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yann robin © Camille Roux

Exceptional opening for Musica’s 30th edition in Strasbourg

Musica celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, and for this special occasion Jean-Dominique Marco concocted a rich and ambitious program, inviting such ensembles as Accroche-Note, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Linea, and Recherche, and artists such as Pierre Boulez, Pascal Dusapin, and Philippe Manoury, who have been part of the festival since its first season. But this year, there is also some room for sound art and musique concrète, with the long-awaited appearance of ...
Alexandre Tansman - Regards en arrière

Alexandre Tansman looks back to help France look at itself

Alexandre Tansman's autobiography Regards en arrière (Looking Back) covers his life from his Polish childhood in the 1890s to his discovery of Israel at the end of the 1950s. It is a striking illustration of the deep gash that World War II left in our era, throughout society and in music as well. Both the 1920s and the 1930s appear to belong to a bygone age, whereas the scars left ...
B'Fest: Fidelio

Beethovenfest Bonn: Fidelio in a Sturm und Drang version

Many years have passed, but Rocco, an old, retired jailer, remembers. He remembers an extraordinary young man, although he was not a young man: his son-in-law, Fidelio, who turned out to be a woman, Leonore. And he remembers Florestan, the prisoner, a victim of the arbitrary power of his boss, Don Pizarro. Owing to his lack of courage, even he had refused to give Florestan a chunk of bread, he, ...
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Krystian Zimerman celebrates Lutosławski’s anniversary in Warsaw

This year we celebrate the hundredth birthday of Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, and his compatriot Krystian Zimerman returned to Poland to play his Concerto for Piano as part of the Warsaw Autumn festival. He premiered and recorded the concerto under Lutosławski’s supervision a quarter of a century ago, and the piece was dedicated to him. Two decades later, Zimerman has gained a whole new understanding of this work. Back then, the ...
Paul Daniel

Paul Daniel takes the reins in Bordeaux

Paul Daniel made a curious choice for his first concert as musical director of the Orchestre National Bordeaux-Aquitaine: a Purcell–Mahler pairing, which started with a funeral service and ended with a mystical prayer about the meaning of life. A more optimistic program might have been more appropriate, but, regardless of the works chosen, the musical result of the evening promises a bright future for the ONBA and its new conductor. The ...
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The Moritzburg Festival’s twentieth anniversary: the German Marlboro

In 1993, violonist Kai Vogler and cellists Jan Vogler and Peter Burns were looking for a place in Saxony where they could hold a music festival on the model of the Marlboro Festival in the United States. Indeed, these musicians had played there and had very much liked the atmosphere and the concept behind that festival, located in bucolic Vermont. In the end, they chose the Moritzburg Castle, a masterpiece ...
Valentina Lisitsa - (c) Valentina Lisitsa

Valentina Lisitsa, the pianist 2.0

“I don’t count my time, I don’t have a private life” ResMusica: Universal France promotes you as “the pianist 2.0”, which means a pianist which interacts with her audience. Do you like it? Valentina Lisitsa: I saw that! In London for some reasons they promoted me as the “Justin Biber of classical music”. I was first amused, and then horrified. We may have the same career, but do they expect me ...
ELENA (repetition) (Jean-Yves Ruf) 2013

Francesco Cavalli’s Elena, the lyrical discovery of Aix

At last! After a remarkable - albeit not very lyrical - premiere (The House Taken Over), a poor Rigoletto, a Don Giovanni with a dubious cast, the Aix festival eventually rose to the level it should always reach. Lifted by a young and talented cast, inventive staging, and exceptional musical conducting, the Elena by Francesco Cavalli was the welcome surprise of the 2013 festival. In the direct line of Venetian opera—of ...
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Baroque musique goes green in Périgord

You are fond of baroque music and dream of smelling the fresh scent of green grass out in countryside? If so, the Festival Itinéraire (the Itinerary Festival) in the green Périgord is made for you. Thanks to the initiative of organist and conductor Ton Koopman, the festival offers an array of baroque repertory over the course of a long weekend, including both well-known and less well known works, in local ...
Aleksandrs Antonenko (Otello), Anna Netrebko (Desdemona) © Aline Paley  (2)

Verdi and Wagner celebrated in Verbier

There was a spectacular cast for this concert, a tribute to the two-hundredth anniversary of the births of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. Occupying the whole area from downstage to upstage, the entire Verbier Festival Orchestra along with the Collegiate Chorale left only a narrow strip of space on the forestage for the soloist to sing. As soon as Otello begins, Valery Gergiev unleashes an orchestral storm. The orchestra is superb ...
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Québec: La Damnation de Faust, in an astonishing staging

The Québec Opera Festival has attained a new level of achievement, offering festival attendees a work reputed to be difficult, and which usually does not attract many people to the concert hall, even during a regular opera season. The premiere of Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust took place before a sold-out house. And you can bet that subsequent performances will likewise enjoy full houses. Surely, this is the best production ...
ELEKTRA (Patrice CHEREAU) 2013

The Elektra-shock in Aix

The shock begins with the opening chords. The Orchestre de Paris, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, explodes. Tonight, the violence contained in Strauss’ work is magnified, the orchestra gives its best, and the volume reaches a peak. Only seconds into the opera, we already know that the night will be fantastic. And fantastic it was. Beside the orchestra, which was excellent, the casting was finally worthy of an international festival. Evelyn Herlitzius ...
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Pierre Boulez, composer and conductor

« That is an exceptional moment in my musical life ; I’m happy this recording has been kept. » ResMusica : You have recorded the Rite of the Spring many times. Which version is your favourite one ? Pierre Boulez : The one we made with the Cleveland Orchestra, the first version with CBS. We had played the Rite upon a tour in some small cities in the USA. We had security ...
The Tales of Hoffmann Natalie Dessay (Antonia) and Christian Van Horn (Coppelius). ©Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera.

San Francisco’s Tales of Hoffman is Right on Target with Natalie Dessay

Let’s be clear right from the start: the joint effort of Barcelona, San Francisco and Lyon, vocally powerful in this production, is right on target. Because quite simply, precise, explicit, slimmed-down, fast-paced--in a word, successful--it unquestionably achieves its goal. No use rehashing the libretto’s history or the structure of these Tales. That would be opening too large a can of worms. Happily, our colleague Catherine Scholler has deciphered the puzzle ...
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‘Label of the Year’ Audite celebrates its 40th Anniversary

ICMA’s ‘Label of the Year 2013′ Audite celebrated it’s 40th anniversary yesterday in Berlin. With music performed by Audite artists ‘Mandelring Quartett’ and ‘Klavierduo Bard’ the official celebration consisted essentially in the presentation of several upcoming birthday editions confirming the label’s outstanding artistic achievement. Audite was founded in 1973 by Friedrich Mauermann. The creation took place at a period when the music market was dominated by the so called major labels ...
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ICMA Trophy for Pierre Boulez

In his IRCAM office in Paris, French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez received the ICMA trophy for the CD set ‘Ballets Russes’ on Melodiya. In this recording Boulez is conducting the Moscow Conservatory Orchestra in Stravinsky’s ‘Petrouchka’. The set is the 2013 winner in the category ‘Historical Recordings’. Since Pierre Boulez was not able to attend the ICMA Ceremony in Milan, on 18 March, Melodiya arranged a delayed award presentation for ...
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Julia Fischer and Vasily Petrenko: phenomenal!

This concert, starring violinist Julia Fischer and conductor Vasily Petrenko tackling two masterpieces of Russian music (namely Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 4) looked very promising. And indeed, it was sold out for a few weeks before the performance. These high expectations were met, and both musicians gave the audience and an energized Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France a concert that will be long remembered. For those who ...
Julia Fischer © Felix Broede

Julia Fischer, violonist

“Making music together is about trust: you open yourself in a way you would not do in a normal relationship” ResMusica: You perform with David Zinman and Esa Pekka-Salonen, two  conductors who think hard about how to bring new generations to classical music. Do you share their interest? Julia Fischer : I love to teach. With two kids at home it’s a responsibility. Every year, the week of New Year, I ...
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La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho

In 2006, Kaija Saariaho takes a French topic with a universal appeal on again, on a booklet by Amin Maalouf. La Passion de Simone, an oratorio for solo soprano, choir, orchestra and electronics, which caption is : « A musical path in fifteen stations», received its premiere in Vienna, on the 26th of November 2006 with a staging by Peter Sellars, and Susanna Malkki was the conductor. That day Simone ...
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American masterworks by Bo Holten, the best introduction to Delius

Frank Delius’s enthusiasts often come up against the same questions: how to help his music to get played, which pieces to put forward so we can hear it again in concert halls? His work sings of love, sensuality, nature, and deals with serious, timeless, deeply touching themes such as racism (in Koanga) and the loss of the beloved (in Sea Drift). One of the reasons Delius is not very well-known today ...
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Shostakovich International Association Concert – 19th June, Acropolis of Athens

European Cultural Centre of Delphi & Shostakovich’ International Association present : WITH EXQUISITE MUSIC, VOICES 150th BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF C.P. CAVAFY (1863-1933) Wednesday 19th June 2013 ACROPOLIS MUSEUM, Open-Air Space - ATHENS (Greece) Concert inspired by the poem « Voices » of C.P. Cavafy, with ELENA VASSILIEVA (soprano) and THE DANEL QUARTET Programme : TCHAIKOWSKY (1840-1893) - Andante Cantabile (1871) - string quartet KNAIFEL (1943) - Monodia (1968) - soprano solo RASKATOV (1953) - Gebet (1996) -     soprano and string quartet SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) - String ...
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The 2013 edition of the ResMusica Summer Festivals Guide

The 2013 edition of the ResMusica Summer Festivals Guide invites you to discover 10 artists and 30 dance and classical music festivals in France, Europe and North America. The guide opens with portraits of 10 striking artists - promising or already well established - who have in common that they take risks, think outside the box and renew the image of their art. The motto behind our selection of festivals is "sustainability". ...
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The Second International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music

A rewarding initiative to groom young conducting talents. A milestone in the development of Chinese orchestral music. The Second International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music will be held in 2013-14. The Competition : First Round to be held between 15-22 December, 2013 at the Xi'an Conservatory of Music, China (not open to public audience) Second Round To be held between 7-18 July, 2014 at the Xi'an Conservatory of Music, China (not open to the public audience) ...
Aben-Hamet. Crédits photographiques : © Festival Classica

Festival Classica : Aben-Hamet, resurrection of an impressive score

Théodore Dubois left only a small legacy to future generations of composers. His name has almost entirely disappeared from history and his work takes up very little space in encyclopedias and music textbooks. The Festival Classica in Saint-Lambert can be proud of hosting the premiere of Aben-Hamet in its original French version. This opera was first mounted in 1884 in Italian at the Théâtre-Italien. It is a special opera, written for ...
Ballet Preljocaj  Les Nuits (c) JC Carbonne

Angelin Preljocaj’s Oriental Nights

In his new ballet, Les Nuits (The Nights), Angelin Preljocaj presents a fantasised erotic vision of the Orient. Inspired by the One Thousand and One Nights, this show is a commission from Marseille–Provence 2013, the European Capital of Culture. It was premiered on May 29 at the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix, and it has come for the first time to Paris, which is the first stop on a ...
Henri Dutilleux

Tribute to Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013)

“What is fashion? It is what is going out of fashion. Tout est là.” His body bore the marks of a long life, but his mind remained bright, and Henri Dutilleux was resilient, just like his work. Untouched by the fights between neoclassicists and structuralists, his work was unique, beyond all dogma, and came from a very French tradition of the art of orchestration. He was extremely demanding of himself, aroused ...
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Andris Nelsons conducts Antonín Dvořák

The Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons is less a media stunt than his colleague Gustavo Dudamel. However, he is “the other" young conductor of the beginning of our century.  At 35, he is one of the busiest conductors in the classical music world. For now, he is the principal conductor of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He has just been elected as the new music director of the prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra.  ...
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François-Xavier Roth conducts Debussy

The French conductor François-Xavier Roth is the first to record the Suite n°1 by Claude Debussy. The musicologists Jean-Christophe Branger and Denis Herlin rediscovered the score in a library in New-York. They found both versions of the score: for piano and for orchestra.  The orchestration of the third movement has not been completed so a new orchestration has been commissioned to the French contemporary composer Philippe Manoury. Debussy composed the ...
Carolin Widmann - Crédit photographique : (c) KassKara

Carolin Widmann, Artist of the year ICMA 2013

“This is torture. It looks glamorous from the outside, but why do you want to do this?” ICMA: A violinist is to find his own personal sound, on the violin this is for artistic identity. Could you describe your idea of sound? Carolin Widmann:  I think there is not one sound, there is a million sounds according to what you feel in the music. It depends on the repertoire, it depends even ...
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Denis Matsuev in New York

Denis Matsuev, an extraordinary pianist, offers, as part of the 140th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Rachmaninoff an album that confronts the Concerto No. 2 with the Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin. A confrontation at first somewhat unexpected between the romanticism of the Russian and the American jazz rhythm. Yet these two composers are closely related to New York City where this album was recorded in collaboration with the ...
 

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