Dove takes flight at Easter
That's an epithet that can apply in so many ways to Sir John Tavener - a giant of stature, a giant of thought, a giant of spirituality, a giant of musical concept and, apart from his own self-confrontation where he could be brutally judgmental, he was always a gentle giant.
I was responding recently to a composer whose beef was that the Establishment (do we still use that term?!) continues to favour musical styles which are dissonant, complex and impenetrable and continues to disregard musical styles which are consonant, discernible and accessible.
It's a beautiful autumn Norfolk morning with the mist rolling off the fields. I'm in the mood to talk about music. You might think that sounds strings and harps but today it means trombones! Fields - hunting - horns - trombones - I got there somehow, so please read on.
"The sound of a glass ceiling breaking." This is how the BBC Proms website describes the innovation of a woman conductor being appointed to take charge of the iconic The Last Night. Marin Alsop, Chief Conductor of São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, first made her name in the UK as Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. I remember attending a performance by Alsop and the BSO of Mahler's 2nd Symphony when she drew an exhilarating performance from the players.
Summer is here and open-air opera is upon us - Glyndebourne, Garsington and W11 to name but a few, but let me cast back a little - nominations in the 'Best new opera production' category for the UK's Olivier Awards were announced just before Easter this year and it's interesting to observe that three of the four nominated works were ENO productions. One of the three, Caligula, was by a living composer - Boosey & Hawkes published, German composer, Detlev Glanert. The fourth nomination, also by a living composer, was staged at The Barbican - Philip Glass's, Einstein on the Beach.
In one of my early tutti talks, I mentioned the BBC Radio 3 blockbuster series Baroque Spring, which was presented throughout the month of March. This was such a dynamic and comprehensive overview of a period of music which has underpinned and nurtured so much which followed that I felt it was deserving of an entire tutti talk to itself.
tutti talk is our latest email strand and this is the first edition.