Recently In The Blogs
Being a monthly survey of some
of the interesting articles in the classical music blogosphere
For a comprehensive link list of classical music
blogs, see Chris
Foley's page and for a list of the blogs referred to in this
series of articles, click here.
As you can gather by the last date, this survey
is not currently being updated. I do hope at some point in the
future to have enough time to retuen to the task, but I will
add worthwhile blogs to the link list as I find them.
July 23, 2009
Opera North is based in the north – not surprisingly – of
England in the Yorkshire city of Leeds. It has been running a
blog written by performers, crew and office since April this
year, Among the posts have been a number providing a
behind-the-scenes view of the musical Paradise Moscow,
derived from the Shostakovich opera, Cheryomushki. We are informed
that from this
the blog will feature the company’s forthcoming production
of Così fan tutte.
From Beyond the Stave, the blog of the publishers Boydell and
Brewer, has a number of interesting posts, including two about
the relatively little-known English composer, Erik Chisholm,
the subject of a new book. One – The Extraordinary
Mr Chisholm – has an extract from the book, and the other – Looking
for Erik - is written by the book’s author, John Purser.
Planet Hugill, Robert has been to Prom
4, and also contemplating
programming. Do you know what music Neil
to on Apollo 11? On an overgrown path does. Angela
reported on her musical festival in Italy, the Trasimeno.
Living At The Opera has been given a facelift,
featuring a new layout and design.
May 30, 2009
Somewhat of an extended break in postings here, so I will endeavour
to make up for it with some extra new blogs.
Some time ago, I mentioned the Guardian blog of Susan Tomes, author, pianist
and member of the Florestan Trio. It has become inactive, and the reason is
that Susan has begun a blog on her own website. The posts are not all about
music, but among those that are is one she describes the problems faced by a
concert pianist with a sore finger: A painful index finger.
Another intelligent and eloquent British pianist. The post I have chosen to
illustrate his quirky output is Is
that a gun in your pocket?, which is not what you are thinking, but rather
about a sign he saw on a concert venue in the US.
For those interested in contemporary classical music, this is apparently one
of the best sites for news and information. Among the newer posts are concert
reviews, previews of upcoming festivals and general news
items. Not really my cup of tea, but one item that did capture my attention – Entrepreneurial spirit – was
about a wireless page turner for musicians.
And finally, this blog has a list of the “top” 50
classical music blogs, admittedly dating from December 2007. I’m not
sure the rest of the blog is up to much, but at least you can check out the entries
on the Top 50 that I haven’t already mentioned or haven’t disappeared
Jessica Duchen is always entertaining and forthright – I particularly like her
account of attending a dress rehearsal at Glyndebourne – Solti
stars in Falstaff – Solti is her cat, in case you are confused. John
France continues to expand our knowledge on British music at The Land of Lost
Content – I certainly a lot more about Ivor
Gurney than before reading his post. The Rest Is Noise’s Alex
Ross has recently been here in Australia at the Sydney Writers Festival, and
include a link to a post simply titled Sydney:
he was impressed by something that wouldn’t happen in New York. On An Overgrown
Path points us to two interesting
Guardian articles: an interview with Philip Glass and Joanna McGregor
on Harrison Birtwistle.
March 13, 2009
Another month missed.
This is Norman Lebrecht's blog, so you know what you are in for.
Two recent posts deal with the decline in health of the big
classical labels, namely Telarc and Decca.
Sticks and Drones
A second new blog to make up for missing February: a shared blog
between two American conductors, Ron Spigelman (Musical Director,
Springfield SO) and Bill Eddins (Musical Director, Edmonton
SO). The most
recent post, at the time of writing this, was ConnectiCUTS
Deep and both ways! on the problems of the Connecticut
Jessica Duchen has a substantial interview with Angela Gheorghiu
About Angela, apparently material that didn't
make the print version in The Independent newspaper.
She also celebrates the fifth
birthday of her blog with a link list
to her choice of notable posts. Angela
Hewitt has been touring
the US and recording her thoughts. Living At The Opera has
written a number of posts on the Metropolitan Opera's telecasts,
all of them complimentary, for example, The
Stifles The Romantic Mood In Lucia di Lammermoor.
There are two articles by Ralph Locke on the Eastman
Studies in Music series of books at Beyond
January 15, 2009
The gap in this column has lasted rather longer than originally
intended, but come the new year, we return.
The Business of Classical Music
Written by Bill Stensrud, who describes himself as making private
investments and attending more than one hundred live classical
concerts each year. His blog concentrates, as you would expect,
economics of classical music, especially the recording industry,
and his view is not particularly cheery. One extensive
post is worthwhile reading: Classical
Music After The CD: Redux. You will see that his
views are not popular or generally shared (or is that appreciated?).
There was an article posted to On An Overgrown Path about
Imogen Holst - A
Hero's Life Overshadowed -
in November last year, but with a review of her music
on Musicweb this
week, it makes interesting and relevant reading. An even older
post but still worth mentioning at Living At The Opera is
an interview with the
rising soprano Joyce Di Donato, whose recordings
have shown up in MWI reviews a couple of times in the last month
or so. Finally, Planet Hugill writes about Vaughan Williams'
To Music and specifically its original performance.
September 25, 2008
There will be a gap in these postings until mid-November (would
you believe mid-January!), as your correspondent is taking
an well-earned (in his mind at
least) R&R break.
Normally, these postings are a month apart, but circumstances
have suggested that a short intermediate one is appropriate.
American Proms Blog
Braithwaite, whose Proms blog was mentioned in the previous posting,
emailed Musicweb to thank us for the mention, but also to mention
(graciously) his American "rival" Evan Tucker, who
is also writing a blog on the 2008 Proms. I presume he is staying
in London and attending rather than simply listening via the
BBC, but I don't know for sure.
His posts are very comprehensive, but I think the best part are
the numerous links to relevant videos on YouTube, including archival
ones, such as a 1932
film of the BBC SO under Adrian Boult playing Elgar's Pomp & Circumstance
March No. 1.
Since I'm writing this, I will direct your attention towards On
An Overgrown Path where Bob Shingleton has written a fascinating
article on the great cellist In
Search of Pablo Casals.
August 15, 2008
BBC Proms 2008 (The Unofficial Blog)
Given the time of year, it seems appropriate to include this
blog, written by Eric Braithwaite, a regular Prommer. Essentially,
it is no more than his review of a number of the concerts – eight
at time of writing – and the author himself calls them
reactions rather than reviews, so don’t expect a scholarly
evaluation of the finer details. Having said that, they are well
written, amusing and provocative.
Planet Hugill has also been to the Proms, reviewing Prom
which featured Stanford’s Second Piano Concerto, which
it seems Robert enjoyed greatly.
Angela Hewitt, on the other hand, isn’t
involved in the Proms, but has been busy elsewhere, including a July
26 performance of Book 1 of the Well Tempered Clavier at the church in Dornheim where Bach
married Maria Barbara. In her words “It was very moving for us all, and
I will never forget it”.
The Land of Lost Content has tracked down an article from the League
of Composers Review from January 1925, entitled Vaughan Williams and
compulsory reading for those interested in either or both of these great men.
Finally, Dial M for Musicology has written an interesting opinion
which is not about popular pieces of music being programmed all the time, but
rather on the psychology of audiences.
From Beyond The Stave
Some what of a departure for these pages, this is the blog of
a company, in this case, the book publisher Boydell & Brewer. The
Elgar "debate" refers to a lively debate
in the pages of the Time Literary Supplement over critic
Hugh Wood's comments on a number of Elgar books (this isn't a
new article, dating back to April this year).
I draw your attention to two interesting articles from Bob Shingleton's On
Firstly, a very recent one, Contemporary
composer's Dutch courage about the 20th century Dutch composer Lex
van Delden, whose name was unknown to me until a few reviews of his string quartets
on the MDG label appeared on these pages in the last twelve months or so. The
other is a "conversation" with the English serialist composer, Elisabeth
Lutyens, written last year, but linked from the homepage at the moment, since
it is around her birthday. I should make it clear that Walking
with Stravinsky isn't a real conversation, since she has been dead
for 25 years, but rather an article written as though the author was talking
to his subject.
I haven't visited Dial M for Musicology recently,
so it seemed appropriate that when I did, there should be two
recent posts mentioning From Beyond The Stave, including the
Elgar debate. The article that most interested me (as a professional
educator), however, was the recounting of a teacher story: Music
History Survey Survey, about the impossibility of
discussing 250 years of Western music history in a eight-week
David J Barker