a number of interests in common. The musicians that make up the ensemble are all specialist historic brass players and can be regularly heard performing in principal chairs with a number of leading period instrument orchestras.

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'Their DNA is forever ingrained in the keys' - Roman Rabinovich on playing composers' own pianos

Roman Rabinovich

I was recently in the UK for some solo recitals and to make my debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. One of the highlights of the trip was playing a similar programme in two very different settings: first on some magnificent period instruments and then a week later on a modern Steinway piano at Wigmore Hall.

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