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      Carlos Kleiber, A Reclusive Genius

      "Carlos has a genius for conducting, but he doesn't enjoy doing it. He tells me, 'I conduct only when I'm hungry'. And it's true. He has a deep-freeze. He fills it up and cooks for himself and when it gets down to a certain level, then he thinks 'Now I might do a concert'." That more...

      Christopher Maltman Tweets and Sings Beethoven, John Adams

      It is well established that opera singers can sing like canaries. Now we're finding they tweet like them, too. Baritone Christopher Maltman used Twitter to share something of the on-stage and off-stage energy during his concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony earlier this year more...

      Pianist Amy Briggs on What’s New in Music

      Pianist Amy Briggs has a passion for pristine and rugged terrains, be it a trek in the Spanish Pyrenees or a virtuosic piano score that no one's ever performed before. As a working pianist and Director of Chamber Music and Lecturer in Music at the University of Chicago, Ms. Briggs knows her way around the standard repertoire of Brahms and Beethoven. But it is the music of our own time that finds its way more...

      Champion Plays Ravinia

      He calls Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin "a big friend of mine." His heroes are Vladimir Horowitz and star hockey center Sergei Fedorov. Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, who has "epic technique" according to the Boston Globe, is not shy about talking sports. In a 2009 Impromptu, he told WFMT that as a youth in Siberia, he could hardly be kept indoors. He played either soccer or ice hockey "about seven hours a day. Music was second." Speaking with a gentle Russian growl, he laughs more...

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      The Blank Canvas review operatic novices make their mark

      King's Head, London
      The winner of last year's Opera Up Close Flourish competition for new composers and librettists impresses in all aspects

      Now in its third year, Opera Up Close's Flourish competition seeks to give composers and librettists the chance to create new chamber pieces scaled to the possibilities of this pub-theatre venue. Last year's winning entry now reaches the stage with work by two operatic novices, composer Spyros Syrmos and writer Fay Wrixon.

      The Blank Canvas centres on artist Lucy, widowed for a year following the death of her husband, Peter, but continuing to enjoy the support of her agent and friend, Gio, who is in love with her. Her work, meanwhile, has run aground because of vision problems that are eventually diagnosed as the onset of blindness. How Lucy comes to terms with these losses and eventually enters into a new relationship with Gio provides the essence of a plot that is simple but not without ambiguities.

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      Rhuna Martin obituary

      Rhuna Martin, who has died aged 82, had a brief performing career in her own right, but it was as a cello teacher that she was to make her reputation, particularly working with children. She had a gift for making her students fall in love with the cello, combining a natural approach to music with a relaxed physical approach. The latter led to an interest in the Alexander Technique, which she also taught after qualifying in 1984.

      Soon after completing her own studies at the Royal College of Music, London, in 1956, she began to teach at the college's junior department, where one of her first pupils was Julian Lloyd Webber. He later recalled that she "was the first to open my ears to the cello"; outside the lessons, she would take him to concerts to hear great cellists (the first being Pierre Fournier), in order to inspire him.

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      Proms matinee 3: London Sinfonietta/Edwards review visceral and dazzling

      Cadogan Hall, London
      A programme marking the 80th birthday of Peter Maxwell Davies captured the composer's trademark fluency and invention

      The last two Saturday matinees at the Proms this summer each mark the 80th birthday of one of this country's greatest living composers. Next weekend, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group will pay tribute to Harrison Birtwistle. TOn Saturday, their capital counterparts, the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Sian Edwards, celebrated Peter Maxwell Davies's anniversary.

      The composer had devised the programme himself, bringing together three works from different decades of his 60-year career. The most recent was the plainchant-haunted Linguae Ignis, for cello and ensemble, from 2002. The soloist was the Sinfonietta's principal cellist, Tim Gill, who epitomised the fluency of Davies's later style, evident here in a main climax that reveals the hard-edged fierceness that has never deserted the composer's music. The other two pieces rank among Davies's finest achievements, and therefore among the greatest works written in England in the past 50 years.

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      new releases

      Uchida Plays Mozart

      Decca 478 6763

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      Monteverdi: Vespers of Saint Mark

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      Fasch: Quartets & Concertos

      Linn CKD-467

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      Bach: Keyboard Partitas

      Sony Classical 88843076302

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      Summer Night Concert 2014

      Sony Classical 88843070972

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