Features

King James Bible of 1611 (Image: Lebrecht Music and Arts Photo Library / Alamy)
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Celebrating the King James Bible at 400

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, a work that took 47 scholars seven years to translate from the Greek (for the New Testament) and from the Hebrew (for the Old). As a work of literature, the King James Bible stands on a par with the greatest works of the English language, and it has inspired millions of people down the ages, including numerous musicians. Ed Breen reflects on its remarkable power to draw extraordinarily powerful music from the composers who set it.

Edwin Lemare - somewhat forgotten, but much heard (Photo: Tully Potter Collecti
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Edwin Lemare

‘To have a letter printed in The Times is the duty of the distinguished and the ambition of the obscure.’ So wrote the late Bernard Levin. Falling decidedly into the latter category, I finally achieved my ambition with a letter about, of all things, an organist: Edwin Lemare.

Jacob Obrecht, painted by Hans Memling in 1496 (Lebrecht Music & Arts)
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Jacob Obrecht: a restless musical mind

The generation of composers born around 1450 used to be known as the ‘Josquin-generation’ after their most famous member, but in the last 20 years or so it has been recognised how many of them were creative personalities of quite comparable stature. This generation is significant too in that, for the first time, the number of truly first-rate composers whose fame has survived down to us can no longer be counted on the fingers of one hand: here is a group of musicians to match what Renaissance painting, sculpture and architecture have to offer.

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.

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