Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth performed at the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting ceremony on December 6, alongside the St Martin-in-the-Fields choir and the Regent Hall Band of the Salvation Army. Since 1947 the pine tree in central London has been a gift from the people of Norway in recognition of Britain's support during World War II, making Thursday's lighting ceremony the 65th. The Lord Mayor of Westminster, councillor Angela Harvey, and the Mayor of Oslo, Stian Berger Røsland, were in attendance.
For those not seduced by social networking on the go, high-resolution camera phones or carrying the office in their pocket, there is still one fast-developing aspect of the smartphone and tablet computer revolution that absolutely everyone can be interested in. Apps. Abbreviated from 'applications', 'apps' are computer software that can be downloaded to your smartphone, computer or other electronic device.
How many Christmas discs can the market take of different cathedral and church choirs parading their seasonal wares? Each year brings a new crop with at least half the repertoire seemingly common to all. Christmas from Chichester becomes interchangeable with Christmas from King’s, Ripon, Wells or anywhere else in the country. But commercial cynicism aside, there is nothing quite as reassuring, as uplifting, as life-affirming as a good English cathedral choir on top form singing the same familiar songs.
German countertenor Andreas Scholl recently released his new album, ' Wanderer ' on Decca - a disc of works by Brahms, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. Although the recording includes repertoire not normally associated with the countertenor voice, Scholl believes 'if the singer’s approach is true, there is no reason why these songs shouldn’t be sung by a countertenor as by a tenor or baritone'.
When Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen was presented with the 400,000 tax-free Danish Kroner that constitutes the Carl Nielsen Prize in 1973, he came off the podium repeating one word. ‘Skattefri…skattefri!’ he mumbled with a glint in his eye. ‘Tax-free!’ Yes, Pelle, that’s 400,000 kroner with not an iota of duty heading back to the Danish crown. How good does that feel?