Research at the Institut Marquès in Spain appears to show that an unborn child responds when music is played into the mother’s body.

Here’s a remarkable video titled ‘Response of the foetus to intravaginal music’ in which the baby appears to sing along with Mozart.


Image of the surprising reaction of foetuses to musical stimuli (PRNewsFoto/Institut Marquès)

From the Vienna Phil:

Alfred Altenburger (1927 – 2015)

We mourn the loss of Prof. Alfred Altenburger, member of our first violin section and former chairman (from 1978 to 1987). May he rest in peace.


A painstaking, resolute man, Altenburger cultivated discreet relationships with conductors, notably Karajan and Abbado. Upon retirement he became a board member of Abbado’s Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and a mentor to young players in its first violin section.

You can listen to a 1978 radio interview with him here (in German).

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra want to know if you can do this better….

Have they nothing better to do?


The international baritone, undergoing treatment in London for brain cancer, was today awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky by the Russian president, Tass reports. The award is ‘for merits in development of national culture and art, and many years of fruitful activity’.

hvorostovsky putin

The German television executive who abolished the SWR Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg has been promoted to president of the French-German television channel, Arte, from January.

Peter Boudgoust, 61, was an obdurate and inflexible head of SWR, deaf to appeals from the world’s leading musicians to preserve a vibrant and historic ensemble. There is good reason to fear for Arte.


It’s my album of the week on, and there’s a lot to beat out there:

The set faces testing competition, starting with Rattle’s 1990s Birmingham cycle for EMI-Warner and Herbert von Karajan’s 1970s Berlin cycle for DG. In one important respect, there is no comparison: for tonal beauty and playing skill, this set outshines the other two by a factor of laser to gaslight.

The current Berlin Philharmonic are a crack ensemble who deliver precision music making at high power. Birmingham sounds stressed in contrast and Karajan’s Berliners cautious. The playing here is massively impressive, almost overwhelming on the open roads of the Second Symphony. Not much can beat the sensual pleasure of listening to this kind of aural perfection.


Read on here.

simon rattle vesa siren

Eric McKinney was shot ‘multiple times’ while driving his car near the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


Stay safe out there.

A Ukrainian soprano, Arina Domski, entirely out of costume, sings the tenor aria to orchestral accompaniment, studded with gentle electronic noises.

Ms Domski is described as ‘the only Ukrainian singer in the style of classical crossover’.

Arina Domski

Unveiled yesterday in the Philharmonie.

claudio abbado bust

photo (c) Erik Zainermand


Like most conductor busts, it looks like Mahler.


Two years ago, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was given six weeks to live after leukaemia was diagnosed. The former Master of the Queens Musick overcame that bout and went on to work on a 10th symphony and new opera. Now, he tells the Times, the illness has returned and he is back in chemo.

We send Max all good wishes.

queen, maxwell davies, judith weir

Musicians in Croatia are in mourning for Sasa Britvic, an enterprising conductor whose life is reported to have ended under severe financial pressures.

Making his name as conductor of the Ivan Goran Kovacic Academy choir, Britvic founded the Croatian Baroque Ensemble before going into the music business to become director of the Zagreb Concert Management.

But a 2006 tour cancellation by the Rolling Stones, which he apparently failed to insure, left Britvic facing huge costs and a forthcoming trial.

Britvic was a champion of living composers and a successful opera conductor.

photo: Marko Jurinec/Pixsell

A New Zealand organist, Thomas Gaynor, took first prize – 12,000 Euros – at the third international Bach/Liszt-organ competition in Erfurt und Weimar.

Second was a German, Anna-Victoria Baltrusch, third an American, Chelsea Barton.

thomas gaynor