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BBC Music Magazine

BBC Music Magazine February 2020

BBC Music Magazine is a must for anyone with a passion for classical music. Classical music connoisseurs and new enthusiast alike will enjoy the fascinating features and reviews of over 120 new works in every issue. Please Note: Our digital edition does not include the cover mount items or supplements you would normally find with printed copies

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Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
Frequency:
Monthly
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
this month’s contributors

Michael Tanner Philosopher and critic ‘Writing about Beethoven at all is a challenge, but selecting a mere 20 of his works from the vast daunting and astounding range is sheer torture, though mitigated by spending a few days devoted to listening to them.’ Page 28 Tom Service Writer and broadcaster ‘Can a musician be both artistically radical and charmingly impish? Personally generous and aesthetically rigorous? Roger Norrington is the affirmative answer: it was a Beethovenian revelation to meet him!’ Page 46 Natasha Loges Academic, author and critic ‘Many listeners think of Brahms as serious, heavy and rather daunting. But a closer look reveals that both he and his music offer not only discipline and determination, but also passion and playfulness.’ Page 68…

1 min.
welcome

Welcome to our bumper Beethoven special issue, a chance for us to go all out in our celebration of the composer’s 250th anniversary. Here in the BBC Music Magazine office, we’ve been sharing our own early experiences of his music – overleaf we’ve each named the Beethoven work we first fell in love with. But when was the Ludwig light switch first turned on for you? What was the work that revealed his emotional and philosophical depths in all their glory? Do let us know. My epiphany came around 15 years ago courtesy of a live performance by Stephen Kovacevich of the Hammerklavier Sonata, a work that many pianists approach with caution. Understandably so – all of Beethoven’s world is found within. Human struggle, solemn contemplation, anxious skittishness, psychological and…

1 min.
letter of the month

Traditional values Some years ago, as the applause died down after a traditional and enjoyable performance of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, a young woman sitting in front of me turned to her companion and said, ‘They didn’t do anything with it!’. Nowadays, when artists in any medium perform a familiar work, the temptation to ‘do’ something with it seems almost irresistible. I would guess that that is what lies behind the strange things done to the Monteverdi Vespers by Simon-Pierre Bestion, as described by your critic Berta Joncus (Jan). By contrast, the very unfamiliarity of Rossini’s 1818 opera Ricciardo e Zoraide may explain why the director Marshall Pynkoski didn’t feel any need to ‘do’ anything – to the annoyance of your critic Christopher Cook (also January). However, I doubt if I am…

4 min.
have your say…

Oliver’s organ In his interesting article Winds of Change (January), Daniel Moult is being a little unfair to Oliver Cromwell. It is true that Cromwellian puritanical zeal was sweeping organs out of churches, but it was not hypocrisy for Cromwell to have an organ installed in Hampton Court for his own enjoyment and edification. Cromwell, like many puritans, was fond of music but it seemed inappropriate in the worship of the church – there, the glory of God and the power of His Word must not be rivalled. Perhaps we get the point if we ask how many people listen to Choral Evensong not to worship God but to enjoy the music. Happily many people know you can do both, and one can enhance the other. Rev Eric Chandler, Chichester Listen and learn Thank…

2 min.
women composers receive new year honours boost

The 2020 New Year Honours list provided great cause for celebration among British women composers, three of whom received awards. Elsewhere, the rise of cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason continued with an MBE, while the long and distinguished career of BBC presenter and director Humphrey Burton is recognised with a knighthood. Awarded, respectively, a CBE, OBE and MBE, composers Errollyn Wallen, Judith Bingham and Helen Grime have all made their own considerable mark on the British music scene over recent years. The Belize-born Wallen became the first ever black woman to have a composition performed at the BBC Proms when, in 1998, Adrian Spillett, Alasdair Malloy and the BBC Philharmonic played her Concerto for Percussion. She returned to the Royal Albert Hall this year for the world premiere of her This frame is…

1 min.
a purr-fect instrument for clawed debussy

Here’s a piano like you’ve never seen before. Though be careful, it may bite. Designed by Tesoro Noro in Southport, this one-off ‘panther piano’ is currently on the market for around £750,000, ten per cent of which will go towards Panthera, a charity that aims to protect the world’s declining big cat populations. The instrument, says its makers, is ‘a stunning geometric structure; the beautiful grand piano melts into the back of the prowling black panther beneath it, creating one single magnificent beast.’ What’s more, it can even be programmed, pianola-style, to play itself. Regular tuning plus a diet of deer and capybara should keep it in tip-top condition.…