The 2023 BBC Proms will run from Friday 14 July to Saturday 9 September. The full programme of concerts, recitals, operas et al has been published. All will be played live or online during the traditional summer season. A full guide is available online....
Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto dies
Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Oscar-winning Japanese composer famed for his scores for "The Last Emperor", "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" and other epic films, has died aged 71. Sakamoto was also known for his acting, and for his work with the pioneering electronic music band...
BBC Singers reprieved
The BBC has paused its decision to close the BBC Singers, after "a number of organisations" came forward to offer alternative funding. The group, which is the UK's only full-time professional chamber choir, was targeted by budget cuts shortly before celebrating its...
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Some SOMM releases
The highly respected independent music publisher SOMM has released two recordings which ought to be of interest to all serious music lovers.
Thomas Beecham Conducts Richard Strauss – ARIADNE 5021
Just released is the first release on disc of three works by Richard Strauss conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra captured live in 1956 at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
In a meeting of kindred spirits and musical minds, Beecham and Strauss enjoyed a long and mutually admiring relationship over nearly four decades.
New gems added to the SOMM catalogue are the six-part Suite taken from Strauss’s incidental music to Le bourgeois gentilhomme, the erotic ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ from Salome, and the only known recording of Beecham conducting Macbeth. Completing the disc are two tone poems, Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, recorded live in early 1955 and newly re-mastered from an earlier release on SOMM.
This recording, as others in SOMM’s recent historic releases, has been newly restored and remastered by Lani Spahr.
Beethoven Symphonies – Tessa Uys, Ben Schoeman piano duo
SOMM’s Vol 3 of the Tessa Uys and Ben Schoeman Piano Duo’s ground-breaking series exploring Franz Xaver Schwarenka’s arrangemenrs of Beethoven Symphonies is already meeting with great success. The Duo have been interviewed by Jeremy Nicholas for International Piano, Gramophone Magazine has asked them to write a Blog for their digital edition and Radio 3 will be broadcasting the finale from Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony on Saturday 22nd April to mark the CD’s release.
Volume 3 couples the Second Symphony in D major with the extraordinary scale and innovation of the Seventh in A major. As Robert Matthew-Walker points out in his informative booklet notes, perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the 2nd Symphony, composed during a period of crippling self-doubt and encroaching deafness, is that it is “so positive and full of life, tingling with vitality and energy”.