Who remembers Odetta?

Just focus on those opening chords.

She would have been 90 this year.


We’re getting reports of a fire in the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. It has clearly gone through the roof.

First indications are that the concert hall is no longer in danger, but there is an exhibition of original Beethoven manuscripts which is under threat.

UPDATE: The building is undergoing renovation. The architect has warned there could be serious damage. Report here.

A German academic survey shows that workplace abuse is commonplace in Swiss theatres and opera houses.

This report contains names of some alleged perpetrators.

Read at your own risk.


Oxford University Press has a book out by Assaf Shelleg, Assistant Professor of Musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The noun ‘stain’ in the title ‘Theological Stains: Art Music and the Zionist Project’ reveals the author’s political slant.

The rest of the blurb is typical of present-day musicological propaganda. Read it and weep:

Theological Stains traces the growth of art music in Israel from the mid-twentieth century to the turn of the twenty-first. In a riveting and provocative account, Assaf Shelleg explores the theological grammar of Zionism and its impact on the art music written by emigrant and native composers grappling with biblical redemptive promises and diasporic patrimonies. Unveiling the network that bred territorial nationalism and Hebrew culture, Shelleg shows how this mechanism infiltrated composers’ work as much as it triggered less desirable responses from composers who sought to realize to the nonterritorial diasporic options Zionism has renounced. In the process, compositional aesthetics was stained by the state’s nationalization of the theological, by diasporism that refused redemption, and by Jewish musical traditions that permeated inaudibly into compositions written throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Accompanying this rich and dramatic story are equivalent developments in modern Hebrew literature and poetry alongside vast and previously unstudied archival sources. The book is also lavishly illuminated with 135 music examples that render it an incisive guide to fundamental chapters in modern and late modern art music.



Dienstag, 19. Jänner 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Giuseppe Verdi
DON CARLO (Vorstellung vom 25. Februar 2015)
Dramma lirico in vier Akten
Musikalische Leitung: Marco Armiliato
Inszenierung: Daniele Abbado
Mit u.a.: Stefano Secco, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Maria Pia Piscitelli, Béatrice Uria-Monzon, Ferruccio Furlanetto

Mittwoch, 20. Jänner 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Richard Strauss
SALOME (Vorstellung vom 24. Jänner 2020)
Musikdrama in einem Akt
Musikalische Leitung: Michael Boder
Inszenierung: Boleslaw Barlog
Mit u.a.: Lise Lindstrom, Michael Volle, Waltraud Meier, Herwig Pecoraro

Donnerstag, 21. Jänner 2021, 19.00 Uhr – Ballett
Piotr I. Tschaikowski
SCHWANENSEE (Vorstellung vom 16. März 2014)
Musikalische Leitung: Alexander Ingram
Choreografie: Rudolf Nurejew
Mit u.a. Olga Esina, Vladimir Shishov, Eno Peci, SolistInnen und Corps de ballet des Wiener Staatsballetts

Freitag, 22. Jänner 2021, 16.30 Uhr (LIVE)
Giuseppe Verdi
Dramma Lirico in vier Teilen
Musikalische Leitung: Marco Armiliato
Inszenierung: Günter Krämer
Mit u.a.: Plácido Domingo, Freddie De Tommaso, Riccardo Zanellato, Anna Pirozzi

Samstag, 23. Jänner 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Alban Berg (Orchestrierung des 3. Aktes komplettiert von Friedrich Cerha)
LULU (Vorstellung vom 12. Dezember 2017)
Oper in drei Akten
Musikalische Leitung: Ingo Metzmacher
Inszenierung: Willy Decker
Mit u.a.: Agneta Eichenholz, Bo Skovhus, Charles Workman, Angela Denoke, Franz Grundheber

Sonntag, 24. Jänner 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Richard Wagner
DAS RHEINGOLD (Vorstellung vom 10. Jänner 2016)
Vorabend des Bühnenfestspiels
Musikalische Leitung: Adam Fischer
Inszenierung: Sven-Eric Bechtolf
Mit u.a.: Tomasz Konieczny, Norbert Ernst, Jochen Schmeckenbecher, Herwig Pecoraro, Michaela Schuster, Caroline Wenborne

Montag, 25. Jänner 2021, 19.00 Uhr
Richard Wagner
DIE WALKÜRE (Vorstellung vom 13. Jänner 2016)
Erster Tag des Bühnenfestspiels
Musikalische Leitung: Adam Fischer
Inszenierung: Sven-Eric Bechtolf
Mit u.a.: Christopher Ventris, Ain Anger, Waltraud Meier, Linda Watson, Tomasz Konieczny


The Lebanese pianist Henri Goraieb, presenter of Les Archives Lyriques on France Musique for eighteen years, has died at 85.

Goraieb, a Schumann specialist with a lively international career, was diabled by a stroke almost 20 years ago but bounced back after five years’ rehab to resume giving concerts.

Photo: Roland Sidawy

The Dallas Symphony had to cancel two of three Mozart concerts after guest conductor Nicholas McGegan tested positive for Covid-19.

An additional Voices of Change concert was cancelled because some of the musicians had played with McGegan last Thursday.

On January 22, the Vienna State Opera will stream a filmed performance of Verdi’s Nabucco with the octogenarian Plácido Domingo.

The performance will also air nationally in Austria on ORF3 television.


Although no classical artists have appearently been included in Biden-Harris showtime, the composer Peter Boyer has been commissioned by the United States Marine Band to compose a special fanfare for the Inauguration of President Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol on January 20.

Titled ‘Fanfare for Tomorrow’, it will feature in a one-hour prelude music to the Inauguration, conducted by the Marine Band’s Director, Colonel Jason K. Fettig.


With Covid still raging, Warsaw is still planning to hold the 18th Chopin Competition in October 2021.

But the preliminary round, scheduled for April, was pushed back today to July.

Fingers crossed.

Although Spector often talked about the ‘Wagnerian’ texture of his accompaniments, there seem to have been very few live musicians involved – perhaps because Spector himself was so difficult to deal with.

The process involved drum kits, three acoustic pianos and plenty of guitars with an occasional harpsichord, along with prerecorded tapes which he manipulated in much the same was as composers did in the classical avant-garde.

A group of LA session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew provided whatever live music he required.

Spector, who was in jail for murder, has died of Covid, aged 81.


Of you know any instrumental musicians who worked with him, please let us know.

Salisbury Cathedral is a major vaccination centre.

UPDATE: Lichfield and Blackburn cathedrals are doing the same.