The latest data from Nielsen Soundscan make gloomy reading.
After a Christmas upturn, sustained into January, only one classical record – the Ultimate Bocelli sold more than 350 copies last week.
Behind Bocelli was André Rieu and behind him Mr Pants.
At number four was Sonya Yoncheva, with just over 200 sales in the biggest market in the world.
Joyce DiDonato took a few friends to the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the gay rights movement, to sing out against continuing prejudice. The song she chose was Dido’s Lament from Henry Purcell’s opera of doomed lovers. Watch.
I’m thinking of Andrew Patner, tears in eyes, as I watch. Andrew spoke of prejudice he suffered at early stages in his creative life. Joyce intends the video to honour the memory of Mark Carson, a gay man murdered nearby in a 2013 hate crime.
The history of Mahler’s song ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’ is particularly unhappy. A self-withdrawing ballad, Mahler gave the orchestral manuscript as a 50th birthday present to his oldest friend, the musicologist Guido Adler.
Stolen from Adler’s Vienna apartment in 1941 by a Nazi lawyer, it vanished for half a century until an Adler grandson, a US civil rights lawyer, tracked it down and sued for restitution. The manuscript was sold at auction and went once more into limbo.
This weekend, a facsimile will be presented to the world by the Kaplan Foundation in New York. It is a thing of beauty, a joy to behold.
Press release follows.
The facsimile edition
More musical material tracking Mahler’s composing is available for “Ich bin der Welt” than for any of his other songs. The 92 page Kaplan Edition (37 x 29 cm.) reproduces not only the lost manuscript of the version for orchestra but also the piano version, preliminary sketches as well as pages from a copy Alma Mahler made for the printer. Both the orchestra and piano versions as well as Alma’s copy are reproduced in their actual sizes. All these sources are analyzed in a comprehensive essay by Stephen Hefling, America’s leading Mahler scholar.
In addition to the facsimiles and commentary, there are three additional features:
– A chapter documenting the six performances of “Ich bin der Welt” that Mahler either conducted or accompanied on the piano (by Knud Martner)
– A discography listing 155 recordings of the song (by Pèter Fülöp)
– A CD of two recordings sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the acclaimed interpreter of Mahler’s lieder. Fischer-Dieskau is accompanied in the orchestra version by the Berlin Philharmonic, led by Karl Böhm, and in the piano version by Leonard Bernstein.
So “I am Lost to the World” is no longer lost. With the publication of this stunning facsimile edition, the surviving documents of its gestation and perfection are now available to scholars and music lovers.
Distributed by OMI – Old Manuscripts & Incunabula, New York
This facsimile edition of the autograph manuscripts of “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” is published by the Kaplan Foundation, which for more than 25 years has been a leader in Mahler research, publications, historical recordings, exhibitions, and symposia. The Foundation has published facsimile editions of Mahler’s autograph manuscript of the Second Symphony and of the Adagietto movement of the Fifth Symphony. It has produced Mahler Plays Mahler, a recording using piano rolls that Mahler made of his own compositions. These rolls are the only documents that exist of Mahler as a performer. The Foundation has also published Mahler Discography (together with editor Pèter Fülöp), a definitive guide to 2,774 recordings of Mahler’s music; Mahler’s Concerts, by Knud Martner, a compilation of the 323 known performances led by Mahler as a conductor or pianist; and The Mahler Album (editor Gilbert Kaplan), an award-winning illustrated biography containing all known photographs and a selection of drawings and sculptures of the composer. Together with Universal Edition, the Foundation is co-publisher of two scores of Mahler’s Second Symphony: the New Critical Edition (editors Renate Stark-Voit and Gilbert Kaplan) and the arrangement of the symphony for small orchestra (by Gilbert Kaplan and Rob Mathes); and with C. F. Peters, co-publisher of the New Critical Edition of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony.
In a fascinating hourlong interview with Sibelius expert Vesa Siren, the Berlin Phil conductor describes the symphony that is least suited to his orchestra.
‘To do an accelerando at all with Berlin Philharmonic is really quite hard! It is a very heavy, Germanic truck that has it’s feet on the ground and part of what is extraordinary is how the sound comes out off the ground. And often with Sibelius, you have to really move. It is not that we can’t rush, because we can rush like hell particularly when we don’t want to. When it is necessary to get faster in a controlled way it is very difficult. It requires the same kind of trust as when you stand up and someone says I will catch you when you fall. To actually do this accelerando without going off the rails requires an incredible amount of trust. I would say that fifth symphony this orchestra found the hardest, by far. The symphonies I found tremendously difficult with other orchestras – 4 and 6 – were absolutely no problem here at all. Berlin Phil knows about the sound and line and how to go through silences with the meaning. I look forward to work incredibly hard (with the fifth) — with enough time to work incredibly hard.’
Rattle goes on to discuss the Sibelius work of several other conductors.He runs through a critical discography. Watch the interview here.
The Royal Opera House has announced five additions to the Jette Parker programme, which trains young singers and pays them a salary for two years.
The five join a second-year set of three Australians, a Ukrainian and another Brit. What stands out? Jette Parker does little for the locals.
The ROH is funded by UK taxpayers. We have an election coming up. This is unfortunate.
Let’s not pre-judge, but if it comes to choosing sides… here’s the full story in the Times of India.
Never a cross word between these guys in the picture.
Northern Ireland Opera has sent out an email to people who have bought tickets to its forthcoming Richard Strauss opera, advising them of a late change in the production: ‘The dancer playing Salome will now appear nude for the last 10 seconds of the Dance’.
NI Opera added: ‘This change represents Salome in an image of stark vulnerability. We believe it adds significantly to the artistic value of the performance.’
Clergy are leading a thunder of protest. The Rev David McIlveen said: ‘The attempt by the production team to sensualise the story through the inclusion of a nudity scene is in my view designed to deflect the minds of the audience away from a most solemn truth.’
Look away now.
Salome: Giselle Allen
Herod: Michael Colvin
Jokanaan: Robert Hayward
Herodias: Heather Shipp
Narraboth: Adrian Dwyer
Page: Carolyn Dobbin
We regret to share news of the death of Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer, an advisor to prime minister Tony Blair, and an energetic historian of the Holocaust.
He was 78 and had been in poor health for several years.
Gilbert was a member of the ongoing Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq War.
Just in from the Gothenburg Symphony:
On 1-2 February, the German film director Wim Wenders was in Gothenburg to record the music to his new 3D-movie Everything Will Be Fine (starring James Franco and Charlotte Gainsbourg), composed and conducted by Alexandre Desplat, a leading Oscar contender for The Imitation Game and Grand Budapest Hotel.
After the recording with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, director and composer hurried off to an Oslo studio for a cutting and mixing session. The movie will be premièred at the Berlin Film Festival on 10 February.
Here’s a video from the recording including interviews with Wenders and Desplat:
Wolfram Christ, principal viola in Berlin for 20 years, has been gathering conducting dates for the past decade.