Archive | February, 2014


About Gramophone March 2014 issue

Posted on 28 February 2014 by admin

In the March 2014 issue of Gramophone it focus on the art of the encore. Martin Cullingford speaks to violinist Hilary Hahn about her new album of 27 specially-commissioned encores for violin and piano and Jeremy Nicholas traces the history of the encore, the development of which has been shaped as much by audiences as by performers.

Also in this issue, James Jolly writes about the recorded legacy of the great Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, who passed away in January, and collaborators and friends including Sir Simon RattleIsabelle FaustAnne Sofie von Otter andDaniel Harding pay tribute. Pianist Ingrid Fliter explores the score of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2 with Rebecca Schmid, Rob Cowan writes about iconic violinist Bronisław Huberman, and Guy Rickards and Caroline Gill discuss the merits of Peter Hurford‘s recording of Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue.

Plus, as always, the month’s new classical music releases are reviewed by our expert critics – including our Recording of the Month: Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos performed by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Noseda(Chandos).

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2014 Oscar Best Original Score predictions

Posted on 27 February 2014 by admin

John Williams – The Book Thief
He’s the most Oscar-nominated person ever, but it’s been a good few years since he’s taken an Academy Award home. Not since 1993, in fact, when his score for Schindler’s List emerged triumphant. The Book Thief is, on appearance, similar territory for Williams, and a step away from his usual clients (Spielberg, Lucas, Potter) might be just what the Academy are looking for. By no means a dead cert (perhaps they’ll wait until his Star Wars score in 2015?), but certainly not one to rule out.

Steven Price – Gravity
Steven Price’s mesmerising and inventive score for Gravity took the BAFTA in the same category a few weeks back, which could be a clue as to the Oscars result this weekend. If we were placing bets, this would be a good chance to make some serious money – this one might just sneak in the back door and take the Oscar home, right under the noses of a very strong field.

Listen to our interview with Steven Price here.

William Butler and Owen Pallett – Her
If the Academy is looking for cool points, then Her is the one to go for. The indie credentials of Win Butler from Arcade Fire and fellow hip young gunslinger Owen Pallett are a force to be reckoned with and, though the movie itself is struggling a little with the critics, there’s a definitely a chance of a left field winner this year.
Alexandre Desplat – Philomena
Similarly to John Williams, an Oscar could be well overdue for Alexandre Desplat. Incredibly, despite being nominated six times in the last eight years, he is still yet to win one. The Philomena score is a dainty and sensitive affair, beautifully realised by Desplat, so if this is the one that gets his Oscar tally off the ground we wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

Listen to our interview with Alexandre Desplat here.


Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
Even more than Desplat, if one composer is due some Academy recognition, it’s Thomas Newman. He’s been nominated in the category a total of 11 times without a win. Last year he managed to take home the BAFTA for his Skyfall soundtrack, but as yet the Academy Award remains elusive… is Saving Mr. Banks the one to turn the tide? He has written better scores over the years, but the Academy might just look at his contribution to the genre as a whole and give him the recognition he deserves. Definitely among the front-runners.

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Classical musicians Benedetti and Glennie are among ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ ?

Posted on 25 February 2014 by admin

Scots from every walk of life are to be honoured in a new project for International Women’s Day. Following a two-week Twitter poll to generate nominations, Scotland’s female pioneers will be recognised with a permanent online archive of their achievements.

Alongside classical musicians Benedetti and Glennie, other possible contenders suggested by the society include suffragette Elsie Inglis, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, actress Kelly MacDonald and singer Annie Lennox.

Speaking to The Scotsman, Outstanding Women of Scotland campaign spokeswoman Susan Garnsworthy said: “As we look forward to celebrating International Women’s Day, I’m struck by how many Scottish women have made their own indelible mark on the cultural life of our country and far beyond.

“The Saltire Society exists to promote and celebrate Scottish culture and heritage. Over the centuries, the contribution of Scotland’s women to the cultural life of this country has been truly remarkable.

“In so many walks of life, it is as often the women of this country who have carried the torch for Scotland on a global stage as their male counterparts. International Women’s Day is the ideal opportunity to celebrate their achievements.”

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Cellist Oliver Coates’ Towards the Blessed Islands

Posted on 25 February 2014 by admin

Towards the Blessed Islands

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The sound of a perfectly bowed cello is one of the most gorgeous in all music. As a cellist, Oliver Coates isn’t going to turn his back on his instrument’s fundamental beauty, but he wants to provide new contexts for it.

He achieves his goal, in part by conjuring up unexpected combinations, in part by manipulating the recorded acoustic. Both are central to this collection’s opening track, The Room is the Resonator. Here, his close-miked cello wanders slowly through a limited number of pitches while a harmonium huffs and puffs sweetly under, over and between. Both instruments are set against a separate recording of a Berlin railway station at night. The results are densely hypnotic, a blend of electronica and minimalism.

Coates is more aggressive in Iannis Xenakis’s Kottos, where his cello sounds variously like a low-flying aircraft, a swarm of angry bees and a kids’ cartoon character. This is music that hits you in the pit of the stomach, but mostly Coates aims for something more mellifluous. On his version of folk-singer Roy Harper’s ‘Another Day’, his multi-tracked cellos provide a soft, warm bed on which the fragile voice of Chysanthemum Bear (true!) can luxuriate. This kind of aesthetic approach risks drifting into elevator music, but there are enough facets to Coates’s virtuosity to keep the attention from wandering.

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