Baldur Brönniman, incoming chief conductor at Porto, Portugal, is one of the more thoughtful and challenging members of the younger baton generation. He has just published a blog proposing 10 important changes to the way we stage concerts, including the right to keep our phones switched on.
An everyday story of musical woe, posted two days ago on Facebook:
Hello, my name is Lachezar Kostov and I am a tenured member of the San Antonio Symphony, as well as a concertizing cellist.
I flew with Lufthansa on October 12 from Houston to Sofia via Frankfurt. When I arrived at my final destination, my cello, which I have checked as fragile luggage didn’t arrive in Sofia. My partner’s suitcase did arrive as planned. I arrived and Sofia and then to play a concert in my home town Plovdiv. I had to borrow from a friend of mine, and even though this was a far inferior instrument than mine my culture was broadcasted on national TV and radio. I had three separate interviews. Which I explained my situation.
Right now I am in Germany continuing my concert tour with concerns in Soltau, Diepholz and Neumuenster. I was forced to go to a Violin Shop in Hamburg, trying to find a suitable cello which is going to represent my playing in the best possible way. There is no way any other instrument could replace mine, but I did play my concert in Soltau just this evening. Media was present and the whole story will be in the German press.
My managers are very worried if I don’t perform at my top, we might get negative reviews and not get return engagemenst. Shortly, my career could be in jeopardy because of a mistake Lufthansa made – the clerk at IAH didn’t properly tag my cello, and it can’t be found. My insurance company will be taking legal action, and I will be consulting with an attorney regarding your gross negligence. I am attaching the tag I got on my ticket, as well as the claim for the missing cello, which I filed in Sofia, Bulgaria. I vividly remember the clerk who was did my check-in. That was at the business class kiosk at Terminal D at IAH, and then an older man came to take it and hand-deliver it to the luggage area. My piano partner Viktor Valkov was present, and he will testify when needed.
But this one had a happy ending. Within 24 hours Lufthansa replied:
Dear Lachezar, we have been informed that our station manager from Housten (sic0 has contacted you to let you know your cello has been found and to arrange the delivery. I’m happy to hear you will be reunited with your instrument soon, my agpologies again for any inconvenience caused. /Vanessa
Lachezar followed up:
It was FOUND!!! Dear friends, while I am typing with trembling hands, I am happy to report that my cello was found in Houston Airport. It was left there for 5 days and routed to a different airline. It will be delivered in Hamburg tomorrow at 1:00 pm, and while I am beyond words happy, there’s still a slight chance that it was damaged. Will have to assess on site, but let’s keep fingers crossed that it’d be whole!
A few hours ago, on Saturday, Lachezar was reunited with his cello.
The Yellow Label is sounding very pleased by its latest signing. Grigory Sokolov, 64, a byword among pianopholes, refuses to perform with orchestras and will not play on a piano that is more than five years old.
It has been 22 years since he last made a record.
DG will release a Salzburg 2008 Mozart-Chopin recital in January, followed (they hope) by more live sessions.
Press release below.
Berlin, 16 October 2014. Deutsche Grammophon today announced the exclusive signing of Grigory Sokolov, one of the world’s most enigmatic and visionary artists. The revered Russian pianist, born in Leningrad in 1950, is known for the spellbinding subtlety and endless variety of his tone, the vast depths of his musicianship and the spiritual intensity of his music-making.
Sokolov is also known for what he does not do: he no longer performs with orchestras, nor on pianos that are more than five years old. He makes no studio recordings and is reluctant to do interviews, feeling more comfortable expressing himself through his music. In an uncompromising pursuit of artistic excellence, he always demands at least double the rehearsal time expected by his peers prior to every recital – and, as if in return, gives double the amount of encores. In short, his pursuit of perfection is all-consuming.
His first album for the Yellow Label, a recital of works by Mozart and Chopin recorded LIVE at the 2008 Salzburg Festival, is set for global release in January 2015. This will be his first new album for almost 20 years – since a Schubert Sonatas disc, recorded in 1992, came to the market in 1996. The teenage Sokolov first attracted global attention after his sensational victory at the 1966 Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition.
Sokolov’s sought-after recitals remain unique, as he performs the same programme across up to 70 concerts in a year, altering one half in January, and one in October. Encores in abundance are a speciality, and always expected from his legion of devoted concert followers.
An insider tells us:
At the close of the rehearsal today Gelb addressed the company to alert them that trouble is expected Monday night. Police will be on standby. Big demonstration expected on Amsterdam Ave.
No visitors will be permitted backstage– no friends, family, fans, agents, etc. Nobody! Be sure to carry company ID cards. If there is an interruption in the audience the cause will be found and removed. If necessary the music will be stopped and resumed after disturbance removed. High security in house. There are eight performances of Klinghoffer.
Vanity Fair has published a minutely detailed account of the hijacking and return of the Lipinski Strad from the hands of Frank Almond, concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony. It’s a long read, with a happy ending. Savour it at leisure. Click here.
Cheaper than the regular model.