Features

New Orleans Opera's return with Carmen (photo: Janet Wilson)
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Weathering the Storm

“The arts tend to follow the fortunes of any city,” says Robert Lyall, New Orleans Opera’s general and artistic director, of his company’s storied history. “So at the height of its 19th century and even the first part of the 20th century, opera in New Orleans was a dominant force.” Through the shifts in popular culture and the economy, to say nothing of devastating changes brought on five years ago by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Opera is on a consistent upswing.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) [Photo: Tully Potter]
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Mahler by the world's greatest conductors

To mark the double-year anniversaries of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), Michael McManus visited 11 of the world's leading conductors to talk Mahler. Each conductor focused on one of the symphonies, including the song-symphony, Das Lied von der Erde . We also offer a Gramophone recommendation for each symphony. SIR CHARLES MACKERRAS on Symphony No 1

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: worthy of celebration (Tully Potter)
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WF Bach - the neglected son

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.

Music from the web
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A basic guide to downloading

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.

Frédéric Chopin (photo: Tully Potter)
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Frédéric Chopin – a bicentenary focus

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

Obama greets young musicians(credit: Rick McKay/White House photo office)
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The Obamas’ classical soirée

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.

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