Special arrangements have been made

NOW AVAILABLE As many of you know, all of us at the English Symphony Orchestra are busy gearing up for our 2015 Elgar Pilgrimage from the 7th-10th of October, with concerts in some of Elgar’s favourite haunts: Hereford, Malvern and Birmingham (on October 9th and 10th) One of the highlights of the festival promises to […]

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The Greatest Unloved Symphonies

I just conducted Bruckner’s Second Symphony for the first time a few days ago- even many of the most pro-Bruckner opinion makers seem to think that only his symphonies from the Fourth onward are worth doing, and the often over-zealous defences of the early symphonies by well-intentioned  fans of the composer sometimes do more harm […]

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Explore the Score: Shostakovich- Symphony no. 5 in D minor

Welcome to a special edition of Explore the Score. I’ve told friends for years that some day I wanted to write a book about Shostakovich  5. Here’s the short version.     Dmitri Shostakovich- Symphony no. 5 in D minor opus 47 Genesis Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony would, at first glance, seem, on purely musical grounds, […]

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LvB 9- Furtwangler 1942

“A unique personality whose fatal flaw lay in his uncompromising belief that music and art must be kept apart from politics, a conviction that transformed him into a tragic figure.” Publisher’s blurb for The Devil’s Music Master: The Controversial Life and Career of Wilhelm Furtwängler It will probably come as no surprise to readers that […]

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Uncle Dmitri says you must bring BEEG rabbit.

  The excerpt above is the beginning of the 3rd movement of Shostkovich’s 10th Symphony, a work I conducted last week with the Kent County Youth Orchestra. Shostakovich 10 is a serious piece, and a seriously difficult piece. When news gets out that I’m doing a piece like this with a youth orchestra (“Shostakovich 10???? […]

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A last minute substitution and a Beethovenian milestone revisited

I had hoped to avoid any unwanted drama surrounding my Lancashire Chamber Orchestra concert on Saturdayday by avoiding any travel that morning. . ‘Twas not to be. A couple of hours before our dress rehearsal, I had a call from Georgina, the orchestra’s chair and manager.  It  turned out that Anne, our usually indefatigable and […]

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Review- Surrey Mozart Players with Daniel de Borah, January 29, 2011

From the  Surrey Advertiser, February 4, 2011 A splendid start to Players’ concert season THE Surry Mozart Players’ concert seasons are events to be anticipated with enormous plasure and thereafter to be enjoyed with relish. The concert at the United Reformed Church in Guildford on January 29 was typical. Three marvelous pieces of high quality […]

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The best program you never heard in your life

You can call it the best program you’ve never heard in your life. You can call it the almost revelatory program that almost happened- what you can’t call it is the program for the final concert of the Harlech Orchestral Summer School, which I’m now preparing for. Harlech is an intense week long program that […]

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Comparative listening- Don’t mess with Bobby.

It’s Bobby Schumann week on planet Earth, and all the nations of this blue planet are gathering their energies and chanting “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” in honor of his 200th birthday. I’m celebrating the week by book-ending the week with performances of the Cello and Violin concertos. Schumann seems in many ways to be sinned against […]

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Leningradskaya I- Allegretto

(The ghosts of Leningrad, now St Petersberg, as captured by the great Alexey Titarenko) By this point in my life, the vast majority of works I’m conducting are ones I’ve already been thinking about for a long time, and already have very strong convictions about. However, one of the delights of the job is that […]

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