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 moder productions.
Read a local newspaper interview here (auf Deutsch).
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.
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 it’s remained the same since the 1960s.
That, to my mind, is a significant trend. Union membership across the UK has more than halved, from 13 million in 1979 to six million in 2013. Over that period, the MU has maintained its numbers.
How and why is not immediately apparent. In the orchestral world, the MU has lost all of its former power and adopts a low profile. Yet musicians continue to pay their dues and, as some retire, new ones join.
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 he has somehow caused to be built. It may be the most perfect recording venue in the country
Simon has just announced its opening:
So tonight we opened the New Music School with the inaugural piano concert. Philip Fowke did the honours, and played a stunning recital, rich is musical quality, ferocious technical wizardry and timbre you would not believe could come out of a piano. His arrangement of the Sugar Plum fairy ( and inspired encore) it was hard not to try and step into the piano and work out where he had secreted the Celeste! Staggering. Chopin Ballades 1 & 3, poetic mazurkas, and Philip’s genius program ‘The Art of Encore’ – utterly sublime!
ITS OFFICIAL! ITS ARRIVED! WE HAVE MOVED IN!
THE NEW MUSIC SCHOOL IS HERE! Thank you to all the old stoics over the last 5 years who simply made music no matter the conditions. please come back and see what we have created – I am only sad it did not happen sooner.
DATE FOR DIARY:
MAY 23RD EVENING CONCERT IN MARQUEE –
RUSSIAN NATIONAL ORCHESTRA
LESLEY GARRET SINGING
CRAIG GREEN PLAYING TCHAIKOVSKY 1
CARLO PONTI CONDUCTING
Stowe New Music School Fly-through from thinkbda on Vimeo.
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.
Friends call her Jackie. She taught America to love Rossini. Then she raised two generations of American singers. Love and respect.
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.
There’s a half-million Euro deficit at the Brucknerhaus in Linz and not much else going on.
The old boy is never going to be a tourist attraction.