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Classical music | The Guardian
Latest classical music news, reviews, comment and analysis from the Guardian
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Symphony Hall, Birmingham
The conductor’s sense of line through the slow movement was immaculate, and his control of the huge finale unfaltering Continue reading...
8 hours ago | |
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Coliseum, London
Stylised violence, stylish conducting and extended ballets combine in this adaptation of an unfinished work by Purcell, resulting in a fragmentary but sometimes glorious night at the ENO

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11 hours ago | |
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Photographs from the Eyewitness series

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16 hours ago | |
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Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Petrenko
(Onyx) Continue reading...
1 day ago | |
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Mayer/Kammerakademie Potsdam
(Deutsche Grammophon) Continue reading...
1 day ago | |
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SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden/Cambreling
(Wergo) Continue reading...
1 day ago | |
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Dubois/Wilder/Winling/Accentus/Orchestre Chambre de Paris/Equilbey
(Naive) Continue reading...
1 day ago | |
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The activist and composer is inspired by the natural processes he sees all around him – but refuses to let politics take charge of the music

It’s not often that a composer sets out their aesthetic and ethical credo as clearly as John Luther Adams has just done for Slate.com. He describes his life and work as an environmental activist, his decision to turn fully to his music, and how the two are symbiotically connected and yet completely different. He talks eloquently about his music as a kind of active non-activism (that may make sense in a minute, hold on) in which he wants to change the consciousness of his audiences not through an explicit “message”, but rather through the specific musical experiences of the works he writes. Take, for example, the epic sweep of Become Ocean, written for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra – inhabitants of the Pacific north-west coast, albeit further south than Alaska, where Adams lives.

More often than not, political art fails as politics, and all too often it fails as art. To reach its fullest power, to be most moving and most fully useful to us, art must be itself. If my work doesn’t function powerfully as music, then all the poetic programme notes and extra-musical justifications in the world mean nothing. When I’m true to the music, when I let the music be whatever it wants to be, then everything else – including any social or political meaning – will follow.

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1 day ago | |
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ABC, Glasgow
Arnalds’s melancholic soundtrack to the hit ITV series is even more ominous when not interrupted by ad breaks Continue reading...
1 day ago | |
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1 day ago | |
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