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      12 Polish Composers You Should Know (Who Aren’t Chopin)

      Everyone loves the music of Fryderyk Chopin, Poland’s most well-known composer. But, how many other Polish composers do you know? Learn more about Poland’s best composers from one of Poland’s best composers: Marta Ptaszyńska more...

      QUIZ: Match the Film to the Score

      How well do you know movie music? Listen to the excerpts from the following famous film scores, and see if you can match the music to the correct movie. more...

      Classical Music’s Most Memorable Moments on Sesame Street

      Whether teaching the ABCs or addressing decidedly more grown-up topics, Sesame Street has expanded children's minds and hearts since its debut nearly fifty years ago. Many musicians have visited Sesame Street, introducing people of all ages to great music. There have been many inspiring musical moments on Sesame Street, but here are some of WFMT's favorites! more...

      These Photoshopped Pictures of Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde Will Make You Literally LOL

      Christine Goerke has set the world on fire with what the Wall Street Journal described as her “big, blazing soprano.” Recently she’s set the internet ablaze not with her voice, but with her sense of humor. When Goerke posted a production photo from the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Siegfried, in which she plays the role more... more...

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      Total Immersion: Andriessen review – a joyous, uplifting experience

      Barbican, London
      Compelling performances by the BBCSO of two UK premieres, La Commedia and Mysteriën, highlighted Louis Andriessen’s fresh and economical approach

      The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s two days of concerts devoted to Louis Andriessen’s music included two major UK premieres. La Commedia, Andriessen’s most recent stage work (a new one will be premiered at the Holland festival in June), is a typically wide-ranging and culturally allusive riff on Dante’s Divine Comedy. The piece, like its predecessors, blurs the boundary between concert hall and opera house: sometimes it resembles a series of dramatic tableaux, other times it’s more like a collection of secular cantatas.

      Whatever the designation, it was a joyous, uplifting experience. The Barbican performance, conducted with wonderful clarity by Martyn Brabbins, was a concert staging. Directed by Kenneth Richardson, it dispensed with the film by Hal Hartley that was shot for the 2008 Amsterdam stage premiere and which was also packaged with the CD version two years ago. That allowed Andriessen’s magpie-like score, ransacking three centuries of musical history, to be relished fully, and we could grasp the texts in three languages more easily. As in the Amsterdam premiere, the soprano Claron McFadden was Beatrice, and the mezzo Cristina Zavalloni performed Dante; the Lucifer here was baritone Andrew Sauvageau, while Synergy Vocals supplied the chorus and the Finchley Children’s Music Group delivered the charmingly mocking coda.

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      Gould Piano Trio/Elias Quartet review – rigour and fire in revolutionary Beethoven

      The composer’s early works brought out the best in the Gould Trio in this absorbing five-day Beethoven festival

      Beethoven: Music in Revolution was the ambitious title given to this five-day festival, curated and performed by the Gould Piano Trio and friends. It offered an absorbing historical perspective on a composer who subverted rules, pushed boundaries and used shock tactics, as well as capturing his rigour and passion.

      The Gould Trio’s recital of Op 1 No 3, and Op 11 with clarinettist Robert Plane, achieved a perfect balance of structural exactitude and lyricism. Pianist Benjamin Frith brought the same depth of understanding to a sequence of late Bagatelles and the Sonata Op 109. Frith shaped phrasing with Mozartean clarity while exploiting the drama of the music, in which Beethoven toys with expectation and surprise. On the following evening, Frith anchored a fine performance of the Op 16 Quintet, with the same wind players then gracing Beethoven’s Septet.

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      ENO in crisis: who can keep the magic alive?

      Despite a glorious Magic Flute revival, a new artistic director of the stricken opera company will face some hard decisions

      Last week English National Opera advertised for an artistic director. Applications close on Wednesday. Get your skates on if you have a “broadly ranging knowledge of opera” and can “lead an artistic vision”. Headhunters are not known for their prose. I hope this lax job description does not reflect the sharp thinking of Cressida Pollock, ENO chief executive, or Mark Wigglesworth, music director, in their search for the missing part of their triumvirate. This is the job John Berry, working with a different team and structure, left last summer.

      “Deep” rather than “broad” experience of opera might help, together with a thorough grasp of music (a word not used in the brief). It is vital for ENO’s newcomer to understand with ears and gut, not just because the music department has to plead why a regular chorus and orchestra are essential; why a work may need extra rehearsal time; why singers need vocal support from a set design or, when singing upside down from the flies, must be able to see the conductor. The rumour mill assumes that a choice has been made. This is the last chance for a maverick to jump in. Expect an announcement soon.

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      Decca 478 8837

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      Nicholas McCarthy: Solo

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      Blackbird: The Beatles Album

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