Features

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.

The 2011 BBC Proms revealed
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The 2011 BBC Proms programme has been announced

The programme of the 2011 BBC Proms was announced today and full details of the season can be found on the BBC website , and in the Proms prospectus which is now available in the shops. We asked Gramophone 's editorial team to reveal their individual Proms wish-lists and here are the tickets they'll each be after… James Inverne, Editor

Childhood memories of America (photo: Derek Croucher/Alamy)
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Knoxville: Summer of 1915

Samuel Barber's evocative masterpiece was premiered on April 9, 1948 - we mark the anniversary with a look back through its recorded history.

 Napoleon Bonaparte (picture: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy)
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Beethoven's Eroica – an anniversary mini-survey

Beethoven ’s Third Symphony, Eroica, was premiered on April 7, 1805. It remains among the greatest of all symphonies, pushing back boundaries not only of scale but also of ambition and expression. James Jolly suggests a clutch of Eroica s (throwing a few reluctant glances in the direction of Karajan , Sir Colin Davis and Günter Wand…).

An invaluable Herrmann collection from Salonen and Sony
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The movie music collector

The April 2011 edition of Gramophone contains a 25-page exploration of film music. Here, Adrian Edwards lists his ten favourite studio recreations of classic movie soundtracks.

Sergei Diaghilev in 1916 (Photo Tully Potter Collection)
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Sergei Diaghilev: a celebration of his contribution to music on his birthday

March 31 was the birthday (in 1872) of the Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev (he died in 1929). His contribution to the arts – visual, ballet and music – in the 20th century was enormous. To celebrate the impact he had on music, here are some of the great scores that he commissioned (and here's the Rag-Mazurka from Poulenc's Les biches to listen to on Spotify – this will not work in some territories: apologies if this the case):

William Walton's birthday (1902-83) was March 29 (Photo: Tully Potter Collection
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Sir William Walton (March 29, 1902 – March 8, 1983)

William Walton was born on March 29, 1902. We mark the anniversary by re-visting the article that Edward Greenfield wrote in May 1983, a survey that looked back over the career of a composer whose unique voice is recognisable within a few bars. And to preface the piece we suggest a dozen unmissable Walton works in recommended recordings...

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