Vienna’s Musikverein

IMG_4967In my teens and twenties, you would know exactly where to find me every 1st January – in front of the TV watching the New Year’s concert from the Musikverein in Vienna. My family would always get together on the first day of the year (whatever our post-New-Year state) to toast the new year, have a roast dinner, and most certainly not do any laundry (I think it’s bad luck?) My grandad loved to watch the concert, and as the musical grandchild (one sister is a wordsmith, the other an artist), I was the one to sit and watch it with him. Although hours of Strauss waltzes isn’t the sort of thing I’d choose to listen to, it was nice to watch it with him and it became something of a tradition. Continue reading

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Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 6

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Tchaikovsky monument outside the Moscow Conservatory

Another programme note – this time for Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphony. I really enjoyed researching this piece (and playing it!) and reflecting back on my trip to Russia.

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Swan Lake, Shostakovich and the Soviets

IMG_5826.JPG2017 is a pretty big year. Both me and Russia are marking big anniversaries. I celebrated a significant birthday, and Russia marked the centenary of the 1917 Revolution. So, you know, basically the same. I decided, ‘why not “celebrate” both’?! St Petersburg and Moscow were both places I’ve always wanted to visit, but they’re both a little more special (and distant) than a typical European city break / weekend-away, so it seemed ideal to combine the two anniversaries!

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Necropolis of the Russian Art Masters

IMG_6227When planning my recent Russian trip, I spent a fascinating yet morbid evening on the website findagrave.com. In Vienna I’d read that theĀ Zentralfriedhof cemetery was a fascinating place to visit but we ran out of time and it’s somewhere I hope to revisit. I anticipate, though, that it’s unlikely I’ll visit St Petersburg again and so I wanted to make sure I ticked off paying homage to some musical heroes whilst I was there. Continue reading

Musical mooch in Moscow

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I’ve just got back from Russia and had the absolute best time. I can’t recommend the place enough – both St Petersburg and Moscow are drenched in music and history, and you can hardly walk down a street without seeing a plaque with a famous name on it (particularly Lenin’s).

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Lenin woz here

There are numerous individual musical locations I’m going to talk about later, but I thought I’d start off with a musical mooch I took, taking in a few locations within a 30 minute walk in the centre of Moscow. Continue reading

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

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I think it isn’t going too far to say that the Royal Opera House is one of my favourite places in the whole world (on a list that includes the British Museum, my parents’s settee, and my own bed). I have fallen in love here, cried here, discovered new favourites, and generally been emotionally overwhelmed by some of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen. Continue reading