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BBC Music Magazine

BBC Music Magazine March 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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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
this month’s contributors

George Hall Critic and writer ‘As someone who first encountered the legendary Italian tenor Enrico Caruso on buying a 45rpm EP more than 50 years ago, I still register a frisson on experiencing one of the greatest voices ever to record.’ Page 26 Richard Bratby Critic and writer ‘There’s no such thing as a typical orchestra, but when I started researching the history of the CBSO I never expected quite so many surprises – the low points as well as some remarkable success stories.’ Page 38 Jessica Duchen Critic and writer ‘As a biographer of Erich Korngold, I’d waited all my life for John Wilson’s CD of the composer’s Symphony. Wilson totally nails it, and likewise much other music; it was a treat to ask him how he does it.’ Page 44…

1 min.

If you saw our Christmas issue, you’ll have read Simon Heighes’s excellent piece on the EMI Archives over in Middlesex and perhaps spotted a photo of a wooden recording horn used by Caruso atop a trolley (pushed, incidentally, by none other than archive trustee and former president of EMI Classics, Richard Lyttelton). In fact, it’s possibly this very horn that producer and talented A&R man Fred Gaisberg heaved over to Milan to record – in a single afternoon – Caruso’s performances of ten piano-accompanied operatic arias. Unwieldy and primitive as Gaisberg’s kit was, Caruso’s voice emerges astonishingly well, surface noise and crackles no match for the Italian tenor’s formidable voice, his fine musicality and vocal sensitivity obvious even through the sonic gloom. George Hall’s fascinating profile of Caruso not only…

1 min.
letter of the month

Quite Reicha Thank you for your interesting feature on Beethoven’s life and works (February issue). I would like to bang the drum for an exact contemporary of his who didn’t make either of the lists of ten close acquaintances or five lesser-known contemporaries, but belongs in both: Antoine Reicha, or, as Beethoven called him, ‘a certain French composer who presented fugues according to a new method, which consists of this, that the fugue is no longer a fugue’. Berlioz, who was a harsh critic of the Paris Conservatoire in general, recognised Reicha as a good teacher and unusually open to new ideas. These included minimalism – a piece entirely on the E major triad – and quarter-tones. And, yes, some extraordinary fugues: with a single repeated note as subject, where a…

4 min.
have your say…

Pastoral pleasure In your February issue (Editor’s letter), you ask us to say when ‘the Ludwig light switch was first turned on for you’. My Beethoven moment came very early on, when I was about six or seven, and I heard the radio broadcasting the Shepherd’s Hymn from the Pastoral Symphony. It was so beautiful, I cried. A year or so later, Father Christmas brought me my first ever record, the Ace of Clubs LP of Erich Kleiber conducting the London Philharmonic in the Pastoral, and that was it. Christopher Morley, Halesowen Play it yourself Edwin Baker’s account (Letters, February) of how he got to know Mozart’s sublime Piano Concerto in A, K488 from the 78s recorded by Denis Matthews prompts me to share my (loosely) parallel encounter. As a schoolboy in the mid-1950s,…

2 min.
new evidence questions date of beethoven’s deafness

Just how deaf was Beethoven? As the 250th-anniversary year of the German composer’s birth gathers pace, a leading music scholar has given this often debated matter an added twist by revealing evidence that, he says, suggests that Beethoven may have retained some level of hearing right until his final years. When, or if, he became totally deaf has long been a matter of discussion Theodore Albrecht, a professor of musicology at Kent State University, Ohio, who is currently midway through translating Beethoven’s ‘conversation books’ into English for the first time, says they reveal moments surprisingly late on in his life in which the composer indicated that he was not surrounded entirely by silence. In 1823, for instance, he told another man who was also losing his hearing that ‘Baths and country air…

1 min.
vladimir ashkenazy brings glittering career to a close

Vladimir Ashkenazy has announced that he is to retire with immediate effect, bringing to an end a career as a pianist and conductor that has spanned over 60 years. Joint winner (with John Ogdon) of the International Tchaikovsky Prize in Moscow in 1962, such was Ashkenazy’s fame in the USSR that his decision to move to the West the following year was later commented on by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in his memoirs. Taking up the baton in the 1980s, he went on to enjoy conducting posts in the UK, Czech Republic, Australia and Iceland, while still wowing audiences with his mastery of the keyboard.…