In the hands of its players, the sheng mouth-organ looks like a bunch of petrified icicles, and its sound has an appropriately icy purity.
You just can't keep a bad woman down. In the case of Salomé, an archetype of subversive sexuality since the first century AD, she never seems to stop unveiling, and re-veiling, herself.
Sometimes a performance is so definitively satisfying that the last thing one wants to hear is an encore. And so it was when Ivan Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra finished delivering two Brahms symphonies on the trot. But instead of the expected orchestral bonne bouche filtering out from the auditorium I had slunk out of, I caught the sound of an a cappella choir: had the stage been taken over by interlopers?
The refined world of classical music and the murky depths of addiction are not typically mentioned together. But now a new documentary brings together addicts to face their biggest fears and play, not only together as an orchestra, but on stage for a special performance with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Nina Stemme’s shelves may buckle under the weight of the accolades she has received in recent years. Swedish Woman of the Year, the Opera News Award, the City of Stockholm Honorary Prize, Gramophone awards and many more have all winged their way to her. And no wonder, for Stemme, 51, has become probably the greatest Wagnerian soprano of our day, rather to her own surprise.
Somewhere along the line, classical music has been appropriated A guy walks on in a monkey suit and perpetuates the "amazing scowling genius shrouded in my own artistry" thing. Instead, why not introduce this guy Bach, who was surrounded by death – 11 of his children died in infancy, and then the love of his life dies – then play a piece he wrote in her memory. People will get more from it than by reading an Oxford don's programme notes.
With the situation in Gaza becoming bloodier and more embattled daily, the symbolism of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has never been more potent or necessary. Bringing together musicians from both Israel and Palestine (as well as Iran, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon), the orchestra is conceived by its conductor as “a project against ignorance” – a platform for encounters and discussions, shared experiences and understanding.
A parade of brass-players pace slowly around the top gallery of the Royal Albert Hall, their fanfare answered by cellos seated in a box below.
Rufus Wainwright's wardrobe is renowned for some exotic made-to-measure creations, as befits the flamboyant singer. But now he is offering fans the suit off his back, so that he can give his first opera the opulent recording it deserves.
“Is there a sound addressed not wholly to the ear?” William Carlos Williams’ question echoes and re-echoes through the sonic patterning of Steve Reich’s 1983 The Desert Music, centrepiece of Prom 37, but it’s one that could have served as subtitle to the whole evening.
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