Wigmore Hall, LondonInvernizzi’s soprano and Prina’s alto dazzled in this exceptionally beautiful concert of baroque chamber duets
The chamber duet for female voices and continuo, usually on amatory or erotic themes, was a popular form during the 17th and early 18th centuries, though one that has not always been given prominence in the current baroque revival. This exceptionally beautiful concert, with Roberta Invernizzi and Sonia Prina accompanied by instrumentalists from the Ensemble Claudiana, redressed the balance with a survey of the genre from Monteverdi to Handel, unearthing some striking rarities along the way.
Invernizzi’s expressive soprano and Prina’s deep, androgynous alto blended exquisitely. Monteverdi’s Interrotte Speranze, opening in unison before the voices glide suggestively between dissonances, was all refined sensuality and languor.
From waking up to Mozart’s Requiem to braving blizzards and blackouts to perform, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields music director tells us about his musical life
Vinyl or digital?
Vinyl. I love technology, and I’m always buying the latest computers and gadgets, but I don’t consider myself an audiophile. Perhaps it’s just nostalgia, but I enjoy the warmer sound you get from old records. Occasionally, I bring out my 78 record player and listen to the crackly records of Caruso and Fritz Kreisler that my teacher Josef Gingold gave me when I was a kid.
In the 226th year since the death of Mozart in 1791, his appeal to a wide audience is greater than ever: this astounding box set containing 200 CDs of every conceivable thing he wrote (and many bits he didn’t finish) has, if you count sales of all the CDs separately, raced to the top of the charts.
It has its origins in a 45-volume CD set Philips compiled to mark the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death in 1991. That was a rather one-sided depiction of his genius; this is far more exciting, because it tells the story of everything that has happened to Mozart performance in the following years. Within a green brick-like box are four chunky 50-CD boxes devoted to Orchestra, Theatre, Chamber and a final Sacred/Private/Supplement, plus a biography, notes and pictures.
Heinrich Schiff, who has died aged 65, was recognised as one of the finest cellists of the last quarter of the 20th century, and latterly established a parallel career as a distinguished conductor. After suffering a serious stroke in 2008, which left him partly paralysed for a time, he was obliged to abandon his career as a soloist but continued to conduct.
His repertoire as an instrumentalist ran from Bach, whose solo cello suites he played with particular distinction, through Shostakovich – his recordings of the two cello concertos remain benchmarks – to contemporary music, with which he also had an affinity. He was known as a versatile but focused artist whose musicianship was enriched by his historically informed approach to style. Having played the baroque cello as a student, he developed a personal style that successfully combined historicist principles with modern techniques. He insisted, for example, on using the urtext scores, drawn from original versions, for Haydn’s two cello concertos, and his lean and lithe playing of Bach, with its stylistically aware phrasing and articulation, won him many plaudits.
Alma Deutscher’s retelling of Cinderella is receiving high praise, with many calling her the modern Mozart
An 11-year-old British composer has earned comparisons with Mozart after her opera opened in Vienna to a standing ovation.
Alma Deutscher, who lives in Surrey with her parents, was already world-renowned as a violinist and pianist before her first full-length opera made its debut on the Austrian stage on Thursday.
The Last Supper | The Snow Maiden | Le Vin Herbé | St Luke Passion | Australian Chamber Orchestra
Sixteen years since it was last seen in Britain, Birtwistle’s opera is revived in a semi-staging with Martyn Brabbins conducting the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Baritone Mark Spyropoulos – the first British full-time member of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel choir – tells us how tradition, technology and a little guesswork intermingle beneath Michelangelo’s frescoes
I am a member of the oldest choir in the world. As early as the 5th and 6th centuries there are records of singers being part of the papal entourage, today, some 1,500 years later, the role of the Sistine Chapel choir (officially, the Cappella Musicale Pontificia) remains the same, namely, to sing for the pope.
You will have heard of the phrase “a capella” singing. This literally refers to the Sistine Chapel (the “capella”), and to the unaccompanied style in which the choir has been singing ever since it was installed in the world famous “Cappella Sistina” in the 15th century.
Everyone knows Handel’s Messiah. Anyway, if you don’t, the timing of your curiosity is pretty good, since performances of the old warhorse have a tendency to break out at this time of year. In 1993, Alex Ross, writing in the New Yorker, pointed out that there were 21 complete performances in New York in December alone. Thanks to the miracle of bachtrack.com, it is possible to discover that this year there were nearly 70 performances of the whole thing during Advent, in settings from Vancouver to Melbourne, Budapest to Bristol. For a musical work lasting three hours without plot or narrative, that is pretty good going. Handel wrote it, in part, to make money, and it is still making money.
Related: Messiah complex: why it's a joy to sing Handel's classic every Christmas
The 65-year-old, who turned to conducting in later life after health problems, has been called a ‘master’ by his fellow musicians
The Austrian cellist Heinrich Schiff, who performed with some of the world’s major orchestras before health problems led him to turn to conducting, has died at the age of 65.
Ludwig Müller, of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, told the Austrian Press Agency on Friday that Schiff died overnight in a hospital in the country’s capital. No cause of death was given.
Gringolts Quartet | Daniel Grimwood | Ensemble Claudiana, Roberta Invernizzi & Sonia Prina
Violinist Ilya Gringolts’s quartet regularly include contemporary music alongside their standard repertory. The staples this week come from Beethoven (the sixth of his Op 18 set) and Brahms (his Op 67), while Jörg Widmann supplies the 21st-century work. Starting his Third String Quartet (Jagdquartett) is the nagging rhythm that pervades the opening movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, which turns into a hunt in which the prey is the quartet’s cellist.
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