Thursday, September 18, 2008

Latest news

While we were gone:

# Vernon 'Tod' Handley, the British conductor, passed away (read full obituary from The Guardian here). Tod did more for British music than any of his peer group, and was a musician of tremendous passion, integrity and imagination - but despite constant campaigning, he was never awarded a knighthood, unlike others who probably deserved it less. Hear him in recordings like this and this.

# The LPO's principal conductor Vladimir Jurowski announced his latest creation: his baby son, Yury (George), born on 10 September - many congratulations to him and his wife Patricia, and Yury's proud sister Martha.

# The Last Night of the Proms came and went, vibrato undamaged, but some commentators sound distinctly underwhelmed, Bryn or no Bryn. Meanwhile all the screams and tantrums about jingoism seem to have achieved some perspective for the first time as everyone assents that basically it's good clean fun - and even Safraz Manzoor in The Guardian doesn't accept that it's 'too white' (by the way, if you follow only one link from this post, make it that one).

# Meanwhile, Messiaen's St Francis of Assisi stole the Proms show utterly, receiving the best reviews of anything I've seen in ages. Unfortunately I was sunning myself in Provence (between thunderstorms and the Mistral) and missed it.

# London's first new concert hall since the Barbican 26 years ago is getting ready to open its doors. King's Place, situated in a snazzy new building beside the canal near King's Cross station, on 1 October with a bonanza of 100 concerts in 5 days. Long term, it's a superb new home for contemporary works, world music and the London Chamber Music Series on Sunday evenings (a cheery bye-bye to the Conway Hall, and thanks for all the streaming colds). Amongst others things. Read all about it here.

# An email arrived bearing a sneak preview of Philippe's Hungarian Dances CD, due for release on the Onyx label later in the autumn. It's even lovelier than I expected.

# Hungarian Dances itself was featured on Yours magazine's book club page. :-)

Back now, ready to pick up the pieces (where possible) and assess the way ahead in the strange new world of the credit crunch.