Schumann is probably the most lovable of the great German masters, simply because his music is inextricably involved in first impressions: many children learning the piano will encounter early the pretty little pieces from his Album for the Young, moving on with enhanced delight to the easier numbers in Scenes from Childhood.
Miami Beach seems an unlikely venue for a noble, idealistic artistic venture.
Great bafflement during a recent week in Berlin, city of bleak exteriors, whose human and cultural rewards are almost wholly indoors — in its wealth of concert halls, opera houses and museums.
Glenn Gould called it ‘the greatest song cycle ever written’, entitling his notes on the two versions of Paul Hindemith’s masterpiece ‘A Tale of Two Marienlebens’.
The prospect was so inherently unlikely — Nikolaus Harnoncourt fulfilling in the latter days of his career the dream of a lifetime conducting Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess — that I tuned in to Radio Three with low expectations, though with curiosity on high alert.
The last of 2009’s remarkable concatenation of musical anniversaries was celebrated — if that is the word — by Radio Three on New Year’s Eve with a chat show in which each of the four great composers was allotted a defence by a noteworthy music lover, backed up by live phone calls for a brief, impromptu telegram, illustrated with well-chosen extracts from their works, subjected to dissenting discussion, and eventually put to the vote at the hands of the anonymous mass of listeners.
December 2009 — the final month in the bicentennial of the great composer (obit. 1809) once dubbed by Tovey ‘Haydn the Inacccessible’.
One day back in 2007 I sat down in a mood of bitter rancour and rapidly sketched out an unpremeditated draft setting of Psalm 39, that text unmatched for the utterance of such dark states — ‘my heart was hot within me …man walketh in a vain shadow...O spare me a little, that I may recover my strength before I go hence and be no more seen ...’.
I have just inherited my College’s collection of long-playing records, now redundant, with permission to retain, give away, otherwise dispose of if and as possible.
A long drive mitigated by congenial and erudite company
Felicity, pleasure, happiness, luxe, calme et volupté.
Robin Holloway offers a different take on Lulu at Covent Garden
Irresistible, the allure of a snatched weekend in Paris to catch a rare, adored opera, Chabrier’s Le roi malgré lui.
I write fresh from a local event with historical roots far into the past — a concert, part of a year’s-worth of events celebrating Cambridge’s first eight centuries, devoted to exploring the university’s long past and rich present of choral singing.
Most attractively packaged, these four CDs comprising the new survey of British songwriting are issued by NMC recordings to mark the 20th anniversary of its indispensable activities
By happy coincidence, all four of 2009’s major composers’ anniversaries link in a continuous chain, illustrating, directly or obliquely, two centuries of English musical life.
Surprisingly (for it seems so against the odds) these have been good — even great — times for that apparently most elitist medium, the string quartet.
Robin Holloway celebrates the work of Elliott Carter
Caught by chance on Remembrance Sunday, the broadcast of the composer’s celebrated recording of War Requiem kept me hooked, listening with half an ear, half fascinated, half repelled, for the whole duration of a trip down memory lane, recalling the wave of patriotic fervour and heart-on-sleeve emotion surrounding the work’s première, 1962, in the new Coventry cathedral.
Robin Holloway prepares his latest work
Robin Holloway on the unique orchestra layout that produces the Festspielhaus’s unique acoustic
Robin Holloway visits the town for the first time and sees seven Wagner operas
Robin Holloway remembers Wilfrid Mellers
Robin Holloway attends the Spanish premiere of Helmut Lachenmann's Little Match Girl
Robin Holloway on César Franck