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THE CLASSICAL COLLECTIVE

Applause

The stories behind the etiquette

Christian Tetzlaff

About his experience in making recordings

The Collective

Our labels and their faces

Matt Haimovitz

How he listens to music

The Printed Issue 2016

JOINT FORCES


Streaming is one of the most direct and accessible ways to listen to music in the digital age, and has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. By the end of 2016, primephonic will

begin to offer streaming of its entire catalogue, bringing the music to you in just a few clicks without compromising on quality.


‘primephonic high quality streaming coming soon.’


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CONTENTS

14 Classical Concert Etiquette: Applause 7 From the Editor

20 Label Portraits Classical Collective — Our labels and their faces

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26 The Piano by Numbers

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primephonic

The Orchestra

The Classical Collective

'A Joint Force'

10 Christian Tetzlaff

30 London: A Classical Portrait

From a World of Great Depth

36 The Sound of MAD MAX: Fury Road

40 From the Recording Studio Dan Merceruio

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c o nt ent s

42 How Do I Listen: Matt Haimovitz

24 Sony Classical 43

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Gustav & Gustav

What The Critics Say

Joint Forces

Klimt & Mahler

primephonic reviews

primephonic's catalogue

52 Gramophone Editor's Choice

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59 Historical Calendar

62 Acknowledgements

44 Handel in The Strand 5


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edi t o r i a l

From the Editor or the different instruments of an orchestra, not to mention the individual personalities it takes to build a team, because some things just have to work. It’s all in the details. If you can step back and appreciate all the stages and processes that it takes to reach the end goal, then it is quite a different experience than simply marvelling at the final product. For instance, it takes 12,000 separate components to make a piano and each have their own importance as well as the overall function they contribute to. Similarly, composers do not become world renowned by simply assimilating information – it takes years of rigorous work to get there and it is the journey along the way that so many unique learning experiences take place.

This magazine represents the coming together of eclectic worlds of creativity. First of all, take the different labels and all they have to offer. From there, the number and scope of artists, composers, orchestras, soloists, conductors, sound engineers, producers – even album artwork designers; it’s overwhelmingly vast. That’s why we can take you on a sonic journey throughout the classical music world. To quote Edgard Varèse, ‘Music is organised sound’ and it is primephonic’s vision to offer our take on his words. Crossing paths, building bridges, making connections – these are what makes us the classical collective. Putting together this magazine has been a journey echoing this – finding all these people with offerings that hail from diverse areas of expertise. Pooling our resources ultimately leads to a harmonious end result and we are proud to present you with our finished product, the 2016 magazine.

Our catalogue, by its very nature, will never cease to expand, so in contrast, we’re pleased to present a yearly offering in the form of a tangible hardcopy finished end-result. Here it is: Joint Forces - our 2016 magazine.

It is the joint forces that ring true in virtually all aspects of primephonic. This can be compared to the number of processes it takes to complete an Oscar-winning film soundtrack, for example,

Rachel Deloughry

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primephonic

A Store and More


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The Classical Collective BY VERONICA NEO

With the ambitious goal of jointly developing a digital platform fully dedicated to classical music, we are rapidly expanding and continuously enhancing our technical capabilities. We aim to break all barriers, so that everyone – whether audiophiles or just the curious – can appreciate and indulge in classical music, all in the highest quality sound possible.

100% Classical Primephonic gives access to tens of thousands of tracks from the world’s leading labels such as Sony Classical, Warner Classics, EMI, Naxos, as well as hidden treasures by small independent labels like BIS, Chandos, Linn Records, Pentatone, Reference Recordings and Yarlung. In this way, primephonic is evolving into an all-encompassing classical collective. Giving our full attention to classical music exclusively, we adhere to industry standards and release albums on the same worldwide street date. We ensure that the information stored with every track is classified according to the needs of the classical music lover and our platform hosts a universe of relevant content around the music we offer, such as articles, product reviews, opinion pieces, biographies, timelines and a whole lot more.

Streaming soon Getting the search right The digital music industry has seen an surge of download and streaming services in recent years but none of the main players have been able to get the search for classical music right because the classification of classical music repertoire simply does not fit into the standards set by the mainstream music genres such as Pop and Rock. Classical music deserves better treatment and at primephonic, you can filter your search query by composers, orchestras, conductors, soloists and even by the periods or categories. This way, you get precisely the results you were looking for. 9

In a bid to offer a pristine, unrestricted and uncondensed classical music experience digitally, we are launching our beta version of the primephonic streaming player at the end of 2016. With the current pricing models for digital streaming, classical labels need a voluminous amount of streams to maintain the same level of market share. This is quite a challenge. Primephonic has therefore embarked on a major effort step to improve fairness in pricing for all classical labels and artists. And we want to make the difference by providing more detailed and comprehensive classical music search information so you can find what you want, at any time. So stay tuned with us as we take you on an accelerated journey of discovery to experience classical music digitally!


Christian Tetzlaff 10

Š Giorgia Bertazzi


m usi c f ea t ur e

primephonic’s editor Rachel Deloughry caught up with Christian to talk about previously hidden gems in his recent release.

From a World of Great Depth – BY RACHEL DELOUGHRY –

Well, first of all, let’s start by talking about your latest album from Ondine? An interesting choice of Dvořák’s Violin Concerto and Romance, along with Josef Suk’s Fantasy in G minor, a work that is seldom heard.

While recording the Dvořák concerto, we came across the Fantasy by Josef Suk. The Dvořák concerto is wonderful of course, but at least it’s a bit known. But this Fantasy was like a joker, coming from nowhere. When one imagines a fantasy for solo violin and orchestra composed by a violinist, it would be easy to imagine simply a virtuosic showpiece. Well this is a work that enters a world of great depth and ends, surprisingly, in a fury. In the middle it goes to a

The German violinist Christian Tetzlaff is one of today’s most consummate musicians, whose superb violin sound brings a whole new lease of life to how we think about music and how it should sound. Tetzlaff gives more than a hundred concerts every year, in Europe, North America and the Far East, appearing with the world’s most celebrated orchestras. 11

really disparate region. It really strikes me as a story told by a violinist. Unfortunately we don’t know the real story or meaning behind the music. So from now on, this will be entering the standard repertoire. Suk’s Asrael symphony got recognition and no human being can write such a wonderful symphony without being a good composer. Did you know this work for a long time before you recorded it?

No, I didn’t know it at all. The conductor, John Storgårds, gave me the score. I looked through it and thought it looked good, but then when I started playing, I thought: it’s more than that, it’s a major piece in our repertoire.


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‘Sometimes in the studio you can be more daring than in a concert.’

And the Dvořák works?

I had never played the Romance in F minor before, which is another stunning piece. It’s from his early period, where from time to time one finds absolute gems of a very special character. It reminds me of the Schubert impromptus. I recorded the Dvořák Violin Concerto 24 years ago, so I figured I am allowed to do it again! But this time I approached it with more security and more joy in the playing. That was a great pleasure. For the orchestra as much as for myself, during the recording there came this feeling of discovery and of doing something really worthwhile.

Recording can be an emotional experience. Sometimes in the studio you can be more daring than in a concert. For my ears, there is a lot of spontaneous playing, which is the whole idea I guess. During the process of making an album (and when I listen back to recordings to spot any mistakes), I am usually disappointed in some way, but that was not the case this time. I can vouch for my feelings in the recording session for this album: that we are doing something really genuine here. And the orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, was on fantastic form – in all the tutti they pulse with energy.

RECOMMENDED

Brahms: The Piano Trios Johannes Brahms Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt — Ondine

Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 1 & 2 Dmitri Shostakovich Christian Tetzlaff, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsingin kaupunginorkesteri, John Storgårds — Ondine

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Your violin and cello duo with your sister Tanja is remarkable, with recent performances of major works by Jörg Widmann, Ravel and Kodály. How does this sibling dynamic help as performers?

In real life, she’s my closest friend. Of course, she’s seven years younger than me, so when we started playing together in a string quartet 25 years ago there was maybe a feeling of ‘older brother, younger sister’, but that vanished completely a long time ago; now we are just two musicians who seem to connect very well.

DOWNLOADS

Turnage: Mambo, Blues and Tarantella - Riffs and Refrains Texan Tenebrae - ...

Schubert: Trout Quintet & Variations on Trockne Blumen & Piano Trio

Mark Anthony Turnage

Franz Schubert

Lawrence Power, Michael Collins, Christian Tetzlaff, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Markus Stenz, Marin Alsop, Vladimir Jurowski — LPO

Martin Helmchen, Christian Tetzlaff, Antoine Tamestit, Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, Alois Posch, Aldo Baerten — PENTATONE


Ann_Primefonic Magazine Storgårds & Tetzlaff_Mise en page 1 29/03/2016 17:35 Page1

Christian TETZLAFF on Ondine

Artists and cover photos by Giorgia Bertazzi

FROM MICROPHONE TO EAR RECORDING MUSIC EXACTLY THE WAY THE ARTIST INTENDED The result is a catalogue brimming with quality and diversity. The award-winning record label was born from the same enthusiasm for music and precision-engineering that are the founding values of Linn Products and saw the label named Gramophone’s ‘Label of the Year’ in 2010. NEW RELEASES

DUNEDIN CONCERT

ODE 1279-5 SACD hyb rid

BACH VIOLIN CONCERTOS

John Butt | Cecilia Bernardini violin Joyous and moving violin concertos from Bach specialists Dunedin Consort and John Butt.  ‘So many things to marvel at…’ THE GUARDIAN

‘A disc to prize’. Gramophone Magazine, March 2016 ‘First class all the way. 10/10’. ClassicsToday

INGRID FLITER

SCHUMANN & MENDELSSOHN PIANO CONCERTOS

Also available

Scottish Chamber Orchestra | Antonio Méndez Ingrid Fliter’s widely anticipated second concerto album tackles two heavyweight Romantic composers very close to her heart.

‘Warmly recommended as a supplement to brawnier, more oppressive readings’. Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

 ‘Heartfelt and intelligent, this is life-enhancing music…’ BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

ODE 1239-2

FREDERIEKE SAEIJS

YSAŸE SIX SONATAS FOR SOLO VIOLIN, OP. 27

‘These are truly admirable performances’. Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

Frederieke Saeijs’ Linn debut sees the Dutch violinist realize a lifelong ambition to put her personal stamp on Ysaÿe’s homage to her chosen instrument and its celebrated virtuosos.

ODE 1271-2D

Grammy Nomination 2016

‘Saeijs’s is a memorable interpretation. She smoothly negotiates the works’ fiendish challenges without once compromising her lustrous tone.’ GRAMOPHONE

primephonic.com/linn-records www.primephonic.com/linn-records linnrecords.com

For complete catalogue please visit www.ondine.net

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Classical Concert Etiquette: Applause – BY RACHEL DELOUGHRY –

‘While classical music is full of diverse traditions, not all conventions have been preserved throughout history but the etiquette of applause has come a long way.’

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hen did we stop talking or clapping during concerts even if we felt like it? Well, in truth, we didn’t – just go to any jazz concert and you will hear clapping and cheering after every solo, or for that matter after any substantial landmark in the piece. Go to a rock or pop concert and you’re likely to hear cheering throughout! Jazz, rock and pop concert venues are places where curbing your enthusiasm doesn’t feel natural. However in classical concerts, not only is clapping frowned upon between movements of a concerto or symphony, but it is also customary to leave an appropriate amount of silence after the last note, to savour that final cadence, before finally showing your appreciation.

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pplause as a form of communication is a natural, instinctive and spontaneous response to a performance. While classical music is full of diverse traditions, not all conventions have been preserved throughout history and the etiquette of applause has come a long way. Back in the 18th century, the public talked and even shouted during performances, showing their appreciation or contempt whenever they felt like it, particularly in the crowd-pleasing opera buffa genre which appealed to more popular tastes. In those days it was quite acceptable to show dissatisfaction by shouting, heckling or by throwing objects. The modernday equivalents – booing or the slow handclap – are seldom heard in classical concert halls.

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nce there was even a practice by opera companies and concert halls to hire a set of professional applauders, known as the ‘claque’. Reaching its height in the 1830s, this practice began in France and spread to other parts of Europe and became very popular at Covent Garden in London, La Scala in Milan and at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Mahler is said to have hired detectives in a bid to stamp out the claque and the practice was all but discontinued in the early twentieth century.

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change in attitudes was apparent during Wagner’s lifetime. His wife, Cosima, mentions in her diary that at the premiere of Parsifal in 1882, an astonishing silence descended on the theatre, with any applause being hissed at for upsetting the flow. This “Bayreuth hush” was a manifestation of the quasi-worship of Wagner’s operas, epitomising audience sophistication, as refraining from clapping seemed to heighten the focus on the music and the personality of the conductor. One advantage of this controlled absence of instinctual outbursts of praise, is that the phenomenon of “bringing the house down” with applause came across all the more triumphantly at the end. And by 1900, silence during orchestral concerts was becoming accepted as the norm.

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ven in Brahms’s early period, some three decades earlier, clapping between movements was still a sign of appreciation and bore no relation to ignorance or a lack of manners. Brahms was disappointed with the lack of applause between movements at the premiere of his First Piano Concerto in 1859 noting ‘The first movement and the second were listened to without any kind of emotion’.

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n the era of modern recordings, it has become increasingly common to enjoy orchestral music in a setting other than at a public concert hall. With listening habits changing and becoming intertwined with technology as the twentieth century progressed, playing a record at home was a precise listening experience, complete with those seconds of pure silence between tracks. The celebrated New Yorker music critic Alex Ross is of the opinion that ‘the elimination of the applause and other passionate gestures turns concerts into yet another solitary, private activity’. I think I would have to agree with him. If I wanted to listen in completely controlled and silent surroundings, I would simply stay home and put on one of my favourite download tracks. In the social setting of the concert hall, however, we share the listening experience with others, and it seems somewhat regrettable not to interact with other music-lovers until after that final note.

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RECOMMENDED

DOWNLOADS

Here is a selection of works referred to in the colourful history of applause, which will give you a clear idea which works became associated with the censure of clapping until the appropriate moment.

At the premiere of Parsifal in 1882, an astonishing silence descended on the theatre, with any applause being hissed at for upsetting the flow.

Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Music for Violin & Piano

Richard Wagner Christian Elsner, Franz Josef Selig, Michelle DeYoung, Evgeny Nikitin, Eike Wilm Schulte, Dimitry Ivashchenko, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Marek Janowski — PENTATONE

Joachim Raff, August Wilhelmj, Richard Wagner Gerald Schubert, Bernadette Bartos — Gramola Records

Brahms was disappointed with the lack of applause between movements at the premiere of his First Piano Concerto in 1859 noting ‘The first movement and the second were listened to without any kind of emotion.'

Brahms: Works for Piano

Brahms: Piano Works Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms

Anna Vinnitskaya — Alpha

Jonathan Plowright — BIS

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CLASSICAL COLLECTIVE Our Labels and Their Faces

The number of labels primephonic offers is approaching the 300 mark. Let us introduce you to the people behind some of the labels that make the diversity of music found on primephonic, as they share with us their favourite album from their respective catalogues. 20


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Klaus Heymann, Founder NAXOS

Collin J. Rae, CEO SONO LUMINUS

Naxos is the world’s leading classical music label, known for recording exciting new repertoire with exceptional talent. Naxos has one of the largest and fastest growing classical catalogues available anywhere, with more than 9,000 titles in state-of-the-art sound. Founded in 1987 by Klaus Heymann, a Germanborn entrepreneur, Naxos has developed into a virtual encyclopaedia of classical music with a catalogue of unparalleled depth and breadth. Naxos is also a leader in the areas of education and digital delivery. NaxosMusicLibrary.com, launched in 2002, is now used by thousands of educational institutions around the world. With over 120,000 albums from hundreds of labels, it has become the listening source of choice for generations of students as they explore classical music. With its culture of innovation and commitment to excellence, Naxos continues to be an industry leader in classical music recording and distribution. With primephonic the distribution network of Naxos has gained a valuable partner within the classical music industry to establish classical music in times of digital distribution.

I took over as CEO of Sono Luminus at the end of 2014. Sono Luminus has made a name for itself in the highfidelity audio and surround-sound (“Auro-3D”) worlds. Sono Luminus features an eclectic mix of classical music ranging across the centuries and I’ve been able to expand on that foundation. We have some recent releases I’m really proud of, including, but not limited to, those by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Skylark, and Spektral Quartets. Sono Luminus and its artists have been nominated for 18 Grammy Awards and have won twice. I’ve been working in the classical music industry for many years — from a job as a kid at a Tower Records store, to working for the largest classical distributor in the world and to a job as an executive at a major record label. I’m trying to take all of that experience and make the most compelling, interesting, best-sounding, and hopefully best-selling stuff you’ve ever heard. We’re grateful for partners like primephonic who place such a high value on the same things we do — on both high-definition recordings and on championing the work of important new composers.

Stokowski Transcriptions

BLEED AREA PRINT AREA

Thorvaldsdottir: In the Light of Air

Johann Sebastian Bach, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Wagner, Modest Mussorgsky, Henry Purcell, Luigi Boccherini, Leopold Stokowski

Anna Thorvaldsdottir Michael Nicolas, International Contemporary Ensemble —

Timothy Walden, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Jose Serebrier — BLEED AREA PRINT AREA

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Ralph Couzens, Managing Director CHANDOS RECORDS

Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Conductor LPO LABEL

Chandos Records is one of the world’s premier classical music labels, best known for its groundbreaking search for neglected musical gems and universally acclaimed for the excellence of its sound quality. Their richly diverse catalogue contains about 3000 titles, ranging from early music to contemporary works, by composers from around the world. The company has pioneered the idea of the ‘series’ and includes in its catalogue acclaimed collections of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev Symphonies, and orchestral works by Bax, Respighi and Walton. Among its ongoing projects are enterprising series of Polish, Italian and Spanish music. Chandos’s impressive roster of exclusive artists includes such renowned figures as Sir Andrew Davis, Edward Gardner, Tasmin Little, Michael Collins and JeanEfflam Bavouzet. Chandos also records regularly with the BBC Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras and has established international partnerships with orchestras such as the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Always at the forefront of technology, Chandos continues to produce the highest quality in recorded sound with its SACD recordings and hi-resolution downloads.

Founded in 2005, the LPO Label is owned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, giving the Orchestra full control over its releases. In 2010 the LPO Label won its first Grammy Award, and its March 2015 release of Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles won the Limelight Orchestral Recording of the Year. LPO releases are taken mainly from live concert recordings at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, and feature a variety of performances with the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski. As the LPO’s Artistic Advisor, Jurowski is renowned for his dynamic programming through choosing to perform orchestral and choral masterpieces from the core repertoire alongside world premieres by living composers. This is reflected in the variety of releases on the LPO Label. Recordings from earlier in the Orchestra’s history feature some of the world’s finest conductors, including Kurt Masur, Klaus Tennstedt, Sir Georg Solti, Sir Thomas Beecham and Sir Adrian Boult. The LPO established its own label in response to the changes in the recording industry. This forward-thinking approach is emulated in the Orchestra’s more recent shift towards digital downloads and streams. The label’s releases are internationally distributed and are available from various digital music services, including primephonic.

Janácek: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 44 & 10 Songs

Leoš Janáček

Sergei Rachmaninov

Sara Jakubiak, Stuart Skelton, Thomas Trotter, Gabor Bretz, Susan Bickley, David Stewart, Karstein Askeland, Johannes Wik, Bergen Filharmoniske Kor, Collegiûm Mûsicûms Kor Bergen, Edvard Grieg Kor, Bergen Domkor, Bergen filharmoniske orkester, Edward Gardner —

Vsevolod Grivnov, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski —

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Robert von Bahr, Founder and CEO BIS Reijo Kiilunen, Founder ONDINE

BIS started in 1973 because I felt that the opportunities for unknown but superior artists and likewise compositions to be heard on disc were scarce. BIS should be regarded as a connoisseur label with a mission to show the world that there is real music far beyond the 3 “Big Bs” and Mozart etc: music that, if no one records it, may well be forgotten and never listened to. We perform this mission with a big emphasis on production values, such as sound and technique – BIS is in fact the world’s biggest SACD label. Another speciality is that we are stubborn enough to finish very long drawnout projects - we just finished Bach’s Complete Cantatas after 19 years, Sibelius’s Complete Music after some 30 years of hard work, and are in the middle of CPE Bach’s Complete keyboard works (52 volumes after 22 years, going on...) and are working on comprehensive discographies of composers Kalevi Aho, Alfred Schnittke, with artists like Yevgeny Sudbin, Christian Lindberg, Sharon Bezaly von Bahr, Osmo Vänskä, BCJ/Masaaki Suzuki etc., just to name the tip of the iceberg. We also look into other directions - we will be recording the ‘House of Cards’ Symphony and Flute Concerto by Jeff Beal next year. My chosen album is a case in point - I personally commissioned all the three works for this incredible artist, and it was certainly worth it!!

Ondine was founded by Reijo Kiilunen in 1985 in Helsinki, where the company is still based today. The label’s extensive catalogue includes nearly 600 titles, many of which have received distinguished awards for the innovative repertoire, outstanding artistic performance and recorded excellence that have since become its trademarks. From Finland’s native Sibelius to the contemporary work emerging from the country’s thriving classical music scene, Ondine continues to champion the best of Finnish artists, establishing rewarding partnerships with composers such as Einojuhani Rautavaara, Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho while augementing the profile of the label by adding internationally renowned orchestras, conductors and soloists to their roster. The label prides itself on its commitment to producing audiophile quality sound, and is delighted to support the launch of primephonic, a platform which, in addition to providing illuminating and informative editorial, shares Ondine’s passion for classical repertoire, sonic authenticity and technical excellence. Celebrating its 30th anniversary last year, Ondine continues to be a pioneering and influential force in the creation, performance and preservation of recorded music. Brahms: The Piano Trios

Nordic Spell

Johannes Brahms

Kalevi Aho , Haukur Tomasson , Christian Lindberg

Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt —

Sharon Bezaly, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä, Eiviind Aadland, Bernhardur Wilkinson, Christian Lindberg —

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Sony Classical

One of the latest additions to primephonic’s ever-growing collective of classical labels is Sony Classical.

Sony Classical’s origins go back to 1927 when Columbia Masterworks Records was founded as a subsidiary of Columbia Records. In 1948, the label released its first commercially successful long-playing 12" record. In the following decades the label became associated with great names in classical music such as Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals, Glenn Gould, Eugene Ormandy and Leonard Bernstein. The Masterworks brand released not only classical music but also spoken-word albums such as Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly's successful I Can Hear It Now series.

recordings. Nowadays the Masterworks name lives on in its series of Broadway cast albums. The label has been building bridges in classical music with releases from Lang Lang, Jonas Kaufmann and Marek Janowski. With artists like Yo-Yo Ma, Sony has established a reputation as a label that offers an eclectic range of styles spanning different genres and cultures, from American bluegrass to traditional Chinese melodies to tango. Sony succeeds in reaching remarkably wide audiences with releases by performers of a broad popular appeal such as 2Cellos and The Piano Guys.

During the 1990s, the label made a controversial move towards crossover music rather than focusing solely on mainstream classical music and its archive of fine 25


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The Piano in Numbers 7

Octaves on a piano

52

White keys

36

Black keys

88

Keys in total

1720s

The decade in which Bartolomeo Cristofori made three of his surviving pianos, the oldest of their kind still in existence.

1853

The year in which Steinway and Sons was established. This family piano manufacturing company began to dominate the pianomaking industry from the 1860s onwards.

6000

The number of pianos Steinway sold in 1911.

10,000

The 10,000th Steinway piano was built especially for President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, to be housed in the East Room of the White House. It was gilded in gold leaf and a painting on the lid conveyed ‘America Receiving the Nine Muses.’

12,000

The average number of individual components that make up a modernday piano.

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The Orchestra:

‘A joint force’ It’s Sunday afternoon at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra are milling around the artist canteen, preparing to perform a programme of Bach for a young audience. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the sounds of babbling voices and warm-up arpeggios float through the air. Primephonic’s Sarah Jeffery joined five of the musicians in their pre-concert coffee, to chat about concert preparation.

How do you feel just before you perform? I’d say focused, concentrated, and energetic. Excited, but not from nerves. I don’t really get nervous. You feel that you’re going to do something, that something exciting is going to happen… —HELMA VAN DEN BRINK, BASSOON

How do you prepare physically before a concert? I like to be there quite early because we have our orchestra basses that stay here. I often take mine home to practise on, but you don’t carry it around every day. The string length is different on own my bass, so if I warm up at home directly before a concert, then I’ll come here and all the notes are in different places! If I can warm up on the bass that I’ll be playing on, I’ll feel more comfortable. — GEORGIE POAD, DOUBLE BASS

Do you have any tricks to get yourself ‘in the zone’? Sometimes I like to simply practise listening before a concert. I’ll sit in the canteen and close my eyes and listen to the sounds around me, trying to identify them. That’s a good way to focus and relax. There are a lot of sounds going on, and if you try to identify and describe them, it’s challenging. That helps me focus and be more in the moment. — FRED EDELEN, CELLO

Dare I ask this - has anything ever gone wrong on stage? There are always funny things. I was once on tour with the Frysk Orchestra, on Terschelling. During the concert a pigeon flew into the hall, and landed next to me on my smallest timpano. Really. So I tried to play on the other timpani. The pigeon just sat there and looked at me, and after 28

while I heard ‘pfffrt’ – he had left me a little present… The audience thought it was hilarious. But as for something going really wrong? No, touch wood! — MARINUS KOMST, TIMPANI

Do you have any other sage advice? Well, I always used to put my right shoe on first, for good luck, but I don’t do that anymore. [laughs]. I’ve been playing solo timpani for 46 years, and after a while it becomes second nature. But – always take it seriously! Every concert is just as important, that your performance on stage is top class. — MARINUS KOMST, TIMPANI


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RECOMMENDED

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 Anton Bruckner Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons — RCO Live

Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (Live) Johannes Brahms Gerald Finley, Genia Kuhmeier, Netherlands Radio Choir, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons — RCO Live

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DOWNLOADS

Mozart: Requiem (Live)

Tan Dun: The Wolf (Live)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Tan Dun

Genia Kuhmeier, Bernarda Fink, Mark Padmore, Gerald Finley, Netherlands Radio Choir, VivaVoce, Male Chorus of the Netherlands Radio Choir, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons — RCO Live

Dominic Seldis, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Tan Dun — RCO Live


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LONDON: A Classical Portrait – BY JESSICA DUCHEN –

ONCE UPON A TIME, Britain was known as ‘Das Land ohne Musik’ – the land without music. Today, though, London is virtually the musical capital of Europe, home to five world-class symphony orchestras, groundbreaking chamber ensembles, two opera houses, a fabulous dance theatre (Sadler’s Wells) and all manner of cutting edge alternatives. It’s a big city, hosting around 8.5m inhabitants plus an endless influx of tourists who mainly come here for the cultural attractions – the British weather not being exactly our national “Unique Selling Point”. London’s vibrant musical organisations are making a spirited fightback against the era of austerity; and every day, if you attend one excellent concert, you’re probably missing at least five others just as fine. Meanwhile, you might find the place dominated by strange juxtapositions, startling enthusiasms and a very British sense of charming eccentricity. The area around Covent Garden and

Piccadilly forms the historic heart of musical London. Here you can see the two major lyric theatres: the Royal Opera House (ROH), on Bow Street, and English National Opera, on St Martin’s Lane. Theatres pack the vicinity; opera-goers flocking out of a spot of Puccini at the ROH mingle with the audience exiting The Lion King at the bottom of Wellington Street. The crowds stream past the Charles Dickens Coffee House, under 30

the offices at which the great novelist published his journal All the Year Round from 1859 to 1870; the attic rooms provided him with a central London hideaway. Dickens’s sister, Fanny, was a fine pianist who trained at the Royal Academy of Music, while Charles, aged 12, worked in a shoe-polish factory. Despite that, the author later maintained a passion for music and hosted soirées at his various homes; at one event, the novelist George Eliot encountered Clara Schumann and was horrified to hear of the tragic illness of her husband, Robert. Before electric lighting, London theatres were destroyed by fire on a scarily regular basis. On Haymarket, near Piccadilly Circus, the theatre that occupied the site of what is now Her Majesty’s Theatre burned down in


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opened as the Bechstein Hall in 1901; like many German-named fixtures and people, not least the Royal Family, it had to anglicise its name at the time of World War I. Today it is the UK’s top space for chamber music and song recitals, blessed with a warm, glowing acoustic. But walk to Portland Place, ten minutes away, and you encounter the site of another building, the absence of which still haunts London’s musical life. Opposite BBC Broadcasting House there stands the Saint Georges Hotel, built post World War II. A plaque bears tribute to the fact that here stood the Queen’s Hall, original home of the Proms. Built in the 1890s, it was said to have been acoustically perfect. It was destroyed by a direct hit during the Blitz.

1789. Here, in 1711, a young composer named Georg Friedrich Händel made his British opera debut, with Rinaldo. Were he alive today, his greatest competitor would probably be Andrew Lloyd Webber; The Phantom of the Opera has run at the present theatre since 1986. Handel, who eventually lost his umlaut, moved here permanently in 1712; his home on Brook Street, behind the shopping chaos of Oxford Street and Regent Street, is one of London’s few composer museums and well worth a visit. In another of those aforementioned strange juxtapositions, though, the house next door also bears a tribute to its former inhabitant: none other than Jimi Hendrix.

One of the worst decisions in the city’s cultural history was not to rebuild that hall. London’s most

The West End’s leading concert venue is the Wigmore Hall, which first 31


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significant concert venues – the Southbank Centre and the Barbican – have struggled with acoustical deficiencies throughout their existences, and have had an uphill struggle to become established in locations that originally were somewhat awkward. Since the 1950s, music here has been used as a tool for social engineering: new halls have to regenerate run-down areas. Take a stroll along the South Bank of the River Thames and you can see the long-term results. Some 65 years after the Royal Festival Hall first opened for the 1951 Festival of Britain, the area has evolved into a phenomenal cultural resource. Go east from the Jubilee footbridge and you pass the three halls of the Southbank Centre,

the National Theatre, the BFI National Film Theatre, the gigantic power station that is now the Tate Modern art gallery, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, all within a 20 minute walk.

Alternative spaces, however, are plentiful throughout the “Big Smoke”, if you know where to find them – from Wren churches in the City which offer lunchtime concerts, to St John’s Smith Square, a significant venue tucked

Cafés, shops and markets (Germanstyle huts at Christmas and a streetfood fair behind the Royal Festival Hall many weekends) have improved the atmosphere of what was formerly seen as a concrete wasteland – yet only in the past 10-15 years. Over in the City, the capital’s second biggest arts centre, the Barbican, hosts worldclass music and theatre, yet is blighted by concrete architecture; and Kings Place, an excellent set of smaller halls dating from 2008, can be accessed via the back end of Kings Cross Station. Regeneration can take time.

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Béla Bartók , Sergei Prokofiev

Willi Stein, Thomas Pfeiffer, Maulbronner Kammerchor, Maulbronn Chamber Choir, South West German Radio Symphony Orchestra members, Jurgen Budday, Jurgen Budday — K&K Verlagsanstalt

Hasnaa Bennani, Les Muffatti, Peter van Heyghen — Ramee

Gil Shaham, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Knights, Stephane Deneve, Eric Jacobsen — Canary Classics

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Bartók by Arrangement: Music for Viola Béla Bartók Vidor Nagy, Péter Nagy, Divertimento Ensemble — Toccata Classics


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away round a corner near the Houses of Parliament. The Hungarian Cultural Centre, in a tiny Covent Garden side street, presents regular musical soirées, free of charge. The Romanian Cultural Centre, in grander premises on Belgrave Square, owns a piano that was chosen for it by the great Dinu Lipatti; here recitals promote Romanian music and musicians. Leighton House in Holland Park hosts the Kensington and Chelsea Music Society in a 19th-century mansion boasting a supremely eccentric Turkish-style interior. East London, meanwhile, is the nervecentre of classical cool. The composer Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of Sergei) founded an organisation named Nonclassical, which regularly offers cutting edge new music in club-style surroundings in Hoxton. Multistory, the brainchild of the composer Kate Whitley and the conductor Christopher Stark, might tempt you

to Peckham, south-east London, to experience orchestral music in … a car-park – and startling though it seems, newcomers and critics alike go crazy for it. In nearby Forest Hill, don’t miss the Horniman Museum, home to one of the finest, and strangest, collections of musical instruments in the capital, comprising more than 1,300 objects including serpents, concertinas, spinets and pretty much anything that can be plucked, bowed or bopped. Plaques aplenty exist for pilgrimages: one to Chopin in St James’s Place, on the house from which the Polish composer-pianist – who loathed Britain, its people and its weather – departed for his last-ever public performance, at the Guildhall; one to Mendelssohn at Hobart Place, unveiled only three years ago although the composer was a great UK favourite and a personal friend of Queen Victoria. Still unmarked, 33

however, is the house on Old Queen Street at which the banker Leo Frank Schuster, Elgar’s chief patron and a supporter of Gabriel Fauré, once hosted a party for his two composers together. Both sported magnificent moustaches. Yet of all London’s bizarre musical tributes, perhaps the most unexpected is the bronze statue of Bela Bartók, by Imre Varga, outside South Kensington tube station. The Hungarian composer came often to London, frequently staying in a house (plaqued, of course) close to here. Few British composers were ever accorded the honour of a London statue; why Bartók? To which one can only answer: why not? En route to the Proms at the nearby Royal Albert Hall, one exits the tube station on the other side. I always take a quick detour, though, to say hello to Bela.


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‘London’s vibrant musical organisations are making a spirited fightback against the era of austerity’ 34


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A. Sadler’s Wells Rosebery Ave London EC1R 4TN sadlerswells.com +44 20 7863 8000

I. Her Majesty’s Theatre Haymarket, St. James’s London SW1Y 4QL hermajestystheatre.co.uk +44 844 412 4653

B. Royal Albert Hall Kensington Gore London SW7 2AP royalalberthall.com +44 20 7589 8212

J. Handel and Hendrix in London 25 Brook St London W1K 4HB handelhendrix.org +44 20 7495 1685

C. Royal Opera House (ROH) Bow St London WC2E 9DD roh.org.uk +44 20 7240 1200

K. Wigmore Hall 36 Wigmore St London W1U 2BP wigmore-hall.org.uk +44 20 7935 2141

D. English National Opera St Martin’s Lane London WC2N 4ES eno.org +44 20 7836 0111

L. Southbank Centre Belvedere Rd London SE1 8XX southbankcentre.co.uk +44 20 7960 4200

E. Lyceum Theatre - The Lion King 21 Wellington St London WC2E 7RQ lyceum.theater +44 844 871 3000

M. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside London SE1 9DT shakespearesglobe.com +44 20 7902 1400

F. Charles Dickens Coffee House Royal Opera House 26 Wellington St London WC2E 7DD +44 871 426 3659

N. Barbican Silk St London EC2Y 8DS barbican.org.uk +44 20 7638 4141

G. The Hungarian Cultural Centre London, WC2E 7NA hungary.org.uk +44 20 7240 8448

O. Kings Place 90 York Way London N1 9AG kingsplace.co.uk +44 20 7520 1490

H. Royal Academy of Music Marylebone Rd, Marylebone London NW1 5HT ram.ac.uk +44 20 7873 7373

P. Bronze statue of Bela Bartók Outside South Kensington tube station. South Kensington London SW7

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MAD MAX FURY ROAD — BY REMKO VAN DER WEERD —

An Oscar-winning Hollywood blockbuster like Mad Max: Fury Road usually has three different layers of sound: dialogue, sound effects and music. Some dialogue and sound effects were even recorded while filming on location in the deserts of Chile, Tunisia and Azerbaijan.

RECORDING IN A DESERT Recording high quality audio in a desert is a challenge on its own. Ben Osmo and Oliver Machin were responsible for this delicate task. Because of all the driving and moving aroud, cables couldn’t be used. For this reason they used 42 DPA d:screet 4062 and 4063 miniature microphones connected to a radio transmitter. These radio microphones have an impressive range of 4km but they needed an even bigger range!

Therefore, a van was hired, hooked up to all the audio recorders and used as a mobile sound recording studio. This van – which had the cute nickname Osmotron – would follow the entire film crew during the all the action film shots. Sometimes a boom operator would even join the action vehicles to record the sound of that scene and because of all the noise from the engines, the dialogues had to be replaced later. However, onK the — BY REM O Vfilm A N set D E the R Wdirector EERD — 36

still needed to hear the performances of the actors, and the editors needed some guidance for their first prints. This was also done using DPA microphones, connected to a wireless radio transmitter. Replacing the dialogues afterwards, the so-called automatic dialogue replacement, was quite a task. Every single word spoken by the actors had to be recorded and synchronized with the actual play again. This enormous task was done by specialized studios all over the world.


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SOUND DESIGN Sound design was supervised by Mark Mangini. Every sound had to be sculpted, generated and mixed. Some sounds were recorded on the film set, such as the engine sounds of the cars. For one of the biggest trucks in the movie, Mark combined a booming whale sound with the engine sound, giving the truck its own personality. This is just a small example of the work Mark had to do; all the sound from the cars and trucks in the movie were enhanced by additional sounds and every sound you hear – like wind, footsteps, breathing and explosions – was devised by Mark’s team. FILM SCORE Composer Tom Holkenborg – aka Junkie XL – wrote the spectacular music for this movie. This Dutch-born, Los Angeles-based composer is well known for his score for Superman: Man of Steel. After several years of assisting Hans Zimmer he started as

‘Among the six Oscars the film garnered in 2016, two were for sound editing and sound mixing’ an independent composer. The music of Mad Max: Fury Road is a combination of orchestral, rock and electronic music. The main orchestral sections were recorded at Trackdown Studios in Sydney but a huge part of the music was performed and recorded by Tom Holkenborg himself. MIXING After each team had finalized their part, Chris Jenkins from Warner Bros

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brought it all together for the final mix. Besides mixing, he also provided the sub-mixes for the all the music. This took place in Sydney but when Chris started his mixing, the film wasn’t entirely finished. Chris says: “We got the movie to about 70% completion in Sydney and we told George we felt like we needed two more months in Los Angeles to really push as far as it could go.” In Los Angeles they worked primarily on the vehicle and action sounds. These sounds weren’t available until late in the process. After these two months the sound was approved by the director George Miller. Although this process can be described in just a few paragraphs it actually took almost two years to go from scratch to a finished movie. Needless to say, among the six Oscars the film garnered in 2016, two were for sound editing and sound mixing – quite an achievement!

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Not an evolution. A revolution. The new 800 Series Diamond.

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The new 800 Series Diamond didn’t get better by chance. It got better by change. 868 changes to be precise. bowers-wilkins.com

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From the Recording Studio DAN MERCERUIO Merceruio, who has been a producer for the label Sono Luminus since 2006, was nominated for a Producer of the Year GRAMMY® in 2012 and 2016 and he has worked with a wide variety of groups.

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Mason Bates, Del Sol String Quartet — Sono Luminus

Ensemble Galilei — Sono Luminus

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Cuarteto Latinoamericano — Sono Luminus


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Primephonic content editor Rachel Deloughry recently caught up with the acclaimed music producer Dan Merceruio.

How has your role as producer evolved since working at Sono Luminus?

It’s evolved quite a bit! Over the years, I’ve learned that, at any given time, quality control is a group effort. Meaning, everyone has his/her role to play in the process, and it is in everyone’s best interest for each individual to perform that role to his/ her best ability. That being said, there are key points throughout the process that benefit from the presence of a producer more so than others – determining what/when these places are (and what/when they aren’t!), the specific function that is most helpful at that time, and the correct enquiries and assessments to be made. These are all part of the ongoing, constant vigilance that accompanies anyone tasked with quality control. Of course, in all of this, keeping the overall goal and vision in mind is key, so that with each little decision that is made, a constant course correction occurs,

keeping everyone moving in the right direction, together.

of what recorded sound can be, and to allow and enable the consumer to experience captured sound at the highest possible level, is of paramount importance. The beauty of such high audio fidelity is that it becomes a completely honest, open, transparent vessel through which the listener can experience the music as viscerally and emotionally as if they were literally standing or seated among the musicians. I am intrigued to know if you have any special recording tricks?

© Dan Merceruio

What is your view on the importance of high resolution?

High resolution plays a very important part in the music world, and exemplifies the wonderful human characteristic of believing in something more. Like most worthy pursuits in life, the advancement of technology to push the boundaries 41

The most special recording tricks I have observed and enjoyed stem directly from one’s ability to be the best version of one’s self. Continually striving for positive self-development, and committing to a culture of interdependence and collaboration, inevitably leads to an environment that encourages the highest possible level of creativity, production, and musicality.


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How Do I Listen: Matt Haimovitz

GRAMMY-NOMINATED cellist Matt Haimovitz is acclaimed for both his tremendous artistry and as a musical visionary – pushing the boundaries of classical music performance, championing new music and initiating groundbreaking collaborations, all while mentoring young cellists at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal.

after they have been released. Occasionally, however, I do find it really interesting to go back and listen to something I recorded to 10 years ago and wonder what I was thinking at the time. Once you learn something new about the piece or composer or a new approach, such as use of period instruments, each decision affects everything about how you play and you just cannot turn back.’

Haimovitz’s recording career encompasses more than 20 years of award-winning work on Deutsche Grammophon and his own label, Oxingale Records. Close collaborations have included teaming up with composer Philip Glass, pianist Christopher O’Riley, actor Jeremy Irons, author Cornelia Funke, and mezzo soprano Frederica von Stade, among others. He shared with us his ideal listening scenario.

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‘Immediate access and the best possible quality are essential. I don’t usually listen to music just to chill out. If I am listening to music while travelling, for instance, the main reason for that would be for studying the music that I’m going to be playing. Particularly if I’m studying, I like to have immediate access to music. I like both online streaming and downloading as well as listening to CDs. If I want to truly enjoy it, I don’t want to have degradation of sound quality. Even CD quality has its limits. I want the best possible quality. But of course, listening to live music is the best of all!

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Matt Haimovitz, Trio 3, Angela Hicks — PENTATONE

I listen to my own recordings before they’re released, as part of the preparation process, but I rarely listen to them 42

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Matt Haimovitz, Christopher O’Riley — PENTATONE


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GUSTAV & GUSTAV BY RACHEL DELOUGHRY

KLIMT had no more an ear for music than Mahler had an eye for painting. However, due to the times they lived in, their names have become inextricably linked. Both had a brilliant individualism that dominated the era in their respective fields, each recognised as having been instrumental in developing new aesthetics in the late nineteenth century. MAHLER’s resignation from the Vienna Court Opera in 1907 occurred for several reasons. Put briefly, he told a friend ‘I am going because I can no longer endure the rabble’. His departure was a severe blow to forward-thinking Vienna. This resignation inspired an address presented to Mahler by the committee members of the Vereinigung schaffender Tonkünstler (Society for Creative Musicians) in Vienna, signed by 69 artists including Gustav Klimt. The Vereinigung was closely modelled on its equivalent in the visual arts, known as the Vienna Secession, in which Klimt was pre-eminent. When Gustav Mahler departed Vienna for greener pastures in New York, a group of musicians and artists gathered at the railway station to bid him farewell. As the train pulled away, Gustav Klimt, who was among them, uttered the word ‘Vorbei’ (‘It’s all over’). Klimt voiced what everyone was thinking: that it was the end of an important epoch in Viennese art.

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Handel in The Strand Handel visited London during the opera season of 1712, with clear intentions to stay. It wasn’t long before the London music scene came to be dominated by his magnificent oratorios, anthems and operas. — BY KEVIN PAINTING —

F

a Man-Killing Club which did not admit anyone ‘who had not killed his man.�

ormerly situated just off The Strand in London in front of Christopher Wren’s architectural masterpiece St Clement Danes church, the Crown and Anchor Tavern seems an unlikely birthplace for a revolution in choral music. Then, as now, taverns (or public houses) were colourful meeting places for eating, drinking, animated discussion and the occasional brawl. In the eighteenth century it was common for the numerous clubs or societies to hold their weekly meetings in a particular tavern. The diversity of these clubs is astonishing – from the famous Kit Kat Club of Whig politicians which met in Shire Lane to a Farting Club in Cripplegate and, convening in a tavern close to St Clement Danes,

The Crown and Anchor Tavern was presumably more salubrious than some of the other nearby wateringholes as it was a popular location for music societies to hold private performances. And it was here in 1732 that Bernard Gates, Master of the Chapel Royal, mounted three performances of Handel’s oratorio Esther – performances that would go on to transform the oratorio and British musical life. Born in Halle in the Duchy of Magdeburg, George Frederic Handel (1685 - 1759), was a prodigiously gifted composer who lacked neither

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of the Audience may sometimes suffer from them.’

industry nor ambition. Following a glittering few years in Italy which gave an Italian polish to his music, he was offered the position of Kapellmeister to Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover (later King George I of England) in June 1710. He accepted the position on the condition that he was free to visit England; London was a rapidly growing commercial centre, flush with money and with an appetite for Italian opera which Handel was only too eager to satisfy.

Handel returned to Hanover in June 1711 and was allowed to visit to London for the opera season in 1712 but he clearly had plans to stay. With the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in April 1713, Handel was ready with a festive Te Deum and Jubilate that he had written in January. It was a gamble which paid off: it was his Te Deum that was performed at St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the Peace of Utrecht rather than that of the Chapel Royal’s own William Croft. For his efforts Handel was rewarded with an annual pension from Queen Anne of £200 but not before being dismissed as Kapellmeister in Hanover. It was popularly thought that his dismissal was due to his absenteeism but it is also likely that it was for writing patriotic music for the ‘wrong side’.

He arrived there six months later, his reputation preceding him, and he did not disappoint. Queen Anne was so impressed with his playing that she commissioned from him an Italian cantata for her birthday celebrations. Aaron Hill, the ambitious young director of the Haymarket Theatre, commissioned the magical opera Rinaldo, a task which Handel completed in just two weeks outpacing even the librettist. With Handel directing from the harpsichord and wowing the crowds with his virtuoso playing, Rinaldo was a sellout. Not all the special effects used on stage were however successful. Writing in The Spectator on the 6 March, Joseph Addison ridiculed the use of live sparrows for song birds in the first Act, noting ‘there have been so many Flights of them let loose in this Opera, that it is feared the House will never get rid of them … besides the Inconveniences which the Heads

When Queen Anne died in 1714, Handel’s former employer the Elector of Hanover became King George I but any frostiness between the two was short-lived. Often cited as an act of reconciliation between King George I and Handel, it has also been suggested that the perennially popular Water Music for the King’s summer party on the Thames in July 1717 was commissioned ‘in order to drown out the torrent of abuse that would have greeted the new King, George I, during his first river progress.’

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in ballad form, mercilessly mocked Italian opera and sounded the death knell for Handel’s winning streak and the Royal Academy folded in 1729. Handel nevertheless formed a new opera company in the same year known as the Second Royal Academy and continued to produce operas including Serse (1738), Imeneo (1740) and Deidamia (1741).

The formation of the Royal Academy of Music in 1719 gave Handel the opportunity to pursue his passion – writing operas. The aim of the Academy was to assemble the finest composers, artists and performers of Italian operas and Handel would procure the services of many of the leading (and exorbitantly paid) singers in Europe. It inevitably provoked rivalries, but Handel reigned supreme – he wrote three masterpieces Giulio Cesare, Tamerlano and Rodelinda between 1724 – 1725, followed in 1726 with Scipione, Alessandro and Admeto.

In 1741 Handel reluctantly threw in the towel and composed no further operas but by then his interests lay elsewhere. The private performances of his oratorio Esther at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in 1732 had been followed up with public performances to great acclaim and for a number of years Handel would produce operas and oratorios side by side.

With the often strained relationships between Handel, his librettists and the highly temperamental and overpaid singers, these heady days could not last and it finally degenerated into farce. In June 1727 at a performance of Bononcini’s opera Astianatte the tensions between the two prima donnas and their supporters boiled over. As the British Journal of 10 June reported ‘And notwithstanding the Princess Caroline was present. ...(the two singers) pull’d each others’ coiffs (hair)...it is certainly an apparent Shame that two such well-bred ladies should call each other Bitch and Whore, should Scold and Fight like any Billingsgates (fishmongers).’

Handel as an entrepreneur found much in the oratorio form that was close to his heart and his wallet. With the decline in popularity of Italian opera, the oratorio nevertheless contained many of the same dramatic elements but with no expensive staging, props or rehearsals. It included a choir which was integral to the drama and, importantly, the works were sung in English. It was Handel’s skilful updating of the traditions of Purcell with German contrapuntal writing which to this day make the oratorios so compelling and it gave Handel a new lease of life. When Haydn visited London some 30 years

This cause célèbre was satirised in John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (1728). This wildly successful “anti-opera”, set

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contemporary composer William Boyce was surely right when he said ‘He takes other men’s pebbles and polishes them into diamonds.’

after Handel’s death, the music scene was still dominated by performances of Handel’s oratorios and anthems. Of the 27 oratorios Handel composed, his most successful collaboration was with the librettist Charles Jennens, first with the oratorios Saul (1738) and Israel in Egypt (1739), followed by settings of two Milton poems L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (1740) and his supreme masterpiece Messiah (1741). In writing at his habitually fast pace, Handel continued to mine his earlier works for musical ideas and occasionally borrowed those of other composers but never to the detriment of the music. The

It has become something of a tradition in English Choral Societies to retire to a local hostelry after rehearsals to let off steam and to discuss the finer points of vocal colouring (or the lack of it) over a pint of beer. While draining their glasses, how many appreciate the role that drinking establishments played in the development of music, especially the oratorios of Handel?

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Handel - Monteverdi - Telemann George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Georg Philipp Telemann Anne Sofie von Otter, Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble — 2xHD


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What The Critics Say KEVIN PAINTING

JESSICA DUCHEN

MELANIE GARRETT

In offering a pristine and uncondensed classical music experience, primephonic has a team of classical music reviewers whose verdicts, critiques and observations can open up a whole new dimension to your classical music download choices.

Bizet: L’Arlésienne Suites, Symphony in C Major

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/ Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française/ Sir Thomas Beecham Jube-NML1376

The recordings on this album date from the end of Beecham’s long career and the performances positively bristle with youthful vigour and joie de vivre together with moments of great tenderness. These are altogether winning performances by a conductor whose powers were undiminished by age. With Beecham conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Georges Bizet’s L’Arlésienne suites, the result is one of unalloyed pleasure. There is a breezy confidence in the playing, a swagger even, with marvellously controlled changes in mood and dynamics; moreover, nothing sounds showy or forced. The high point has to be the Adagietto from the first suite, there has surely never been a more moving and deeply felt account than Beecham’s: it’s as if the music was written for him. And the woodwinds delight throughout the two suites – 48

as if the pieces belong to them. It comes as a surprise that Bizet’s spirited Symphony in C major, written when he was only 17, was never performed or published during his lifetime. Perhaps thinking it was too derivative of other works Bizet suppressed the work. It was first performed in 1935 to instant acclaim and has remained popular ever since. The recording here of the spritely 80 year old Beecham conducting the Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française, contains all the Beecham hallmarks of wit, elegance, a sense of proportion and, above all, fun. A contemporary musician said of Beecham after listening to this performance ‘Vraiment il est un artistocrate de la musique’. On this form, I think we can all agree with that assessment. — KEVIN PAINTING


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‘The Spirio Sessions’

Uri Caine & Jenny Lin (pianos) Steinway & Sons STNS30044

Philip Glass: Glassworlds, Vol. 2 – Etudes, Books 1 and 2

Nicolas Horvath (piano) Grand Piano GP690

What is Spirio and why does it have sessions? Well, it’s been announced as Steinway & Sons’ ‘most significant product innovation in 70 years’: a new performance-reproducing system for Steinway grand pianos, developed in partnership with the player piano specialist Wayne Stahnke. Steinway is recording a catalogue for it in a range of genres. Apparently the two-piano pieces here were not done in real time; and the album was recorded from Spirio playbacks. The recording process is therefore perhaps the biggest star of this distinctly different concept album. Musically, it centres on the idea of improvisations on music of the Renaissance, baroque and classical eras – Gesualdo, Scarlatti and Mozart – while also including original music by Uri Caine, his 9 Miniatures. In collaboration, Caine and Jenny Lin

Philip Glass is commonly referred to as a minimalist composer, although he prefers to think of himself somebody who composes ‘music with repetitive structures’. This is apparent in the Etudes, which are indeed repetitive, but feature an incredible amount of expression and variety. Horvath applies a Romantic interpretation of the Etudes, which greatly emphasizes their expressive nature and brings them to life. A wide variety is already evident in the first five etudes. Etude No 1 opens with four powerful chords followed by alternating passages that ebb and flow like waves. Horvath’s performance is powerful and he is able to create a tremendous range of 49

set out to blur the lines between the classical and jazz genres; and the result is interesting, up to a point. The disc opens with one of Scarlatti’s best-loved sonatas, the B minor K.27, on two pianos; Lin plays the standard composition while Caine improvises around it. For the Mozart Sonata in C major D545 the improvisation follows the original rather than combining with it. Caine’s own 9 Miniatures are vivid, varied and involvingly quirky, though, with an individual approach to harmonic language and complexity of rhythm. It is an intriguing experiment all round; a creative idea; and one that may, as a pioneer in this system, prove significant as an exciting starting point, rather than as an end in itself. — JESSICA DUCHEN

dynamics and expression despite the virtuosic technical demands. Etude No 2 is gently performed, creating a near-lullaby atmosphere. Etudes Nos 3 and 4 are much more dramatic and intense, with much variety and turmoil while Horvath and Glass return us to a brooding sense of serenity in Etudes No 5. Etude No 6, commissioned by the Sydney Festival in 1996 is an emotional study, and begins the transition to the increasingly aggressive-sounding Etudes, which Horvath builds up with ease. Etude No 8 begins with alternating halfsteps which gradually speed up, reminiscent of the music from


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the film Jaws. This idea returns throughout the Etudes, the precursor to a simple, recognizable melody. By Etude No 10, an unsettling energy prevails, with many surprising outbursts in the bass.

20 is gently performed and much slower than the previous etudes, creating a large cycle, perhaps representing the cycle of life. — MELANIE GARRETT

Book 2 was composed between 2000 and 2013 with a completely different purpose to Book 1. While Book 1 focuses on individual techniques, Book 2 features much more variety within numbers. Glass said of Book 2 that he ‘did not put restrictions on technique.’ These Etudes are essentially extracted moments of piano concertos. The first numbers of Book 2 are quite dark and frantic, however by Etude No 13, a sense of calm begins to take over. Etude No

Wagner: Operatic Arias

Evgeny Nikitin (bass-baritone) Orchestre philharmonique de Liège/ Christian Arming NAÏVE V5413

Evgeny Nikitin made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2012. The Mariinsky star from Murmansk was due to take the leading role in Der fliegende Holländer at the Bayreuth Festival, but departed at speed after reporters alleged that in his youth in heavy metal bands his torso had been tattooed with a swastika-like symbol (he denied it was so, remarking in an interview with Der Spiegel that it was supposed to be an eight-pointed star). None of that has any bearing on his actual singing, of course – which in this recording nevertheless presents considerable pros and cons. There is a certain type of Wagnerian singing in which beauty of tone seems of secondary importance to scruff-of-the-neck dramatic expression. This is Nikitin through and through. There’s often a strain 50

and slight dryness to the tone in the upper reaches when the register may be overstretched; yet at his best the sense of total involvement in the character and the emotional situation can be pretty overwhelming. This quality is strongest in the Dutchman’s ‘Die Frist ist um’, which is hairraisingly charismatic – one gets a sense of what might have been, had that unfortunate old choice of body art not intervened. And in Lohengrin, the scene from the start of act II, ‘Erhebe dich, Genossin meiner Schmach!’ with Michaela Schuster as Ortrud, Nikitin breaks through some of the boundaries of nastiness with his growling ‘Weh!’ Recorded sound is reasonably good, but there are moments of orchestral fulsomeness in which Nikitin begins to disappear into the general texture. — JESSICA DUCHEN


E S TA B L I S H E D 1 92 3

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Gramophone Editor’s Choice A brief introduction to a few albums available from primephonic that have been selected as Gramophone Editor’s Choice.

BRAHMS REINECKE Clarinet Sonatas Michael Collins (clarinet) Michael McHale (piano)

‘Delightful playing. From the partnership of Michael Collins and Michael McHale that scores highly in these pages time after time – and rightly so.’

BEETHOVEN COMPLETE WORKS FOR CELLO AND PIANO Matt Haimovitz (cello) Christpher O’Riley (fortepiano)

‘Haimovitz and O’Riley impress in both the lyrical moments and those in which completely commited drive is required.’

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WALTON SYMPHONY NO 2. CELLO CONCERTO Paul Watkins (cello) BBC Symphony Orchestra/ Edward Gardner

‘Edward Gardner follows his Recording of the Month-winning Walton First Symphony with a superb version of the compact Second.’


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You can find these albums in our online catalogue. DUTILLEAUX SYMPHONY NO. 2

TCHAIKOVSKY THE QUEEN OF SPADES

Augustin Hadelich (violin) Seattle Symphony Orchestra/ Ludovic Morlot

Sols, Bavarian Radio Chorus and SO/ Mariss Jansons

‘Ahead of the composer’s centenary, Morlot and his Seattle players bring a concentrated intensity to Dutilleaux’s sound world.’

‘Superbly balanced and played; Mariss Jansons provides his excellent cast of singers the support and vision needed for a memorable performance.’

*A  ll reviews can be found in the digital issue “Gramophone Best Recordings of 2015”.

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Find out more on www.primephonic.com


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joint forces PRIMEPHONIC’S CATALOGUE

The growth of primephonic goes hand in hand with the continuous expansion of our catalogue. As new labels join our platform, our collection in turn continues to grow and with it the diversity of the music that you can find. From solo instrumental to full symphonic orchestral works, from historical heavy-weights like eethoven to a new generation of artists like Lang Lang, the catalogue of primephonic spans the ages, the genre colours of classical music and quality audio formats. This is a selection of some of the most successful albums on our catalogue.

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Scriabin: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2

Granados: Chamber Music with Piano

Ludwig van Beethoven

Alexander Scriabin

Enrique Granados

Christian Leotta — ATMA Classique

Ekaterina Sergeeva, Alexander Timchenko, London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev — LSO Live

Trio Rodin — Aevea Classics

Rachel Podger, Marcin Swiatkiewicz, David Miller, Jonathan Manson — Channel Classics

Grieg, Thommessen & Sibelius: String Quartets

Bach: Toccata and Fugue & Other Works

Birth of the Symphony: Handel to Haydn

Ravel: Orchestral Works - SaintSaens: Organ Symphony

Edvard Grieg, Jean Sibelius, Olav Anton Thommessen

Johann Sebastian Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, Nicolaus Bruhns, Georg Bohm, Johann Pachelbel, Johann Adam Reincken

Engegård Quartet — BIS

Franz Joseph Haydn, George Frideric Handel, Franz Xaver Richter, Johann Stamitz, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Richard Egarr, Academy of Ancient Music, Márta Ábrahám — Academy of Ancient Music

Simone Stella — OnClassical

Thorvaldsdottir: In the Light of Air

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Michael Nicolas, International Contemporary Ensemble — Sono Luminus

Stewart Goodyear — Steinway and Sons

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber

Maurice Ravel , Camille Saint-Saëns Joseph Adam , Seattle Symphony Orchestra , Ludovic Morlot — Seattle Symphony Media

Sir Thomas Beecham Conducts Georges Bizet’s L’Arlésienne Suites & Symphony in C

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Georges Bizet

Colburn Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz — Yarlung Records

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Thomas Beecham — Academy of Ancient Music

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Biber: The Rosary Sonatas

Gustav Mahler


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Scriabin: 12 Etudes, Op. 8 - 6 Preludes, Op. 13 - Piano Sonata No. 10 - Vers la flamme Alexander Scriabin

The Great Conductors: Aaron Copland (Remastered 2016)

Young Spirit of Serenades Max Bruch, Wojciech Kilar, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Aaron Copland

Rimsky-Korsakov: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Olli Mustonen — 2xHD

Leo Smit, London Symphony Orchestra, Radio Rome Symphony Orchestra, Aaron Copland — Jube Classic

Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3

Enrique Bagaría plays Haydn

Leoš Janáček

Franz Joseph Haydn

Karstein Askeland, Johannes Wik, Bergen Filharmoniske Kor, Collegiûm Mûsicûms Kor Bergen, Edvard Grieg Kor, Bergen Domkor, Bergen filharmoniske orkester, ... — Chandos

Enrique Bagaría, Franz Joseph Haydn — Eudora Records

Dvořák & Martinu: Cello Concertos

Nordgren: The Bergman Suites

Movimentos: Widmungen

Scarlatti: 18 Sonatas

Antonín Dvořák, Bohuslav Martinů

Erik Nordgren, Adriano

Domenico Scarlatti

Christian Poltera, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Thomas Dausgaard — BIS

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Adriano — Naxos

Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann

Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie, Wolfgang Hentrich — Genuin

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 44 & 10 Songs Sergei Rachmaninov Vsevolod Grivnov, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski — LPO

William Youn, Isabelle Catherine Vilmar — Genuin

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Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Gerard Schwarz — Naxos

Echoes of Empire Giuseppe Verdi, Max Darewski, Alfred Cellier, Gordon MacKenzie, Mihály Erdélyi, Charles Orth, D. Godfrey, ... Band of the Coldstream Guards, Robert George Evans, James Causley Windram — British Military Music Archive

Yevgeny Sudbin — BIS


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Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 – Ballets

Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, “From the New World” (Live)

Aaron Copland

Antonín Dvořák

BBC Philharmonic, John Wilson — Chandos

Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden — DSO Live

Fleurs

Crossing Over

Claude Debussy, Henry Purcell, Lili Boulanger, Reynaldo Hahn, Francis Poulenc, Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, Gabriel Fauré, Charles Gounod, Benjamin Britten, ...

John Tavener, Daniel Elder, William Schuman, Nikolay Kedrov, Jon Leifs, Robert Vuichard, Anna Þorvaldsdóttir

Carolyn Sampson , Joseph Middleton — BIS

Nelson: Watercolors Robert Nelson Sonja Bruzauskas, Anne Leek, Christopher Neal, Wayne Brooks, Christopher French, Roy Wylie, Alexander Potiomkin, Tali Morgulis, Sophia Silvios, Anthony Kitai, Brian Thomas, Timothy Hester — Delos

Mozart, Ives & Verdi: String Quartets

Sarah Moyer, Margot Rood, Jessica Petrus, Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Matthew Guard — Sono Luminus

Nimrod Borenstein: Suspended opus 69

Titel goes here

Nimrod Borenstein

Composer

Laercio Diniz, das freie orchester Berlin — Solaire

Artist — Label

Mark Abel: Home Is a Harbor & The Palm Trees Are Restless Mark Abel Jamie Chamberlin, Janelle DeStefano, Ariel Pisturino , E. Scott Levin, Babatunde Akinboboye, Jon Lee Keenan, Carver Cossey, Ayana Haviv, ... — Delos

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 “Hammerklavier” & Bagatelles, Op. 126

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Charles Ives, Giuseppe Verdi

Ludwig van Beethoven

Schumann Quartett — Ars Produktion

Nelson Goerner — Alpha

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*Valide pour tous vos achats jusqu‘au 31 juillet 2015. Indiquez le code “OSR” à la fin de la procédure de paiement.

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HISTO RIC AL CAL ENDAR p r i m ep ho ni c

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There is something remarkable about sitting back and admiring classical music and all it entails, whether the music itself or reading snippets of the narrative from its unique lineage. www.primephonic.com/calendar

1629 SCHÜTZ PUBLISHES ONE OF THE EARLIEST EXAMPLES OF A SYMPHONY 19 August 1629

Heinrich Schütz, hailed as the most important German composer before Bach, publishes his Symphoniae sacrae I Op 6 in Venice, describing them as the fruits of his encounter with the ‘fresh devices’ of Italian composers ‘to tickle the ears of today’. This turned him into something of a trendsetter back home in Germany, writing ‘during my recent journey to Italy I engaged myself in a singular manner of composition, namely how a comedy of diverse voices can be translated into declamatory style and be brought to the stage and enacted in song – things that to the best of my knowledge … are still completely unknown in Germany’. Following this work, Schütz publishes two more Symphoniae sacrae in Dresden.

1738 HANDEL FINISHES A WORK THAT FEATURES THE NOVELTY SOUND OF THE TROMBONE 1 November 1738

Handel finishes his oratorio Israel in Egypt, after beginning it just one month previously. The trombone had been an uncommon orchestral instrument in England at the time, so its appearance in Israel in Egypt was seen as remarkable.

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1914

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PROKOFIEV GIVES HIS FIRST PERFORMANCE IN THE WEST AND IS SURPRISED BY THE AUDIENCE’S REACTION 7 March 1914

Sergei Prokofiev performs his Second Piano Concerto in Rome, his first performance in the West. He is surprised by the audience’s reaction – or lack of it. He considered his piano concerto to be full of aggressive modernism but nobody found his music progressive. Even the most cutting edge music critics deemed his music ‘not new enough’ and considered his second concerto to be neither modern nor traditional, but halfway.

1922 FIRST COMPLETE SYMPHONIC CONCERT BROADCAST LIVE ON RADIO 10 February 1922

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra becomes the first ever orchestra to perform a full symphonic concert on air. The orchestra, with guest pianist Artur Schnabel, was conducted by Ossip Gabrilowitsch and broadcast live on the American radio station WWJ.

1942 DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH’S SEVENTH SYMPHONY ‘LENINGRAD’ IS PERFORMED – IN LENINGRAD 9 August 1942

On the day that Hitler had proclaimed that Leningrad would fall, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony ‘Leningrad’ is first performed in Leningrad itself, making use of the city’s few remaining musicians as well as others called in from the front. It is broadcast and shown to German troops. Subsequently, anti-fascist and communist sympathisers in the West began to take up Shostakovich’s cause. The symphony commemorates the suffering of the people of Leningrad, hence its nickname.

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Contributors Jessica Duchen Kevin Painting Sarah Jeffery Matt Adomeit Remko van der Weerd Melanie Garrett Robert von Bahr Collin J. Rae Ralph Couzens Reijo Kiilunen Klaus Heymann

Editor Rachel Deloughry Creative director Simon M. Eder Head of primephonic Veronica Neo Art direction and design Joost de Boo Illustrations Joost de Boo

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‘Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.’ – Ludwig van Beethoven

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