Portrait of Haydn during one of his visits to London (artist unknown) together with a breast pin belonging to the composer. Both from the Marion Scott Archive at Cambridge University Library. © CUL
Regular readers of this blog will know of my near-obsession with the Black Bear Music Club and will, I hope, smile indulgently as I take the opportunity to craft another post about the Club inspired by a concert given here on 27th September by Florilegium as part of the Cambridge Early Music Series. What’s the connection? Well, they were performing arrangements by Salomon of Haydn’s “London” and “Surprise” symphonies and I have often wondered whether it was arrangements such as these which were given by my friends at the Black Bear. What better excuse to revisit the programmes to have a closer look at Haydn performances and to spread the net a little wider to see what arrangements of the symphonies the UL might have in its collections.
Continuing in the theme of our previous blog post supporting the ‘Musical Feast’ exhibition in the Anderson Room, I thought for this post I would serve up a few examples of food, drink, and feasting in opera.
Feasts and banquets are central to the plot of many an opera. Some of these meals are successful occasions, but many of them turn out rather differently to how their hosts intended. Verdi’s Macbeth and Mozart’s Don Giovanni are just two operas in which these occasions do not quite go to plan. The end of Don Giovanni is a good example of how things can go wrong when one invites one’s enemies to dinner. The unhappy statue of the Commandatore arrives, as invited, before sending Giovanni down into Hell to pay for all his wrongdoings.
It’s getting to that time of year again when we start to plan the user education sessions for the new intake of music undergraduates. As always, the trick is not to re-invent the wheel, but to look at what others are doing and “borrow” their best practices where applicable!
A couple of months ago, I attended the IAML conference “Searching for Music in the Digital Age”. I attended a very interesting session entitled “Finding the Right Notes”, presented by Kirstin Dougan, who is Music and Performing Arts Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was reporting on a small-scale, but in-depth study, of how students and researchers go about finding music resources. This study used both direct and observational methods to investigate how undergraduate and graduate music students undertook finding music scores and recordings, looking at whether they were more disposed to use You Tube and Google than trying to make sense of the array of choices and interfaces that libraries offer.
Some of the many journals to which Hans Keller contributed. © CUL 2015
Hans Keller’s written output was prodigious: over the course of some forty years it encompassed several books, translations, libretti, lectures and conference papers and well over 1,000 published articles. These last comprised hundreds of reviews of concerts, festivals, operas, film music, recordings, newly-published music and first performances; book reviews covering not only music but also psychology, sport, literature and politics; regular columns for journals such as The Listener, Spectator, Music and Musicians and New Statesman which included elegant short pieces on football, on individual composers from Britten to Wagner via Skalkottas, Schoenberg, Mozart and his beloved Haydn, criticism and analysis (including his own Functional Analysis) and on political issues such as the future of the BBC. In these columns and other articles, he also explored with élan themes close to his heart – teaching, competitions and the concept of professionalism – and crafted many profoundly illuminating discussions of individual compositions from Peter Grimes to Haydn’s String Quartets. He wrote, always, with deep conviction, believing that at all costs, it was important to present the truth (as he saw it), however inconvenient.
Arrangement of John Williams’ themes. A2004.132
This weekend, 5th and 6th September, as part of the Blossom Music Festival (the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra) there will be a blockbuster tribute to the Hollywood composer John Williams. The programme includes many of John Williams’ classics including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Harry Potter, Superman, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and more. Continue reading
“I see you’re away on holiday in August, where are you off to?” people asked. “A church hall in Gateshead!” I beamed, much to the bemusement of my colleagues. But this seemed a simpler answer than the reality – that I was going to be spending my holiday frolicking around the fictional town of Titipu in a black wig, rehearsing and performing Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado with the splendid Dauntless Theatre. Coming back to Cambridge last week and realising that my turn to blog was coming up, I decided to go for a ‘what I did on my holidays’ post!
Harrogate Theatre. Copyright James Dhonau.