Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bohemian Fifths and birthdays

I am having a difficult time with all the celebrations of my birthday, which are very touching but take a lot of time and energy which one would rather spend on writing new works.
Benjamin Britten writes presciently to Hans Werner Henze in November 1963. Henze, who like Britten clearly understood a composer's duty, has died aged 86, the photo above is from the cover of his autobiography Bohemian Fifths, which is well worth seeking out. I have always particularly admired Henze’s Double concerto for oboe and harp which was available in a now deleted Deutsche Grammophon CD with the Collegium Musicum Z├╝rich directed by Paul Sacher, but which lives on as an MP3 download. Thankfully DG’s pioneering recordings of Henze conducting his first six symphonies have been saved from the corporate dumpster by the label that music lovers owe so much to, but which reviewers choose to ignore - Brilliant Classics. More on the Dutch label's dumpster diving here, while elsewhere Paul Sacher features in a post with the positively Lebrechtesque title of Sex, drugs and classical music.

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