We were very sad here at the Two Moors Festival to hear that acclaimed cellist Julian Lloyd Webber will no longer be able to play the cello professionally because of a herniated disc in his neck.
He’s been a staunch supporter of the Two Moors Festival and has played in many concerts with us over the years, as well as going off on all sorts of musical jaunts across the Middle East with artistic director Penny Adie.
Penny had this to say about the sad news: “Julian and I have worked together on many wonderful concerts within the festival and elsewhere, and the thought that we won’t again hear that glorious warm sound emanating from his cello is too sad to contemplate. His concert in Exeter Cathedral with the many young instrumentalists who took part in 2011 was the most moving ever and his infectious enthusiasm inspired them all to greater things. In one case, it proved to be the turning point in whether to make music her career – it did.”
We’d love to hear about the concerts you saw Julian play in. Share your memories in the comments below.
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of Edward Elgar’s death yesterday (February 23rd), we’ve decided to dedicate our Monday mood board to the gramophone – a piece of technology that Elgar in particular championed, conducting a series of recordings of his works between 1914 and 1925. The invention of the microphone in 1925 meant that more accurate recordings were possible and eventually, Elgar laid down the majority of his major orchestral works, as well as movements from his Dream of Gerontius.
1. Gramophone lighting
Upcycling old gramophones into lights is a bold interior design choice but one that looks lovely and would be a great addition to any music-lover’s abode.
2. The past vs. the present
Combining modern technology with blasts from the past is a truly brilliant idea and if you can’t quite reconcile yourself to giving up your mod cons, then match them with this gramophone docking station – definitely the best of both worlds!
We’re booking a trip to St Petersburg right now, home to the Gramophones Museum which boasts over 400 items from all around the world on display. Or, if you’d rather not go so far afield, London’s Horniman Museum has a brilliant collection of musical instruments that’s well worth a look as well.
4. In fabric
For a simple way to introduce some music into your home, why not use a bit of gramophone fabric as curtains, cushion covers or sofa covers? Compliments guaranteed!
5. Wear it with pride
For some really unique jewellery perfect for yourself or as a present for a friend, this gramophone necklace is definitely a winner.
Going to see a live orchestra for the first time is a truly powerful, magical thing, even more so if you’re quite young and still seeing the world through a child’s eyes.
Unfortunately, there are still countless barriers that prevent lots of children in the UK and beyond from experiencing the joys of a live orchestral performance – cost being one of them.
To help tackle this, the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) is putting on a series of daytime concerts that link to what school children are learning in school, with over 16,000 expected to attend, 60% of whom will be hearing a live orchestra for the first time.
Tickets cost £9, with schools asked to pay a nominal amount, but even this is too much for some of the most disadvantaged teaching establishments in south London, so the LPO is asking for £9 donations from classical music lovers to enable a further 2,500 children make it to these concerts free of charge.
Followers of the Two Moors Festival will know how much we strive to improve classical music education in schools in the south-west and we’re always pleased to hear of other initiatives further afield, so please do take some time to help fill the concert hall and pick which seats you’d like to donate.
You may all have heard of our grand piano disaster a few years ago that saw our newly bought Two Moors Festival piano delivered to our headquarters in Devon only for it to fall into the daffodils just a few feet from our gallery door. (It was even a question on University Challenge!)
So we do have our hearts in our mouths ever so slightly to hear that another festival – the Hebden Bridge Piano Festival – plans to celebrate the fact that the Tour de France will be starting in the town this year by pulling a grand piano up a hill by bicycle!
On April 5th, a team of the hardiest cyclists to be found in Calderdale will pull the piano up the longest continuous ascent in England – from Mytholmroyd to the top of Blackstone Edge, a route that’s been included in the Tour de France as one of the more gruelling features.
We think this really will be a true sight to behold so if you’re available, make sure you take up prime position along the route to see it all unfold on April 5th – and make sure you take some photos so we can all see it as well.
The Hebden Bridge Piano Festival takes place between April 11th and 13th. Tickets are available here.
To mark the passing of one of the world’s finest conductors, the Berlin Philharmonic has made all of Claudio Abbado’s concerts in its Digital Concert Hall free to view for anyone who heads to the website.
These recordings include Abbado’s collaborations with musicians such as Daniel Barenboim (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3), Gil Shaham (Brahms’ Violin Concerto) and Maurizio Pollini (Beethoven’s Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra in C Minor). There is also the documentary, Claudio Abbado: The Silence that Follows the Music, available to view.
Abbado, who passed away earlier this week aged 80, was born into a very musical family and was given his first piano lessons by his mother at the age of eight. He went on to appear with the New York Philharmonic, the Scala orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Every year, the Two Moors Festival holds a competition to find the most promising young classical musicians in the south-west, with a prize of £250, the chance to perform alongside professional musicians in the main two-week event in October as part of the Festival and the opportunity to take part in an exclusive masterclass.
The competition is open to those aged 18 and under on January 1st 2014 who are classical musicians of minimum grade seven standard, either living or at school in the south-west of the UK.
There are still places available for entrants, although entry will close on January 31st for this year’s competition, with the first round of auditions taking place on the weekend beginning 8th March.
Click here to find out more information and download an entry form.
If you’re a fan of classical music and want to make your views regarding the best classical music recordings made last year known, then you need to register your votes in the ninth annual BBC Music Magazine Awards.
In all, 21 CDs across seven categories have been chosen by an expert group of critics from more than 1,300 recordings reviewed in the magazine over the last 12 months, with a new Concerto category added to the Orchestral, Opera, Vocal, Choral, Chamber and Instrumental categories. Head to the website to listen to excerpts from the recordings and register your votes – you have until February 28th.
“From ravishing Wagner to captivating Britten, this year’s nominations are as fascinating and enticing as ever,” Oliver Condy, BBC Music Magazine‘s editor,” said. “And the artistry is as exceptional as it’s ever been.”
All voters are automatically entered into a prize draw that could see you take home a copy of all nominated recordings, a Cambridge Audio hi-fi worth £900 and speakers worth £430.
Followers of the Two Moors Festival will know how much work we do with pupils in schools across the south-west of the UK, putting on workshops with professional musicians and giving them the opportunity to take part in the festival every year, so it was with interest that we read of a new Ofsted report stating that a quality music education only reaches a minority of students.
Although it was found that the 120 music hubs set up as part of the government’s Music Plan to reorganise music support services had brought “vitality” and “energy” to teaching, very little was too often expected of pupils and only a handful of students were benefiting.
Michael Cladingbowl, director of schools policy at Ofsted, said: “Music is a demanding academic discipline, developed through exciting practical musical activity. However, the vast majority of the schools visited shied away from teaching pupils about fundamental aspects of music as they thought it too difficult. All children, not just the privileged few, should enjoy a good music education.”
How do you think this can be tackled? What would you like to see the festival doing, alongside our workshops?
If you’re looking for a good classical music-inspired Christmas present for friends and family, you might like to think about getting a copy of 4 Girls 4 Harps at Christmas – a brilliant CD just brought out by the quartet, who have really gone from strength to strength this year.
It includes traditional choral anthems cleverly mixed with jazz and folk and won rave reviews from BBC Music Direct, which described it thus:
“This will blow away the cobwebs – sparklingly energetic arrangements for four harps of favourite carols. The 4 Girls … do the arranging themselves, with versatility and imagination. Ensemble is watertight and there’s a real rhythmic elan to the playing which keeps you listening.”
It’s due to be released on December 2nd and you can pre-order your copy from Amazon now.
We were very pleased to have recently been the subject of conversation for Daily Telegraph music critic Michael White, who had some very lovely things to say about The Two Moors Festival.
He writes about how the festival began back in 2001 as the result of the foot and mouth crisis that devastated the south-west, as well as discussing the sheer number of concerts that are put on in just 10 days in October.
We were particularly tickled by this comment, made after this year’s main two-week event, which ended a few weeks ago:
“I’ve just been down there and clocked up six concerts in two-and-a-half days: some of memorable quality, given by major artists, and in places of exquisite beauty. It’s like going to the Wigmore Hall, with better views. And cows.”
You can read the rest of the article here. Please do tell us if you’ve come across the Festival in other news pieces – and we hope to see you at some concerts next year!