A new web-site has been set up by the singer’s son, Jonathan Crown, and edited by the music-critic Michael White. And there she is: Jennifer Vyvyan, dates, career, photographs, voice. It’s a rather attenuated version of the voice that comes from the computer screen, but it’s unmistakably hers. She’s there all right, and I, to whom this is still all something of a miracle, can report the wonder of it.
There’s something compelling about hidden places, and of all the recording venues in the UK, Potton Hall in Suffolk has to be one of the more difficult venues to find. As you head east and the countryside flattens out, the sky expands, its colours taking on a more dramatic hue – an apocalyptic pre-snowfall red and bronze on this particular February afternoon.
On the one hand, the growing practise of broadcasting choral services on the internet feels like a quantum leap – an unlikely marriage of technology and tradition. On the other, it can look like a return to basics, a short-circuiting of the 20th-century recording phenomenon: cathedral and collegiate choirs were never designed to make edited records – they were designed to sing services.
When I read this year’s Proms Guide and noticed that an ‘extra’ Last Night of The Proms had been laid on in tribute to Henry Wood – essentially a re-run of the 1910 Last Night with a few trimmings – I thought, thanks Auntie, but who exactly was Henry Wood?
Gramophone met up with Klaus Heymann, founder of Naxos, to find out his views of the future of the classical recording business and the role Naxos will play in it. Gramophone : Describe the challenges the rapid growth of online music has posed you.
For a Luigi Nono-loving, John Cage-worshipping advocate for the hardcore avant-garde – me, in fact – Samuel Barber, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year, ought to be purgatory. Until his death in 1981, he wrote defiantly neo-Romantic music, engaging with new-fangled techniques like atonality and polytonality only occasionally.
This week Hänsel und Gretel returns to Glyndebourne. Boasting a dizzying array of confectionary, the requisite child-eating crone and, of course, a singing and dancing children’s chorus, Laurent Pelly’s 2008 staging speaks to the kid in all of us. And it has me thinking about that unique cocktail: children and opera.