In this year of multiple commemorations, there is a composer who deserves not to be overshadowed by more famous successors. For 2010 marks the tercentenary of one of the most interesting sons of famous composers. Indeed, the listing in the latest online edition of the New Grove Dictionary describes Wilhelm Friedemann Bach as "one of the major composers representing the period between Baroque and Classical composition". That’s quite a claim.
Early in 2008, Gramophone readers – hard-core music lovers to a person – were asked whether they downloaded music. Twice as many said yes when compared with those who replied to the same question two years earlier. That’s not an overwhelming constituency but it definitely marks a sizeable interest in the new format. The CD, though, isn’t going to disappear overnight but it will become just one of a number of formats on offer and already a vast number of recordings are available as downloads. But first, let’s dispel a few concerns.
Commentary by Jeremy Nicholas; recommendations by Gramophone Few composers command such universal love as Chopin; even fewer have such a high proportion of their entire output remaining in the active repertoire. He’s the only great composer whose every work involves the piano – no symphonies, operas or choral works and only a handful of compositions that involve other instruments. He wrote just under 200 works; 169 of these are for solo piano. The music
Classical music has long had a place in various White House administrations. Igor Stravinsky and Pablo Casals were invited by the Kennedys; Van Cliburn has performed for every American president from Harry Truman to George W Bush. But on November 4, it felt entirely as if a new era for the performing arts had arrived in Washington, DC, when President and Mrs Obama hosted more than 150 middle and high school players from all over the US, as well as master artists, at the White House for an official afternoon and evening dedicated to classical music.