Category Archives: Death in Venice – and Alkan

Open you the East Door and let the New Year in

And so we come to the end of 2013. In 2011, Liszt had the last word on my blog; in 2012 it was Debussy. This year it is Britten. If you are reading this in private, or have some headphones, … Continue reading

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‘He has died with much music still in him…’

While sorting out some files recently, I came across a single page from the Arts section of The Sunday Telegraph, dated 13 February, 1994. There were reviews of exhibitions by two artists: Claude, and John Lessore, a review of Marina … Continue reading

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Death in Venice – and Life in Aldeburgh

I sit at home in Suffolk, typing and listening to Radio 3, while a nation celebrates, posthumously, the hundredth birthday of one of its greatest musical sons – it is Britten’s centenary. He had the good fortune to be born … Continue reading

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Alkan – Who was Alkan?

‘Charles-Valentin Alkan has just died. It was necessary for him to die in order to suspect his existence. ”Alkan,” more than one reader will say, ”who is Alkan?” and indeed this paradoxical man is all but unknown to our generation.’ … Continue reading

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Grave Encounters – Diaghilev and Stravinsky

The 100th anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, May 29 1913,  is fast approaching, with performances worldwide to mark it. The ballet was first performed in Paris by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, which also premiered Stravinsky’s Firebird and … Continue reading

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Verdi200 – Rigoletto – Verdi’s opera, and Liszt’s Rigoletto Paraphrase

It is said that one picture is worth ten thousand words; in the picture above, the body language says it all, really. On one side of a wall in a well-lit room is an amorous couple: he, richly and flamboyantly … Continue reading

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La Fenice – The Phoenix, Venice’s inflammable Opera House

  The Phoenix and the Carpet, The Flight of the Phoenix, Dumbledore’s pet phoenix –  the phoenix, a mythical bird which rises from the ashes of its predecessor, has a special place in literature. But no Phoenix is more true … Continue reading

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