It was in December 1989 – a staggering 28 years ago – that Gramophone put me and Leonard Bernstein in the same room together. It was an extraordinary hour, the details of which I shall never forget and indeed have now chosen to enshrine in a cabaret-like entertainment – Bernstein Revealed – which will kick-off … [Read More]
It’s interesting – and revealing – that Pentatone has a designated “American Operas” series. It’s an acknowledgement, if you like, that there is something very particular, very recognisably “American”, about the USA’s contribution to the genre, something that separates them from the world of international contemporary opera. It’s in their traditions, their songs, and most … [Read More]
Finishing the unfinished. With this month’s cover feature on the mysteries and machinations surrounding Mozart’s musical last will and testament the debate on whether or not, how or if, or to what extent we should be second guessing the greats is rekindled. Of course, the musically inquisitive will always want to venture into the realms … [Read More]
This is a trickiest of discs to write about – unremarkable performances often are. For the first few pages that’s how it felt: a sound tempo, fluent, elegant enough playing, but also a sense of a reading on “automatic pilot”. Even the well-mannered Viennese rubatos sound prescribed, applied more than they are felt. But now … [Read More]
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are perhaps best known as collaborators on the phenomenon that was La La Land and amongst other things an insidiously memorable little ditty called “City of Stars” (with composer Justin Hurwitz). But despite the best efforts of the media and a string of misinformed critics La La Land was in … [Read More]
The dust may finally have settled on the 2017 Proms season but one strand of programming continues to resonate with me. In commemorating the 1917 Russian Revolution Vasily Petrenko and Vladimir Jurowski stepped up with stonking performances of both Shostakovich’s revolutionary symphonies. Jurowski reaffirmed the 11th ‘The Year 1905’ as the most underrated of the … [Read More]
Delighted to be hosting a regular new series of podcasts for the Barbican.
Hear interviews, performances and exclusive tracks from the world’s finest classical musicians and performers, Barbican resident orchestras and international associates in Barbican Classical Music podcasts.
In conversation with Jeremy Denk
American pianist Jeremy Denk talks about the arts of … [Read More]
In this age of rampant genre-hopping it’s actually hard to know what to call Joyce DiDonato’s cracking Gramophone Award winning confection In War and Peace. In performance it was neither a recital (the category in which it scooped its award) nor a concert but rather an indefinable hybrid whose subtly themed narrative of baroque arias … [Read More]
I have long adored the songs and admired the talent of Michel Legrand, inflected as it is with a jazzer’s free-ranging melodies and oblique harmonies – but the devilish inventiveness of these concert pieces took even me by surprise. The fact is they don’t really sound like anyone else, and even if you were to … [Read More]
The solo clarinet which stands on the threshold of Sibelius’ symphonic journey is quite simply the palest, chilliest, loneliest sound in the world. Thomas Søndergård has a nose for such things and his Sibelius – as we have already heard in the first release of the series coupling the Second and Seventh symphonies – is … [Read More]