by Sean Shibe February 24th, 2012

Why I am grateful to BBT

I am very flattered to have received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship 2012. Upon first glance the award seems to be a simple one of money, but after even so short a time as a week, I am noticing how far-reaching the benefits of being a recipient are. Continue reading this entry »

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by Bram van Sambeek January 5th, 2012

Sebastian Fagerlund Bassoon Concerto, step 1

The moment that I decided to leave my orchestra job, I wanted to focus mainly on playing chamber music and playing new music. Being a bassoonist you hear the phrase “there’s not enough repertoire for the bassoon” too many times, even by colleagues. Even though I don’t agree (it’s just a matter of selecting the right pieces out of very many), I see it as a challenge to find the Mozart and Mahler of this time and commission them for new works. With my BBT funds and Susan Rivers’ great commissioning experience, I felt like I got exactly the award that could help me with this ambition.

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by Sara Bitlloch November 28th, 2011

Making Friends with op.130 – a diary

This blog first appeared on the Elias String Quartet’s dedicated website www.thebeethovenproject.com

Up until recently, I’d always found op.130 (and its last movement op.133) the hardest Beethoven quartet to understand. It’s the first, 3rd, 4th and last movements (the Grosse Fugue) that were particularly enigmatic to me. I didn’t understand the connections between movements, the tonality relationships, what the characters are, and the meaning of this 15 minute relentless fugue that ends it. The fugue seemed an intellectual tour de force to me, but without the incredible depth of emotion there is in all of Beethoven’s other music. However I was convinced that this must be from my own lack of understanding rather than Beethoven’s fault! We’ve just had a week of rehearsals to really get to grips with it, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to immerse myself in the op.130 world and find my way into it….

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by Erik Bosgraaf August 31st, 2011

Bach revisited

As I am writing this I am taking a small break listening to the first edit of my new CD Bach: Concertos for Recorder.

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by Oliver Heath July 6th, 2011

A Cycle in Salamanca

A couple of weeks have passed since we returned from Facyl, an annual arts festival held in Salamanca, Spain where we performed the complete string quartets of Beethoven over six days.  It was a remarkable experience, both completely energizing and completely exhausting, and one that will surely stay with us for the rest of our days.

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by Erik Bosgraaf April 11th, 2011

Music, honesty & craftmanship

On the 21st February I was awarded the Dutch Music Prize, the highest Dutch state award for music, at a concert with the Dutch Chamber Orchestra at Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.  On the same day Graham Johnston, David Hoskins and I got together for the second time to shoot part of a short documentary film for BBT.  Earlier, we had gathered (with Susan Rivers as well) in Paris at the workshop of Ernst Meyer and sons, a world famous recorder builder. The BBT has enabled me to pursue our mutual quest for a recorder sound propelling us right into the 21st century, fitted for big orchestras and large halls. His instruments and the way I can use them to project sound is simply stunning – Ernst’s work was of great use in the collaboration with the Dutch Chamber Orchestra and Gordan Nikolic.

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by Martin Saving March 28th, 2011

How fast shall we play?

Elias String Quartet invites its audience to share in its journey at www.thebeethovenproject.com as they work towards the complete cycle of Beethoven String Quartets.  Kicking off the quartet’s blog, viola player Martin Saving considers the difficult subject of tempo…

The subject of tempi in Beethoven’s quartets is a controversial one. These pieces have throughout the years entered the subconscious of professional musicians, amateurs and audience, and the tradition, handed down by the great quartets of yesteryear, has become a norm against which all subsequent performances are judged. The recordings and performances we grew up with and the interpretive choices the artists made have become an integral part of our outlook on the masterworks. And the choice of tempo in music that so many people dearly love can arouse strong feelings: When the Kolisch Quartet performed Beethoven’s opus 95 quartet in Paris according to the indicated metronome markings, presumably in the second quarter of the last century, a fistfight ensued.

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by Peter Cropper March 28th, 2011

Beethoven’s String Quartets

Today, Elias String Quartet launches a new website which invites its audience to share in its journey towards the complete cycle of Beethoven String Quartets.  To launch the site, the quartet asked Peter Cropper – with decades of experience of Beethoven String Quartets behind him as 1st violin of the Lindsay Quartet – to give his own an insight into the breadth of the Beethoven Quartets…

BEETHOVEN’S STRING QUARTETS are universally acknowledged as the most profound group of pieces in Western music. I played each quartet at least 200 times over thirty years and never tired  of them. There was always some new element that was uncovered in each performance. Quartets are a conversation between 4 players sometimes agreeing and sometimes arguing in the sense that we sometimes play the same tune together but we could equally barge in with another idea. Continue reading this entry »

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by Nino Gvetadze March 14th, 2011

Animating Liszt

Monday, 28th of February

It’s early morning in London.  I didn’t sleep well, because of the excitement of the coming day and the rest of the week. Finally the long-awaited production of my Liszt CD is taking shape. Lots of questions in my head, but one thing is for sure: it all feels natural.  It has to be done, there is no doubt about it!

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by Henk Neven December 1st, 2010

Schumann with the spirit of Britten

21 November 2010. We just arrived in the extreme darkness in Westleton, Suffolk. After having it for years in my head, the idea of making my first CD (for Onyx) with Loewe Ballades and Schumann Liederkreis op. 39 will become a reality this week.

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