Van Cliburn: The Texan who Conquered Russia

Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 Van Cliburn, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner Release date: 04 Nov 2016, G010003642898N Time magazine hailed him as “The Texan who conquered Russia” and “Horowitz, Liszt and Presley rolled into one”. Praise indeed for the tall, slim, mild mannered yet unknown Van Cliburn who, as an unwitting…

Press Releases: February 2017

(1) Elgar & Tchaikovsky. Johannes Moser, Andrew Manze, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande; (2) On My Journey Now. Spirituals & Hymns. Lester Lynch, Baritone; (3) Brahms – Ballades & Fantasies. Denis Kozhukhin, piano

Wagner, Schopenhauer and The Will to Live

Richard Wagner first came across the works of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer while he was lying low in Switzerland following his participation in the 1848 Dresden uprising where he had manned the barricades and was even rumoured to have had set fire to the opera house where he was Kapellmeister.  

Press releases: November 2016

(1) Rachmaninov & Prokofiev: Works for Cello and Piano (2) Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites for Piano Duo (3) Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben / Macbeth

Press releases: October 2016

(1) Antonín Dvořák: Slavonic Rhapsodies & Symphonic Variations (2) Beethoven & Bruch: Violin Concertos 

In Praise of Drinking

1815 was an extraordinarily creative year for Franz Schubert. Aged 18, working as a schoolteacher and receiving composition lessons from Antonio Salieri, in the same year he composed four operas, two symphonies, 150 songs (nine in one day!), liturgical music (including two masses), one string quartet and several piano pieces.

Composers and the Demon Drink

Theirs was not an auspicious first meeting. The young Johannes Brahms was on a walking holiday en route to visiting Robert and Clara Schumann, when he stopped at  Weimar in June 1853 to hear Franz Liszt give a private performance of his magisterial Piano Sonata in B minor, a work now regarded as one of…

The Astonishing Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes

When in 1917 Sergei Diaghilev was stranded in Spain with his itinerant company the Ballet Russes and in dire financial straits, he fired off a telegram to the wealthy patron of the arts Misia Sert (and friend of Coco Chanel) in Paris for assistance. The reply was curt: “GIVE IT UP SERGE”. This was just…

Press releases: September 2016

(1) Wagner: Overtures, Preludes and Orchestral Excerpts (2) Roussel, Debussy, Poulenc. Orchestral works (3) Fantasies, Rhapsodies and Daydreams

Le Boeuf: Milhaud’s Love Letter to Brazil

Brazilians hailing from outside Rio de Janeiro sometimes complain that the locals (cariocas) are like the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado: they greet you with open arms but they don’t hug you. Darius Milhaud (1892 – 1974) thought otherwise. The twenty months he spent in Rio de Janeiro between 1917-18 as an attaché…