Archive | April, 2014

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The young boy soprano Jack Topping’s Wonderful World

Posted on 30 April 2014 by admin

Wonderful World

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Since becoming Decca’s youngest ever signing in 2013, it’s been a roller coaster ride for the young boy soprano. He’s already become the face of Save The Children’s Christmas campaign, visited South Africa and recorded a debut album – and tonight he makes his debut at Classic FM Live.

Tonight, he’s singing the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, an iconic song if ever there was one. But it’s all part of a whirlwind that has seen young Jack become a public concern. As he told Classic FM’s Jane Jones, as Royal Northern Sinfonia rehearse Tchaikovsky’s cannon-fuelled 1812 Overture in the Royal Albert Hall upstairs: “It was amazing, it was unbelievable. Sometimes I heard myself on Classic FM and sometimes I saw myself on the TV and thought, is that really me?! It’s weird when you see yourself or hear yourself on radio or TV, but it’s just great to be a part of that event.”

Despite his new-found fame, Jack reveals he’s still pretty self-critical. He may have performed in front of the Queen and at a remembrance concert for the Hillsborough disaster, but he’ll be pinching himself for a while yet.

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Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber suffered to stop playing cello

Posted on 29 April 2014 by admin

A Tale of Two Cellos

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The cellist has suffered a herniated disc in his neck which has dramatically reduced the power to his right arm.

Lloyd Webber will perform his final concert at the Forum Theatre, Malvern, on the 2nd of May with the English Chamber Orchestra.

He commented in a press release: “I am devastated. There were so many exciting plans that cannot now come to fruition. I have had an immensely fulfilling career and feel privileged to have worked with so many great musicians and orchestras but now I have to move on.”

The cellist remained positive about the future, however, and outlined plans to continue in education: “I would like to use the knowledge I have gained through my life as a musician and an educator to give back as much as I can to the music profession which has given me so much over the years.”

He continued: “I have just completed two new recordings which will be released later this year but after 2 May my cello will fall silent.”

“I now need time to reflect and to consider this sudden and distressing life-changing situation and there will be no further comment at this time.”

He tweeted moments after the announcement was made:

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Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Prokofiev symphonies on ONYX CLASSICS

Posted on 28 April 2014 by admin

Prokofiev: Symphonies Vol.1 – Nos.3 & 7

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Launching his Prokofiev symphony cycle here with the Bournemouth orchestra he’s been keeping in good shape, Kirill Karabits grasps the creepy-demonic atmosphere of the Third but not what’s between the lines of the surface-simple Seventh. Which means this is a CD of two halves and double standards.

Thin-sounding and over-close Bournemouth violins make no bid for nuanced pathos in the Seventh’s C sharp minor opening, the waltz fails to career Ravel-like to its close and the finale’s galop is stodgy. Only the return of enigma at the end of the symphony has its due, with the alternative fast coda provided as a supplement.

Both sound and substance are much finer in the Third. There’s a perfect balance between smeary themes and spine-chilling figurations for a work that never escapes the associations of its parent opera, Prokofiev’s infernal masterpiece The Fiery Angel. Swooping portamenti are keenly applied and the final thrash has full but clear-textured emphasis. Impossible, then, to know what to expect next from the team on this evidence.

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Michael Nyman’s classic Chasing Pianos, Valentina Lisitsa

Posted on 27 April 2014 by admin

Of all the art forms to which Michael Nyman has turned his hand, film music is the one which reveals him most as a craftsman: it’s impossible to imagine The Draughtsman’s Contract without the prancing neo-Baroque fanfare which provides its sadistic edge. But this CD wrenches his film music from its original context and presents it as a series of piano pieces (a potentially risky strategy), with YouTube’s ‘most viewed’ pianist, Valentina Lisitsa, as its champion.

Nyman’s large scores are built out of blocks of texture and colour, and most of these very short pieces are individual blocks, each based on a simple formula – sometimes strident, more often winsome – which harmlessly noodles along. There are intermittent echoes of Chopin, Messiaen and, above all, Satie(though without the last-named composer’s laconic charm), but this music never achieves even the remotest surprise.

Lisitsa is a genuinely good pianist, and she does all she can to characterise each piece with a crisply evocative touch. For piano buffs, this CD will be mere background music, but for those wanting to recapture a whiff of The PianoCarrington and the Peter Greenaway classics, it will be a musical memory lane.

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