‘Let’s work on sound quality,’ says the conductor Joshua Gersen during a recent rehearsal with the New York Youth Symphony, as he guides the young musicians in the first movement of Dvořák’s New World Symphony. ‘Always phrase to the last bar,’ he adds, advising the violins about tremolos and the whole ensemble about dynamics and articulation. The rehearsal, in the huge basement space of the DiMenna Center in Manhattan, is in preparation for concerts celebrating the ensemble’s 50th anniversary season.
‘They’re not my bars, they’re Rachmaninov’s,’ retorts Nikolai Lugansky when the producer asks him about an extra four-bar passage that seems to have appeared in the finale of Rachmaninov’s First Sonata. We’re at Potton Hall in Suffolk for the recording sessions of Lugansky’s new Naïve coupling of the First and Second Sonatas.
As the Glyndebourne label releases the first and only audio recording of Anne Sofie von Otter in the role of Carmen, we catch up with the mezzo soprano, asking her to cast her mind back 10 years to the 2002 production. Directed by David McVicar, the Glyndebourne Festival staging also starred Marcus Haddock as Don José, and featured the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Philippe Jordan in his UK debut. Find out more about the production on the Glyndebourne website .
In February 1997, Leif Ove Andsnes made his New York Philharmonic debut playing Rachmaninov’s Third Concerto. The late, great composer/pianist Robert Helps was present and he declared that he had never heard the piece played better: no small praise from one who had heard Rachmaninov perform live in concert.
No one was more surprised than I when my feature for the October 2012 issue of Gramophone – composers’ responses to Lewis Carroll’s Alice books assessed, analysed and appraised – turned into an essay about the future of tonality as refracted through the cut-and-thrust of gay politics.
'An apology is due to the public for inflicting upon it another review, but I should not be doing so unless I were persuaded that many of the numerous possessors of gramophones will welcome an organ of candid opinion.' When editor Compton Mackenzie wrote these words at the top of the front page of the first issue of Gramophone in April 1923, could he have imagined that this 'review' would continue to be the world's leading authority on recorded classical music in 2012?
Handel House Museum in London presents a new exhibition, 'Charles Jennens: The Man Behind Messiah', from November 21, 2012 to April 14, 2013.
‘It’s very athletic – you’re there backstage panting while you’re waiting to go on,’ so says the soprano Claire Booth of her role in Oliver Knussen’s 60th birthday celebrations at the Barbican this weekend. But then, as she adds, ‘I do have quite a lot of energy.’
For the last 90 years Gramophone has built up an unrivalled collection of interviews with the leading classical artists and composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. From October 30 you will be able to read every page of every issue of Gramophone since 1923 on your iPad, iPhone or desktop computer as part of your digital magazine subscription.
"To recollect is not at all easy" is how Henze responded to my first question about his early years, but as he began to delve into his past a picture of a hard but fascinating childhood and youth began to emerge. "My musical upbringing was irregular because we lived in the country, in a very small village indeed, where my father was a teacher. The only place where you could hear any music was Bielefeld. We lived 30 kilometres away and although you could get a train there, you often couldn't get one back.