Friday, 31 August 2012

Sergio Tiempo @ King's Cross

This video has just serviced on the internet: Sergio Tiempo playing a Chopin étude Op.10 No.1 on an upright piano at King's Cross St. Pancras! I think it's refreshing to see a well-known pianist let loose and just having fun (even if they are playing a Chopin étude!). Enjoy the video!

Happy Birthday Itzhak Perlman!!

Cathy Berberian and the Beatles?!

Today I had a hankering to listen to Luciano Berio, and more importantly remind myself of the vocal wonders of Cathy Berberian singing Berio. So, my first port of call was of course, Berio's Sequenza III for female voice (1965). I love Cathy Berberian's voice- it's purity, agility, versatility and character makes her one of the greatest singers in the 20th century, and a godsend for the avant-garde composers.

Weird enough, I was unaware Cathy Berberian also dabbled in interpreting songs by The Beatles which is completely on the other side of the spectrum! They should teach us that in music conservatoires. Have fun listening to her operatic voice singing Yesterday. 

What's even better is this arrangement of Ticket To Ride by Louis Andriessen, which sounds like how it might be sung by a Handel oratorio singer. Hilarious! I love Cathy's enthusiasm and humorous performance.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Paralympic Opening Ceremony

So, is it just me, or did the Paralympic Opening Ceremony feature a lot more classical music compared to the Olympic Opening Ceremony? It featured artists such as sopranos Denise Leigh, Elin Manahan, and Phil Cobb, Principal Trumpet of the LSO, not to mention two new commissions for the event by Errollyn Wallen (the ones that were classical that is). Oh, and an arrangement of the National Anthem by Benjamin Britten thrown in.

Here is the playlist:

Rihanna- Umbrella

Errollyn Wallen- Principia (new commission)

Benjamin Britten- arrangement of National Anthem

DJ Walde, DJ Excalibah, Goldierocks- Global Music Mash-up

Denise Leigh- Spirit in Motion (new commission by Errollyn Wallen)

Thierry Darnis- Hym de l'Avenir (Hymn to the Future)- Paralympic Anthem

Handel- Eternal Source of Light Divine (soloist Elin Manahan, trumpeter Phil Cobb, LSO)

Birdy- Bird Gerhl (written by Anthony Hegarty)

Koch and Gilpin- Gravity, Masque (new commissions)

Orbital- music for Collision

Ian Dury/ Chaz Jankal- Spasticus Autisticus (performed by John Kelly)

Beverley Knight/ Lizzie Emeh/ Caroline Parker- I Am What I Am (by Jerry Harman)

[Update: You can now also buy the music on iTunes here]

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

On this day...

On this day, John Cage's 4'33" was premiered in 1952. To this day, it's still just as mesmerising.

Thomas Adès slams Wagner and Brahms

Thomas Adès, British composer, pianist and conductor, has made his opinion clear on certain classical composers in a new book of interviews 'Full of Noises', describing the music of Wagner as 'fungal', Brahms's Symphony No.4 as 'a waste of space' and even claims Mahler can be quite 'self-loathing' but also occasionally brilliant. 

'Full of Noises' will be published in October, promising a book full of controversial opinions. 
Adès is about to have his opera The Tempest premiere at New York's Metropolitan Opera, and is working on his third opera The Exterminating Angel. Busy man!

Tweety tweety tweet

Notey Observations now has its own Twitter account! Follow for updates @NoteyObserv.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The new Mozart, in the literal sense.

If you're a follower of Hahn Bin on Twitter, and suddenly you discover his account has closed, it's because he's now officially changed his name to Amadeus Leopold. What?!

Always one to be eccentric, Hahn- I mean Amadeus, changed his name for his American citizenship in a bid to pay tribute to his idol, Mozart, and to Mozart's father. 'Leopold' also pays tribute to Leopold Auer, the great Hungarian violinist: "for me, without Leopold I don't think we would have the violin playing that we hear these days and the kind of playing I strive for every day of my life. So it's a tribute to the two most important Leopolds in my life." He also insists that this is not a gimmick, but a 'spiritual significance' for him.

If you don't know who Hahn Bin/Amadeus Leopold is, then I can only help by describing him as the 'Lady Gaga of the classical music world'.

A rare picture of Amadeus au naturale

His on-stage presence is fascinating. A far cry from the typical concerts we usually go to, Amadeus manages to mix rock, art, fashion and classical music all in one to make something fresh and exciting, a concert that's pleasing for the eyes and ears. He acts on stage, not in the sense of acting through the music, but he does quite literally move around and act according to the music. It's not just a concert hall anymore, it's a theatre. Meanwhile, he actually manages to play well, with the backing of Perlman (Amadeus was his protégé'), and with a great interest in performing contemporary music such as Cage or Penderecki. 

But, less talking, and more watching/listening. This video probably explains it all. I hope you enjoy his performance, and respect him as an artist who is doing something different. If the theatrics isn't your style, there's no reason why your ears can't still enjoy his playing.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Musical Design of the Week (6)

As promised, I'm posting up pictures of some very cool semi-quaver cufflinks I found at the giftshop at Chatsworth House. I was really tempted to buy these in case I had to get a gift for a male friend or teacher, but eh, who has £12.50 to spare in this economic climate?!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Mittwoch Aus Licht!!

Today is exciting because it's the world premiere of Stockhausen's epic opera Mittwoch aus Licht (Wednesday from Light) featuring four helicopters and more than 160 performers. AWESOME! (or to some people crazy). Consisting of a string quartet performing in helicopters, electro-acoustic music and a dancing camel, it has often been considered unstageable, but the Birmingham Opera Company has made it possible and it will be performed in its entirety for the first time ever.

Out of the seven operas in his monumental cycle Licht, Mittwoch aus Licht is the only opera Stockhausen never saw staged. The landmark event will take place in Argyle Works, Birmingham, a former chemical plant and venue for the BOC's production of Verdi's Othello. 

Most important of all is that you can view the live streaming of the Helicopter String Quartet (part of Mittwoch aus Licht) at 6:55pm GMT (it starts at 7pm) here:

On Thursday, you can view the live streaming of the WHOLE of Mittwoch on the BOC website.

There's no excuse not to see history in the making when it's that easy. Comment below to tell me what you thought about the performance.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Chatsworth House

Today on my way back down south after a few days at the Lake District, I visited Chatsworth House in the Peak District which is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. Proof here:

And as ever, I looked out for musical 'thingy-ma-bobs' and found quite a lot! This included a wonderful Steinway grand which was just sitting in the library. I asked for permission to try it out and I decided to just randomly sight-read Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata to serenade those touring the house. When I finished it turned out that a pretty huge group had gathered in the room to listen to me so that was nice. They even applauded! :)

Fun fact: In the 'State Music Room' there's a door with a violin and bow hanging on it...

Looks pretty real right? Turns out it's a 'trompe l'oeil' (an optical illusion) and I stood there for 5 mins trying to figure it out because it really messed my mind up. 

I was going to post one more picture, but it fits into the whole musical design series so I will post that up soon!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Musical Design of the Week (5)

I'm sure most of you have tried the wine glass trick, but these ensure crisp and perfect intonation every time!

Check out this amazing wine glass busker!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Music pens (old school)

I'm currently in the Lake District and decided to visit the Cumberland Pencil Museum because I like pencils and it's raining- ergo museum weather!

I don't know whether they make these anymore but I wish I had these in aural class when everyone would forget to bring manuscript paper.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Oh **** it!

Every piece should end like this:

Courtesy of a dear friend of mine :)

Musical Design of the...middle of the week (4)

This is just too good to wait till Saturday, and I haven't posted anything for a long time so... to say sorry, have a cake! (At least I think it's a cake... the violin looks too realistic IMHO.)

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Musical Design of the Week (3)

When I look at this picture, the first thing that comes to my mind is "Alternative Beatles Album Cover"?

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Harper Gruzin's 'Worst Rendition of USA National Anthem'

We've all been hearing a lot of national anthems lately (if you follow the Olympics), and the United States National Anthem has been played 27 times so far in the London Olympics this year. That's all fine and dandy, but hearing a bad rendition is hard to come-by. 11 year-old Harper Gruzin who is labelled a singer-songwriter (?!) gave a performance of The Star Spangled Banner at a FC Dallas- Los Angeles Galaxy MLS match. Here's a video:

Oh and if you're a fan and want to get updates, she has a page on She's performed at some of the greatest venues such as Coppell Middle School and Pizza Hut Park.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Musical Design of the Week (2)

And second MDOTW is.....

I would be willing to travel anywhere to find these stairs and climb them.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Grizzly Bear - new track!

I love Grizzly Bear. Sure this blog is pretty much about classical music, but I'm going to make an exception because this band is awesome, and they collaborated with Nico Muhly so... kind of counts?

Here's the second track from their upcoming album Shields which will be out later this year. Enjoy!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Save Sibelius Software!

In July 2012, Avid Technology announced the closure of Sibelius UK, home of the Sibelius development and support team. Avid claim this will make no difference to Sibelius.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Sibelius UK office was shut down last night, after a lot of drama surrounding Avid refusing to sell it back to its founders.

If you use this wonderful music notation software, or know others who do, please sign this petition- you're pretty much saving a lot of composers' lives in doing so, and therefore, music itself.


Lang Lang meets Yao Ming!

Lang Lang met legendary basketball player Yao Ming last night, and tweeted a few pics to show the extreme height comparison.

"Oh my good days I can reach a 12th. Can you imagine what @Yao Ming could do!?"

I really 'look up' to you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...