Chicago’s Spektral Quartet have commissioned 40 of them, releasing now.

Listen here. Watch here:


Donload for 50c each from the group’s website.

Boulez, 89, is selling his place near Aix-en-Provence. Here’s the estate agent’s description:

Architect House – Alpes de Haute Provence

Built on a former quarry in the countryside, this architect home with a contemporary feel was owned by Pierre Boulez, famous composer and conductor and conveys this aspect through the white concrete forming the gesture of a leader directing an orchestra without a wand. The concrete blends perfectly with the vertical stones found on site that are assembled into specific modules. Light seeps between volumes. Approximately 230m² spread over four levels as well as a guest house and a garage, the ensemble set on 3,7 ha. Numerous terraces including one with exceptional panoramic views on the last floor. 1h from the TGV train station in Aix en Provence.
boulez house 2                          boulez house

He has composed Frank Kafka’s The Trial to a libretto by Christopher Hampton. Press release below.

philip glass

March 31, 2014
Based on the novel by Franz Kafka
Libretto by Christopher Hampton
Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
Friday October 10, 2014
Tour: October 10 – November 10, 2014
Six London performances & touring to venues in Wales & England
Music Theatre Wales will present the World Premiere production of a new opera by the American composer Philip Glass.  The Trial, based on the novel by Franz Kafka, and with a libretto by the playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton, will receive its World Premiere at the Linbury Theatre of the Royal Opera House on October 10, 2014, followed by a further five London performances and a national tour of Wales and England in October and November.
First published in 1925 Kafka’s The Trial  tells the nightmare tale of Josef K, a respectable bank employee who is suddenly arrested and forced to defend his innocence against a charge for a crime about which he knows, and is told, nothing. It is probably Kafka’s best known work – a prophetic vision of the excesses of modern bureaucracy.
The Trial is a  co-commission and co-production with the Royal Opera House, Theater Magdeburg, Germany and Scottish Opera.  It has a cast of eight singers and is written for an ensemble of 12 players.  The opera will be directed by Michael McCarthy, with design is by Simon Banham and lighting by Ace McCarron. Michael Rafferty directs the Music Theatre Wales Ensemble.
The cast is led by much-garlanded young baritone Johnny Herford as the opera’s protagonist, Josef K, and soprano Amanda Forbes as Fraülein Bürstner – greatly admired for her performance as The Duchess in MTW’s production of Sciarrino’s The Killing Flower in 2013. Other roles are played by Rowan Hellier (mezzo), Paul Curievici (tenor), Michael Bennett (tenor), Gwion Thomas (baritone), Nicholas Folwell (bass-baritone) and Michael Druiett (bass).

Jorma Panula has been the most successful spotter and trainer of conductors for the past 30 years. His pupils include Esa-Pekka Salonen and at least 20 others who hold international posts.

Panula, however, is 83 years old and a man of strong, old-world views. Over the weekend, he had an outburst against women conductors on Finnish TV. It translates as follows:


Q: Do you think it is good that women enter the profession and become conductors? JP: No! What the hell, we have men already. It is such a limited profession… They can try, but it is a completely different deal. I can’t comment on media or public opinion. But women… Of course they are trying! Some of them are making faces, sweating and fussing, but it is not getting any better – only worse! They can come [to my masterclasses] and try. It’s not a problem – if they choose the right pieces. If they take more feminine music. Bruckner or Stravinsky will not do, but Debussy is OK. This is a purely biological question.

Panula’s comments have provoked outrage in Finland. Salonen has tweeted (in Finnish): ‘Conducting is about skill, not biology. There is no reason why women cannot do it equally well or better.’

The row continues.

A Swedish design team conducted a Metro station experiment to see if a visual and musical alternative to the escalator would encourage travellers to take more exercise.

It did. What’s more, it gained more than 20 million viewers on Youtube. Watch.

piano stairs

Karen Stone, the experienced intendant at Magdeburg Opera (previously at Graz and Dallas), has drawn a furious response by accepting that budget cuts may be necessary in the coming years. The opera bosses at Dessau and Halle, where the cuts are kicking in right now, says Karen is only supporting cuts because Magdeburg has been exempted. Read about the row here.

karen stone


The pair have been concerned by a number of Times reports about Alan Doggett, an alleged member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) who was their early mentor at school. Doggett committed suicide in 1978 after being accused of indecent assault on a pupil ten years earlier. Here’s the Lloyd Webber-Rice statement:




photo (c) The Times

 Alan Doggett was the music master at Westminster Under School, where he taught Andrew’s younger brother Julian. He became a friend of the Lloyd Webber family when Andrew was twelve.

‘Doggett asked Andrew in 1967 whether he and Tim would write an end of term concert piece for the preparatory school Colet Court. The consequence was “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”.

‘Doggett had a track record of success with schools music. His choir had recorded previously the Daniel Jazz and the Jonah Man Jazz which were considered successes in the schools music field in the mid 1960s.

‘At the time of his death we had not seen him for some time. His suicide in 1978 and the fresh allegations that were made around that time came as a complete shock to us.

‘Neither of us had ever heard of the Paedophile Information Exchange until very recently and obviously had no idea that Alan Doggett was connected with it or that he could be a danger to children.’

The Minnesota Orchestral Association Board has lost eight of its 77 members since it was announced that the president, Michael Henson, would be leaving in August. ‘I may never know the real story of how the Board got from a strong vote of confidence for Henson on February 28th to showing him the door on March 20th,’ wrote John P. Whaley to board chairman Gordon Sprenger.

Very true. But a board of 77? No wonder the MO is dysfunctional.

michael henson goes

The conductor’s support of Vladimir Putin has not yet jeopardised his next job with the Munich Philharmonic. But the city’s ruling coalition (which funds the orchestra) is letting the orchestra council know that it will be monitoring its prospective music director’s statements in support of the Russian president’s expansionism:

“Im Philharmonische Rat wurde heute intensiv und differenziert über den persönlichen politischen Standpunkt des künftigen Chefdirigenten der Münchner Philharmoniker diskutiert. Dazu gehörte auch das Verhältnis zwischen der garantierten freien Meinungsäußerung und der Verantwortung in einer exponierten Position im Münchner Kulturleben. Der Philharmonische Rat hat sich einvernehmlich verständigt, den Kulturreferenten der Landeshauptstadt München Dr. Hans-Georg Küppers und den Intendanten der Münchner Philharmoniker Paul Müller zu bitten, mit Maestro Valery Gergiev bei seinen nächsten Aufenthalten in München ein Gespräch zu führen. Ziel ist es, ihm die aktuelle Diskussion über seine Äußerungen darzustellen und ihn für die daraus resultierende Situation des Orchesters zu sensibilisieren.”

gergiev munich

Sotheby’s are hyping up the late Peter Schidlof’s Stradivarius for a $45 million sale, with uncritical assistance from the New York Times and other unquestioning mass media. The instrument’s history has  The Dutch composer Leo Samama has contacted Slipped Disc with the viola’s family history. Here’s his account:

The MacDonald viola by Stradivarius was purchased by my late father in 1961 at Max Möller’s in Amsterdam for some 300,000 Dutch guilders (US$ 82,872 in 1961 values) and given on loan to be used by Peter Schildlof.

In those days my parents owned several Stradivarii, which were used by some of the great Dutch musicians of the day. Later, in the seventies, Peter asked my father as a friend since many years to sell the instrument to him, which my father did for the same price as he had paid Möller…. 

As I said: just to put the records straight. My father died in 1992, Peter in 1987. So someone had to tell the story….

On these figures, this ‘priceless’ and ‘finest viola in existence’ changed hands for less than $100,000 around 40 years ago. How is it possible that it should now be worth $45 million? It makes no economic sense at all.


peter schidlof


lucas and arthur

Lucas and Arthur Jussen are the label’s latest novelty act.

lucas and arthur

Lucas studied with Menahem Pressler for two years and is now with Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid. Arthur, in his final year of secondary school, studies with Jan Wijn.

Our youngest daughter is about to get married and the flutters are taking over.

Here’s what I’m using as musical benzo: a Piazzolla four-hand piece, played in Singapore. How holistic is that?

Shut your eyes, give in to the music. The players are Lori Kaufman and Albert Tiu.

lori piazz