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      Barenboim and Berlin orchestra confirm Tehran concert plan

      Israeli-Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim is hoping to take one of Germany's top orchestras to Iran to perform a concert there, the Berlin State Opera said Thursday, drawing angry protests from Israel. Barenboim, 72, who is general music director of the German capital's flagship opera house, the State Opera, "is in talks with Iran about a possible concert in Tehran by the Staatskapelle Berlin," the house said in an emailed statement. more...

      29 Composers and their Canine Companions

      It's National Dog Day! Have you ever heard the saying, "Behind every great composer is a cuddly canine?" No? Well these photos prove that every composer from Bernstein to Busoni had a four-legged friend as a constant companion. more...

      10 Reaction Gifs of Leonard Bernstein Conducting That You Never Knew You Always Needed

      To many, Leonard Bernstein was and always will be the great American conductor. To commemorate this modern master, we’re looking back at some of Bernstein's most performative moments in a postmodern way - gifs! more...

      How Gabriela Montero Uses the Piano for Political Protest

      Pianist, composer, and improviser Gabriela Montero is speaking out against corruption in Venezuela, her home country, using the most powerful way she knows how: music. Montero spoke with me from Los Angeles about her political piano concerto, 'Ex Patria,' the role of music in politics, and more. more...

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      Tishchenko: Piano Sonatas 7 & 8 CD review – fearless and penetrating playing

      Nicolas Stavy
      (BIS)

      Boris Tishchenko was a Soviet composer of dark and exuberantly offbeat music. He wrote a lot, and what he wrote was generally not shy. He charted the struggle of Soviet artists in his vehement orchestral song-cycle Requiem; he was a devotee of Shostakovich, and it shows in the prickly wit and grotesque pastiches of his music. That he was a superb pianist underpins the expansive, gnarly language of his 11 piano sonatas.

      On this recording, French pianist Nicolas Stavy tackles the Seventh, longest and formally weirdest of them all, with its clanging tubular bells and acid glockenspiel (played by Jean-Claude Gengembre) adding to the absurd melodrama of the mix. The Eighth is more taut – a tightly-sprung riot of tough counterpoint, mordant send-ups and suddenly bare, solemn chorales. Stavy’s playing is fearless throughout. He unleashes outrageous whirlwinds then finds penetrating space and contemplation in slow passages.

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      Barenboim to take Berlin orchestra to Iran despite protests from Israel

      Israeli-Argentinian conductor’s planned September concert postponed as organisers look for a new date in wake of protests from Israeli officials

      Daniel Barenboim, one of the world’s foremost music conductors, is planning to take a Berlin orchestra to Iran for a concert and a possible collaboration with Tehran’s reborn symphony orchestra, despite angry protests from Israel.

      A performance by Barenboim, the 72-year-old Israeli-Argentinian, in Iran will be a significant moment in the rapprochement between Iran and the west in the wake of the landmark nuclear deal struck in July. The cultural exchanges with the outside world are expanding with the director of the Louvre museum, Jean-Luc Martinez, going to Tehran in the near future.

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      Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde CD review – poor recording of fine performances

      Fuchs/Schäfer/Linos Ensemble
      (Capriccio)

      The Society for Private Musical Performances, which Schoenberg and his acolytes founded in Vienna in 1919, may have survived for only three years, but in that time it presented 117 concerts, containing a total of 154 works, ranging across the spectrum of new music in the first decades of the 20th century. Many of them were played in chamber arrangements made specially for the society by its members. Schoenberg himself was responsible for some of them, and in 1921 he began to make an arrangement of Das Lied von der Erde, but stopped work halfway through the first movement. It was only in the 1980s that the German composer Rainer Riehn continued it, using the same ensemble of 14 players that Schoenberg had established.

      It’s no substitute for the original, but it is still a remarkably plausible piece of work, using piano and harmonium to bulk out the textures and imaginative wind doublings to evoke the tone colours of the original. Unfortunately, a rather odd boxy acoustic and recording take the edge of this performance by the Linos Ensemble, though the soloists – mezzo Ivonne Fuchs and tenor Markus Schäfer are very fine, even though like every tenor before him Schäfer sometimes struggles with the tessitura of his vocal lines.

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