Ariel Sharon had a daily need for Bach
I met the late Israeli leader, who died today, on three or four occasions and have little to add to his political biography. I was, however, surprised to discover that this military man and farmer had a daily need for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He would play some each morning for several minutes […]
Watch Poulenc play, chez lui
There is a September fly crawling across his score and a housekeeper shouting in the background. Salvador Dali could have made this film.
Video: The Soviet view of how new music should sound
Philip Nodel has sent us this grim 1981 documentary on how the state controlled creativity and what foreign music it considered acceptable. Watch, even if you don’t understand a word of Russian. Fabulous music making and blood-chilling comments by the commissar, Tikhon Khrennikov.
‘I have been an opera subscriber for 75 years’
Sophia Marl is 104 years old. She went to school in Bayreuth and remembers Cosima Wagner coming to play the piano. In 1938 she took out a subscription to the opera at Hagen. Her enthusiasm is undimmed to this day. She regrets the decline in standards of audience dress, but does not at all mind […]
How Spotify killed off paid downloads
Here’s another of those helpful graphs from Digitalmusicnews.com. The blue bars show the rate of growth of paid downloads in the period before Spotify came on the scene. The black line is the strangling effect that Spotify had on the public’s willingness to pay for music. Chilling.
Against all trends, musicians still join union
A visit yesterday from Professor Martin Cloonan of Glasgow University revealed an unexpected statistic. Martin, who is writing a history of the Musicians Union, came to discuss some aspects of its operations in classical music. As we chatted, I asked about the present state of MU membership in Britain. It’s around 30,000, said Martin, and […]
Britain’s newest music school to be opened by Russian national orchestra
A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at Stowe, as green and pleasant a public school as you can find in the whole of England. The head of music is my dynamo friend, Simon Dearsley, who gave me the hard-hat tour of the new music school and state of art concert hall that […]
The Greek violinist who played on past 90
Giorgos Koros, who has died weeks short of his 92nd birthday, was a self-taught musician who became a household name in his native land. He composed some 1,200 works in a traditional mode and is seen here playing at the age of 90. May he enjoy a well-earned rest.
This magnificent mezzo is 80 today
Friends call her Jackie. She taught America to love Rossini. Then she raised two generations of American singers. Love and respect.
Mozart floods the Beijing Metro
The National Centre for Peforming Arts has arranged for Mozart to be piped underground at certai fixed time of day. Not clear why. Guess who’s face is on it… Read Rudolph Tang. Wonder where Yundi’s got to? The airport, we guess.