Touching Stars Alexis Ffrench Download 'Touching Stars' on iTunes
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It’s a Bank Holiday weekend, which has prompted Catherine Bott to ask: “What did composers do in their free time?”
From the cycling enthusiast Edward Elgar, to the chess-playing Sergei Prokofiev and football referee Dmitri Shostakovich, Catherine explores composers’ hobbies, providing a fascinating insight to their personalities and sources of inspiration.
Catherine Bott looks ahead to the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition with a potted history of the instrument, encompassing organ, virginals, harpsichord, clavichord, fortepiano and modern piano. Catherine will celebrate some of the piano ‘rock stars’ over the centuries, such as Franz Liszt and Lang Lang, as well as selecting music by Handel, Bach, Schubert and Peter Maxwell Davies.
What is a ‘virtuoso’? The word comes from the Latin meaning ‘virtuous’ or ‘good’, and the dictionary says “one having special knowledge and skill in an art”. Nowadays it’s almost exclusively applied to musical performance – so what does a singer or player need to qualify? Is it just about dazzling technique, or are there different ways of being a virtuoso?
In this edition of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music, Catherine Bott takes a look at various aspects of musical virtuosity, from Joan Sutherland’s effortless coloratura singing to Lang Lang’s keyboard wizardry, with music by Handel, Liszt, Monteverdi and Richard Strauss.
An hour of flying fingers, vocal agility, superhuman breath control and heartfelt emotion – because there’s virtuosity in simplicity, too.