Shock, horror: More Brits do art than sport
A new Government survey reveals an alarming decline in traditional British activities. Of 14,102 people polled by the Department of Culture Media and Sport, only 71.7 percent admitted to taking part in a sporting activity as part of their leisure pursuits. For the land that invented most ball games, that’s a shocking droop. Against this […]
The Hil and Val Show – sneak preview of DG's smart twosome
Deutsche Grammophon has posted a promo video of Youtube’s most popular and the girl with the violin case in their upcoming album of Charles Ives. ‘We don’t spend a whole lot of time discussing things…’ they say. Both are required to dress for camera like Daughters of the American Revolution, or maybe Amish interns. Made for TV. […]
Where are the Big Beast violinists?
In the October issue of The Strad magazine, out today, I reflect upon the aftershocks of the Gidon Kremer letter and ask why it is that no violinist today enjoys genuine world fame. Here’s the conundrum: Try a simple test. Ask your neighbour, newsagent, nursery teacher or neurosurgeon to name a famous violinist. Paganini, Menuhin, or […]
Guess who's starting a new job tonight
It’s ….. Lorin. The contract doesn’t kick in for another year, but Maazel, 81, has taken over the Munich Philharmonic 2011/12 season after Christian Thielemann huffed out. His opening programme features Shostakovich first cello concerto (soloist Sol Gabetta) and Scriabin Poème de l’Extase. They must really love Lorin in Munich. He has already put in […]
Very sad for Tommy
It has been announced that the bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff has cancelled all engagements for the rest of the year, due to persistent laryngitis. When I saw him in summer, he was very relaxed about his recovery – but also about the possibility that he might have to delay his return. He struck me as an […]
Amy's last track – released on her birthday
Amy Winehouse would have been 28 today. She sings Body and Soul with Tony Bennett, here. (photo: nme)
Bigger than Youtube's most popular pianist
The Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth has 2,150,126 hits for her recording of the third movement of the Haydn concerto. That puts her ahead of Wynton Marsalis and all other contenders on her instrument. It also just edges out the mighty Val. Go figure.
Israel Philharmonic play undisturbed in Milan
Threats of disruption by pro-Pal activists proved unfounded. The concert of Liszt and Mahler went ahead without incident at the Teatro Degli Arcimboldi, the orchestra buoyed by tubs of Ben & Jerry’s that Zubin had thoughtfully provided on the flight. Now that’s a thoughtful maestro. Here’s the IPO blog.
John Cage sells out – updated with live report
There were no tickets to be had for the John Cage concert at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the queue for returns snaked down to the river. The QEH holds 1100 seats. That’s a lot of Cage fans. The concert featured the chart-topping 4’33”, together with the String Quartet In Four Parts, Radio Music, Music […]
Compensation for competition losers?
The account I published yesterday of how young talent is deceived and abused at classical music competitions is by no means exceptional. An entire industry exists to exploit young dreams and nothing is done to police it. There exists a European Union of Music Competitions for Youth (EMCY), regulated under German law, and a World Federation […]