Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dietrich Buxtehude died 300 years ago

Klara is having a Buxtehude special today. They'll focus on him during 'Ludwig' and 'Orlando'. Two great shows with tons of good music. Especially when they focus on early music, of course!
Listen to Klara live here.

You can listen to 'Orlando' again, until the next show airs.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Klara - Aria Top 20

On Klara, the Flemish Classical Radio Station, they had an Aria Top 20. I'm happy to hear it wasn't only Puccini or Verdi people voted for. There was a lot of George Frideric Handel and Henry Purcell even made it into the top 3!

You can listen to this radio program again here (only for a short time I guess)

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jonathan Dunford: The Viola da Gamba

"I stumbled upon the viola da gamba for the first time when I was twelve years old, two years into cello lessons with the American cellist Fortunato Arico, known to one and all as Freddy. Over the years Freddy had expanded his virtuosity backwards in time, first to the baroque cello, then to the viol. In the New York of the early 70s the viol was still a very rare fish, an exotic, unfamiliar instrument only marginally more identifiable than the Theremin. Freddy liked to give proselytizing concerts, to which he reported like some musical Marley’s ghost, clanking with early and late instruments hanging in their cases from his shoulders. It was at one of those concerts that I heard him play Couperin’s Pièces de viole on his beautiful old Gofriller. Dowland’s many pretty images of being pierced by love’s arrow was my case exactly. I had never heard such music, such a sound. It was love at first, second, and third sight, love that was to be everlasting and undiminished. In short, from that moment I was hooked on the viol and wanted urgently to play it myself..."

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Ton Koopman: 10 CD's for a Desert Island

"...A very beautiful CD with Montserrat Figueras as a marvellous soprano soloist in the lamenti, together with Jordi Savall with all his feeling for rhythm and creativity. Jordi and Montserrat belong to the intimate circle of my best friends. I know only a few musicians that I esteem so highly. Making music together with them has always been (and still is) a feast..."

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Brian Robins: Interview with Phillipe Herreweghe

"In 1985 harmonia mundi released a recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion which was immediately recognised by many as possessing very special qualities. The booklet provided with the set included a learned dissertation on musical rhetoric by the conductor, Philippe Herreweghe that went some way toward explaining why this recording was different. Not only had unusual trouble been taken to give the text a rare communicative power, but Herreweghe approached the score with a warm humanity achieved without sacrificing contrapuntal clarity and rhythmic impetus. More than fifteen years later Herreweghe’s name is synonymous with a long and successful series of recordings of Bach’s choral works that has established him as arguably the pre-eminent exponent of the repertoire. Yet as his extensive discography proves, there is more to Herreweghe than Bach. Brian Robins went to Antwerp on behalf of Goldberg in an attempt to discover more about the man and his approach to music..."

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Michael Noone: Sebastian de Vivanco

"Until now, the reputation of the Spanish priest-composer Sebastián de Vivanco (c.1551 - 1622) has languished in the shadow of that of his great contemporary Tomás Luis de Victoria. There are many good reasons why this was so. Unlike Victoria, whose music circulated internationally in his own day and has, closer to our own time, long been well-represented in modern editions and recordings, Vivanco, even during the early music explosion of the past thirty years, has been overlooked by all but a few dedicated musicologists, editors, and performers. Far from there being a complete edition of his works, there is not even a reliable complete list of his compositions for casual inquirers to consult (a lack that even the latest 2001 edition of Grove has failed to meet), and his biography, such as it is, is little more than an ad hoc gathering of dates and documentary references. In that sense, Vivanco is to Victoria what Lassus was to Palestrina a century ago..."

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Jordi Savall: Travel Notes II

"In fact, culture resides less in a heritage than the way in which it has to be valued, and this manner of valuing it entails a project, which implies a will. We thus have a circle: this will, capable of reviving a culture, should in itself stem from a culture, a tradition, from its values. Jean-Marie Domenach, Europe: le défi culturel..."

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Fux's Vienna

"Vienna. To a music lover the very name evokes a myriad of evocations. The city of Haydn, of Mozart, of Beethoven, the great triumvirate on whose shoulders rest the foundation and glory of the classical era, of the Biedermeier world of Schubert, the tortured soul of Mahler, the radical new music of Schönberg, Berg, and Webern. Yet there is another, earlier musical Vienna, an era all but forgotten by historians. It is the story of a world of extravagance centred around three musical Habsburg emperors and Johann Joseph Fux, the man who served them faithfully for more than half a century. It starts in 1685 or thereabouts with the arrival in the imperial capital of the young Fux, then in his mid-twenties. It ends on 13 February 1741, the date on which Fux died at the age of 80, outliving the last of the emperors he served by less than five months..."

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Joshua Rifkin: 10 CD's for a Desert Island

"The American pianist, musicologist and conductor Joshua Rifkin is one of the outstanding musical polymaths of our day. Educated at Julliard School of Music, Rifkin later studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Darmstadt. In the field of popular music he is particularly associated with the revival of interest in the ragtime composer Scott Joplin. His most important contribution to the field of scholarship has been his research on Bach's choruses, work that led to his controversial claims that Bach employed only one voice per part. Rifkin has put his theories to the test in a number of recordings, most notably a Mass in B minor recorded for Nonesuch..."

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Interview with Emma Kikby

"“The Divine Emma”. “The Empress of early music”. Just two of the epithets that have been applied to the name of English soprano Emma Kirkby, whose superb technique and pure voice have been enchanting early music enthusiasts for over two decades. Yet no artist of her stature assumes a less godlike or regal attitude in person, as Brian Robins can confirm when he recently interviewed Emma Kirkby for Goldberg..."

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Heinrich Schütz

"One century before the birth of Bach, the German composer Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) single-handedly ushered his country onto the European musical scene. Schütz was a pioneer and pre-eminent composer, a transitional figure linking the very different worlds of the Renaissance and the Baroque..."

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Jordi Savall: Living Music and Humanism

"Music is the true living history of Humanity. We trust in it unreservedly because what it affirms relates to our feelings, and without it we would have only dead pieces of history..."

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Nigel Wilkins: The Devil's Music

"According to tradition “the Devil has all the best tunes”. Whatever name he bears, whatever form he adopts, the Devil has always exploited or appreciated the power of music, whether for his own pleasure or as an instrument for the seduction and domination of souls. Satan “the Adversary”, “Father of Untruth”, “Ancient Serpent”; Lucifer, the most handsome of angels, leader of the revolt, cast down into the pits of hell by the Archangel Michael; Beelzebub, Prince of Demons; Astaroth, Grand Duke of Hell; Mephistopheles, one of the most important lords of Hell; Belial, a demon whose seductive appearance belies his hideous nature. These and endless other demons and monsters, witches and wizards—all that which serves evil—we shall simply call “the Devil”, so as not to lose ourselves at once in the dark labyrinths of demonology!..."

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Andreas Scholl: 10 CD's for a Desert Island

"Andreas Scholl, the outstanding counter-tenor of our time, began singing with the Kedricher Chorbuben, first soprano and then, for a while without realizing it after his voice broke, falsetto. From 1987 to 1993 he studied with Richard Levitt and Renי Jacobs at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Even before graduating, he caught the early music world's attention by participating in several important recordings (DHM, Sony and Harmonia Mundi). His Vivaldi and Caldara recordings on Harmonia Mundi won him prestigious awards. The surprisingly few discs he has issued since signing an exclusive contract with Decca in 1998 have been enthusiastically received. He has also garnered high praise on the Baroque operatic stage..."

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Marguerite Haladjian: Interview with Marc Minkowski

"Mark Minkowski occupies a unique place in today’s musical landscape. Originally trained as a bassoonist, he later turned to conducting baroque music. Very early on he showed his inclination to reconcile form and content, genres and periods. His goal is to express the riches of a variety of repertoire from the 17th through the 20th-century, and to transmit his own cohesive world view and culture through his many productions. His enthusiasm, playfulness and imagination—inseparable from the serious work of mastering a score —reveal an inquisitive person always on the lookout for new emotions. Minkowski is truly animated by music. Marguerite Haladjian talked extensively with him for Goldberg..."

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Claire Fontijn-Harris: Elisabeth-Sophie Cheron

"If one were to imagine a female counterpart to the “Renaissance man,” a person able to excel simultaneously in several diverse domains, ֹlisabeth-Sophie Chיron (1648-1711) would satisfy the requirement. The talents that she demonstrated in art, music, and literature were rewarded in her lifetime by a nomination to two academies, as well as by a pension from Louis XIV that crowned her final years. She was named a member of the Acadיmie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1672, after having presented her self-portrait as her morceau de rיception under the protection of the painter Charles Le Brun. Although she was not the first woman to be admitted to this academy—three others had been named in the previous decade—she participated in the important first wave of female participation in the newly created institution. With the publication of her book of psalm paraphrases in 1694, the Essay de pseaumes et cantiques mis en vers, et enrichis de figures, her literary talent came to the attention of the Paduan Accademia dei Ricovrati, to which she was named a member in 1699. Given the academician name of “Erato,” after the muse of lyric and love poetry, Chיron joined the ranks of the eight other female “muses” of the academy of the Ricovrati, limited in their number—by classical dictates—to nine..."

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David Skinner: William Byrd

"While Palestrina, Lassus and Victoria produced music for the Catholic liturgies and were relatively unfettered in their art, the English composer’s Latin polyphony was forged under quite different circumstances. Most of Byrd’s music dates from the long reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), when, after more than 20 years of religious turmoil, England finally settled as a Protestant nation. While one might expect Byrd to have concentrated his artistic efforts on music for the reformed church, it is clear from his surviving output that he had a different agenda in mind when putting pen to paper. The statistics are revealing. Owing to Byrd’s long association with the Chapel Royal and powerful patrons, close to half of his industrious output is devoted to secular and courtly entertainment (keyboard music, consort songs, madrigals, sonnets, etc.), while the remainder is for the church. Byrd composed close to 200 Latin works (most of which survive in contemporary printed editions) plus three settings of the Mass Ordinary, while his music for the English church (not a note printed in the composer’s lifetime) amounts to only four services, three settings of Preces and Responses, a short Litany, and around two dozen anthems. Indeed, if one were to record Byrd’s surviving sacred music, the Latin works would fit on to around 13 or 14 CDs, while one would be pressed to fill four discs with the English material..."

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Brian Robins: Bach Sacred Cantatas

"Within the output of certain composers there are seminal groups of works whose sheer volume has ensured for them a neglect out of all proportion to their value. No more notable (or notorious) instance exists than that of the cantatas of J.S. Bach, the body of works that stands at the very heart of his output. As an early music enthusiast you almost certainly know the Brandenburg Concertos and are familiar with the four Orchestral Suites. Hopefully the Mass in B minor and the St. Matthew and St. John Passions play an important part in your life. But ask yourself a question. How many of Bach’s cantatas can you honestly say you know. Not just heard, but know? Five? Six? Beyond that you’re doing well and if the answer is more than a dozen you might want to move on to the next article!"

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María Bayo: 10 CD's for a Desert Island

"María Bayo was born in Fitero, Navarre (Spain), and studied in Pamplona and Detmold, Germany. Since 1988, when she won the Belvedere Contest in Vienna, this extraordinary soprano has embarked on an international career, singing in the world's top opera houses. Bayo recently recorded Tomasso Traetta's Antigona, in which she plays the lead role under the direction of Christophe Rousset. Her most recent recording (Handel arias and cantatas) earned 5 Goldberg stars..."

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Brian Robins: Interview with Andrew Carwood and David Skinner

"Over the course of the past ten years or so The Cardinall’s Musick has become firmly established as one of the leading small vocal groups in the UK. With pioneering recordings of the complete works of Nicholas Ludford and Robert Fayrfax in the catalogue, and a series of William Byrd’s complete sacred works now well under way, the group has established a special reputation for their performances of Tudor repertoire. But all that looks set to change, as Brian Robins discovered when he went to Oxford on Goldberg’s behalf to meet joint directors Andrew Carwood and David Skinner..."

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Marguerite Haladjian: François Couperin

"François Couperin presents a curious figure in the musical world: after receiving honors and recognition from king and court, he was forgotten for a century and a half; today his works are again played, reflected upon and celebrated. At the end of the 18th century his musical genius was so much admired by students of Bach that they would declare: “Couperin is the French Bach.” Bach himself had copied several of Couperin’s pieces for the Notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach by hand. Couperin’s Livres de clavecin were a revelation to Vincent d’Indy in the 1860s; Berlioz adapted an 18th century parody of Sœur Monique (a rondeau from Couperin’s 18th ordre de clavecin) for three voices and organ; Brahms published the complete harpsichord works of Couperin—the four Livres de clavecin—and mentioned in his introduction the debt owed Couperin by Bach, Handel and Scarlatti. Wanda Landowska, who played her first concerts as early as 1905, was a zealous defender of Couperin, whose music she placed at the zenith of musical creativity. The impetus she contributed led to the rapidly growing interest in his works. In 1915 Debussy considered dedicating his Etudes to Couperin, and in 1917 Ravel wrote the piano work Le Tombeau de Couperin in which he captured the spirit and mystery of the composer. Later still, Richard Strauss displayed his admiration for Couperin by taking inspiration for his Suites de Danses de François Couperin, Divertimento and Fêtes d’Antan from Couperin’s works. Béla Bartók published a Hungarian edition of Couperin’s works, and played them in concert; Darius Milhaud made an orchestral transcription of La Sultane. The systematic work of musicologists such as Julien Tiersot, who published one of the first biographies of the Couperin dynasty in 1925, was part of the next phase in the rediscovery of his music..."

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Maricarmen Gómez: The Song of Sibyl

"In their respective essays about the year 1000, both Henri Focillon and Georges Duby pointed to the feeling of collective terror that seized entire towns which had converted to Christianity as such a significant date was approaching. There are few testimonies to this effect, but silence is sometimes more eloquent than words at a time in which pessimism seemed to spread ill will, and which was followed by a period in which optimism decisively influenced the transformation of Western Europe..."

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Pierre Hantaï: 10 CD's for a Desert Island

"Pierre Hantaï was born in 1964 and studied harpsichord with Arthur Haas and Gustav Leonhardt. He played with La Petite Bande and with Philippe Herreweghe, Jordi Savall, and Sigiswald Kuijken. Pierre Hantaï is one of the most brilliant and original current harpsichordists. His masterful performance of the Goldberg Variations on Opus 111 is an essential recording that no one should hesitate to obtain. Hantaï also records for Virgin Classics as both a soloist and in conjuction with his brothers..."

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Ernesto Schmied: Interview with Paolo Pandolfo

"San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid. Paolo Pandolfo has just finished recording the first compact disc of music by Marin Marais for Glossa, Le Labyrinthe et autres histoires..., and is currently putting the finishing touches to it. A little tired, but enthusiastic, the Italian viola da gamba player spoke to Ernesto Schmied for Goldberg about his labyrinths and other stories..."

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Roger Tellart: Claudio Monteverdi

"Like the statue of the Commendatore, the founding father Monteverdi stands at the junction between the 16th and 17th centuries, announcing the dawn of a new era. He is the author of an oeuvre whose ‘proximity’ we feel more acutely today than ever before, one reason for the enthusiastic revival of his operas, his madrigals and his famous Vespers of the Virgin, which have stolen the show at this year’s Summer festivals in France to equal (almost) the Bach commemoration..."

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