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Lintu conducts Sibelius’ Symphonies 6 and 7

For the major Finnish orchestras, all the seven symphonies of Sibelius appear to be held in equal regard, as opposed to say nos. 2 and 5 which may be preferred over the others elsewhere in the world. This evening's program featured the new music director of the Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu, and his interpretation of Sibelius' final two completed symphonies. The program opened with Lindberg's Era, a recent high-profile commission from ...
Kari Kriikku Photo: Marco Borggreve

Kari Kriikku plays Saariaho’s clarinet concerto

For such a small country, Finland can easily boast having at least four living composers with major international careers: Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, Salonen, and Aho. Of these, Saariaho is arguably the most widely performed throughout the world. Saariaho's clarinet concerto "D'om le vrai sens" was premiered in 2010 with the Finnish RSO in the acoustically inferior Finlandia Hall, and this evening's concert gave Helsinki audiences another chance to sample this ...
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ICMA 2014 : The winners

The Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) announced the Awards for 2014. Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, 78, is honored with our Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the most eminent fortepianists of our time, Andreas Staier, is ‘Artist of the Year’. the young French viola player Adrien Boisseau is ICMA’s ‘Young Artist of the Year ». In total seven Special Awards are listed, among them the one for the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden ...
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Splendid Stigmatized by James Conlon

These “Stigmatized” (Die Gezeichneten) by Franz Schreker, Jew-lovers and degenerates (entartete musik) for Hitler’s Reich, disappear quickly from the repertoire in 1930. The opera debuted in Frankfurt on April 25, 1918, (a triumph, with Else Gentner-Fischer, Karl Ziegler, Robert vom Scheidt, and Walter Schneider, under the baton of Ludwig Rottenberg), six years after the enormous success of Schreker’s FERNE KLANG, with a libretto by the composer. After Zemlinsky had been approached, ...
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Alexander Raskatov about his opera A Dog’s Heart

“The world is so pitiless, we became all tough to each other” ResMusica: Your opera A Dog’s Heart and The Nose by Dimitri Shostakovich are both satirical works which met a great success at the same time. Do you think that you benefited from the recent appreciation of The Nose? Alexander Raskatov : This is an interesting question, I never thought about it. I like The Nose very much, but still ...
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Happy New Year

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Grisey’s Les Espaces Acoustiques at the Cité de la Musique

A concert presenting the full cycle of Gérard Grisey’s Les Espaces Acoustiques is a rare event. The project had not been performed by the Ensemble Intercontemporain for a decade. The strong forces of the Conservatoire National de Paris were also needed in order to perform the last three pieces, written for orchestra. Grisey initiated, with his colleague and friend Tristan Murail, the “spectral music” movement, of which Les Espaces Acoustiques, a ...
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Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s debut in Lyon

The Orchestre National de Lyon likes Finnish conductors: after Hannu Lintu and before Osmo Vänskä and Susanna Mälkki, Jukka-Pekka Saraste was the one in charge that night. Saraste is well-known in France. He has been heard conducting the Toulouse and Paris orchestras, the Orchestre National de France and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, of whom he is a regular guest. He is also a specialist of French music: his Debussy ...
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Dialogues of the Carmelites in Paris, The ladies’ Delight

This is the fourth important production of Dialogues of the Carmelites premiered this season in France, after the ones in Toulon, Bordeaux/Nantes and Lyon. This work, commissioned exactly sixty years ago by the director of the Ricordi book house and premiered in Italian at La Scala, Milan in 1957, can be considered as Poulenc’s magnum opus and has never been that much put forward in France before. The Théâtre des ...
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Gita Kadambi, General Manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

"We are not restricting our “search” for our future conductor to Finland only" ResMusica: You have just recently been appointed general manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Please tell us a little about your background and how you ended up in this position. Gita Kadambi: I’ve done my Masters in Music both in Helsinki and London (Music Education, Sibelius Academy, Music Performance, London College of Music). I started my career as a ...
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BIS records at 40 years: a brief conversation with Robert von Bahr

"The obvious ones: The Sibelius Edition. The Bach Cantatas. Schnittke, Aho, Christian Lindberg, Sharon Bezaly, Martin Fröst, Ronald Brautigam and Yevgeny Sudbin". ResMusica: Robert, congratulations! BIS has turned 40 years old. What were the major challenges that you faced when BIS was in its infancy? Robert von Bahr: Distribution, especially international distribution.  It was only with the recording of a Lieder record with the top soprano of the day, Birgit Nilsson, that ...
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Anna-Maria Helsing conducts Webern, Mahler, Berg, and Hartmann

Classical music as we know it today would be quite different if it were not for early twentieth century Vienna. Mahler was taking the late-romantic symphony to almost every extreme possible, while Schönberg and his disciples developed musical systems independent of tonality. Anna-Maria Helsing, yet another gifted Finnish conductor with a steadily rising career, presented an intelligent survey of this music, along with a symphony from Karl Amadeus Hartmann. Webern's Passacaglia ...
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Allan Pettersson’s 9th by Lindberg : enlightening

When accused of composing out of self-pity, the Swedish composer Allan Pettersson (1911-80) angrily responded by saying that his music conveyed not self-pity but “pure information.” The circumstances of Pettersson’s life has allowed, perhaps too readily, interpretations of his music informed by the composer’s difficult childhood and constant battle against illness as an adult. Christian Lindberg has taken a different approach to Pettersson, conveying the music’s “pure information.” On the ...
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Warsaw celebrates Krzysztof Penderecki’s 80th birthday

Poland has been celebrating the 80th birthday of its most famous composer, Krzysztof Penderecki. It is not often that contemporary composers are extolled with such splendor: the National Bank of Poland created a special banknote; the Polish mail service produced a stamp with his portrait; a box set including all his symphonies was published under his direction on the Dux label; there were two exhibitions in the hall of the ...
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The Cleveland Orchestra in Paris : an event in itself

The Cleveland Orchestra has a prominent place, both among the greatest American orchestras and in music-lovers’ hearts. It is indeed legitimately considered one of the famous “Big Five,” with some of the best conductors of the twentieth century, such as George Szell, Lorin Maazel, and Christoph van Dohnanyi, having conducted it. Its chief conductor has been Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Möst for a decade now. The orchestra is in great shape, and ...
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Stockhausen night at the Festival d’Automne

For this concert of the Festival d’Automne, a banner was hung up at the entrance of the Cité de la Musique building. It warned the incoming audience that the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra is in dire situation. Indeed, the German orchestra, which was performing that night under the baton of François-Xavier Roth, celebrating one of Germany’s national geniuses, namely Karlheinz Stockhausen, could very well disappear soon. Roth also spoke ...

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Brahms, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Riccardo Chailly in Paris : delightful classicism

For this series of concerts by the legendary Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Pleyel concert hall was unusually crowded. Riccardo Chailly has been the orchestra’s conductor since 2005, and his contract has been renewed through 2020. The program was classical to the core: yet again in Paris, Brahms’s full cycle of symphonies and concertos. However, when they are played as they were here, we can only ask for more. Brahms played by ...
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Clefs d’Or ResMusica « Gold Keys » : The Winners 2013

Each month ResMusica awards five Clefs ResMusica to recognize outstanding publications of albums, videos and books. Since 2009, selected recipients of these Clefs ResMusica  have been awarded the Clefs d’Or ResMusica (Gold Key, Master Key Awards), acknowledging outstanding releases of the year. The Winners 2013 : Master Key Penderecki by Penderecki : the symphonies Krzysztof Penderecki’s symphonies had already been issued separately: now they have all been gathered together in a box set called The ...
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The Magic Flute in London: drama, music and magic

In the program at the opening of The Magic Flute in London, director Simon McBurney recounts a rehearsal, explaining at the same time the ideas driving his direction of the work: “and suddenly I know . . . that if I am lost in the unpredictable turbulence of this opera which is not an opera, but a stage play, then I shall make the music my compass. Listening to the ...
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Mikhail Baryshnikov’s new life as an actor

Robert Wilson’s new show involves extraordinary acting parts for both Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, in a stage version of a Russian novel by Daniil Kharms. The Old Woman becomes a two-part/two-voice text, performed by the two narrator-actors, in Russian (his mother tongue) for Baryshnikov, and in English for Dafoe. For an hour and a half, the two white-faced clowns chosen by Wilson perform in a wide gamut of styles ...
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Finnish Independence Day Concert

Although performances of Finnish music in Finland are frequent, the repertoire is generally restricted to Sibelius or other living composers, such as the "big three" of Lindberg, Salonen, and Saariaho. Every year on 6 December, which is Finland's independence day, Helsinki audiences are given the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon of Finnish orchestral music. This annual independence day concert sometimes features composers who have largely been forgotten. This year's program began ...
ICMA Nomination 2014

The ICMA 2014 nomination list is available

The ICMA 2014 nomination list is available. The winners will be announced early in 2014. “This list comprises all the initial choices submitted by at least two Jury members and clearly reflects the international character of our Awards. The list comprises 264 CD and DVD releases of a total of 94 labels, up from 86 competing in 2013″, said ICMA President Rémy Franck. With 18 nominations, the French label Harmonia Mundi is ...
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Daniil Trifonov, pianist

"The sculptures of Rodin made one of the strongest impressions on me" ResMusica: At only 22, you are celebrated by musical critics and influent artists such as Martha Argerich, recorded with Gergiev and the Mariinsky orchestra, signed with Decca and now Deutsche Gramophon, did you think this possible when you were 15? Do you keep your focus despite this new celebrity? Daniil Trifonov: At 15, I was still in Moscow and ...
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Christian Tetzlaff plays Shostakovich second violin concerto

While the first violin concerto of Shostakovich is firmly established in the 20th-century violin repertoire, performances of his second violin concerto are considerably less frequent. Perhaps this is due to the latter work's more introverted stance, its greater depth of emotion, and its bitter and sometimes vulgar sarcasm. Christian Tetzlaff was the soloist in tonight's performance, and, as expected, he displayed complete control over the solo part. One noticeable aspect of ...
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Los Angeles : The Magic Flute in silent film style

This Flute, which first we watch, with ever-widening eyes, for we proceed from good to excellent surprises, then we hear…is especially noteworthy, as you may have guessed, because of the unique, often staggering reinterpretation by the Berlin theatre troupe, “1927,” (Suzanne Andrade) and Barrie Kosky, the Australian director, in the throes of euphoria. An audacious reinterpretation, embellished by the breathtaking animation of Paul Barritt. Of course, Mozart suffers a bit…but ...
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Denève conducts Britten, Roussel and Ravel

22 November 2013 is the precise day when the British composer Benjamin Britten would have turned 100 years old. To celebrate the occasion, the first half of the evening’s program was focused on his music, with the second half turning to music from early-twentieth century France. The program opened with an extract from what is arguably Britten’s most famous work, the opera Peter Grimes. Taking place in the middle of Act ...
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Rare flute concertos by Loïc Schneider

Like Sakari Oramo, Susanna Mälkki, and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, among others, Jan Söderblom is another talented Finnish conductor whose career began as an instrumentalist. In this concert, Söderblom led the Tapiola Sinfonietta from the concertmaster’s chair in a highly varied program for string orchestra. The opening piece of the program was the most challenging for both performers and audiences. Despite being the first work he composed for orchestral forces, Pettersson’s Concerto No. ...
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Zhenyu Zeng, Director of the China Europe Youth Orchestra

"We need musicians for orchestras, we don’t need so many soloists." ResMusica: How have you been introduced to classical music? Zhenyu Zeng : When I was 16 I was a professional opera singer for a theatre company, but  the director of advised me that I should not waste my time. The reason was that Chinese opera did not have support from the government, there was only two productions performed per year but ...
Photo: ©Julieta Cervantes

Trisha Brown’s Living Repertoire in Paris

The Trisha Brown Dance Company devoted its first night in Paris to a focus on cinema, beginning with For M.G.: The Movie, a 1991 tribute to Michel Guy, Secretary of State for Culture and head of the Festival d’Automne. On a richly evocative soundtrack (featuring the sounds of a roaring engine, a freighter ready to leave port, and Indians in a trance state, among other things), the dancers move with ...