Beethoven 9 Pontifications, part II. Decoding those pesky metronome markings

The metronome mark  problem. If you’ve been reading the classical music press over the last month or so, you would swear up and down that the great Riccardo Chailly had personally discovered the metronome markings  in the Beethoven symphonies. Not so! It turns out those markings have been in the music for years, that a […]

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What’s in a name? Depends on whether it’s the right name.

Reformist musicologists with a politically-correct worldview might find themselves raising an eyebrow at this week’s Surrey Mozart Players concert, where, with blatant disregard for all the latest scholarship, the orchestra and I will be playing Johannes Brahms’ “Variations on a theme of Josef Haydn.” We will not be playing the now-ubiquitous “Variations on the Saint Anthony Chorale.” […]

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A view from a different podium- Christopher Zimmerman on Brahms 1

Conductor Christopher Zimmerman is Music Director of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. In 1993, he and I were both newly arrived on the campus of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music: Chris as the conductor of the Concert Orchestra, me as a new Doctoral student in Cello. Keen to move forward with my interest in […]

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Mahler 6: Some of the reasons why I conduct Scherzo-Andante (and why I could be wrong)

There are few more contentious subjects amongst Mahlerians than the order of movements in the 6th Symphony. As part of the Performer’s Perspective series last year, I tried to explain what a big and fairly complicated question it is. More recently, as part of my interview with Erik Klackner the other day at Everything but […]

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Did Brahms Kill Sibelius? (Brahms 1 meets Sibelius 7)

    Many knowledgeable musicians consider Schoenberg to be the musical successor of Brahms. Schoenberg himself thought so too. (You’ve got to hand it to Schoenberg- he managed to position himself pretty convincingly as the heir to both Brahms and Mahler, grabbing a chunk of Wagner’s legacy for good measure). Of course the comparison is […]

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Urtext Myths 3- You’re seeing exactly what the composer wrote

A while back, I started a little series here called Urtext Myths (part I here, part II here). While preparing for my recent performance of Mahler’s 5th Symphony at the Harlech Orchestral Summer School, I came across something in the Preface that got me thinking about a new article in the “myths” series. This is […]

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