Tag Archives: Classical Music

Wildlife & Music: Sir David Attenborough & Scottish Symphony Orchestra (BBC)

Ivor Novello Award winning and Emmy nominated composer, Ben Salisbury, is best known as one of the countries leading film and TV composers, with recent credits including the feature films ‘Ex Machina’, ‘Free Fire’ (both co-composed with Geoff Barrow) and ‘Beyonce: Life is But a Dream’. He is also a member of the bands ‘Drokk’ (with Geoff Barrow) and ‘Dolman’ (with Scott Hendy).

Ben is particularly well known in the field of Natural History, where he has scored over 50 films – including the last 3 of David Attenborough’s ‘Life Of
’ series. He has also formed a critically acclaimed writing partnership with Porstishead’s Geoff Barrow. The pair have so far released the album DROKK: Music Inspired By Mega City One, described by The Quietus as ‘jaw dropping.. one of the heaviest and most intensely atmospheric records of the year’. The soundtrack album to Ex Machina has been described by Louder Than War as ‘sensational’, and there are further plans to continue a collaboration which, according to screenwriter/director/producer Alex Garland ‘sets an incredibly high bar of creative skill and integrity’. Other recent co-written credits from Ben and Geoff include Ben Wheatly’s Free Fire (executively produced by Martin Scorsese) and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: Men Against Fire.

Music: Pianist VĂ­kingur Ólafsson On Mozart – ‘The First Romantic Artist’


“Mozart really belonged to the 19th century”, says Icelandic star-pianist Víkingur Ólafsson about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “He belonged to a new area, where the artist was a free thinker. Image, if he had lived a little longer and would have had a dialogue with Ludwig van Beethoven.”

Ólafsson has no doubt that Mozart was a so-called Wunderkind. “He did have a divine gift.” But to Ólafsson another aspect of Mozart’s music is even more fascinating. According to Ólafsson Mozart wrote his best works after the age of 25, when his life was in deep crisis and the Vienna aristocracy had turned its back on him.

“The greater the music became, the less popularity he had.” To Ólafsson Mozart’s legacy must be seen in the light of the tragedy. VĂ­kingur Ólafsson grew up in ReykjavĂ­k and started playing the piano at an early age under the tutelage of his mother, a piano teacher. He studied at the Juilliard School in New York, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees under the supervision of Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald. He also took lessons with Ann Schein.

In 2011, Ólafsson was the soloist in the opening concert of Harpa in Reykjavik, playing Edvard Grieg’s piano concerto with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Since he has developed into one of the most recognized and award-winning artists within classical and contemporary music.

In 2016, VĂ­kingur signed an exclusive recording contract with the renowned label Deutsche Grammophon releasing four albums featuring the music of Philip Glass, Johann Sebastian Bach, Debussy & Rameau as well as Mozart & Contemporaries. Ólafsson has collaborated with many contemporary artists among them John Adams, Philipp Glass, Daniel Bjarnason and Icelandic singer BjĂžrk. He has also recorded the soundtrack of Darkest Hour, a film directed by Joe Wright, and released Bach Reworks, featuring six ‘remixed’ works by Johann Sebastian Bach from the likes of Ben Frost, Peter Gregson, Valgeir Sigurdsson as well as Ólafsson himself.

Víkingur Ólafsson was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in November 2021. Camera: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan Edited by: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner Copyright: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2021 Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Mþllerske Stþttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet and C.L. Davids Fond og Samling

Musical Profile: Violin Virtuoso Midori Honored

Violin virtuoso Midori, a former child prodigy compared to Mozart, is honored by the prestigious Kennedy Center. Her life of music is dedicated to teaching others, while she continues to learn herself. She speaks with Vladimir Duthiers about her career and the honor.

Midori Goto who performs under the mononym Midori, is a Japanese-born American violinist. She made her debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 11 as a surprise guest soloist at the New Year’s Eve Gala in 1982.

Classical Views: Ballerina Dances To ‘La Follia’ By Antonio Vivaldi (Video)

Music Ensemble: Il Giardino Armonico, Milano, Italy Dancer & Choreography: Margarita Ermachenko

Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741) grew up in Venice, Italy where his father, a professional violinist, taught him to play the violin and introduced him to some of the finest musicians and composers in the city. At the age of 15, he also began studying to become a priest. Because of his red hair, he was known as il Prete Rosso (“the Red Priest”). Vivaldi had to leave the clergy due to health issues, and he accepted several short-term musical positions funded by patrons in Mantua and Rome. It was in Mantua that he wrote his four-part masterpiece, The Four Seasons. He was also known for his operas, including Argippo and Bajazet. Vivaldi’s work, including nearly 500 concertos, influenced many later composers, including Bach.

The collection of Twelve Trio Sonatas Op. 1 was published by the Venetian house of Giuseppe Sala in 1705. Similarly to the other published collections by Vivaldi, it became known throughout Europe and reprinted four more times within the composer’s lifetime. It was dedicated to Count Annibale Gambara.

At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the trio sonata was one of the most popular genres of instrumental music in Italy. The composers modelled their work on four sonata collections by Arcangelo Corelli. Mastery in the genre was generally seen as a test of composing talent, allowing a display of the ability to simultaneously shape the melody and the counterpoint.

Vivaldi, similarly to Albinoni and Caldara, made his debut with a collection of twelve trio sonatas. They were written for two violins and a cello (more precisely a violone) or a harpsichord. The earliest preserved Vivaldi pieces, they are characteristic in their individual and fully-formed style.

Classical Music – Flute: “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” – Christoph Gluck

5 Minutes That Will Make You Love the Flute

It’s an instrument based on the most fundamental sign of life: breath. Listen to the best music ever written for it.

The flute is one of humanity’s oldest ways of producing a beautiful sound, and it is based on the most fundamental sign of life: breath. Made from bones, wood or reeds, the earliest specimens date from the Paleolithic era. The flute is often associated with things elegiac, poetic, angelic — with purity — but also with the world of magic; in mythology, Orpheus seduces the underworld playing the flute. In this excerpt from Gluck’s Orpheus opera, the flute is extremely sensual, and, with its lyrical soaring, takes us from earthly pleasures to heavenly ones.

Flute: Julien Beaudiment

Piano: Hugh Sung

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Travel & Culture Videos: Germany Celebrates 250th Birthday Of Beethoven

The celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday this year is reaching a crescendo in Germany. The composer and pianist was born in Bonn on December 16, 1770, and his musical legacy carries on. In this reel, we meet concert pianists putting a new spin on Beethoven’s work. Susanne Kessel, for one, put out a call to composers for 250 new piano pieces inspired by Beethoven and is now in the midst of performing them. Elsewhere, the duo known as Pianotainment is using humor and serious piano chops to make the work of the likes of Beethoven accessible to all. We wrap up this ode to Beethoven with a visit to a museum full of self-playing musical instruments. And, yes, some of them even play Beethoven.

This Great Big Story was made possible by the German National Tourism Board and BTHVN2020: https://www.germany.travel/beethoven2020

Artist Profiles: The Legacy Of Violinist Isaac Stern

NPR PodcastTuesday, July 21, marks the centennial of the birth of violinist Isaac Stern. He was not only an acclaimed musician, but a devoted teacher who was a mentor to generations of musicians.

Isaac Stern, (born July 21, 1920, Kremenets, Ukraine, Russian Empire—died September 22, 2001, New York, New York, U.S.), Russian-born American musician who was considered one of the premier violinists of the 20th century. Active in organizations promoting the arts, he played a key role in saving New York City’s Carnegie Hall from demolition in 1960 and later became president of the corporation that administered the hall and its cultural programs; he held the post until his death. In 1964 he helped establish the National Endowment for the Arts. Stern was also noted for his encouragement of young musicians, and he aided the careers of Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman, among others. The recipient of numerous awards, Stern received the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 1984 and a Grammy for lifetime achievement in 1987.

Post-Covid Concerts: Barcelona’s “Gran Teatre Del Liceu” – Live Audience Of 2,292 Plants (Video)

This week, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu held its first performance with a live audience post-coronavirus, but it’s unclear whether the attendees were too green to appreciate Puccini’s “Crisantemi.” Seated in the red, velvet seats and among the gold balconies, 2,292 palms, ficus trees, and Swish cheese plants filled the iconic opera house to listen to the string quartet’s rendition.

A collaboration with Madrid-based artist Eugenio Ampudia and the Max Estrella gallery, the concert was meant to reflect on humans’ relationship with nature. “I thought why don’t we go into the Liceu like weeds, take it over and let nature start growing everywhere and turn it into something alive even when there are no people,” Ampudia said in an interview. After the performance, the leafy audience members were donated to healthcare workers who have been battling the virus during the last few months.

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Virtual Symphony: Met Orchestra “At-Home Gala – Intermezzo From Cavalleria Rusticana”

The Met Orchestra, conducted by Yannick NĂ©zet-SĂ©guin, performs the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana in a video assembled from individual takes and shown during the April 25, 2020, At-Home Gala.

Videography by Pete Scalzitti / Met Opera

Video Concerts: Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli Sings In Empty Duomo Cathedral, Milan (April 12)

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sang in a closed Duomo Cathedral in Milan on Sunday, as a part of a “Music for Hope” event designed to bring people together during the new coronavirus outbreak.

Instead of a crowd in the pews, Bocelli’s performance was watched via livestream on his YouTube channel. Accompanied only by the cathedral’s organist Emanuele Vianello, the Italian opera singer’s set included classic songs such as “Ave Maria” and “Amazing Grace.”