Sergei Rachmaninoff’s First Appearance in London, 1899 + MORE Nov 5th


Today’s News & Buzz


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Chairman’s Choice: Klaus Heymann spotlights some of September’s new releases (Sep 01, 2015) + MORE

BERNSTEIN Symphony No 3 ‘Kaddish’, Missa Brevis, The Lark Washington Chorus, São Paulo Symphony Chorus, Baltimore Symphony, Alsop Naxos 8.559742 Marin Alsop is a leading Naxos artist with an extensive and widely respected discography. She will again.... More »

“Less filling” + MORE

“Disciplined and intelligent.” “Clean and transparent.” “Fleet and lithe.” Though Fabio Luisi’s Wagner performances draw frequent praise for their tidy professionalism, there’s often an undercurrent of frustration with the Genoese maestro for not wringing a little more blood out of t.... More »

Just in: Classical artist cancels US debut tour over Trump ban + MORE

From the Chicago music critic and concert organizer Peter Margasak: I was incredibly excited to present and hear the Chicago debut of the London-based Kazakh violinist Aisha Orazbayeva next weekend as part of the series I program at Constellation, but this morning she advised me that she had decide.... More »

CD Spotlight. A Fine Programme + MORE

Vaughan Williams and MacMillan oboe concertos, recommended by Howard Smith. '... superb performances ideally recorded.'.... More »

Vic Firth, Who Gave Drummers Their Sticks, Dies at 85 + MORE

Mr. Firth spent more than 40 years as the principal tympanist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and a company with his name now turns out some 12 million drumsticks and mallets annually..... More »

Julian Anderson day – review


Julian Anderson day – reviewWigmore Hall, LondonA concert at Wigmore Hall inaugurates the residency of composer Julian Anderson, and highlights the impact that the instruments’ specific properties have on his distinctive writingWigmore Hall marked the beginning of Julian Anderson’s appointment as its composer-in-residence with a day devoted to his music and that of contemporary composers he admires…

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Back to the City


I have managed to get a ticket to the sold out performance of a most rare double bill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama this evening. These two pieces by Debussy and Donizetti do not look like obvious bed fellows – except in so far as they are so seldom performed as to be of exceptional interest to magpie opera fanatics…

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Sunday Special: Ubi caritas


Sunday Special: Ubi caritasMainz's cathedral, photographed from the opera houseSince reporting from Tannhäuser, Gentle Readers, I've been so out of touch with local opera that I barely know what I missed. (Except the prima of Rinaldo here in Mainz, for which there were no student tickets.) This shocking state of affairs has been brought about by academic deadlines…

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CD Spotlight. Tonal Clothing


Slatkin conducts Rachmaninov, heard by Andrew Schartmann. ‘… Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra perform admirably.’

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François-Frédéric Guy performs on a five-star recording

The French pianist François-Frédéric Guy has now recorded Beethoven’s monumental Piano Sonata No…

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Wozzeck returns


Wozzeck – Royal Opera House, 31 October 2013

I didn't think it was possible to screw up Wozzeck until I saw Carrie Cracknell's 'post-Iraq' ENO production earlier this year, a misreading that replaced the general with the specific, paranoia with logic, angst with social conscience, playing up to the London audience's TV-nourished passion for simple storylines in ultra-realistic settings, no matter how the underlying work is betrayed…

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‘Svadba’ at Opera Philadelphia


Charles T. Downey, Opera Philadelphia presents American premiere of mesmerizing “Svadba”
The Classical Review, November 13
Opera companies should be presenting new operas. The risk is enormous, because many new works turn out to be duds and because a company’s most reliable audience often wants to hear the same ten operas over and over again…

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Beatrice Rana @ Wolf Trap


Charles T. Downey, Beatrice Rana’s immaculate performance at Wolf Trap
Washington Post, November 4, 2013

14th Van Cliburn
Competition, B. Rana
(released on November 12, 2013)
Victory at music competitions often goes to the performer who makes the fewest mistakes. Italian pianist Beatrice Rana, who won the Silver Medal at this year’s Van Cliburn Competition, gave an immaculate performance at

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This ‘blog’ is always prepared to look beyond music by British composers. It is fascinating to look at conductors, soloists and institutions. One of the most venerable of these latter is the Philharmonic Society which was founded in 1813. A major highlight of their history was the welcoming of Sergei Rachmaninoff on 19th April 1899…

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The official classical chart


Week ending 2 November 2013


Voice of Joy
Friar Alessandro
Decca 481 0507
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Brahms: The Symphonies
Gewandhaus Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly
Decca 478 5344
Buy from Amazon
Download on iTunes


Bach: Concertos
Janine Jansen (vln)
Decca 478 5362
Buy from Amazon
Download on iTunes


The Verdi Album
Jonas Kaufmann (ten); Coro del Teatro; Municipale di Piacenza; Orchestra dell'Opera di parma/Pier Giorgio Morandi
Sony Classical 88765492002
Buy from Amazon
Download on iTunes


Shostakovich: Symphony No…

Continue Reading On » Afro-Cuban Opera Singer Mercedes Kirkwood, 92, Receives National Honor in Jamaica

Mercedes Kirkwood (Jamaica Gleaner)

Michael S. Wright writes about Afro-Cuban opera singer Mercedes Kirkwood:


This would be of interest to some.

I may have reported an article in the Jamaican Gleaner when she turned 90…

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The US-German violinist David Garrett plays Paganini in Hollywood’s first composer biopic for a couple of decades. Here are two trailers:  

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This is a strong revival of Keith Warner’s 2002 production, featuring a moving performance from Simon Keenlyside in the title role

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