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Max Bruch

Donald Macleod explores Max Bruch’s violin works.

Melody, said Bruch, represents the “soul of music” and nowhere is that better represented than in his famous violin concerto. It’s a work which brought him fame and fortune, but it’s also a work he came to hate, since he felt its popularity suppressed performances of his other compositions. It’s a sentiment that has some justification, since Bruch wrote some two hundred odd works, the majority of which are rarely performed. This week, Donald Macleod looks at Max Bruch’s prickly professional relationships, his feeling of being overshadowed by Brahms, and the instrument with which he had a very close affinity.

Music featured:
Adagio Appassionato
Septet
6 pieces for solo piano Op 12
Violin Concerto no 1 in G minor, Op 26
Swedish dances, Op 63
Symphony No 2
Schön Ellen Op 24 for soprano, baritone and orchestra
Violin Concerto No 2 in D minor, Op 44
Bei den roten Rosen
Odysseus, Op 41
Scottish Fantasy
Kol nidrei Op 47
Symphony No 3
Romance in A minor, Op 42
Das Lied von der Glocke, Op 45
Violin concerto No 3
Eight pieces for clarinet, viola and piano, Op 83
Serenade, Op 75
String Octet in B flat major
Konzertstück in F sharp minor, Op 84

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Max Bruch:
https://bbc.in/2TRFvpQ

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

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Freya Parr Work experience with BBC Music Magazine

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If you want to learn about the magazine industry and love classical music, why not apply for a work experience placement with us?

We are looking for people interested in a career in music journalism. An in-depth knowledge of classical music and a flair for writing are essential for the role.

During your placement in our Bristol office, you can expect to do research, write material for the website and undertake a host of other tasks. In return, you’ll get an invaluable insight into how a magazine is put together and a chance to see if magazine journalism is the career for you.*

If you think a work experience placement with BBC Music Magazine is for you, please email freya.parr@immediate.co.uk with the following attachments:

  • A copy of your CV
  • A covering letter explaining why you are interested in the magazine and what you’d hope to gain from working with us. You should also highlight any relevant previous experience, and your availability in the coming months.

*For legal reasons we are unable to accept applications from under 18s.

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Jeremy Pound Glinka – A Life in Brief

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Best known today for his opera Ruslan and Lyudmila, and particularly its infectiously vivacious overture, Glinka is often dubbed 'The Father of Russian Music' – forging his own dinstinctively Russian style, he was a profound influence on composers such as Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov and Musorgsky. Here is a brief snapshot of the great man's life:

 

1804  
Glinka is born on 20 May (Russian calendar; or 1 June in the Western calendar) in Novopasskoye (now called Glinka!), in the Smolensk district, where his family are landowning petty aristocracy. For the first six years of his life he is brought up by his overprotective grandmother who rarely allows him out; mostly he is trapped in a stifling, overheated room from where he hears the peal of church bells, and folksongs sung to him by his nurse (bells and folksongs later feature heavily in his music; he also suffers from hyperchondria all his life).

1810  
His grandmother dies and now back in the charge of his parents Glinka hears more mainstream Western music, mostly via his Uncle Afanasy’s serf orchestra. One of the orchestra’s violinists gives Glinka lessons.

1817  
Glinka is sent to boarding school in St Petersburg where he has piano and violin lessons, including three lessons with John Field (the Irish composer who invented the Nocturne for piano and who settled in St Petersburg in 1804), and starts to compose.

1824  
The securing of an undemanding job at the Council of Communications in St Petersburg leaves Glinka free to spend much of his time immersed in music: in the capital he goes to hear Italian opera and takes singing lessons with a singer, Belloli, while at home in Novopasskoye he studies theory and orchestration, and conducts his Uncle’s serf orchestra. His finest pieces so far are songs: Razocharovaniye (‘Disenchantment’ [very Russian]) and Golos s tovo sveta (‘A voice from the other world’).

1830  
Glinka and a friend take an extended trip to Europe. He spends three years based in Milan where he meets Bellini and Donizetti and composes, in 1832, a chamber piece based on themes from Bellini’s La sonnambula (see TIMES 1830). In the winter of 1833-4 he studies counterpoint with Siegfried Dehn in Berlin.

1836  
A year after Glinka marries Mariya Petrovna Ivanova (1835), his opera A Life for the Tsar is a stunning success at its first performance, and Glinka is instantly hailed as Russia’s leading composer and given the post of Choirmaster of the imperial chapel. (Though essentially Italian, the opera includes many Russian folksong melodies and its subject matter is entirely Russian.) However the marriage soon founders and Glinka starts an affair with Ekaterina Kern; shortly afterwards he and his wife separate.

1842  
Glinka’s next opera, Ruslan and Lyudmila, is not well received. (He conceived of setting Pushkin’s poem immediately after the success of A Life for the Tsar and sought the author’s collaboration but sadly Pushkin was killed in a duel in 1837; (see TIMES 1837). Ruslan falls into the gap between Italian lyric opera and German sung drama and is denigrated by both camps: it is soon dropped to make room for a fashionable Italian company and their repertory. Glinka is bitterly disappointed and depressed, and doesn’t write another opera for over a decade.

1848  
After spending time in France (where he got on well with Berlioz), Spain and Smolensk he heads back to France but in Warsaw hears that his passport application has been rejected. Remaining in Warsaw he composes prolifically: the orchestral pieces Recuerdos de Castilla and Kamarinskaya and songs revealing the influence of Chopin.

1854  
Now suffering from deteriorating health he manages to spend two years in France (1852-4) but in March 1854 war between France and Russia forces him to return to Russia. He puts together his Memoirs (1854) and a year later starts work on a third opera, Dvumuzhnitsa (‘The bigamist’). (In 1841 Glinka’s wife married bigamously prompting Glinka to arrange an official divorce.)

1857  
Glinka visits Berlin in 1856 to study more counterpoint with Siegfried Dehn. He meets Meyerbeer who conducts the Trio from A Life for the Tsar at a concert in January. After the concert Glinka catches a cold and dies on 3 (or 15) February in Berlin. His body is buried there but later exhumed and carried back to St Petersburg.

 

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Freya Parr Four of the best Rossini recordings

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The Barber of Seville

Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato et al; Royal Opera House/Antonio Pappano
Erato 649 5819 (DVD)

Joyce DiDonato leads a vintage cast in this supremely sung production.

 

 

Le Comte Ory

Javier Camarena, Cecilia Bartoli et al; Zurich Opera/Muhai Tang
Decca 074 3467 (DVD)

Two marvellous Rossini interpreters join forces in this sophisticated staging.

 

 

William Tell

Gabriel Bacquier, Montserrat Caballé et al; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Lamberto Gardelli
Warner Classics 640 7632

A classic account of Rossini’s final and most imposing opera, with a fine cast.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/65PXAZ4vuXMf7R8dNA1dgi

 

 

Stabat Mater

Anna Netrebko, Joyce DiDonato et al; Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano
Warner Classics 640 5292

Outstanding singers bring emotional drama to Rossini’s moving choral work.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/4ZKrF4ihQcpSW7YSHlZs51

 

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Discogs Staff The 10 Best Ambient Albums

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As a longtime nerd of electronic music in all of its forms, compiling a list of the ten best ambient albums is true torture. Please know that I feel appropriately ashamed for leaving out all the classics I inevitably must skip here. However, if this list helps those uninitiated down the path of chilled-out enlightenment, then my job has served its purpose.

The term “ambient” is mostly just another genre-tag we use for convenience — I’m pretty sure some consider Enya ambient as well, so it makes all the great stuff we know as “ambient” that much more trivial. Even the very term itself has sub-genres: “ambient house”, “chillbient” (what is “chillbient” anyway? Forget it, I don’t want to know), “Illbient” (see “chillbient”), “dark ambient”….the list goes on. The one prevailing idea behind this type of music is that it conjures a certain mood and tone of instrumental and relaxed nirvana whilst incorporating samples of every day happenings like bees buzzing, birds chirping, and cows farting (listen to “Sticky End” on “U.F. Orb”). These found sounds only go so far before the human element needs to take charge and converge the atmosphere with samples, synths, and classical origins.

The best ambient music struck its loudest chords in the 70’s and 90’s. In the 70’s, Brian Eno made the single greatest stride in the history of ambient music with a series of exceedingly beautiful vinyl adventures that still hold up to this very day. These works acted as a catalyst to any type of modern beat-less, instrumental music existing. Eno proved that instrumental electronic music can be just as emotional as the most complicated Mozart symphony, or more importantly (in the face of tired rock aesthetics), the longest screeching guitar solo. The 90’s made ambient music even better. The young techno crowd stepped in and showed off their aptitude in studio science while incorporating the latest and greatest in musical technology. This 90’s generation was the first to be influenced by the greatness of the experimental 70’s, and they concocted a heady brew mixed with dance culture. Some of the finest moments in ambient music shimmered from this time period and those precious ideas only continue to gather steam.

Eno once described his ambient output as “environmental music”, as if to say that his music was there to ignore as much as get lost in. An organic approach to ambient music is key — it invites the listener to be just as engaged and proactive as is necessary. It’s evolving music, shifting with moods, allowing us to hear something different each time we listen. To call it formless is missing the point entirely, as we put as much form as our personal experience allows us to. This relative freedom opens huge scopes of possibility built upon exactly what our life experience brings to the music.

Let’s get lost, shall we?

10 Essential Ambient Albums

  1. Terre Thaemlitz

    Soil

    Terre Thaemlits: Soils - Best Ambient Albums

    If you don’t know the name Terre Thaemlitz, it’s high time you did. Thamelitz also records under the name DJ Sprinkles, and has produced some of the most highly soulful ambient music this side of the early 90’s. I highly encourage anyone to investigate this fascinating character’s output and politics, but what stands above all of this is the staggering depth of the music, never more so than here on Soil. The similarities to Aphex Twin are here, but Soil encapsulates feelings of beauty and dread simultaneously, leaving a feeling of unease and unpredictability to each listen. Closing track Cycles is one of her best tracks ever, enticing the listener to sit closer to the speakers with its broken keyboard melody. Yet it is also repelling us with a ghostly voice scratching at the surface as if it were trying to crawl out of the speakers and ruin our bliss. Mood music indeed. Stars Of The Lid have conjured up some amazing tunes in their time, but their mojo comes from releases like this. Thaemlitz is a force not to be ignored, and Soil is an example of a tremendous slice of 90’s ambient that has gone overlooked for far too long.

    Listen


  2. Biosphere

    Substrata

    Biosphere: Substrata - Best Ambient Albums

    Substrata by Biosphere makes most of the best ambient lists, and why the hell shouldn’t it? Equal parts spooky and gorgeous, Geir Jenssen incorporated his early influences of techno and house, and collided it with some of the most haunting soundscapes ever. The magic of Substrata is how Jenssen turns the humans into an alien life form amidst the pulsing electronics — in track “Hyperborea”, a human voice finally materializes to literally “reveal itself”, sounding more strange and foreboding than the streaking electronics that pierce it. Substrata is an intensely personal work of ambiguity, built around claustrophobia, disengagement, and naturalistic fallacy.

    Listen


  3. Brian Eno & Harold Budd with Daniel Lanois

    The Pearl

    Brian Eno & Harold Budd with Daniel Lanois: The Pearl - Best Ambient Albums

    The Pearl is one of the purest ambient albums there is, stuffed with melancholy and quiet beauty. Whether you’re driving home during rush hour, flying high above the earth in a jet, or staring at the azure sky in a field of daisies, The Pearl will right your ship once again. While this is undoubtedly an Eno production with the bubbling loops and nostalgic vibe, Budd’s classical influence transcends the ambient genre and creates something altogether timeless.

    Listen


  4. Gas

    Königsforst

    Gas: Königsforst - Best Ambient Albums

    It was difficult to choose just one Gas release for this list of the best ambient albums. Any one of Wolfgang Voigt’s side project albums would suffice, but I’m choosing this third album in the series due to its sizable shift from the first album, and his unique use of sampling. Perhaps the closest brother to Eno’s Ambient series, Voigt makes the heart ache with his desire to completely encapsulate the listener with strings and melody without even a hint of subtlety. In the hands of a lesser producer this could come off as pompous and pretentious, but the music acts as a mere extension of our own emotions as each track goes exactly where we hope it to go. Königsforst is the best example of how a 4/4 beat can work exceptionally within this ambient framework without sounding like a mere club track. “Track 5”, with its peripheral beat, is grounded by spooky horn calls, and ghostly echoes of some lost orchestra. Chilling, haunting, and absolutely timeless, Königsforst easily makes it into this top 10 ambient albums list.

    Listen


  5. The Orb

    Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld

    The Orb: Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld- Best Ambient Albums

    Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld forever married the ethics of dance culture into the spaciousness of ambient music. In the late 80’s, Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty performed “chill out” sets for the rave kids to come down to, allowing them an opportunity to show listeners a taste of a different sort of electronic music. While Cauty continued on with the KLF project, Paterson culled the remains of many hours of jam sessions, enlisted the help of future electronic wizards like Thomas Fehlmann and Youth to chime in, and all of a sudden “ambient house” was born. This album switches back and forth from the dance floor purity of “Little Fluffy Clouds” to one of the the most recognizable ambient tracks ever, “A Huge Ever Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Center Of The Ultraworld”. At just under two hours in length, this was the first epic ambient experience, and one that changed the landscape forever.

    Listen


  6. Tangerine Dream

    Phaedra

    Tangerine Dream: Phaedra - Best Ambient Albums

    One of the prototypes of electronic ambient music, and the first that Tangerine Dream employed the Moog synthesizer. Taking hours to tune every day, this attention to detail pays in spades as the multi-layered waves of sound proved to be excitingly fresh, and far ahead of its time. Phaedra is one of a few T.D. albums that stands alone in its place and time, gathering no moss and sounding every bit as exciting as it did over 40 years ago. While employing other-worldly sounds and noises, the stark melodies keeps us grounded and always coming back for more. This album was a huge commercial and artistic success in its day, and helped usher forth the proliferation of synthesizers in popular music everywhere.

    Listen


  7. Steve Reich

    Music For 18 Musicians

    Steve Reich: Music For 18 Musicians - Best Ambient Albums

    Some may argue upon Music For 18 Musicians place in the pantheon of best ambient albums, but its approach and delivery to the genre cannot go unnoticed. Based around 11 chords and elements such as human breath, it focuses on a simple pulse for 60 minutes. If ambient music is about extended periods of atmosphere and “environment”, this album is arguably the best of all time in these departments. While the quietudes juxtapose the crescendos, Music For 18 Musicians radiates a visionary stroke of genius influencing all musical structures to come after it.

    Listen


  8. Global Communication

    Pentamerous Metamorphosis & 76:14

    Global Communication: Pentamerous Metamorphosis - Best Ambient Albums Global Communication: 76:14 - Best Ambient Album

    Ok, I’m cheating a bit here by putting two albums in the three spot, but in this case it is absolutely deserving of it. Mark Pritchard & Tom Middleton combined their background of classical training and love of rave music, and created some of the most lovely and striking pieces of ambient music known to humankind with these two releases. While 76:14 needs no introduction with its certified classic status and nods to Tangerine Dream, it’s Pentamerous Metamorphosis that maybe needs a re-evaluation. The album consists of five G.C. remixes from the Chapterhouse album “Blood Music”, but you wouldn’t know that by listening to the albums. G.C. takes the very basest of elements from an 11 track indie-rock album, and transforms them into a five-track, 60 minute journey. Pentamerous Metamorphosis is every bit as brilliant as 76:14, perhaps even more so as listening to the album now proves it to be less dated and more relevant with its starker grooves and minimalist samples. Make no mistake about it, 76:14 is an undisputed monster of ambient music history, but Pentamerous is a better document to the power of remixing, the evolution of ambient house, and the excitement of discovering a stunning album overshadowed by its more publicly revered cousin.

    Listen to Pentamerous Metamorphosis
    Listen to 76:14


  9. Brian Eno With Daniel Lanois & Roger Eno

    Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks

    Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois & Roger Eno: Apollo (Atmospheres & Soundtracks) - Best Ambient Albums

    I try to avoid including two albums from the same act in these lists, but how in the hell do you make an ambient list without at least two from Brian Eno? Eno’s Ambient series of albums are all must-haves in any collection, but Apollo, arguably, is the cream of the crop. More so than the other Ambient albums in the series, Apollo conjured a sense of humanity that very few others could ever equal. With melodies that could break even the coldest of hearts, Apollo proves too impossibly beautiful to comfortably categorize.
    Listen


  10. The KLF

    Chill Out

    The KLF: Chill Out - Best Ambient Albums

    The KLF are perhaps the most rock ‘n roll “band” in the history of popular music — however, that must be saved for another post. The seeds of Chill Out were planted by Jimmy Cauty and Alex Paterson performing their “come-down” sets during the late 80’s rave scene, while Bill Drummond’s influence solidified the timeless beauty of this album. Never before has an album been more of a gateway between the old and the new, escalating disparities such as Elvis and acid house, transposing them over chanting monks and news blips about kids being killed in auto accidents. Chill Out is a capsule of taking every past experience and re-tuning it in a truly environmental way. Floating above the recorded ephemera is the heart-breaking pedal steel guitar of Graham Lee, further humanizing the completely alien experience. The KLF meant this to be the imagined soundtrack of a drive down the American Gulf Coast, and while they had never even been there, it couldn’t sound more authentic. The group used it as a vehicle to coyly promote their own tracks like “3 A.M. Eternal”, “Last Train To Trancentral”, and “Justified and Ancient”, but Chill Out was the moment their imagined concept album took on a much deeper meaning. While Elvis’s ghostly voice wafts in and out about living in the ghetto, and Acker Bilk’s “Stranger On The Shore” brings us back to nostalgic reality, we realize that the music has come full-circle, using all of the elements given to us, and wrapping it up in the most up-to-date package imaginable. The environment, the artistry, the melodies, the influences, and the attitude all come together effortlessly on Chill Out, and without saying a single word.
    Listen


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On this Day February 15, 2006

Winners at this year’s Brit Awards included, James Blunt who won British male solo artist, British female solo artist went to KT Tunstall.
Coldplay won Best British album for X&Y and Best British single for ‘Speed of Sound.’ Kaiser Chiefs won Best British group and Best British Live Act, British urban act went to Lemar, British breakthrough act was Arctic Monkeys, International breakthrough act was won by Jack Johnson. International male solo artist was Kanye West with Madonna winning International female solo artist. Green Day won International group and Best International album with American Idiot and Outstanding contribution to music went to Paul Weller.

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Goldmine1 The Zombies to release a career-spanning 5-LP box set

The Zombies career-spanning five vinyl album box set, ‘The Complete Studio Recordings,’ will be a pure collector’s fantasy when released on February 22, 2019.

The post The Zombies to release a career-spanning 5-LP box set appeared first on Goldmine Magazine.

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Goldmine1 The Zombies to release a career-spanning 5-LP box set

The Zombies career-spanning five vinyl album box set, ‘The Complete Studio Recordings,’ will be a pure collector’s fantasy when released on February 22, 2019.

The post The Zombies to release a career-spanning 5-LP box set appeared first on Goldmine Magazine.

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