The current furore around American Record Guide has claimed its first casualty.

Woodwinds specialist Wai Kit Leung cast his eye over some of its reviews and found one from 2016 that looked familiar. That’s because it lifted bits of text from one of his own record reviews in another magazine.

The reviewer, to his credit, was contrite. He told Wai Kit Leung ‘After thinking it over, I wish to further apologize; and I have decided to give up my role as a reviewer for American Record Guide because of my poor judgment in this matter.’

Since he has done the right thing, we have withheld the offender’s identity.


The Cremona luthier and teacher Francesco Bissolotti died last week.

His instruments were owned and played by, among others, the violinists Uto Ughi and Salvatore Accardo and violist Kim Kashkashian.

Four of his sons followed him into the workshop.

Full appreciation here.



It’s an Offenbach rarity, coming up in London.

Press release:

The Royal College of Music Opera Studio presents Jacques Offenbach’s lively operetta Robinson Crusoe in the composer’s 200th birthday year.  Tickets for Robinson Crusoe are now on sale.

Robinson Crusoe is a light-hearted love story loosely based on Daniel Defoe’s classic novel, which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year. Offenbach’s opera is a seafaring musical adventure set against a backdrop of Victoriana, colonialism and cannibalism. The story follows hopeless romantic Robinson as he sets sail for South America with dreams of finding a fortune for his fiancée Edwige. It’s anything but plain sailing though, as he ends up shipwrecked on a desert island. When Edwige launches a rescue mission, she too finds herself at the mercy of pantomime pirates and waltzing cannibals. Will the lovers ever find each other, the treasure, or their way back home?


Irony is dead.

Humour, too?

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

There were those that Stalin murdered or suppressed, those who went abroad and the few who stayed at home and kept very quiet for most of their lives. I thought I knew them all, but the New York pianist Vladimir Feltsman has put together a gallery of Soviet-era peripherals, each of whom adds a vital dimension to the Russian picture….

Read on here.

And here.

The judge in the suit and counter-suit of James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera has ordered both parties this week to agree by the end of next month whom they intend to depose.

They were meant to deliver the names by the end of November and the judge, judging by her notes published on the court website, is getting impatient. She has given two deadlines, March 15 and March 26 for the two sides to declare.

After that, it’s up to the judge to decide whether the case goes to jury trial.

Meanwhile, the costs are mounting.

Our weekly diary by Anthea Kreston, who is leaving the Artemis Quartet:

Concerts these past two weeks have been different. The audience – packed to the gills, has a sort of tangible attention, as if they read something into not only the program (Barber Adagio – a sad farewell, Britten – looking ahead at new challenges, Death and the Maiden – signature Artemis sound and history), but also with a distinct interest in each member of the quartet. What are the four of us thinking, feeling? In Berlin and Munich, our cellist talked to the audience, thanking them for their support and love of the quartet (he has played in the Berlin Philharmonie with the quartet 45 times, and has come every year to Munich for the past 23 years). He spoke about his greatest wish fulfilled – that after 30 years, the quartet would continue.

And, after the concerts, double hand-clutching, long post-dinners, searching questions and hearty congratulations for the next phases. In Munich, an older woman who has been at every concert (I have played in the Prince Regent Theater as a member of this quartet more than 10 times), wears both her perfume and heavy family jewels with a comfort which subtly reveals a long line of aristocracy. She, without fail, invites the quartet (and any pluses who happen to be there) to the exclusive in-house restaurant, where the well-to-do eat, bathed in the warm light of a chandelier the size of a living room, hand-painted murals lining the walls. We sit along a table which seats more than 20, glasses of wine refilled by invisible staff, tasting plates appearing within moments.

This woman is so kind, and always comes to each dressing room to chat individually with the musicians. This time, she came in, and, clutching me by both arms, at the elbow, took several moments to collect herself. After some words, she stopped, head bowed, and couldn’t continue. I hugged her, and we rocked slowly for a long time, until her breath steadied. She has taken the time to get to know me these past years – always asking probing but pinpoint questions about my progress, my family and my adjustment. She is measured, but surprisingly open.

I always find myself within a seat or two of her at the long table. This time (we are always there for hours, and as the bottles empty, the questions and stories began to flow), she recounted her own personal story with this quartet. When she first met them (Munich has a specific hold on the Artemis – they were there for the ARD competition so many years ago – in some ways, the music-lovers of Munich feel responsible, or related, to the trajectory and story of this quartet), her life was different. She was a young woman – only 55 at the time – and she would host the whole quartet at her house (mother later had to sell it), and what seems like the entire audience would come over to the house after the concert (by her description of “mother” and the “house” I have a distinct impression that even the powder rooms would dwarf the largest room in my house). All of their school friends, too. It sounded like it was quite uproarious – and the Portuguese cook would make a giant pot of something, leaving on the stove, and after the guests left, the quartet and the remaining household guests would ladle straight from the pot, and gather with the unfinished bottles around the kitchen table, well into the night. In the early morning, the help would come down, and clear the party debris (she gestured to the tips of her fingers how high the piles of precariously stacked plates were), and set the table for a family breakfast.

Audience members talk about their lives, somehow intertwined with this quartet in the past 30 years. How their own lives ran parallel to the quartet – children born, husbands passed away, where they first heard the Artemis, what they heard and how it made them feel. Many have intimate, personal experiences with the quartet – they talk to me of Heime, Volker, Natasha, Friedemann. What it was like, that first concert when Gregor and Friedemann played. The first concert with Vinny, my first concert. The farewells and the new faces.


It is a hundred years ago this weekend since the birth of Lisa Della Casa.

Although she died only seven years ago, the person and the voice seem to belong to a very different world of singing.

Swiss, serene and possessed of an immaculate beauty of tone and countenance, she commanded the major roles of Mozart and Richard Strauss and was immaculate in Mahler’s fourth symphony.

In 1974, at the age of 55, Della Casa retired from the stage to care for her daughter, 24, who had undergone surgery from an aneurysm and suffered complications. She gave no farewell performances. no masterclasses, no interviews. She was as exemplary in her retirement as she was in her life as an artist.

Remember her.

The future of the music college and festival is safe for the rest of the 21st century.

Press release:

MARLBORO, VT – (January 28, 2019) – Christopher Serkin, chair and president of Marlboro Music, Kevin Quigley, president of Marlboro College, and Richard Saudek, chair of the College board of trustees, announced today that the boards of trustees of Marlboro Music and Marlboro College have approved a new 99-year lease arrangement—and a major building project on the college campus—initiating an exciting new chapter in the historic relationship between these two prominent institutions.

Since its founding in 1951, the Marlboro Music School and Festival has held its world-acclaimed summer program for leadership training in music on the leased campus of Marlboro College, a progressive liberal arts institution devoted to intensive, independent learning in a collaborative and self-governing community. Over the past seven decades, this dynamic relationship has enriched the southern Vermont region and provided a model for how non-profit organizations can work together to achieve mutual goals in cost-effective ways.