Maestro Riccardo Frizza in Conversation

Maestro Riccardo Frizza is an Italian conductor and a charming, pleasant human being. But don’t take my word for it, read the interview he gave me here or click on his photo and judge for yourself.  Find out why he thinks “music is an exchange of effort and energy” and a lot, lot more. Enjoy!

Photo of Riccardo Frizza by Joan Tomás, courtesy of Karen Kriendler Nelson (Maestro Frizza’s Publicist)

Short Stories Of A Different Kind

Short Stories is an album with music from various composers performed beautifully by two young German musicians: Mark Schumann (cello) and Martin Klett (piano).

The short stories in this CD are encore pieces by a variety of performers and composers. Like an author’s collection of short stories, these pieces delight or thrill for a brief moment and do not require the commitment and engagement of a novel or, in this case, of a full concerto or a set of complete sonatas.

Short Stories is suitable to anyone who loves the sound of the cello or to someone who would like a gentle, elegant introduction to classical music. Read my full review.

Perahia’s Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto – a Treasure!

Murray Perahia turns 70 years old this April but his electrifying, extraordinary performances are not getting old. They are as fresh today as they were when he won the International Leeds Piano Competition in 1972. I was privileged to be at the Barbican Hall on Fri 07 April to see and hear his performance of Beethoven’s masterful Piano Concerto No. 5, known as “Emperor” in English-speaking countries. Perahia’s rendition, supported by the excellent Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, was simply magnificent and received a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. Read my review HERE or click on one of the pictures.

 

Poetry in Motion

Opera inspires and so do beautiful buildings. Both come together in harmony and exquisite proportions at the Opera House in Dresden, Germany.

I was inspired to write the poem below after a performance of Rossini’s opera William Tell and the beauty of the Dresdner opera is a gorgeous tribute to the power of music.

 

2015 09 02_dresden_0022web

Grand Opera

I saw the fairies and felt the caves,
touched the woods
and crossed the waves,
swam through the rain,
glided the storm and surfed the pain
engraved in the music form.

I felt the call of the night
in clear arpeggios of fountains dried
and in the heat of the fight
I stumbled, I cried
I broke the crystalline light.
In peril, I hovered over luminous voices
but fearless I rode the ocean
and stared at my choices.

And then, just closing my eyes,
I saw the music
in flowers of motion,
rainbows and skies.
And the heavens opened
crushing my heart,
leaving the silence to tear me apart.

Poem by myself (Margarida Mota-Bull, nom de plume M G da Mota) / Photograph of the Dresdner Opera courtesy of Malcolm Bull

Too Many Notes, my dear Mozart…!

After the premiere of Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio or Harem), it is said that Emperor Joseph II told the composer something around these lines: “Too beautiful for our ears, my dear Mozart, and an awful lot of notes.” To which Mozart replied: “Exactly as many as are necessary, Your Majesty.” It isn’t certain if this episode ever took place but if the Emperor really said that, Mozart’s reply was in line with his personality and with the fact he knew the quality of his music. As a composer Mozart was far ahead of his time and aware of it.

Prom 39_CR_BBC_Chris Christodoulou_1Robin Ticciati and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the BBC Proms on Fri 14 Aug 2015

“Too many notes” doesn’t refer only to the exotic Turkish elements Mozart introduced in the opera which are in line with the location where the plot takes place, Mozart’s music also describes the characters as well as words or, to my mind, even better, displaying his great sense of the dramatic. This wasn’t happening in opera until Mozart came along.

A semi-staging of Glyndebourne Festival’s production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail was presented at the BBC Proms last Friday, 14th Aug at the Royal Albert Hall. It was a lovely evening of music with the cast in costume and the fabulous Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, led by Robin Ticciati, giving an authentic, energetic and beautiful performance of Mozart’s great opera. I had the pleasure of reviewing it.

Prom 39_CR_BBC_Chris Christodoulou_2Prom 39_CR_BBC_Chris Christodoulou_3Tenor Edgaras Montvidas as Belmonte (left) and Soprano Sally Matthews as Konstanze (right) at the Proms performance of Glyndebourne’s production of Die Entführung on Fri 14 Aug 2015

All photos by Chris Christodoulou, courtesy of the BBC Proms Press Office –

Except feature photo above “Seascape of Normandy” courtesy of Malcolm Bull

Leonard Elschenbroich: Cellist – The Natural

I had the great pleasure of interviewing German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich on Sat 21st Feb 2015. Intelligent, kind, articulate, he was one of the most interesting people I have ever interviewed.

Elschenbroich plays on loan a Gofriller cello from 1693 and is passionate about the instrument and about music. He lives in London with his girlfriend, violinist Nicola Benedetti.

The full interview is long but well worth the effort of reading it. You will seldom find a person as fascinating and Elschenbroich. Enjoy.

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Photo of Leonard Elschenbroich by Felix Broede, courtesy of Mr Elschenbroich’s management

Beethoven by the Berliner Philharmoniker

The Berliner Philharmoniker has what they call the Digital Concert Hall, meaning they stream live concerts or recordings via the internet. All you have to do is buy a ticket of a subscription. It is brilliant.

Some concerts are also broadcast live to cinemas all over Europe, including the UK. I was lucky to be able to review an all Beethoven programme by the extraordinary orchestra that is the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Bernard Haitink and featuring outstanding violinist Isabelle Leonard. It was a real treat. You can read the review here.