The Drowning Shore is a 14-minute monodrama that incorporates Sholem Asch’s classic 1907 play God of Vengeance, and its contrasting themes of written holy Hebrew and everyday Yiddish vernacular, with an original Scots-English text. Scored for ‘a mezzo-soprano in a screen’, the piece is performed by Asch’s great-great-granddaughter Clara Kanter, and devised in conjunction with her father David Mazower, Editorial Director at The Yiddish Book Centre (and Asch’s great-grandson). The piece was commissioned by Compass Presents as part of Oracles in Sepia, a series of artists’ attempts to read the present through the past.
Scottish composer-librettist Alastair White explains, “in recent years, God of Vengeance’s dichotomy between written and spoken language has been turned on its head. The internet – a living, breathing text – seems to grow at the same rate as our concerns with other virtual lines – most cruelly, the national borders that claim so many lives. The post-Covid digitalisation of work and performance has both accelerated this process, and, through that rapidity, thrown it into an uncanny new light. Are we horrified, or bored – that we now exist purely as avatars, in pools of watery light, like ghosts, or flowers pressed between glass panes?”
Martucci’s Notturno, a Muti favourite, gloriously played by the Philadelphians.
There are some impressive names in the list below, but where are the musicians? Did they not think to ask the Labeque sisters, the Capucons, the Buniatishvilis, Emmanuelle Haim (pictured), Natalie Dessay, the conductors Minkowski, Roth, Auguin, Bringuier, Morlot? Or were the classical artists advised by their agents not to take sides?
Simon Abkarian, Bruno Abraham-Kremer, Alain Altinoglu, Karine Arabian, Fanny Ardant, Ariane Ascaride, Yvan Attal, Jacques Attali, Serge Avédikian, Nicolas Aznavour, Georges Bensoussan, François Berléand, Stéphane Bern, Daniel Bilalian, Juliette Binoche, Dany Boon, Guillaume Bourgogne, Hamit Bozarslan, Stéphane Breton, Dany Brillant, Pascal Bruckner, Jean-Christophe Buisson, Claudia Cardinale, Virginie Carton, Gérard Chaliand, Françoise Chandernagor, Jean-Luc Choplin, Grégoire Colin, Jean-François Colosimo, Costa-Gavras, Boris Cyrulnik, Audrey Dana, Xavier Darcos, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Anahit Dasseux Ter-Mesropian, Didier Decoin, Marina Dédéyan, Arnaud Delalande, Alain Delon, Olivier Delorme, François-Xavier Demaison, Anaïs Demoustier, Éric Denécé, Négar Djavadi, Karim Dridi, Michel Drucker, Alain Duault, Alain Ducasse, Jean Dujardin, Vincent Duclert, Atom Egoyan, Frédéric Encel, Sophie Fontanel, Caroline Fourest, Thierry Frémont, Laurent Gaudé, Yves de Gaulle, Laurent Gerra, Franz-Olivier Giesbert, Isabelle Giordano, Thierry Godard, Robert Guédiguian, David Haroutunian, Roland Hayrabedian, Michel Hazanavicius, Laurent Herbiet, Patrick Hernandez, Nancy Huston, Alexandre Jardin, Pierre Judet de La Combe, Michèle Kahn, Nelly Kaprièlian, Robert Kéchichian, Arsinée Khandjian, Elie Kleiman, Richard Labévière, Alexandra Lapierre, Camille Laurens, Pascal Légitimus, Gilles Lellouche, Claude Lelouch, Jean-Jacques Lemêtre, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Olivier Loustau, Mathieu Madénian, Benoît Magimel, Jean-Pierre Mahé, Christian Makarian, Vardan Mamikonian, Bruno Mantovani, Michel Marian, Gérard Meylan, Jacques-Alain Miller, Frédéric Mitterrand, Olivier Mongin, Eric Morain, Thibault de Montaigu, Vahram Muratyan, Lola Naymark, Jessica Nelson, Jacky Nercessian, Véronique Olmi, Michel Onfray, Erik Orsenna, Frédéric-Jacques Ossang, Benjamin Penamaria, Raphaël Personnaz, Michel Petrossian, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, Gérard Pullicino, Michel Quint, Christophe Rauck, Jean Reno, Pierre Richard, Henri Roanne-Rosenblatt, Muriel Robin, Alexandre Romanès, Tatiana de Rosnay, Jean-Marie Rouart, Gérard Saillant, Boualem Sansal, Lévon Sayan, Jean Sévillia, Gilbert Sinoué, Astrid Siranossian, Zinedine Soualem, Nicolas Steil, Robinson Stévenin, Pierre-André Taguieff, Bertrand Tavernier, Yves Ternon, Alain Terzian, Sylvain Tesson, Marc Tigrane, Ara Toranian, Valérie Toranian, Rosalba Torres, Philippe Torreton, Thierry Vendome, Marie Vermillard, Marin de Viry, Charles Villeneuve, Philippe Welsh, Ysmahane Yaqini, Tigrane Yégavian, Benoît Yvert, Corinne Zarzavadjian, Pierre Ziadé.
Moritz Weber, music editor of SRF 2 Kultur in Switzerland, has made a programme airing this weekend with suppressed letters showing that Frédéric Chopin had erotic relationships with several men. He sends kisses to his lovers, among other tokens of physical intimacy.
The allegations will be political dynamite in Poland, where gay men and women are being stigmatised by a right-clerical government.
The programme is in German.
Chopin had a perplexing, possibly platonic, public relationship with the French novelist George Sand.
More on this topic right here.
Two years ago the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra hired Elena Dubinets with the title of Chief Artistic Officer. The idea was that she was going to flood the organisation with new programming and outreach ideas.
Sadly, Covid kicked in and Elena’s is one of many Atlanta Symphony positions that have been silently eliminated.
She has a new book coming out, Russian Composers Abroad, from the Indiana University Press.
Andrea Zaupa bewails his incarceration with very mild Covid.
If the link doesn’t work, click here. It’s a document of our times.
And think twice before you fly.
Artists are mourning Pedro Kranz, cornerstone agent at Caecilia in Geneva. We are told he underwent surgery and did not survive.
He looked after Swiss engagements for a host of stars, and a select handful of artists whom he represented worldwide.
The baritone Thomas E. Bauer will take over Augsburg Cathedral for 24 hours with a relay of friends to pray and sing non-stop Palestrina for online broadcast.
With Paris on the brink of Covid cancellation, Melbourne has announced an all-Australian cast Ring starting in February.
You might have to catch a swim, a beer and a few sights before it reaches Götterdämmerung, which is not scheduled until 2023.
Longborough’s expert Anthony Negus conducts. Warwick Fyfe will sing Wotan, Sarah Sweeting is Fricka.
The Beethoven-Haus Bonn has received the gift of a letter from the composer.
In it, Beethoven asks the singer Friedrich Sebastian Mayer, who sang Pizarro in the world premiere of Fidelio, to get Ignaz von Seyfried to conduct the second night as he wanted to ‘watch and hear’ from the audience. He then launches into a rant about musicians who ignore his requirements. Sounds familiar.
The letter was brought to the Beethoven-Haus by a private collector who wanted to have it authenticated and restored, but wound up leaving it to the museum.
Christopher Morley in Birmingham reviews for Slipedisc the centenary concert of the CBSO.
BBC Radio 3 and online stream *****
Between them the CBSO’s technical wizards and BBC Radio 3 brought about a remarkable example of triumph over adversity in their relaying of the orchestra’s celebratory centenary concert, necessarily disfigured behind the pandemic’s shielding mask.
This concert, filmed and recorded in a deserted Symphony Hall (just imagine how full the joyous auditorium would have been in “normal” circumstances) on the exact date when Elgar conducted the City of Birmingham Orchestra resident in Birmingham Town Hall for the first time one hundred years ago, was packed with joyous affirmation.
The Radio 3 broadcast a couple of days ago allowed us to concentrate on the quality of the music-making from players who have had so little ensemble contact for so many months, and brought us too a wonderfully evocative early history of the CBSO from my colleague Richard Bratby, author of Forward!, a compelling chronicle of the orchestra’s achievements. The streamed relay focussed our attention on the body-language of the musicians, bursting with adrenaline despite the absence of any pumping from the audience.
We eavesdropped on the players assembling in rehearsal mufti, and on contributions from conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla (her long blonde locks now cropped a la Marin Alsop and even a la the CBSO’s own principal flautist Marie-Christine Zupancic, object of a lot of camera attention), cor anglais soloist Rachael Pankhurst, a discussion between CBSO cellists Eduardo Vassallo (how good to see him restored to health after a serious battle with Covid-19) and Jackie Tyler and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, soloist in the Elgar Cello Concerto. There was also a most touching and perceptive introduction from the Earl of Wessex, genuinely hands-on Patron of the orchestra and of other Birmingham musical institutions.
And the performances? Two of Sibelius’ Kalevala-inspired tone-poems, Lemminkainen’s Return and the Swan of Tuonela brought dark shadings, timbres judiciously balanced and co-ordinated, Pankhurst plaintively eloquent in the Swan’s extended solos.
Kanneh-Mason played the Elgar (which had featured in that inaugural concert a century ago) with an astonishing maturity, already with a sense of a life already long led, and reminding us of the even younger Yehudi Menuhin’s equally mature response to the Elgar Violin Concerto. It was so revealing to see the facial expressions of the cellist’s immersion into what is actually elusive, evanescent music (he will never diminish it into a mere repertoire war-horse).
Deliberately chosen or not, Beethoven’s Leonore no.3 Overture, a 14-minute opera as Mirga described it, is the quintessential expression of liberation after lockdown, and it was so exhilaratingly given here. The offstage trumpet fanfares melted into the visual images of the CBSO busily rejoicing as this concert moved towards it conclusion, triumphant against all the odds.