Friday 30 September 2011

Boulez takes over Southbank Centre for the weekend

If an entire weekend of Pierre Boulez sounds like fun to you, then you'll be pleased to hear that's just what's been programmed at London's Southbank Centre.  It cultimates in a performance of his Pli selon pli for soprano and orchestra, conducted by the composer.  Looks like there's plenty of tickets left, so if you want to show the old man your support, you know what to do.  Me?  I'm covering most of the weekend for, so expect my report soon.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Tetzlaff jumps to Finnish label Ondine

Slipped Disc carries news of another top artist leaving the safety of a big record label for the freedom of an independant one.  In this case, German violinist Christian Tetzlaff has left EMI to join the adventurous Finnish label Ondine, perhaps best known for their tireless advocacy of Finnish composers such as Rautavaara.  Tetzlaff isn't the only big name to have left EMI recently; Krzysztof Chorzelski of the Belcea Quartet told me recently, for a forthcoming interview for, of their frustrations with EMI and their shift to small French outfit Zig Zag Territoires.  It seems that the attractions can be greater artistic freedom and a choice of more unusual repertoire.  Let's hope it works out for CT.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Copyright extension bad news for anyone who loves music

No one seemed to think it was a good idea.  Two government-commissioned reports cast doubt on it's benefits to the music industry.  Nevertheless, the European Union Council has voted to increase the term of copyright on recorded performances from the current 50 years to 70.  Cliff Richard was poster boy for a long campaign that argued it was wrong for performances such as his own to fall into the public domain within the lifetime of their artists.  He and other famous artists can now rest assured that their early hits will not be viable for free use in advertising and other public platforms for some time to come.  Those artists and corporations with revenue now guaranteed for a couple more decades will paint this as a moral victory for everyone who creates; music lovers who now find previously available half-century old recordings put under lock and key and see performing rights traded like commodities might beg to differ.

The full implications of the legislation will not be clear for some time - European governments have two years to fall into line.  The headlines have focused on mega stars with back catalogues to protect, such as Cliff and The Beatles, but this will have ramifications for the classical music industry.  Devil's Trill will be looking at just what the implications will be, but in the meantime, Bob Stanley's excellent piece in the Guardian explains why the new law is good news for celebrities and bad news for music.

Thursday 15 September 2011

A whole lotta Cage

Over at Classicasource I review Apartment House's concert of music by John Cage at London's QEH.  The programme included his unexpectedly lovely String Quartet.  Then watch the above video and tell me Cage doesn't sound just like Vincent Price.

Friday 2 September 2011

Israel Philharmonic Prom disrupted by protests

It happened to the Jerusalem Quartet; now it's happened at the Proms.  It seems that Israeli musicians performing in the UK must now come to expect disruption by pro-Palestinian protesters as a given.  Last night's Prom featured violinist Gil Shaham and conductor Zubin Mehta, and included music by Webern, Bruch and Albeniz.  Protests apparently marred many of the items; the BBC took the decision to pull the live broadcast of the concert before much of it had been heard.  Igor Toronyi-Lalic was there and gives a full account at The Arts Desk.