Johan Botha the great South African/Austrian tenor who died of cancer in September 2016 at the age of 51 had an extraordinary, unforgetable voice. This CD is a tribute to the talent and voice that have to be remembered.
Read review here or click on CD cover above.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An inspiring symphony, a beautiful performance: Prom 75 – the penultimate night of the BBC Proms 2014 with the always magnificent 9th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven. Click here or on picture for review.
Inspiring Photo courtesy of Malcolm Bull
Sit back and enjoy the whole disc – and my review! – but mostly, the outstanding performance of Mozart’s glorious symphony no. 41, “The Jupiter” brought to life in all its splendour by the Concilium musicum Wien, using precious period instruments.
A daily, unbelievably gorgeous spectacle…and it’s free! How many of us forget to look with eyes that see? Stop and admire the beauty of the sunset.
Photos of Sunset in Deauville, Normandy, France courtesy of Malcolm Bull
“The Dark Side of Dawn”, my latest novel, has launched today on various amazon sites and on bn.com. Click on the cover to check it out on amazon.co.uk.
Two of my proudest moments, in the four years that I have been writing reviews of classical music and opera, have been my interviews with Jonas Kaufmann and Joyce DiDonato.
Both Kaufmann and DiDonato are extraordinary singers and artists, as well as kind, down to earth, pleasant people. Proud moments that also filled me with joy. How lucky I have been!
I have recently reviewed a CD called Angelic Voices that features recordings of the voices of a variety of boy trebles, spanning from approximately 1964 to 1989. It made me think how lucky we are nowadays for being capable of preserving enormous quantities of beautiful voices, great music and books so easily via the digital media. Take the Kindle for example, how many books can one store in there? I don’t know but I have certainly lost count of how many are stored in mine, from novels to reference books like dictionaries or history.
If we had this kind of technology 250 years ago, for example, we would be able to listen today to the music of Mozart or Beethoven performed or conducted by the composers themselves. We could hear the voices of the specific singers for which Mozart wrote his operas or of the great castrati! Unfortunately, we cannot but at least paper and the written word had naturally already been invented by then, so we can reproduce the music and read accounts of the time to understand what it was like.
Interesting how the mind works and how I deviated from the subject of the CD Angelic Voices! It is actually one of those works that although not memorable, possesses great value from a historical and documenting perspective, as it showcases the voices of so many once talented children. Whether the boys whose lovely voices we hear in the CD made a big musical or singing career when they grew up is another matter. Although some of them did, many did not but this is an irrelevant fact. Important is really that the voices were truly beautiful (some more than others, naturally) and are a delight to listen to.