See the Nutcracker at the Cinema this Christmas

If you can’t make it to the Royal Opera House to see The Nutcracker this Christmas, you need not miss out. Opus Arte, the ROH’s multi-platform arts production and distribution company, is bringing The Nutcracker to cinema screens across the country, filmed in a high-definition recording from the Royal Opera House itself. To promote the… Continue reading See the Nutcracker at the Cinema this Christmas

Leonard Bernstein: From Mahler to the Beatles

For our discussions on The Beatles’ Revolver album I dug out the clip below from Leonard Bernstein’s celebrated lecture series The Unanswered Question, Six Talks at Harvard. This short extract is from Lecture 5: The 20th Century Crisis, in which he focuses on Mahler’s 9th Symphony. He sees this great symphony as a prophetic vision… Continue reading Leonard Bernstein: From Mahler to the Beatles

The Beatles’ Revolver and the Universal

In his book The Sixties, an exhaustive history of the 1960’s, Arthur Marwick introduces his subject as follows: If asked to explain the fuss, both survivors of the decade and observers of the repeated attempts subsequently to conjure it up again could probably manage to put together a list of its most striking features, which… Continue reading The Beatles’ Revolver and the Universal

Free Downloads of Classical Symphonies by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, one of the finest in the world, is offering free downloads of 10 great symphonies to celebrate its 120th anniversary. Registration is required, and the symphonies will remain online until the 24th November. The recordings feature world-class conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Chailly and Mariss Janson, so this is quality… Continue reading Free Downloads of Classical Symphonies by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Beatles’ Yesterday and the Nature of Belief

As a non-religious person, I’ve always struggled with the concept of ‘faith’. It’s not that I disagree with it or oppose it, it’s just that I’ve never been able to fully understand it. Whenever religious people talk of their ‘belief’ and their ‘faith’, they seem to mean it in a different sense to the way… Continue reading The Beatles’ Yesterday and the Nature of Belief

Free Download: Tasmin Little, The Naked Violin

The Guardian Media reports that Tasmin Little will be offering her next recording as a free download: Top violinist’s free digital download targets classical elitism. From the article: Little also hopes her recording, The Naked Violin, will be educative as well as enjoyable, and has recorded spoken introductions to the pieces to give technical and… Continue reading Free Download: Tasmin Little, The Naked Violin

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Gustav Mahler: Alienation and Spirituality

Mahler’s spirituality was defined by his personal inner demons and psychological struggles. He was a typical late Romantic in this respect. With Mahler’s music there is none of the objective contemplation of God that we see in the music of J.S. Bach, for example; everything Mahler wrote was highly subjective. His contemporary, one-time friend and… Continue reading Gustav Mahler: Alienation and Spirituality

Mahler and Hesse: What the Water Tells Me

Mahler’s composing hut in Steinbach. (Photograph courtesy of Alex Ross) Gustav Mahler was working on his Symphony No. 2 in 1894 when he decided to build a composing hut in a lakeside meadow in Steinbach. The builder who constructed the hut was a man named Franz Lösch, and in an interview with a Viennese journal… Continue reading Mahler and Hesse: What the Water Tells Me

J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Albert Einstein and Universal Spirituality

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor is not only a religious work, but a spiritual one. In other words, it transcends the theology of Christianity on which it is based and applies itself to a broader category of feeling that we call ‘spirituality’. This is what the eminent music scholar Yoshitake Kobayashi meant when… Continue reading J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Albert Einstein and Universal Spirituality