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June CD Releases

Not a huge number of new CD releases this month. Even the normally hyperactive Naxos only has one album by a living composer: the song cycles Natural Selection, Songs and Sonnets to Ophelia and Eve-Song by Jake Heggie. Attractive and approachable the works are influenced by folk, jazz and music theatre. Going back in time a little, Naxos has also released five disks of music by Swiss-French…

Seven More Centenarians

Whilst chatting to a friend recently he confessed to ‘centenary fatigue’. It wasn’t, he said, that he was bored with hearing music by Benjamin Britten. He did feel, however, that spending an entire year playing music by a composer whose work is often played anyway was a wasted opportunity. He extended that argument, though less pointedly, to Lutosławski (who, in…

August Festivals

Concert centres hosting summer festivals are alive with activity this month. Others, such as Wigmore Hall (here’s their August itinerary, which you can compare with a normal month, here), are taking a holiday break.  I mentioned ten festivals at the beginning of July, five of which –  the BBC Proms, Schlesswig Holstein, Bregenz, Salzburg and La Roque D’Anthéron – continue into August and in some cases beyond. They are all,…

Varia

Today, I have been trying to think of pieces of music that might be appropriate for the celebration of a royal baby. The Cunning Little Vixen, perhaps, with its story of birth and renewal. The only other opera with a baby that comes to mind – also by Janáček – is Jenůfa, but not even an ardent republican would find a story…

Ten Summer Festivals to Get the Contemporary Music Blood Pumping

Manchester International Festival 4–21st July The biennial festival consists of dance, theatre, panel discussions and even an urban farm project. There are also some contemporary music events including, on 7th July, an evening of new and rarely performed work by John Tavener. The full brochure is available here and there is also a handy page on the festival website where you can see a list of events…

June Festivals

The 66th Aldeburgh Festival runs from 7th–23rd June. It celebrates the composer’s 100thbirthday year with performances of Peter Grimes in the location that inspired it and The Church Parables in their original venue; an insight into Aldeburgh’s Friday Afternoons singing project highlighting Britten’s work with children and amateurs; and an inspired by Britten series showcasing the influence of the composer through 20 commissions across different musical genres and art-forms. Composers…

December Concert Diary

Last year I speculated as to why contemporary music and Christmas don’t mix; as we enter the festive month performances of new music decline as caroling and yuletide cheer take over. This year is no different, though there are a few concerts in CT’s concert diary worth noting. At the beginning of December there is a mini Britten festival at Wigmore Hall as…

October Concerts and Festivals

Apart from individual concerts, just updated here, there are several important festivals this coming month. As ever, I’ve not included concerts from these festivals in the main round-up. Instead follow my links to festival websites below. The Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Tres Cantos takes place in Madrid from October 6th to 28th. The programme concentrates on the music of Spanish composers, though there are…

July Concerts and Festivals

Festival season gets into full swing this month, however, so, with so much going on, it would hard to make that list comprehensive. Instead I’ll also try to summarize the festivals in which much of the music is being played, as well as a few highlights. The Buxton Festival runs from 7th- 25th July. It is dedicated to music, opera and books.…

May Concert Diary

I’ve just updated CT’s concert listings for May. I haven’t, however, included details for three interesting festivals that will be taking place this month, which instead I shall write about here. The Prague Spring International Music Festival (12th May to 3rd June) contains much to interest new music lovers. There is the chance to hear two masterpieces of twentieth-century opera: Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress on 22nd May…