Barenboim builds a new piano
He is launching a piano that combines the power of modern instruments with the transparency of the kind that Liszt played on (coincidentally, I had just contemplated the same topic in a Standpoint essay). Here’s the press release: Daniel Barenboim unveiled a ground-breaking new piano at a special event at London’s Royal Festival Hall […]
BBC Music has 2.5 execs doing one person’s job
Slipped Disc editorial: It has taken the BBC 14 months to replace Roger Wright. That’s about 10 minutes to shoehorn Alan Davey into his role as Controller of Radio 3 – no other candidate received a second interview in a rigged process – and more than a year to find a new head of BBC Proms, […]
Breaking: BBC picks Gly man as Proms chief
In a decidedly left-field appointment, the BBC have named David Pickard, general director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, as the new controller of BBC Proms. Pickard, 55, used to run a period instrument orchestra before he went to Gly. He’s capable, personable, adequate to the task, clued in to the right networks. He comes from outside […]
An eminent clarinettist is no more
We have been informed of the death of Dietrich Hahn, long-serving principal clarinet of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra and professor at the Conservatory. His pupils are numerous and far-flung. Professor Hahn was 84.
What Handel’s secretary wrote
Who knew the secretary was a composer? He’s my album of the week on sinfinimusic.com. Very few great composers have been exposed by a private secretary, perhaps because few could afford the luxury of employing one. In Handel’s case we know about his secretary chiefly because the man’s stepson, a churchman known as the Rev. […]
Bruckner review of the year (so far)
At one point I caught myself thinking, ‘How did this man ever write four-part motets? He can’t even write basic soprano-bass counterpoint.’ The one time the bass did anything it was that tired descending line borrowed from Meistersinger, which created only a momentary interest of passing dissonance. And that trite scherzo – I spent the […]
Video: Homeless man plays Beethoven in station forecourt
While you enjoy your weekend: This is a homeless man in Newcastle train station, soaking wet with a drenched sleeping bag over his shoulders.His name is Alan Donaldson, he is 26 and he has been living on the streets for 18 months. He plays Für Elise, Moonlight Sonata and other Beethoven standards. Do not avert your […]
When DSCH met Isaiah
A play about the 1958 meeting of minds between Dmitri Shostakovich and the Oxford philosopher Isaiah Berlin opens next month at Sadlers Wells. From the blurb: In 1958, at the height of his artistic ability and reputation, the composer Dmitri Shostakovich was invited by Oxford University to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Music, along with […]
A big Bach debut on two … mandolins
Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg have made a world premiere recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Two-Part Inventions, Organ Duets and Canons from the Art of the Fugue arranged for mandolin and mandocello. Brave. Try some.
We’ve tried change. Mostly, it doesn’t work.
Gareth Davies, principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, has been reflecting on the constant demands for change in classical concerts. In a typically thoughtful blog, he dismisses most change initiatives as tinsel. There seems very little invention and much more repackaging. I remember when I was a student in the 90’s, the fashion was […]
The old gardener who is growing into Ligeti
The young conductor Jonathan Bloxham has sent us this from his festival, Northern Sounds: photo (c) Kaupo Kikkas Hi Norman, I’d like to you meet Dave, a 74 year old community gardener from Gateshead who has never been to a classical concert but on Sunday will be performing Ligeti at the Sage. This is part of […]