Mahler

Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 7, a culmination

Originally published in 2010: I finally managed to make it to one of the Mahler in Manchester concerts this past weekend (in spite of my blog project, I’ve had concerts of my own every previous concert night). Happily, this time I had a rehearsal in Manchester, so I was able to catch Gianandrea Noseda and […]

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Haydn’s Music- Bathed in Fire and Blood

(Disclaimer- I’ve broken my no-swearing rule in this post. Apologies for any offense. I think Haydn’s music merits a bit of good profanity) Long-time Vftp readers will know that I’m quite the Haydn aficionado. Last Saturday, I broke a long, heart-wrenching dry spell since my last performance of a Haydn symphony with a very satisfying […]

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Explore the score: Schumann- Symphony no. 2

(First time using “Explore the score?” Just click on the hyperlinks within the text to hear the musical excerpts.) “Here is something truly symphonic, a gesture worthy to introduce a great work…” Hans Gál, Schumann Orchestral Music “I sketched it at a time when I was ailing, and I may well state that it was, […]

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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 “real” conducting divertimento- the legendary composer-conductors

Before unveiling the hotly anticipated final 5 of our “Real” Top 20 Conductors, I thought it might be interesting to, er, milk the moment with a little divertimento or two. Regular Vftp contributor Peter Davison beat me to the punch on one topic:   “There’s another category to consider – composer-conductors. Britten was a fine […]

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Disaster avoidance 101- are we all playing the same piece?

For some time, I’ve been meaning to offer up a list of pieces that pose special dangers to conductors and librarians. These are works that exist in more than one version or edition, where an incompatible set of parts can mean more than just a frustrating rehearsal such as those in which the conductor has […]

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Post-concert Prokofian thoughts and great composer rivalries

The big topic of conversation this week has been the 5th and final Prokofiev Piano Concerto, which I conducted on Saturday night with Daniel de Borah and the Surrey Mozart Players. Many of you will have already seen the review, which came out yesterday. The reviewer was quite right to point out the incredible difficulty […]

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