BBC Radio 3 has reported the death of Bernard Roberts, whose 1980s cycle of Beethoven piano sonatas on Nimbus was a byword for thoughtful interpretation and state-of-art recording. He was 80 years old.


If Beethoven had lived that long, he would have looked like Bernard Roberts.

It’s 75 years this week since the German government launched a pogrom against Jewish communities and homes, destroying hundreds of buildings and sending thousands of innocent people to concentration camps.

The violinist Daniel Hope, whose family was attacked in the pogrom, will lead a commemoration on Sunday at the Brandenburg Gate. Details below.


On November 10, British violinist and 6-time ECHO Klassik Award-winner Daniel Hope will perform at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in a ceremony honoring the victims of “Kristallnacht.” Also known as the Night of Broken Glass, the massacre of November 9-10th, 1938, alerted the world to the barbarism of the Nazis. This year’s ceremony, which marks the 75th anniversary of “Kristallnacht,” invites everyone, especially Berlin’s schoolchildren and students, to come together at the Brandenburg Gate in a memorial that signals the value of diversity in today’s Germany and promotes vigilance against all forms of intolerance, racism, anti-Semitism, and violence.

Daniel Hope has a strong connection to Berlin’s history. His own family lived in Berlin until 1938; some of them fled to the U.S. and South Africa, others lost their lives. At his last “Kristallnacht” concert in 2008, Hope converted the former Tempelhof Airport into a concert hall and brought together friends and colleagues to make a stand against racism and promote tolerance with his “Do Something!” campaign. Daniel Hope says: “What fascinates me most about Berlin is its perpetual history still hidden deep inside so many of its buildings. And so I decided some years ago to fill these places with music, one after the other, by performing at the Reichstag, the Ministry of Finance (formerly Göring’s Ministry of Aviation), the Felix Mendelssohn-Remise, (the former carriage house of the old Berlin headquarters of the Mendelssohn Bank) and Tempelhof Airport. Making music in these buildings, surrounded by the ghosts of my family and of times gone by, let me into a past which I did not experience, but can still sense. “

On November 10, the city will send a united message to the world from the Brandenburg Gate: “Never again!” Statements, short films, and mobile phone clips will be projected onto the Brandenburg Gate for people to see and hear. The ceremony will recall those years which destroyed diversity, remembering those who were excluded, persecuted, and had their livelihoods destroyed during the Nazi pogroms. The ceremony will also emphasize what diversity means in today’s world, where exclusion and discrimination still exist.

Hope will be bringing Heinz Jakob “Coco” Schumann, the legendary Berlin jazz musician who survived Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, to the ceremony. Hope’s latest DVD-documentary “Refuge in Music” (Deutsche Grammophon, 2013), an excerpt of which will be shown during the ceremony, tells the story of 89-year-old Schumann and the oldest living Holocaust survivor, 109-year-old pianist Alice Herz-Sommer. All artists appeared in the film without a fee and all artist royalties will be donated to charity. The DVD project is supported by the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, and will benefit organizations that serve the memory of those murdered in Theresienstadt.

Daniel Hope will also perform music by 1930s composers who were condemned during Nazi rule. He will be accompanied by the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin.

Broadway’s finest….

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Composer of the year is George Benjamin, Conductor is Pablo Heras-Casado and Instrumentalist is Jeremy Denk. More here.

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In October 2009, Diego Frazao Torquato moved much of Brazil to tears when this picture appeared in the media. Diego was playing at the funeral of his teacher, John Evandro da Silva, the man who had given him hope of escaping poverty through the mastery of a musical instrument in the AfroReggae group. John, one of the coordinators of AfroReggae, had been murdered in Rio de Janeiro.

Diego never overcame the pain of John’s death. A frail boy who battled with many diseases, he died of leukemia the following year, aged 12.

See his tears. They will never die.


H/t: Thanks to Lawrence Renes for sharing the picture.

Italy’s Museum of Musical Instruments, in Reggio Calabria has been completely destroyed. It housed some 800 precious items. Arson is suspected. An empty jerry can was found near the scene.


UPDATE: More pictures here.

The veteran broadcaster and popular writer had this to say on Sunday’s broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, live from the State Theatre, Minneapolis:


The bad news is that the Minnesota Orchestra is not playing. They’ve been locked out of Orchestra Hall now for more than a year. After Orchestra Hall carried out a $50 million renovation project and the year after their CEO was paid $619 thousand in salary and bonus, they didn’t have enough money left to pay musicians, and so they’re not playing, and we miss them in Minneapolis.

Today is the 110th anniversary of the orchestra’s formation.

Here’s Keillor’s audio:

Here’s what she tells a Munich paperWagner schrieb ja wunderschöne Phrasen, aber als Sänger bezahlt man das teuer. Eigentlich müsste ich Jonas bitten, das zu beenden und nur noch Verdi und Puccini zu singen.

She’s worried that he’ll pay a heavy price for the big roles. We’re sure he’ll take her advice to heart.

Love the headline:

Regie, Scherze und Wagner – Angela Gheorghiu, die letzte Diva, redet Tacheles über Jonas Kaufmann

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Zigmars Liepins, has been appointed artistic director and board chairman of Latvian National Opera. Never a good idea to put both jobs in one pair of hands.


The last opera chief was fired summarily in September. Latvia’s foremost operatic asset is the mezzo Elina Garanca. She is married to the (British) conductor of the national symphony orchestra. Small country.

The late Elizabeth Connell, a brilliant international soprano who died far too soon, left a legacy to fund an operatic singing prize in her memory. Details have just been announced.

Singers aged between 25 and 35 who pass the audition will be flown to Australia to compete. Rochard Bonynge will chair the judges.


Mike O’Neill, who played sessions with the Fab Four, Deep Purple and more, has passed away at 75. He featured on Dusty Springfield’s hit ‘You Don’t have to Say You Love Me and was frontman for Nero and the Gladiators (below).

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And the chairman prattles on about Vienna’s gift to mankind.

Oh, hang on, is that a token woman playing piccolo?

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