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BBC Music Magazine

BBC Music Magazine July 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

Helen Wallace Programme director, writer ‘Yo-Yo Ma is not alone in loving bluegrass. In my life as a concert programmer, I’m constantly astounded by the virtuosity of folk musicians, so it was great to share that enthusiasm with the master cellist.’ Page 26 Andrew Green Broadcaster and writer ‘The concert life of Crystal Palace was a crucial foundation for Britain’s musical renaissance. The chance to get closer to its key figure, the venue’s energetic music director August Manns, was irresistible.’ Page 44 Jessica Duchen Critic, playwright and author ‘What a treat to write Building a Library on a piece as popular as Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet. I found unimagined treasures to listen to, though wondered if certain conductors had ever looked at the score!’ Page 56…

1 min.

My first experience of a musical storm (see p36) came 35 years ago, courtesy of organist Nigel Ogden (formerly presenter of Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains). At the end of his recital on the 1855 Hill organ at Kidderminster Town Hall, Ogden improvised a storm, complete with blasting reeds and oodles of rapid chromatic scales, the clouds eventually clearing to the tune of ‘The sun has got his hat on’. Ogden was following in a long tradition of storm-themed organ improvisations by the likes of Blackpool Tower Ballroom organist Reginald Dixon and, intriguingly, composer Camille Saint-Saëns. In fact, so suitable was the 19th-century French Cavaillé-Coll organ for conjuring up wind, rain, thunder and the like that many were fitted with an ‘orage’ effect that simulated thunderclaps by simultaneously triggering the…

1 min.
letter of the month

Sounds familiar? I was fascinated by Ian Taylor’s article, Brief Encounter (April issue) in that it reflected my own experiences teaching courses in film studies at university level. I often taught a unit on music in film. One of the first examples of film music I would present to my students was excerpts from John Williams’s score for Star Wars. I would then follow this up with (you guessed it!) excerpts from The Planets. The student responses were usually quite positive, especially because they realised that when they listen to the music from Star Wars, they are really listening to a subgenre of classical music. I am not saying that Ian Taylor made a conscious connection between Star Wars and The Planets, but I do think Hollywood may have created for…

4 min.
have your say…

Schubert dip What a joy is your June cover disc of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin. I already had a disc with the work sung by a tenor but this recording was a revelation. I am now in my 70s and I have found that in most of my decades I have discovered a new composer in depth. When at school I loved Delius, and just after leaving sang with choirs that did a lot of JS Bach. In my 30s I found Mozart and modern jazz and in my 40s, Finzi. My 50s brought a limited interest in opera – Mozart must be first, followed closely by Britten, Richard Strauss and Puccini, especially Tosca. My 60s brought back Beethoven at a deeper level, Mahler and a range of string quartets, and…

2 min.
live music returns to concert halls and opera houses

Slowly but surely, concert venues and opera houses across the world are welcoming performers and audiences back, as classical music adjusts to life in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak. In some instances musicians are performing on stage to empty venues, but broadcast live to listeners at home; in other cases audience members are present, but seated at safe distances away from each other. In the UK, Wigmore Hall has been filled with the sound of voices and instruments since 1 June, with a series of lunchtime concerts broadcast on Radio 3. A recital by pianist Stephen Hough was the first of 20 concerts announced by the London venue, all of which are to be performed by musicians who live within close distance and will be able to travel without using…

1 min.
revealing the roots of a great composer

A major new website is being launched to celebrate the life and music of Krzysztof Penderecki, who died in March. Created by the Warsaw-based Adam Mickiewicz Institute (AMI) and named in reference to the Polish composer’s famed love of all things horticultural, the Penderecki’s Garden site will, say its creators, provide a place where visitors can explore his music, learn about his life, play music-related games, compose their own pieces and even ‘listen to a live concert while sitting under a virtual tree’. Polish musicians from various different genres are being commissioned to write works for the site, which will go live on the anniversary of Penderecki’s birthday in November.…