Features

Pears in Britten's Alvis, 1970 (photo: Courtesy of the Britten Pears Foundation)
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Art and soul - the legacy of Peter Pears

Pears as a singer of Britten, that’s one thing; Pears as a singer is another. His association with Britten – so close that his voice seems to be written into the music composed for it – gives him a unique position among all the singers of his time and ours. In as far as there can be a definitive performance of anything, his performances of the songs and in the operas and other large-scale works by Britten are what the composer wanted. There are other ways of singing Britten, but this is “his” voice, and it sounds infallibly right.

New Orleans Opera's return with Carmen (photo: Janet Wilson)
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Weathering the Storm

“The arts tend to follow the fortunes of any city,” says Robert Lyall, New Orleans Opera’s general and artistic director, of his company’s storied history. “So at the height of its 19th century and even the first part of the 20th century, opera in New Orleans was a dominant force.” Through the shifts in popular culture and the economy, to say nothing of devastating changes brought on five years ago by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Opera is on a consistent upswing.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) [Photo: Tully Potter]
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Mahler by the world's greatest conductors

To mark the double-year anniversaries of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), Michael McManus visited 11 of the world's leading conductors to talk Mahler. Each conductor focused on one of the symphonies, including the song-symphony, Das Lied von der Erde . We also offer a Gramophone recommendation for each symphony. SIR CHARLES MACKERRAS on Symphony No 1

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: worthy of celebration (Tully Potter)
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WF Bach - the neglected son

In this year of multiple commemorations, there is a composer who deserves not to be overshadowed by more famous successors. For 2010 marks the tercentenary of one of the most interesting sons of famous composers. Indeed, the listing in the latest online edition of the New Grove Dictionary describes Wilhelm Friedemann Bach as "one of the major composers representing the period between Baroque and Classical composition". That’s quite a claim.

Music from the web
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A basic guide to downloading

Early in 2008, Gramophone readers – hard-core music lovers to a person – were asked whether they downloaded music. Twice as many said yes when compared with those who replied to the same question two years earlier. That’s not an overwhelming constituency but it definitely marks a sizeable interest in the new format. The CD, though, isn’t going to disappear overnight but it will become just one of a number of formats on offer and already a vast number of recordings are available as downloads. But first, let’s dispel a few concerns.

Frédéric Chopin (photo: Tully Potter)
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Frédéric Chopin – a bicentenary focus

Commentary by Jeremy Nicholas; recommendations by Gramophone Few composers command such universal love as Chopin; even fewer have such a high proportion of their entire output remaining in the active repertoire. He’s the only great composer whose every work involves the piano – no symphonies, operas or choral works and only a handful of compositions that involve other instruments. He wrote just under 200 works; 169 of these are for solo piano. The music

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