Monday, August 29, 2016
We have been informed by friends who visited him this month that Neil Black, principal oboe of four London orchestras, has died at the age of 84. Neil was successively principal of the London Philharmonic, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, English Chamber Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. By our reckoning, he appeared on more big-label recordings than any other oboist. In Neil’s heyday, Neville Marriner made more records with the Academy than any other conductor-orchestra pairing except Karajan with Berlin, and the London Philharmonic were effectively house orchestra for EMI Classics. (c) Godfrey MacDomnic/Lebrecht Birmingham born, Neil played from 1948-51 in the newborn National Youth Orchestra before reading history at Oxford University. He never intended to be a professional musician, but by the late 1950s he was London’s go-to oboist, showered with engagements and concerto dates. Conductors of every type, modern or period, asked for him by name, and he never let them down. He was a quiet authority at the heart of London’s orchestras. photo (c) Anthony_Woodhouse, Neil Black with Itzhak Perlman, South Bank summer festival, 1980
Peter Brem has retired from the first violins at 65 and written a book about the maestros he worked with – Karajan, Abbado, Rattle. Brem was an influential figure in the orchestra, chair of its media group from 1992 and the force behind its record deal with the rock group Scorpions, a project widely condemned by traditionalists but apparently a two-million-selling hit. The book is out now: Peter Brem. Ein Leben lang erste Geige. Rowohlt, 16.99 Euros
The remarkable Russian pianist has signed a book contract with Orion publishers for a memoirs that he has written together with the St Petersburg writer, Marina Evreison Arshinova. The book, to be published in 2017, covers his early years and development in the Soviet Union, his debuts with Karajan, Giulini, Levine and other conductors, and his slowly-discovered love for the Yiddish language. Karajan’s daughter said Kissin’s debut was the only time she saw her father weep.
The very mixed record of Darío Lopérfido as the Colón´s Artistic Director does have some good points. One of them involved Lopérfido as the city´s Minister of Culture: he programmed at the Usina del Arte eleven concerts of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic and seven of the Colón´s Resident (Estable) Orchestra, and with different repertoire from that heard at the Colón. Thus he filled the gaps on the calendar of both organisms, too often unoccupied at their mother institution. But of course, as he as Minister named Marcelo Panozzo as Director of the Usina del Arte, it stands to reason that the latter had to honor the dates announced by the Colón already in March, in the book that contains the whole 2016 activities of the Colón either there or elsewhere. But recently the Usina wasn´t the venue of two of those concerts: the third of the series, with conductor Andrés Tolcachir and violinist Xavier Inchausti, was derived to the Coliseo. The fourth did take place at the Usina and I attended it: conductor Roberto Paternostro and pianist Paula Peluso. However, the fifth, where Paternostro presented fragments of Johannn Strauss II´s "The Bat" ("Die Fledermaus") with talented youngsters from the Colón´s Institute of Art, happened at the Auditorio de Belgrano. There was no explanation either from the Usina or the Colón. And, as already explained in another article for the Herald, programming at the Usina is erratic, with no yearly plan, and announced only on Internet and quite late: one week before the first day of July the site for that month was still unavailable. Maybe there´s a sunny side: the Phil has been playing at four different venues in one month, so they had to adapt to different acoustics; and that´s the sort of flexibility that you need if you go on tour, so this can be taken as training... But I can only ascribe to Lopérfido as erstwhile Minister the strange fact that reviewer´s tickets are provided by Festivales de Buenos Aires, a completely different institution that should have no interference in matters of the Usina. I asked for an explanation, I was given none. I don´t know what happens with the general audience. Now to Paternostro´s concert at the Usina. You will probably remember that he was one of García Caffi´s conductors and he had the redoubtable task of leading the Colón Ring; quite apart from the essential wrongness of that venture, he proved an experienced Wagnerian with the stamina to last the 6½ hours of the compressed Ring and give sense to the music played by two consecutive orchestras. Well, his programme at the Usina needed an orchestra of moderate size and was based on the First Vienna School: Mozart, Haydn and Schubert. From the latter, the delightful "Rosamunde" Overture (in fact, that of the melodrama "Die Zauberharfe" –"The Magic Harp"). Mozart was represented by Piano Concerto Nº23, a perfect score of his mature style. And Haydn, by the peculiar Symphony Nº 100, called "Military" due to the enlarged percussion of the second movement (a unique case in his abundant production): Paternostro has an Italian surname but he is Viennese and he has imbibed the proper style from Swarowsky,Von Dohnányi and Von Karajan. However, he also follows recent trends: rather fast speeds and firm solid sound, leaving aside dainty wispiness. His phrasings are musical, the attacks and releases clear, and he knows how to maintain a living pulse. The Phil played well for him. And Peluso is an accomplished classicist with very clean articulation; however, I missed a bit more accent and roundness to her tone. For Buenos Aires Herald
In the decades that Herbert von Karajan bestrode Berlin, Salzburg and the music industry, he could always be assured of a warm review from Klaus Geitel, who has died at the age of 90. And not just a newspaper review and broadcast effusion. Geitel often wrote Karajan’s record blurbs. He published a fawning iconography of the image-obsessed conductor and was hostile only to those who dared to suggest that his idol might be infallible. Even in the old man’s half-crazed final showdown with the Berlin Philharmonic, he unerringly saw the world through Karajan’s eyes. Although he called himself a journalist, Geitel belonged to an old-world genre of stage-door Johnnies and cocktail-hour hangers-on who were happiest when posing for camera with their idols. He was, equally old-world, unfailingly polite to sceptics like myself. May he rest in peace.
Statement published just now by the Berliner Philharmoniker: The imminent disbanding of the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) from 1 September 2016 due to lack of funding from the EU would symbolically be a cultural and political disaster second to none and a terrible indictment against a background of increasing nationalistic and anti-EU tendencies. As a result, we call on the political leaders and representatives of the European Union to do everything possible to ensure the survival of this artistically and politically irreplaceable institution. Since its inception in 1976, the EUYO has been one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and brings together the most talented young musicians from all 28 EU member states to create a unique orchestra. In the 40 years of its existence, more than 3,000 young musicians from all EU member states have performed in the EUYO. Through working together with world-renowned conductors and soloists, including our former chief conductors Claudio Abbado and Herbert von Karajan, the orchestra has acquired an outstanding reputation over the years in terms of musical education, and is a unique reservoir of young talent for all the world’s leading orchestras. For example, no less than nine colleagues of our orchestra are former members of the EUYO. The impressive music educational aspect is nevertheless secondary to the symbolism of this unique EU cultural institution, where the idea of a peaceful and united Europe is lived out and made tangible to the public. The work in this collective of 140 members provides a perfect example of how different nationalities and languages can be purposefully united towards a joint solution despite differing viewpoints and perceptions. Sir Simon Rattle Martin Hoffmann Chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker/General manager of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation Ulrich Knörzer Knut Weber Members of the Orchestra Board Member of the Orchestra Board Auf Deutsch: Die Berliner Philharmoniker wenden sich gegen die drohende Auflösung des Jugendorchesters der Europäischen Union (EUYO) Die aufgrund mangelnder finanzieller Mittel drohende Auflösung des Jugendorchesters der Europäischen Union (EUYO) zum 1. September 2016 seitens der EU ist – gerade vor dem Hintergrund zunehmender nationaler, europafeindlicher Tendenzen – ein in seiner Symbolik wohl kaum zu übertreffender kulturpolitischer GAU und ein großes Armutszeugnis. Daher fordern wir die verantwortlichen Politiker und Repräsentanten der Europäischen Union auf, alles zu unternehmen, um ein Weiterleben dieser künstlerisch und politisch unersetzlichen Institution sicherzustellen. Seit seiner Gründung im Jahr 1976 gehört das EUYO zu den prestigeträchtigsten Orchestern weltweit und vereint die größten Nachwuchstalente aller 28 EU-Mitgliedsstaaten zu einem einzigartigen Klangkörper. In den 40 Jahren seines Bestehens haben mehr als 3000 junge Musiker aus allen EU-Mitgliedsstaaten im EUYO musiziert. Durch die Zusammenarbeit mit weltweit renommierten Dirigenten und Solisten, darunter unsere ehemaligen Chefdirigenten Claudio Abbado und Herbert von Karajan, hat sich das Orchester im Laufe der Jahre eine herausragende Reputation hinsichtlich der musikalischen Ausbildung erworben und ist ein einzigartiges Nachwuchsreservoir aller international führenden Orchester. So sind allein in unserem Orchester neun Kolleginnen und Kollegen ehemalige Mitglieder des EUYO. Dieser beeindruckende musikpädagogische Aspekt wird durch die Symbolik der einzigen EU-eigenen Kulturinstitution noch überragt: Hier wird die Idee eines friedlichen und vereinten Europas gelebt und für die Öffentlichkeit erfahrbar gemacht. Die Arbeit in diesem Kollektiv aus 140 Mitgliedern veranschaulicht auf ideale Weise, wie trotz verschiedener Nationalität und Sprache differierende Standpunkte geäußert, wahrgenommen und zielführend vereint werden können.