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      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Who am I? Born in 1856, I first gained fame as a music critic under the name "Corno di Bassetto." One of the best-known playwrights of the 20th century, I also wrote a book about Wagner. I won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And I remain the only person to win a Nobel Prize and an Oscar. Who am I? Answer >>


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      Magdalena Kožená/ Mitsuko Uchida review – mixed blessings

      Wigmore Hall, London
      Schoenberg’s cabaret songs showed singer and pianist at their best, but in the main, the recital left one wanting a little more from both musicians

      The occasional partnership between pianist Mitsuko Uchida and mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená was renewed here with a programme that dug out some unusual and appealing repertoire yet found neither artist consistently at her best. The relaxed simplicity of the encore – Janáček’s The Little Bench – left us wanting more in a way the main programme hadn’t.

      Kožená was singing either in her native Czech or in German, the language of her adopted home, and throughout, there was nothing to be faulted in the delivery of her words; everything was forward and direct, even though she tended to narrow down some vowels rather than open them out. In her delivery of the poems attributed to Mary Queen of Scots, as set to dark, static music by Schumann, there was a solemn resolve that gave way to a stab of emotion when the imprisoned bade a hopeless farewell to her friends.

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      Top five things to do this week: MPavilion, Mozart and more

      MPavilion opens for the summer, Richard Tognetti celebrates 25 years at the helm of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and The Sleeping Beauty in Perth

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      Objects at an Exhibition review – Aurora Orchestra finds scientific inspiration

      Science Museum, London
      Six pieces suggested by objects in the Science Museum with site-specific performances of each made for an intriguing evening

      Staged concerts have been a speciality of conductor Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra almost since it was formed 10 years ago. While some of the shows have been designed for touring, the latest, Objects at an Exhibition, was site specific. In collaboration with NMC Records, the orchestra had commissioned six composers to write pieces suggested by exhibits in the Science Museum in South Kensington; the results were then given their first performances in situ, as close as possible to the objects that inspired them, in an evening-long event devised by director Tim Hopkins.

      The oldest composer represented is in her 80s, and the youngest in his mid-30s, so the stylistic range was vast. Thea Musgrave’s rather French, rather neoclassical Power Play, conducted by Nicholas Collon among the engines and turbines of the museum’s Energy Hall, was worlds away from Christopher Mayo’s Supermarine, inspired by the slate statue of the engineer R J Mitchell in the flight gallery, with cello and double bass punctuating its aero-engine samples. It contrasted, too, with Claudia Molitor’s rather engaging 2TwoLO, that harks back to the earliest days of radio in the UK, when broadcasting music was forbidden on the fledgling station 2LO, and imagines a way of smuggling a performance (of Handel’s famous Largo) into this music-free zone.

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      Discover WFMT's Classical Italy next May! Join Peter van de Graaff on this exclusive twelve-day classical music lover's journey to "Bella Italia" next May. Imagine staying in the heart of Venice in a restored old abbey and experiencing Donizetti' opera La favorite at the historic La Fenice Opera House!

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