In the July 1945 of The Gramophone , Cpl Jerome J Pastene – who contributed a regular letter from Boston – paid tribute to one of the great figures in the city's, if not the USA's, musical life, the conductor Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951) who was in charge of the Boston Symphony from 1924 to 1949. We revisit that article today, on Koussevitzky's birthday.
On Thursday, July 19, the London Mozart Players and conductor Hilary Davan Wetton gave the world premiere of the South Holland Symphony , a work by Duncan Chapman composed in collaboration with local communities from the Lincolnshire district of South Holland. The 20-minute work was the result of a number of workshops led by Chapman drawing on the remote landscapes of the area.
The amazingly enterprising Dorset Opera is at last doing justice to the only opera by a unique figure in British music – Lord Berners, the composer, writer, painter and eccentric who died in 1950. His comic opera Le Carrosse du Saint-Sacrement is based on a story by Prosper Mérimée which was also used by Offenbach in his La Périchole .
On July 25, 1788, Mozart completed his G minor Symphony, No 40 – before presumably starting immediately in on work on the Jupiter Symphony, No 41, which he completed by August 10. Here's a quartet of recent recordings of No 40 which caught our ear! Symphonies Nos 38-41 Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Sir Charles Mackerras
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment has been running ' The Night Shift ' events since 2006, presenting classical music in a laid back, late-night context. The evenings consist of a main one-hour performance, bookended by smaller live performances and DJs. Events usually take place at the Southbank Centre, but there have also been appearances at the Roundhouse in Camden, Wilton’s Music Hall and Village Underground
1) Brief Encounter (1945, dir David Lean) A film of simmering passions, suppressed by a pair of very British stiff upper lips. Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto is a constant presence throughout the story, summing up perfectly a love affair that can never be realised. It’s one of the most romantic films ever made, teetering on the edge of melodrama, but always kept in check by the sincerity of Rachmaninov’s music.
During the 13 years of their almost exclusive collaboration, George and Ira Gershwin produced nearly 1000 songs, for a dozen shows and four films. Imagine the fruits of that partnership if George had been granted even 10 more years – let alone 40.
Every summer, the sleepy Provençal town of Orange looks back to its glorious past with an open-air opera festival in the best-preserved Roman theatre in Europe, seating around 9000 people in front of what Louis XIV described as ‘the finest wall in my kingdom’. The new Chorégies d’Orange began in 1971 with legendary performances now available on DVD including Caballé’s extraordinary Norma and Vickers and Nilsson under Böhm in a searing Tristan und Isolde .
The Tree of Light is a huge, theatrical production based on original ideas by Stewart Collins, directed by Charlie Morrissey and incorporating music by Orlando Gough. Staged around a sculptured, 16-metre industrial 'tree' designed by Block 9, the performances use light and dance to tell the story of a mythical tree rediscovered in a future where it is thought that all trees are extinct.