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Now the music industry is suffering from a famine of facts

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Bhaskar Menon, a leading figure in EMI Worldwide, has died aged 86. In a typically delusive Slipped Disc post Norman Lebrecht states that "He was responsible, with George Harrison, for organising the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh". So now the click bait has hit social media and Norman's readership numbers  are spinning like a fruit machine , let's look at the facts. In his autobiographical I Me Mine George Harrison recounts how:  "It must have been in 1971 when I was in Los Angeles doing the Raga soundtrack album. Ravi [Shankar] was talking to me and telling me how he wanted to do a concert, but bigger than he normally did, so that he could raise maybe 25,000 dollars for the starving in Bangla Desh. He asked if I could think of some way of helping, say for instance for me to come on and introduce it or maybe bring in Peter Sellers… something to help, anyway. " Ravi Shankar and George Harrison went on to organise The Concert for Bangladesh , with help fr

Because we will never again sow division

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We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all. Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried. That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division. Extract is from poem recited by Amanda Gorman at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden. Report on civilian collateral casualties caused by Coalition airstrikes in Iraq via this link . When will they ever learn ? New Overgrown Path posts are available via the link at the top of the page. Any copyrighted material is included for critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

How to reach a big new post-COVID classical audience

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Bruno Walter's 1938 Vienna Philharmonic interpretation of Mahler's Ninth Symphony still has the power to move and enlighten, despite the technical limitations of the recording. Similarly Wilhelm Furtwängler's Berlin Philharmonic concert recording from 1949 of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony still reminds us that beauty is more powerful than hatred, again despite considerable technical limitations. Today, blowing 866 million euro on a not quite acoustically perfect concert hall is the go-to solution for saving classical music, which means a celebrity conductor can  throw his batons out of the pram  when he is not rewarded with a blinged-out new hall. So why, given these contemporary priorities, can great recordings from the past touch us so deeply when heard through the technology equivalent of a tin shed concert hall?  The answer lies in the little-understood but vitally important process of listening . There is no such thing as perfect sound , or historic sound, or bad

Thoughts on Simon Rattle's socially distanced Schubert

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When listening to BBC Radio 3's broadcast of Berg's Violin Concerto and Schubert's Ninth Symphony with Simon Rattle, the London Symphony Orchestra and soloist Leonidas Kavakos, I was struck by how engaging the sound was. Engaging is not the same as life-like, and the sound captured in LSO St Luke's - a repurposed 18th century Hawksmoor church - was not what would be heard in a conventional concert hall. But the separate voices - both sections and soloist - within the orchestra could be clearly and separately heard, without compromising the overall integrity of the sound picture**. If I can find a word to describe the sound it was 'commercial'. In this context I am not using commercial as a pejorative; but as a description of a sonic experience likely to engage ears attuned to recorded sound from beyond the classical world - and that is classical's target market. If classical music wants a wider audience, it must engage new listeners. So it is difficult

Quite simply glorious music - and what is wrong with that?

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Classical music in the UK has become a silly and dangerous boxing match. In one corner are the virtue signallers who advocate any music which ticks the right boxes, irrespective of its merit . In the other corner is the growing anti-woke movement feeding off the click-bait power of alt-rightism . And enthusiastic support for this unseemly struggle comes from the blame-everything-on-Brexit claque . I was reminded of how this leaves much glorious and moving music relegated to the sidelines when listening last night to Nikolaus Harnoncourt's recording of Bach's Motets BWV 225-230 with his Concentus musicus Wien and the Stockholm Bach Choir. All the emotional power of the Passion's is contained in these relatively brief and overlooked masterworks. Great music like this can speak so eloquently when it is not drowned out by the unhelpful outpourings of our cultural commentators.  New Overgrown Path posts are available via RSS/email using the link at the top of the page. An

This LP is dedicated to Richard Wagner

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Composer Klaus Schulze has said 'I still love my Richard Wagner, who influenced me heavily. The way Wagner’s music introduced me to the use of dynamics, subtlety, drama, and the possible magnitudes of music in general remains unparalleled to me. There can’t be any doubt about it'. Schulze's 1975 release Timewind seen above* carries the message 'This LP is dedicated to Richard Wagner', and the two tracks of truly Wagnerian proportions on the original vinyl release were titled Bayreuth Return and Wahnfried . So why doesn't the name Klaus Schulze mean anything to the vast majority of classical listeners? The answer is because Klaus Schulze, who also uses the the alias Richard Wahnfried, is a creative maverick who was a leading figure in the development of the kosmische musik  known popularly as Krautrock, which he then morphed into the proto-ambient Berlin School of electronica, and is today best known as the Godfather of Techno and the Pope of Electronic

When Alfred Brendel's Steinway played jazz

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After Alfred Brendel  retired from the concert platform in 2008 the Berlin Philharmonic Foundation decided to auction the Steinway d-524780 piano kept for his appearances at the Philharmonie. The successful bidder was Siggi Loch , who after a successful career in producing and managing rock acts reached the position of President of WEA Europe. But in 1992 he moved away from rock music to fulfill his dream of creating his own independent jazz label. Over three decades ACT Music has become one of the most important and respected global jazz labels, and has nurtured the talent of many musicians including Nils Landgren and the sadly-departed Esbjörn Svensson . It is notable that ACT have not succumbed to the 'smooth jazz' virus. Instead, guided by Siggi Loch, the label has continued to probe the cutting-edge of jazz with, for example, Sufi Jazz  and Islam Blues CDs; this was the first World Music project that integrates the classical music of the Ottoman Empire with Western jaz