Showing posts with label Classic FM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classic FM. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Prime Minister engages with the musical community as never before

Apart from being remembered as the man who drove the UK over the cliff, Prime Minister David Cameron may also go down in history as the one who inspired the most music. All because he left his mic on after he made his speech on Monday saying he'd be leaving on Wednesday, and hummed a little tune as he walked inside - presumably singing a song as he waved us goodbye.

Since then the musical community has been very busy trying to identify the tune: The West Wing? Tannhäuser? It's difficult to tell, so instead, some exciting and creative musicians have been trying to turn it into something new, spurred on by a challenge from Classic FM.

Here's the pianist Gabriela Montero's splendid Bachian improvisation.

Composer Thomas Hewitt Jones has created an atmospheric cello lament, written and recorded between midnight and 2am on 12 July. He's had more than 140,000 hits already.

And last but by no means least, here's a clever piece of counterpoint, since Dave Cam is most definitely gone with the wind.

Our new Prime Minister, Theresa May
Is taking over later today,
Whatever happens, let her hum on her way... 

Ironically, the First Night of the Proms on Friday features one of the works she chose when she was on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs a couple of years ago: the Elgar Cello Concerto. Did they know something we didn't?

[A little update: the headline on this piece is in fact a joke. J. O. K. E. Irony and all that. One shouldn't have to point this out, but I guess we live in interesting times. One of the best ways to navigate through daily life in 'interesting times' is to try having a dark-hued belly-laugh at them. If it helps, good. If it doesn't, well, there it is.]

Sunday, October 05, 2014

We know the Mozart Effect - but what about the Korngold Effect?

This fun explanation turned up on Classic FM's Facebook page yesterday. We all know about 'the Mozart Effect', by which listening to Mozart is supposed to make your child awfully clever. But supposing your little ones like other composers too? [warning: irony font applies throughout]

So where do we go from here? Here are a few suggestions for composers who didn't make the shortlist above...

The Korngold Effect:
Child fills room with as many different percussion and keyboard instruments as possible, then eats chocolate while playing them all in F sharp major. Teachers express extreme disapproval, while secretly sympathising.

The Chopin Effect:
Child insists on cladding the living room walls in dove-grey silk to ease piano practice.

The Mendelssohn Effect:
This child seems to speak so easily that he/she is dismissed at school as a brattish know-it-all. Later it turns out that he/she is exhausted because in fact he/she has been putting painstaking hours of revision into every sentence to make it sound effortless.

The Scriabin Effect:
Child starts putting coloured filters over all the lights in the house and reaches a state of desperate over-excitement when they meet and mix. It'll all end in tears.

The Ravel Effect:
This fastidious child is a perfectionist in every way. Writes very little, but comes out top of the class every time. Is nevertheless only acknowledged by classmates for the one occasion when he/she decided to write the same two sentences again and again and again in different-coloured ink, just for a lark.

The Fauré Effect:
Only in evidence after age 16: youngster eyes up opposite sex while supposedly paying attention at respectable school prayers.

The Orff Effect:
Child decides to please teachers in a hardline school by writing exactly what they want. The result is crass and cynical, but everyone loves it.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Happy 20th Birthday, Classic FM!

Ah, I remember that day. Classic FM, the UK's first commercial classical music radio station, launched one merry morning in 1992. I was assistant editor of Classical Music Magazine at the time and everyone in the office wished the new kid on the block all the very best of British luck by placing a bet on Henry's Horse (remember that? Henry Kelly and the racing tips?).

We lost. But the station has continued its winning trajectory for two decades and is often first up to celebrate the achievements of the grass roots in the musical scene: the teaching of music, the charities that support it and, generally speaking, good music for everyday life.

Today they're offering a chance to win 1000 iTunes downloads an hour. We didn't envisage that 20 years ago.

And they chose to mark the big day...down at Morrison's. We don't find this kind of thing happening in our local Waitrose, I'm afraid. Well, not yet.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hannibal hits the high notes... plus the Monty Python of music, a mountaineering composer and a brand-new piece by Brahms

"I thought I'd end up in the steelworks in Port Talbot for the rest of my life," says Sir Anthony Hopkins. Is he the most open and straightforward person I've ever interviewed? Certainly one of them. And it was rather touching to hear that familiar voice speaking to me from Los Angeles, and to realise that his own, natural accent remains distinctly Welsh. As you'll know by now, Classic FM is bringing out an album of music by Hopkins. Today my interview with him about it is in The Independent. Read it here.

More light reading for Friday morning: I have an interview with the fantabulous and very funny pianist Jonathan Biss in the JC this week, which is here.

And back at the Indy, we meet the young Italian composer who went up a mountain to create a tune with a view...

That should hopefully entertain you over your coffee. And here's a bonus: a "new" Brahms piano piece has turned up in America and is to have its world premiere on BBC Radio 3 on Music Matters, 21 January, played by Andras Schiff. Christopher Hogwood apparently stumbled upon the work which looking through a collection of manuscripts in the US that had once belonged to the director of music at Göttingen University. The piece, a complete Albumblatt about two minutes long, was written in 1853 when our Johannes was all of 20 - the year he met Schumann and Clara for the first time. Perhaps it would have been amongst the pieces he performed to them on that first visit in Dusseldorf. It is apparently an early version of what became the trio section of the scherzo in Brahms's Horn Trio. The Guardian has more on this, here.