Features

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.

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…).

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