A shot of good news for classical CDs
Nielsen Soundscan reports that classical music sales in the US had the biggest rise of any genre in the first half of 2011. Classical is up 13 percent year on year. Much of the increase is coming, apparently, from small labels. Here’s Variety’s take. I’ll try to find more details.
Breaking: Paul McCartney releases his first ballet score
Written for New York, it’s played by the London Classical Orchestra. Details here: Paul McCartney Announces Ocean’s Kingdom His first orchestral score for dance to be released October 4th 2011 Marking his first foray into the world of dance, Paul McCartney has announced the general release of Ocean’s Kingdom, commissioned by the New York City Ballet. The recording will be released […]
When is it OK to reaudition musicians for their jobs?
Reports have reached me over the past couple of days that players in the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, which makes its UK debut at the Edinburgh Festival tonight, are required once a year to prove their competence, or lose their jobs. This sounded, at first impression, not dissimilar to the situation at the Brazil Symphony Orchestra, […]
Swiss flock to hear singing bus driver in Parliament Square (with added video)
Ever since she won Switzerland’s Got Talent, Maya Wirz has been the Alpine equivalent of Susan Boyle. She has a Sony record contract with all the trimmings, and can hardly get her bus out of the depot in the morning for all the autograph demands. This Saturday she gets to sing with the Berne Symphony […]
Musicians reach ‘boiling point’ with abusive conductor (update)
You may recall the incident at the Tchaikovsky Comeptition when conductor Mark Gorenstein was accused of projecting racial abuse at the Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan and subsequently withdrew from the following rounds. Hakhnazaryan went on to win. Well, Gorestein is now under attack from players in his own Svetlanov symphony orchestra, who have written […]
How was Stockhausen junior's take on Wagner's Ring?
I haven’t seen Ein Wagner Wiedergänger myself, but I know someone who has. Here’s Rebecca Schmid’s account, with her own pictures, from Berlin. http://www.npr.org/blogs/nprberlinblog/2011/08/19/139791996/a-rheingold-for-the-21st-century (c) Rebecca Schmid, all rights reserved
A call for singer-songwriters
Much as I deplore TV talent shows, here’s a contest coming up where merit may actually play a role in determining the winner. The Los Angeles casting agency below is lookig for singers who write their own material. The rules out precocious kids, cellphone salesmen and Su Boyle. If you fancy your chances, you’ve got […]
Why the conductor tipped a jug of water on his concertmaster's head
Among many reminiscences received of the late Inge Tennstedt, one brought me out in tears of laughter. Inge had a lot to put up with as Mrs Maestro, but this night in Paris, remembered by former EMI man John Pattrick, was a bit special – even in the Tennstedt legend. Here’s John’s story: Klaus was […]
Latest: Seiji Ozawa suffers pneumonia setback
My inbox went red last night with reports that Seiji Ozawa had pulled out of the second performance of Bluebeard’s Castle with the Saito Kinen orchestra in Matsumoto. The production marked his return from a year of cancer treatment and there were fears that he had done himself a mischief by accelerating his return. He […]
Daniel Barenboim tweets: there are 14 new productions in my Berlin season.
Well, not quite. It breaks down to eight new shows in the main house and six on the Werskstatt studio stage. And there’s a new venue – a converted former power station. Quite an enterprise to put on 370 events in a season. Here’s the full release: BARENBOIM’S 2011/12 BERLIN STAATSOPER SEASON FEATURES OPERA’S BIGGEST […]
Exclusive: the world's most sold-out opera house
Summer’s ending and everyone’s totting up their totals. I looked onto a friend’s screen the other day and saw a statistic so breathtaking she had to sit me down and make me a cup of tea. When is an opera house full or sold-out? Usually when there’s just one or two hundred tickets left for […]