Sad news has just reached me that Moray McMillin has died.

He worked as sound engineer on tour with Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Public Image Ltd, and Suzanne Vega. But the toughest assignment on nine years of touring with Deep Purple was the 1999 Jon Lord-led gig that he engineered with the London Symphony Orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall, conducted by Paul Mann.

After two RAH concerts and a famous recording, they went on to tour 40 concerts in South America, all the way through Europe, and in Japan.

Quite apart from the balancing problems there were temperamental inequalities between the two bands that had to be carefully managed. Moray, by all accounts, was brilliant.

Live at the Royal Albert Hall

I met him briefly once at Abbey Road. Lovely man. Sad to see him go. Expect more reminiscences later.

He died of lung cancer, aged (we think) 57. Donations, please, to The Hospice of Saint Francis, Spring Garden Lane, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 3GW.
http://www.stfrancis.org.uk
01442 869553

 

 

Daniel Barenboim conducted his first concert in Gaza today.

Given that its Hamas Government has simultaneously made peace with Fatah and endorsed Osama Bin Laden as a holy martyr, this could hardly be a more delicate moment to make music. I, for one, can’t wait to see the film.

 

Here’s the press release:

Maestro Daniel Barenboim performed in Gaza today – ACCENTUS Music to film the concert of the ‘Orchestra for Gaza’
Maestro Daniel Barenboim, UN Messenger of Peace, conducts the ‘Orchestra for Gaza’ consisting of distinguished musicians from Staatskapelle Berlin, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and Orchestra of La Scala di Milano, in a peace concert for the people of Gaza today. The concert with works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart takes place this afternoon at the Al Mathaf Cultural House, Gaza.
The ACCENTUS Music documentary team, under the direction of Paul Smaczny, are exclusively accompanying Daniel Barenboim and the musicians for this very special event to film the concert with three cameras.
Maestro Barenboim said: “We are very happy to come to Gaza. We are playing this concert as a sign of our solidarity and friendship with the civil society of Gaza.”
This event has been organized by the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network and the Al Mathaf Cultural House, in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
And here’s the Reuters report:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110503/music_nm/us_palestinians_gaza_music?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Barenboim conducts classical concert in Gaza Strip

 

By Nidal al-Mughrabi – 42 mins ago

GAZA (Reuters) – Classical musician Daniel Barenboim, a supporter of Palestinian rights, broke new ground Tuesday when he travelled to the Gaza Strip to conduct a concert.

Musicians from some of Europe’s top orchestras entered the coastal enclave from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing amid tight security, to form the “Orchestra for Gaza” and play Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and the Symphony No. 40.

Barenboim’s appearance with the orchestra, players of the Staatskapelle Berlin, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and La Scala of Milan, was a first in recent memory in Gaza where traditional Arabic music is more common.

An audience of some 700 attended the hour-long concert at the plush al-Madha center along the beachfront in the northern Gaza Strip.

The event was organized by the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that cares for Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

When introducing the event, Barenboim said the concert was taking place because “these are people who care about you, this is why we are here today.”

Barenboim has become a controversial figure in Israel for his vocal opposition to its occupation of the West Bank, where he has performed on several occasions.

Since 1999, he has promoted Arab-Israeli cultural contacts and he leads the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, made up of young Israeli and Arab musicians which is based in Seville, Spain.

In 2008, Argentine-born Barenboim, 68, also took Palestinian citizenship and said he believed his status could serve as a model for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

“As you know I am Palestinian … not (just) because I have a Palestinian passport and I am also Israeli, so you see it is possible to be both, but in order … to have justice and peace we have to do many things.

“Our conflict is a conflict of two peoples who are convinced they have the right to live in the same little piece of land, therefore, our destinies are linked,” he said.

“No people should be expected to live under occupation,” Barenboim added as he received a standing ovation from the audience of academics, foreign guests and schoolchildren.

GAZA POLITICS

The concert comes a day before Islamist Hamas, who rule the Gaza Strip, and the more secular Fatah faction that controls the occupied West Bank, were due to sign a reconciliation agreement they hope will heal a political rift between them.

Israel maintains a blockade of Gaza because it is run by Hamas, who unlike Fatah, are hostile to the Jewish state and refuse to recognize interim peace accords or renounce violence.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, once the dominant Palestinian party, was driven out of the Gaza Strip by Hamas in a brief civil war four years ago.

Barenboim, today considered one of the world’s leading conductors of the operas of Richard Wagner, Hitler’s favorite composer, has further damaged his reputation in Israel where he has tried unsuccessfully to break an unofficial taboo on playing the music of the German composer.

(Writing by Ori Lewis)

Prepare to be disappointed.

The press shots from the premiere of Georg Friedrish Haas’s Bluthaus at the Schwetzinger Festival, an opera whose title and pre-publicity announced that it would ‘wallow in blood’, are about as sanguinary as an Anglican vicar’s office in Lent.

The review headlines are full of inflammatory references to the Kampusch and Fritzl rape/abduction cases and some local dignitaries stayed away, but this looks to have been a fairly orderly night in a small town in Germany. 







He’s 75 today.

Who knew?

Not many men are recognised the world over by their first name.

Far be it from this space to cavil at the power and the glory that was the Royal Wedding. 

The event was immaculate and uplifting, every component came in on cue, the chorus and musicians were outstanding and no-one left the Abbey or their living-room unmoved. And that’s before we even got to the street parties.

During the course of the ceremony I wondered what had happened to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Max holds the title of Master of the Queen’s Musick, a role that goes back to the 14th century and was formalised by Charles I in 1626. The sole duty of the title holder in modern times is to write music for royal occasions.
Yet nobody asked Max for a piece. Late in the day, they included two early works of his in the warm-ups, as guests were arriving in the Abbey. Max sat out the ceremony on his island fortress in the Orkneys, I’m told. He told the Telegraph he didn’t mind all that much not being asked to compose for the happy couple. 
But we should. If the Master doesn’t write for royal weddings, why keep the title? It should either be clarified for modern times or abolished as an anachronism. Don’t you think?

According to Italian news agencies, Susanna Mälkki broke an age-old taboo when she led the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s opera Quartet. The work, based on a Heiner Müller, derives from Les Liaisons Dangereuses and runs til May 7.

Could that really be true? Has Scala run 11 years into the 21st century before allowing a woman to do what they have been doing the world over for two generations? Apparently so.


Big hand for Susanna. No hand at all for La Scala

The Klimt painting restored this week to its rightful owners after 70 years of Nazi dispossession has untold connections to the Gustav Mahler story.

Victor Zuckerkandl, the original owner, was a property developer in Vienna who built, among other amenities, the strikingly modernist sanatorium at Purkersdorf. 
Sanatorium PurkersdorfDer WandelgangVeranda
photo: http://www.alma-mahler.com/engl/gallery/spielort_wien.html
His brother, the anatomist Emil Zuckerkandl, was married to the media heiress and art critic Berta; both were close personal friends of Mahler’s. It may safely be assumed that Berta introduced Victor to Josef Hoffman, who designed the sanatorium as well as several gifts that Mahler commissioned for his wife, Alma. It would have been through Berta, too, that Viktor in 1914 purchased from Gustav Klimt his latest painting, Litzlberg am Attersee.
litzbergAmAttersee220411
When Viktor died in 1927, the painting passed to his sister, Amalie, who lived nearby in Purkersdorf. Amalie had married into the Redlich family, who were lifelong friends of Mahler’s; he last stayed with them during the summer of Das Lied von der Erde. Amalie and her daughter Mathilde were deported and murdered by the Nazis in 1941 and their property sequestered. Amalie was listed in Nazi records as a sanatorium owner. The painting wound up in the hands of a private collector, who gave it to the Salzburg museum.
Sanatorium Purkersdorf
Corridor at Purkersdorf, designed by Hoffmann.

The Klimt scene would have been familiar to Mahler; it depicted the lake beside which he composed his third symphony. The Salzburg Museum has now agreed to restore the painting to Amalie’s grandson, in exchange for a $1 million gift for an Amalie Redlich annexe at the museum.

For more on the Klimts, the Zukerkandls and the Redlichs, see Why Mahler?


A tweet from Oslo tells me that EMI are about to announce a 4-CD deal with the latest Nordic dazzler, the young, blonde trumpet player, Tine Thing Helseth.

Trouble is, EMI already have a young, blonde trumpet player in Alison Balsom.

There is, as Maynard Keynes once wrote, a limit to the public demand for records by young blonde trumpet players.
Which leaves me wondering whether EMI is shrewdly trying to corner an unspotted market. Or whether is has bitten off one trumpet more than it can chew.
Maybe those Citibankers who own EMI know a Thing or two?

Over the past couple of months I have been hearing of orchestras taking longer and longer to pay musicians on return from overseas tours. One of the culprits was the London Mozart Players, an excellent chamber orchestra based in the southern satellite town of Croydon. 

LMP are now telling us why. In an interview with Gigmag, managing director Simon Funnell issues an emergency £50,000 appeal for private philanthropy to stave off a budget shortfall caused by Croydon council cuts. The Arts Council were typically unhelpful.
Prince Edward is leading the cash campaign. I hope he comes up with the goods. LMP, conducted by Gerard Korsten, with Roxanna Panufnik as composer in residence, is the only orchestra serving the southern London conurbations. If LMP were out of action, Croydon should know there would be little point in going ahead with a planned refurbishment of Fairfield Halls. It will have so many dark nights, it might as well be boarded up.
Press release below:

PRESS RELEASE
After more than 60 years the London Mozart Players announces that it is today launching a campaign to secure its future.
The orchestra has worked hard to replace the loss of its Arts Council core funding in 2008. But more is needed. The LMP’s Managing Director, Simon Funnell, said: “This campaign is urgent and vital – if we don’t succeed it is highly likely that the board will have to take the decision to close the orchestra later this year so the stakes are very high indeed. The LMP is one of the finest chamber orchestras in the country and it is crucial that we protect this part of our heritage.”
Simon Funnell continued: “Many arts organisations face challenging times in the coming years; thanks to the deep impact of the recession, Government cuts to the Arts Council, low interest rates and a gloomy outlook on the economy, the orchestra is facing a squeeze on every side: there are more organisations chasing smaller and smaller pots of money.
“Every time we lose a cultural institution like the LMP, we lose something of our humanity and we cannot allow this to happen. The sums of money the LMP need to survive are relatively small but vital if the orchestra is to survive. The government is calling on philanthropists and companies to do more to support the arts, and now the LMP is asking directly f

or that support.”

Over the last two years, the LMP has embarked on an ambitious programme of development, appointing an outstanding music director in Gérard Korsten who has already taken the LMP to new heights, as well as a new Associate Composer, Roxanna Panufnik. The orchestra continues to garner critical acclaim for the almost one hundred concerts, tours and recordings it undertakes each year:
The orchestra’s work off-stage, LMP Interactive, is also highly regarded, with over one hundred projects run each year. In Croydon the LMP has worked with around 30 schools and last year reached almost 3800 children and adults through its community and education work. The orchestra has pioneered cross-generational projects involving both young people and the elderly, was nominated for an RPS award for its “Orchestra in a Village” project at the Cambridge Music Festival and has worked this year with the Princes Foundation for Children & the Arts as well as Orchestras Live and Turner Sims Concert Hall on projects for young people. It was recently nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award for its work with Portsmouth Grammar School and the composer Tansy Davies.
The orchestra’s principal funder Croydon Council has continued to support the orchestra through these difficult times and the orchestra’s management cannot thank the Council highly enough for its generosity. The orchestra realises that it cannot expect the council, or the tax payers of Croydon, to be the only funders of an orchestra which works across the country and abroad. The LMP is delighted to have an ongoing relationship both with Croydon Council and with Fairfield Halls both of whom are strong supporters of the orchestra. But the LMP recognises the need to complement this with broader philanthropic support.
The orchestra’s formal appeal will be launched by the orchestra’s Associate Conductor Hilary Davan Wetton at the orchestra’s concert at Fairfield Halls, 7.30pm on Wednesday 20 April 2011.
– ENDS –
For more information contact Simon Funnell, Managing Director, London Mozart Players on 020 8686 1996 or email simon@lmp.org
Press tickets for Wednesday night’s concert are available by emailing Caroline Molloy: caroline@lmp.org

The city of Hamburg is planning a big climax for its two-year Mahler cycle. It’s the eighth symphony conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, with some 500 performers in the O2 arena on May 20.

Before the Creator Spiritus gets moving that night, the audience will hear a new commission from American composer Nathaniel Stookey. Titled Mahl/er/werk – a German word meaning ‘grinding mechanism’, it is made up entirely of fragments of Mahler’s music, all in their original key, tempo and instrumentation. 
Stookey has dedicated the score to Alfred Schnittke, once a citizen of Hamburg, who created many works of out of shards of other men’s music (see Why Mahler?). I’m curious to hear it. There will be a broadcast on NDR.
Logo "Mah/ler/werk": Eine Auftragskomposition von Nathaniel Stookey für den NDR © NDR

One of Deutsche Grammophon’s top producers, Rainer Maillard, has taken up a new venture recording music live to vinyl. It’s not just the sound that gets better, he says on this promo video, it’s the way the musicians play, knowing there can be no second take.

Maillard is a serious man. He’s currently head of the Emile Berliner studios, formerly owned by DG.
Take a look here

                                 Millard, with Alice Sara Ott. photo: DG

English National Opera has ingathered a galaxy of chums on June 26 to sing out a fine farewell to Sir Charles Mackerras, who died last summer. Charlie had a short and torrid time as music director at the Coliseum. This bash is sure to wipe away any lingering aftertaste.

press release below

Sir Charles Mackerras
Concert – Stars of the classical music world mount a special tribute at ENO on
Sunday 26 June 2011

 

Lesley Garrett, Sir
John Tomlinson, Sir Mark Elder and others join ENO to celebrate the career of
world renowned conductor and former ENO Music Director, Sir Charles
Mackerras

 

One year
after his passing, a concert led by extraordinary conductors and singers and
including the ENO orchestra and chorus will celebrate the musical talent of
Charles Mackerras. Described as one of the great polymath music directors of the
20th century, Mackerras conducted some of the world’s most famous
orchestras and held the position of director of music at ENO from 1970-1977.

 

On the stage
of the London Coliseum, acclaimed international artists, most of whom worked
with Sir Charles and all having a close association with ENO, will create a
unique musical event in celebration of Sir Charles’ exceptional life and
contribution to music. The evening will include performances by singers
including Sir John Tomlinson, Dame Felicity Palmer, Lesley Garrett, Rebecca
Evans, Janice Watson, Catherine Wyn Rogers, Diana Montague Jonathan Summers and
many others.  ENO Music Director Edward Gardner, together with past Music
Directors Sir Mark Elder and Paul Daniel, will conduct ENO’s acclaimed Orchestra
and Chorus. The evening will be presented by BBC Radio 3 In Tune presenter, Sean
Rafferty.

 

The evening’s
programme reflects the repertoire championed by Mackerras and includes operatic
arias and choruses from Handel’s Julius Caesar, Mozart’s Marriage of
Figaro
and Idomeneo, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of
Penzance
and The Mikado, Verdi’s Falstaff and Don
Carlo
, Beethoven’s Fidelio, Britten’s Peter Grimes, Puccini’s
Tosca, Janá?ek’s Jen?fa and Strauss’s
Rosenkavalier.

 

Edward
Gardner said, “We’re delighted to be celebrating Sir Charles’ work at ENO with
this special concert.  Many of the singers Sir Charles loved working with will
be performing, including Sir John Tomlinson and Dame Felicity Palmer, and three
Music Directors of ENO, Sir Mark Elder, Paul Daniel and I will share the
podium.  The programme, put together with the Mackerras family, will explore the
extraordinary breadth of Sir Charles’ work with the Company for over 60 years”.

 

Mackerras
grew up in Australia, emigrating to Britain in 1947. He began his brilliant
career as a director at Sadler’s Wells Opera of London, now ENO, conducting,
among others, Janá?ek, Handel, Gluck, Bach and Donizetti. During his life, he
was also a noted authority on Mozart and Sir Arthur Sullivan’s operas. He was
appointed principal conductor of some of Europe’s most celebrated orchestras
including BBC Concert Orchestra (1954-1956), Hamburg State Opera (1965-1969),
English National Opera (1970-1977), Welsh National Opera (1987-1992) and
Scottish Chamber Orchestra (1992-1995). He worked with some of the world’s most
influential orchestras including the Metropolitan Opera of New York and San
Francisco Opera’s in house orchestras, as well as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Mackerras was a champion of musical direction
and wrote regarding his strategy for working with an orchestra: “I believe it’s
very important to edit orchestral parts explicitly and as thoroughly as
possible, so that the musicians can play them without too much
rehearsal”.

 

The concert
in honour of Sir Charles Mackerras will take place at London Coliseum on
Sunday 26 June 2011 at 7pm.

 

Booking
Information

Tickets: £8 –
£45
All proceeds of this charity concert going to ENO Benevolent
Fund

 

For
further press information please contact:

Elizabeth
Barrett

Head of
Press

ebarrett@eno.org