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Composer poll: the reckoning

Last week I put up a list of 12 living British composers so that you could vote for your favourite. Then I was awake all night remembering the ones I'd not put in, so I put up a second list. Polling is now closed. Here are the top three places in each of the two lists: LIST 1 1. Show More Summary

Stile Antico - Music from the Hapsburg Imperial Court

From the Imperial Court - Music for the House of Hapsburg; Stile Antico; Harmonia Mundi Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Oct 22 2014 Star rating: 5.0 Music from France, Spain and the Netherlands associated with the Hapsburgs This disc on...Show More Summary

Courtly night: Master of the Queen’s Musick

Judith WeirPhoto © Chris Christodoulou Weir, Maxwell Davies, Elgar, Bliss, Walford Davies; Park Lane Group; Sam Wanamaker Playous Reviewed by Hilary Glover on Oct 27 2014 Star rating: 4.0 Celebrating Judith Weir's appointment as Master...Show More Summary

Making It Legal

Photo linked from SF Chronicle; photographer uncredited. After 38 years together, Michael Tilson Thomas and Joshua Robison have gotten married! Adorably, they have known each since junior high school.Congratulations, you two, and I'm glad to have lived to see the day when this would be possible.

Reviewing the Hagen Quartet

My review is up at SFCV. Several friends of mine are very big on the Hagen; a couple have specifically praised Clemens Hagen, the cellist. I liked his playing, and that of violist Veronika Hagen and second violinist Rainer Schmidt, a...Show More Summary

More Dominos in the Met Boheme

You might remember this posting, about Sonya Yoncheva: she took on some Traviata performances, owing to the withdrawal of Marina Poplavskaya from the role of Violetta, and in doing so, surrendered some performances in which she was to...Show More Summary

And Why We Write Daily Reviews

My previous posting doesn't get into the specific reasons for writing performance reviews, but they exist and they are important to musical life: To keep the audience informed about what's going on To create a historical record of who was doing what when and how well they did it Commentary is a basic part of cultural life, as it is of political and scientific life.

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

Well, maybe two. From a press release about a new $100,000 prize to be awarded by the Warner Music Group to "a classical musician aged 18 to 35 who demonstrates exceptional talent and promise, regardless of any label affiliation." The...Show More Summary

Pride of Presteigne

It's us! Viv McLean and I had a ball with Alicia's Gift in Presteigne yesterday afternoon. The sun shone, the Assembly Rooms piano was a warm-toned Steinway of 1899, and it was wonderful to experience the warmth and hospitality of the...Show More Summary

Why We Write About the Arts

So I'm getting some comments and quotations, and (I think) not just from the Pelleastrian and his other pseudonyms, claiming that criticism is worthless, and criticizing or writing about or analyzing music is worthless. (Or something...Show More Summary

Jeanne Demessieux

Bob Shingleton responds to the Mrs. Bach "clickbait fest" by drawing attention to the organist and composer Jeanne Demessieux, in whom Virgil Thomson once heard "music making of the most crystalline and dazzling clarity." Above, the ever-superb Paul Jacobs plays...

Howard Blake article in Classical Music Magazine

The November issue of Classical Music Magazine includes my article on composer Howard Blake and his music, previewing the concert on November 25, 2014 when the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, conductor Neville Marriner will be performing an all Howard Blake concert at St Martin in the Fields. Show More Summary

La Traviata in Leeds

Hye-Youn Lee, Ji-Min Park. Photo credit: Richard H Smith Verdi La Traviata; Hye-Youn Lee, Ji-Min Park, Roland Wood, Opera North, dir. Alessandro Talevi, cond. Gianluca Marciano Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Nov 1 2014 Star rating: 5.0 Vibrantly theatrical, stylish and youthful new production of Verdi's iconic opera. Show More Summary

The Bartered Bride

Photo Credit: Robert Workman Smetana The Bartered Bride; Creswell, Valentine, Gunnell, Opera North, dir: Slater, cond: Holmes; Grand Theatre Leeds Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Oct 31 2014 Star rating: 4.5 Entrancing revival of production...Show More Summary

Tell Us What You Think, Joshua!

Joshua Kosman has a few thoughts on music criticism, George Bernard Shaw, and Virgil Thomson, the latter of whose music criticism is collected in a new Library of American volume, edited by Tim Page.It's the kind of review that makes me want to re-read some Shaw and dip my toe, at least, into the Thomson collection.

Note to Readers

I won't publish any comments from "Dan Sowern" and his other pseudonyms anywhere on this blog going forward.Note to "Dan:" If you think commentary on music is worthless, why are you reading my blog? and Zerbinetta's, and Mark Berry's, and opera-l?

What Problem is the Rubin Institute Trying to Solve?

In a comment to my previous, informational, posting about the Rubin Institute, someone has asked what exactly the Rubin Institute is preparing people for. That is the question, isn't it? And it's one I was planning to get to. As youShow More Summary

Meet the Composer II

A while ago I made a post about WQXR's Q2 Podcast called Meet the Composer, and now that I have listened to a few episodes beyond the interview with Caroline Shaw, I'm starting to have issues. I could stew about these issues, or I could write about them. Show More Summary

Publicity Comes in All Shapes and Colors

From the Washington Post comes news that pianist Dejan Lazic has asked that the paper remove a concert review written by critic Anne Midgette back in 2010. His request is based on the European Union's Right to Be Forgotten ruling.Oy vey. Show More Summary

Curiosity of the day

I picked up a copy of B. H. Haggin's once popular music-appreciation book, Music for the Man Who Enjoys Hamlet. Published in 1944, it included a record-measuring tool, so that the reader could time musical examples. I might repurpose it...

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