Features

Gustav Mahler - we mark his anniversary (Photo: Tully Potter)
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Six symphony cycles to mark Mahler's centenary

May 18 marks the centenary of the death, in Vienna, of Gustav Mahler. Few composers enjoy his popularity, a popularity that has grown enormously during the past half century. Once conductors aspired to record a Beethoven symphony cycles, these days a Mahler cycle is more sought after. As an anniversary gesture, we offer a number of different symphony cycles – The Gramophone Mahler cycle, A cycle by living conductors, A live Mahler cycle, A not-the-obvious cycle, A historic cycle (featuring conductors who knew and worked with Mahler) and a DVD Mahler cycle.

Dame Nelly Melba, as Marguerite in Faust (photo: Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
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The great Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba - on her birthday

To mark the birth of Dame Nellie Melba, we revisit an article from March 2009, in which the late John Steane paid tribute to the great Australian soprano

Read reviews of Editor's Choice recordings online
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The Gramophone reviews list

You can now read reviews of recent Editor's Choice recordings – our pick of each month's leading releases – online, plus a selection of reviews of other recordings. Click the relevant month below to find the full list – and every review also contains a buy button straight through to a retailer.

In fine voice - and health too: singers at the Southbank (photo: Sheila Burnett)
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The health benefits of singing

Can singing make us healthy? Not if you happen to be an operatic heroine it would seem, the most unfortunate example being that of Antonia from Les contes d’Hoffmann , who manages literally to sing herself to death. Such cases aside, the consensus is that singing is good for us. Less, however, is known about the specific health benefits associated with singing, the focus of this weekend’s Chorus! Festival at the Southbank Centre.

Leonard Bernstein's DG Ninth
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Nine nines to mark the birthday of Beethoven's Choral Symphony

On May 7, 1824, Ludwig van Beethoven co-conducted – alongside Michael Umlauf – the first performance of his Ninth Symphony, the Choral Symphony, at the Kärntnertortheater. The audience received the work with an ovation and, as the story goes, the deaf composer had to be turned to face his thrilled public at the work's conclusion.

Shakespeare: a continual inspiration to composers (photo: Nathan Benn / Alamy)
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Shakespeare and music

By John Steane

In the folk style: the Trondheim Soloists exploring - and recording
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The emancipation of Nordic folk music

The road of the pioneer is rarely a smooth one, and conductor Grete Pederson knows it. She’s recalling the time she first suggested members of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra adopt techniques from the folk tradition in certain vernacular-inspired repertoire. It didn’t go well. ‘What are you trying to do?’ some players asked her. ‘This is just rubbish’ protested others. And they weren’t the only ones.

Milton Babbitt: worth caring about (photo: Tully Potter Collection)
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Milton Babbitt assessed

When Milton Babbitt died in January of this year, I speculated in my Gramophone obituary that if only Babbitt-the-man had kept mum about his theories, Babbitt-the-composer might have had an easier time of it.

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