fri 18/10/2019

Classical Features

theartsdesk in Warsaw: Moniuszko Vocal Competition 2016

Gavin Dixon

We don’t hear much about composer Stanisław Moniuszko in the West, but in Poland he’s considered a key figure in the history of opera. Moniuszko’s statue stands at the entrance of the National Opera House in Warsaw, and inside he’s depicted by several busts and portraits.

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theartsdesk in Göttingen: HandelFest 2016

David Nice

What Auden called "the sexy airs of summer" arrived early in Göttingen this year. Frog action in the Botanical Gardens of the town's pioneering University may have been less clamorous than when I first came here in late rather than early May (the annual International Handel Festival usually begins whenever the Ascension Day holiday happens to be, so it's a moveable celebration).

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theartsdesk at Tectonics Glasgow 2016

David Kettle

For a festival of wild, genre-colliding musical experimentation, Tectonics is almost starting to feel like part of the establishment. Which shows, if nothing else, that it must be getting somewhere with its boundary demolishing. The 2016 weekend over 7-8 May was its fourth outing in Glasgow – conductor Ilan Volkov founded it in Reykjavík in 2012, and since then it’s spread its all-embracing eclecticism worldwide to Tel Aviv, Adelaide, New York and beyond.

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theartsdesk in Tallinn: Estonian Music Days

David Nice

A young nation with a small population and the most untarnished democratic credentials in Europe today can do certain things with festivals not so easy to imagine here. When Estonian Music Days, focused on native and contemporary music, took nature as its theme for 2016 – in this case posing a question in the title, "Green Sound?" – it could expect many of its 60 featured composers to respond to commissioning by making a direct link to the native ecology.

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Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016) - 'Music for anyone and everyone'

Peter Quantrill

With the death of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies from leukaemia at the age of 81, the UK has lost the most prolific composer of his generation, as well as one of the most passionate advocates for art music.

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Remembering Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)

Marshall Marcus

2016 began with the passing of Pierre Boulez, arguably the doyen of modernism in the field of classical music. Now, only a couple of months later, it is the turn of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a musician occupying a similar level of singular elevation but this time in what is often described (certainly inadequately in this case) as the "period instrument" movement.

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theartsdesk in Oslo: Vasily Petrenko, the Leningrad Dynamo, comes to town

Adam Sweeting

I've never thought of myself as a Shostakovich fan, tending to regard what I know of his output as bleak and forbidding. Photographs of the stone-faced composer with the mortuary attendant's demeanour haven't helped.

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White smoke at the CBSO: Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla for Music Director

Richard Bratby

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's appointment of the Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla as its new Music Director won’t have surprised many concertgoers in Birmingham – or indeed regular readers of theartsdesk. The post has been vacant since Andris Nelsons’ premature departure in summer 2015, and the last few months in Birmingham have seen a string of concerts clearly intended as thinly-disguised auditions for conductors of various ages and nationalities.

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Boulez, The Rite and the National Youth Orchestra

theartsdesk

David Nice writes: 2016 began by ringing in the new with concerts by the ever-astonishing National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and continued by ringing out the old-new with funeral bells on the news of Pierre Boulez’s death at the age of 90.

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Opinion: The new London hall - 10 Questions we need to ask

Jessica Duchen

So the feasibility study for the new concert hall – The Centre for Music – has finally surfaced, a little later than planned. It’s being greeted, generally speaking, as if it’s to be the next London Olympics. “A global beacon,” declares the Evening Standard...

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