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Carl's Morning Quiz
Carl's Morning Quiz: Today is the anniversary of the first performance of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute. The premiere took place six weeks before Mozart's death in 1791. What Mozart opera just opened Lyric Opera of Chicago's 60th anniversary season? Answer >>
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When she made an appearance on Downton Abbey as the turn of the century opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, producer Gareth Neame told "The Telegraph" the whole crew rushed to hear her sing, "It was the sight of all these tough electricians and grips and all the people you see on a film set with tears more...
The 60th season at Lyric Opera of Chicago begins on Saturday with a bit of nostalgia: Mozart's Don Giovanni, the same opera that launched the company 60 years ago. Lyric Opera's new production won't look much like the original, however. It is directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls, who is putting a more modern spin on the classic tale. more...
October marks the 50th anniversary of the Johnny Cash concept album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, a collection of songs intended to raise awareness of the plight of the native American. In typical "Man in Black" fashion, Cash eschewed the musical trends of the day – and even the societal trends – to identify a minority who needed a voice in the American Civil Rights more...
Conductor and early music specialist Christopher Hogwood died on Wednesday at the age of 73. As one of the original proponents of what came to be called "historically informed performances," he helped reshape the way musicians around the world approach Baroque music. After studying at Cambridge in the early 60s, Christopher Hogwood became the keyboard more...
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A chance finding in Budapest has brought a fascinating Mozart manuscript to light. But why cant we look at it properly?
News has just come to light of a major Mozart discovery, of a priceless manuscript that had lain in the musty depths of Budapests National Szechenyi Library for who knows how many decades, only to be rediscovered by a Haydn scholar making one of the most fortuitous Mozartian tangents of all time.
Instead of a fragment of a letter, a half-forgotten dance, or a torn-off corner of a scrawled sketch, what musicologist Balazs Mikusi found was the substantive part of one of Mozarts most famous instrumental pieces, the A major piano sonata K331, composed in 1783, whose Turkish March finale is one of Wolfgangs most instantly recognisable tunes, and whose opening movement, a set of brilliantly beguiling variations on one of the most satisfyingly simple melodies he ever composed, is a staple of piano lessons the world over. The final page of the original manuscript has long been known to Mozart scholars, and is part of the legacy in Mozarts hometown, Salzburg, but no original manuscript of the rest of the piece had ever been seen in modern times.Continue reading...
Martyn Brabbins and the Britten Sinfonia do their best to bring this ambitious work to life, but the venue doesnt do its spatial effects and subtleties any favours
There have been a number of posthumous premieres since John Tavener died last November, but nothing on the scale of Flood of Beauty. A 100-minute setting of the 100 stanzas of the Sanskrit Saundarya Lahari, introduced to the Tavener faithful at the Barbican by the Britten Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia Voices, New London Choir and assorted soloists, valiantly conducted by Martyn Brabbins.
Strictly speaking, Flood of Beauty isnt a late work Tavener completed it without a commission in 2007, and the Barbican stepped in much more recently to mount the premiere. But the Barbican Hall is not the right place to hear a work in which the singers and orchestral players are meant to be dispersed to all points of the compass, with the conductor and the soloists soprano (Allison Bell here), baritone (Marcus Farnsworth) and cello (Natalie Clein) at its centre and a group on Indian instruments, sitar (Sheema Mukherjee), tanpura (Omar Shahryar) and tabla (Kuljit Bhamra) off to one side, acting like a continuo group in a baroque opera. Three of the groups were stationed in the balcony and were mostly inaudible from a seat in the stalls, so the spatial effects that are clearly a major part of Taveners concept went for nothing.Continue reading...
Kings Place, London
This daunting chamber concert programme of Bach and Beethoven never quite delivered what it promised
Bachs Art of Fugue, followed by the original version of Beethovens B flat Quartet Op 130, with the Grosse Fuge as its finale, is about as daunting as a chamber concert can get as much for the players as for the audience. The Escher Quartets performance was certainly a triumph of stamina and concentration, if nothing else.
Whether it was a successful programme, though, was another matter. On paper, theres an obvious logic to pairing Bachs apotheosis of the form that he did so much to perfect with a work by Beethoven that ends with one of the most extraordinary subsequent examples of that form. Juxtaposing them here, however, proved too much of a good thing. Having hugely admired the Eschers performances of 20th-century quartets in concert and on disc, I was intrigued to hear what they did with earlier works, but at the end of this almost three-hour concert, Im not sure I was any the wiser.Continue reading...
David Cameron announces plans to ensure seven-day GP access is rolled out across England by 2020.
A future Conservative government would seek new powers to ban extremist groups and curb the activities of "harmful" individuals, Theresa May says.
Indecent images of pupils are found on the computer of an Essex deputy head teacher who was found dead after he was visited by police.
Flight delays and cancellations are expected to continue at Chicago’s two airports...
The long anticipated $575 million renovation of Wrigley Field begins today, without a...
The Packers defense continues to stymie Jay Cutler, as he falls to 1-9 against the...
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Haydn: String Quartets, Vol 7
MDG 307 1860-2
Alison Balsom: Paris
Warner Classics 0825646327898
Ott & Tristano: Scandale
Deutsche Grammophon 479 3541
Elina Garanca: Meditation
Deutsche Grammophon B0021327-02
Bruckner: Symphony No 9
Deutsche Grammophon 479 3441