Classical iconoclast is a English-speaking blog specialized in the field of classical music and opera. As such, Classical iconoclast is a qualified source of soclassiq, like Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc or Lucid Culture and many others. The oldest article indexed by soclassiq is dated 2012-01-01. Since then, a total of 2496 articles have been written and published by Classical iconoclast.
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The last article in Classical iconoclast, "Harawi 12 years on", is dated 2020-10-18. By 2019, this source had published 197 articles (57 since the beginning of 2020). Over the past 12 months, Classical iconoclast has published an average of 6 articles per month.
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Gweneth Ann Rand sings Messiaen’s song cycle Harawi, with Simon Lepper at the piano, at Wigmore Hall this evening at 7.30 UK time. A free live video of the performance will be available on the Wigmore Hall website for 30 days (with donations to Wigmore Hall funds welcome). Anne Ozorio wrote a review of Rand’s (then Gwenerh Ann Jeffers) Proms performance of Harawi in 2008. (Please see here AND here). “Easily the best Messiaen singer of her generation,” Ozorio wrote in another blog post.
Anne Ozorio (right) with soprano Sarah Minns in 2011 (photo: Roger Thomas) Sadly, the owner of this blog, Anne Ozorio, died on 22 August 2020. A few days before she left us, Anne asked me to keep Classical Iconoclast alive. In no wayy can I hope to rival or replace Anne's broad-based ex pert writing – on classical (and some popular) music and opera, film (especially from China/Hong Kong and Weimar Germanyy, and Chinese/Hong Kong/ and Macanese culture and history. For a start I would like to tell existing and new readers more about Anne and her background, based on things she told me and somewhat random research we did together over the past 14 yyears. Coming soon, so keep checking the blog. And Anne's blogs from 2008 to 2020 will always be worth exploring. Roger Thomas
Two pastorals : Beethoven's Symphony no 6 "Pastoral" op 68 and Justin Heinrich Knecht Le Portrait musical de la Nature , with Bernhard Forck conducting the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, part of the ongoing Harmonia Mundi series where Beethoven's music is presented in thoughtful juxtaposition, geared towards listeners already familiar with the basics of Beethoven. This recording examines Beethoven's Symphony no 6 in the context of pastoral traditions in European music, which evolved from the17th century and adapted to the Early Romantic aesthetic. Justin Knecht (1752-1817), a generation older than Beethoven, was an organist and composer who lived all of his life in Baden-Württemberg region. Knecht described Le Portrait musical de la nature as a "Tongemälde der Natur oder Groẞe Symphonie" (a tone painting in the form of a large symphony). In the first Allegretto, Knecht's written description suggests a scene where the sun shines, zephyrs blow, and brooks […]
Music critic CLAIRE SEYMOUR (Opera Today) recollects the phenomenal knowledge, writing skills and generous advice of Anne Ozorio, who would have been 69 today “I’m a large Eurasian, and I’ll wear something bright. You won’t miss me!” Anne’s response when I asked how I might recognise her when we first met, at an evening recital at Wigmore Hall during 2008, was characteristically no-fuss and direct. And, there she was when I arrived – smiling brightly, chatting vigorously, bustling among the other concert-goers in the foyer, many of whom recognised Anne and greeted her warmly. Our paths crossed when I was asked to join the Opera Today team of music reviewers based in London. Both of our lives had been driven by a passion for music: listening, reflecting, writing about musical performances, recordings and experiences. But, in very different contexts. Whereas my background had been a rather conventional ‘academic’ […]
Anne Ozorio and her brother Joe at the Ozorio family mausoleum in Happy Valley, Hong Kong Anne Ozori told me abou Mr Wu as we waited for a Barbican Hall concert on January 10, 2007. The next day I typed up from memory what she had said. So it is not pure Anne Ozorio, but the next best thing. Anne said I would have loved Mr Wu. I can see why. By ROGER THOMAS Anne Ozorio’s fathr was José Augusto Ozorio. (His Macanese nickname was Beano.) There has been a José (or Joseph or Joe) in every generation of the Ozorios since they started appearing in the Macau parish records when these were initiated at the beginning of the 17th century. Beano had a great friend in Hong Kong called Mr Wu. Mr Wu was an extremely rich, flamboyant businessman whose businesses included generic pharmaceuticals such as aspirin and the […]
Secrets of the Sahara ! Two magnificent evocations of the Sahara and its seductive mysteries : Félicien David's Le Désert (1844) an ode-symphonique, and Jacques Feyder's film L'Atlantide (1921). Both are long term favourites, but the soundtrack in the restored version of the movie is pretty banal, so I muted and played Félicien David's Le désert instead. The combination worked extremely well !Perhaps it's because the rhythms of Le désert so strongly resemble the rhythms of a caravan of camels marching single file through the desert. Scored for narrator, orchestra, tenor and choir, the piece unfolds at a steady pace, unhurried yet purposeful. For thousands of years, caravans like these have crossed the desert : it is as if the endless sand dunes (depicted by the strings) defy Time itself ; the tracks of the caravan erased as soon as the caravan has passed. David lived in Eygpt from 1833-35 […]
Beethoven Symphony no 9 "Choral" with in D minor, Op. 125, and the Choral Fantasy in C minor op 80 with soloist Christian Bezuidenhout, Pablo Heras-Casado conducting the Freiburger Barockorchester, new from Harmonia Mundi. In this Beethoven anniversary year, it is good that there are ventures which probe more deeply into the composer and his music. The year started with reconstructions, in full performances concerts throughout Europe, of the concert of 22nd December 1808, in honour of the composer, in Vienna which included the Fifth and Sixth symphonies, concluding with the Choral Fantasy providing a grand finale, Beethoven himself playing the piano part. Perhaps it says something about the stamina of modern audiences that some could not understand the ambitious scale of the programme. The Choral Fantasy is in many ways the embryo of Beethoven's Symphony no 9, now an anthem of hope and unity, all over the world.Although […]
L'enfant et les sortileges - Teapot (François Piolino) Child (Khatouna Gadelia) Chinese Cup (Elodie Méchain) Credit Simon Annand Glyndebourne at home, minus the garden. Champagne and strawberries optional. But a glorious chance to experience once more the magic of Ravel L'enfant et les sortilèges, in the Laurent Pelly production. In L'enfant et les sortilèges, the world is seen through the eyes of a child, still full of wonder, too young to be locked into rigid assumptions : innocent, yet still aware that there might be darker forces lurking just beyond. This isn't an opera that can be approached literally, with the judgementalism that some adults might prefer. Pelly, however, captures its elusive delicacy, where magical thinking co-exists with an awareness that harsh reality will eventually intrude, even on the pure in spirit. "L'enfant et les sortilèges" said Pelly, "lasts about 45 minutes, but has the depth of an […]
Dimitri Shostakovich's first film score, for the 1929 film by Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg, The New Babylon (Novyy Vavilon). The film makers were part of a co-operative known as FEKS (the Factory of the Eccentric Actor) thrived on the daring new possibilities offered by film as an artistic medium, thriving on futurism and the avant garde. The subversive spirit of the 1920's squeezed into political orthodoxy.Like the film makers, Shostakovich was young and idealistic : this was his first commission for the movies. (the score to be played live at screenings). Cinema was a truly innovative art form, in that it appealed to mass audiences who might not otherwise have been drawn to “art”. By the standards of the day, The New Babylon was daring. By working on it, the youthful Shostakovich was right in the centre of what was artistic avant garde in Soviet terms. He […]
Roderick Williams sings Schumann Frauen-Liebe und Leben at the Wigmore Hall with pinist Joseph Middleton, highlight of an unusual programme Williams calls "Woman's Hour" because it features Lieder that highlight the lives of women. As Williams says, Lieder aren't necessarily gender-specific, but works of imaginative expression. So composers and poets were male, but that didn't stop them from caring about women might think or feel. The idea that songs should be rigidly classified as male of female is cultural apartheid, a regressive demeaning of the very values of humanity that Lieder, and indeed the whole Romantic movement, stand for.Towards the end of the last century, Schumann's Frauen-Liebe und Leben came in for flak from some Lieder fans, thereby ruining it for female singers who risk being attacked for being "anti-feminist" if they like it. But surely serious Lieder fans should have known better. Nineteenth century women may not have had […]