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Robert Schumann

Clara Schumann in 1878

Clara Schumann: still in Robert's shadow even after 200 years

Exactly 200 years ago, on 13 September 1819, Clara Schumann was born in Leipzig as Clara Wieck. She is among one of the greatest pianists of the nineteenth century. Against her father's wishes, she married Robert Schumann, whose work she fervently promoted. She also wrote well-received compositions of her own and was more famous than Robert. Yet after her... 

Three CDs you wouldn't have wanted to miss in 2018

The end of the year is approaching. So the lists fly around our ears again with 'most beautiful', 'best', 'most unforgettable', 'most moving'... fill in the blanks. I think compiling top-soaps is actually a typically male thing, but I'm not that bad. Here are three CDs you wouldn't have wanted to miss this year - in no particular order. Louise Farrenc: Variations for Piano Biliana Tzinlikova,... 

The 5 concerts you don't want to miss at November Music

The female composer, she continues to stir minds. My article following Mathilde Wantenaar's world premiere of Damocles unleashed a fierce discussion on Facebook. 'Why should women be given preferential treatment?" an angry man asked. 'All that matters to me is quality, not whether a piece of music was written by a man or a woman.' He got icky about the m/f discussion, which... 

Fanny Mendelssohn: in the shadow of Felix

Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) was the four-year older sister of Felix Mendelssohn. They both received a solid musical education, with her surpassing him in virtuosity at the piano. Her relationship with Felix was intense, but also suffocating. At his hands, Fanny Mendelssohn failed to build an independent career as a composer. To this day 

Aribert Reimann: 'I cherish both musical tradition and modern developments'

Despite his advanced age, German composer Aribert Reimann (1936) is still very active. In October 2017, his opera L'invisible had its world premiere at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, based on a play by Maeterlinck. On 14 December, the first performance of his cycle Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht will already be heard at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. He composed it for soprano Mojca Erdmann and... 

Composer Marie Jaëll: French flair, Russian drama

Had her name been Marc, Marie Jaëll (1846-1925) was undoubtedly considered one of the important French composers of the late nineteenth, early twentieth century. But then again, she was once a woman - so unimportant. Praised during her lifetime by none other than Franz Liszt, she was soon forgotten after her death. At most, she lived on in the by... 

Dying Swan (Rinus Sprong), photo Studio Oostrum

Even with eyes closed, DEDJDD's Ballet Blanc is a beautiful evening

The Zuiderstrandtheater in The Hague premiered Ballet Blanc on 8 March. It is the new full-length performance by The Dutch Junior Dance Division. The young dancers tour the country with a collage of fifteen short pieces. Blanc is the unifying factor in a fresh mix of classical and modern ballet, with tragedy, poignancy and humour. The juniors... 

Franz Liszt: from virtuoso keyboard lion to ascetic innovator

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was revered in his own time as a true devil's advocate, whose virtuoso piano playing set many a woman's heart racing. But above all, he was an innovator, whose ambition was to "hurl a spear into the infinite space of the future". The Concertzender highlights life and work for two hours on Wednesday, 2 December 

Reinbert de Leeuw in Zomergasten, not in Muziekzomer

In just over two weeks, the NJO Music Summer will start, with more than sixty-five concerts performed by young musicians, spread across more and less obvious venues in the province of Gelderland. One hundred and sixty-one youngsters streamed in from all over the world to show their skills from 1 to 17 August. Anyone staying in Gelderland at that time could not possibly miss their presence.

There are performances at former factory sites, such as the Zoetenlaboratorium in Arnhem, the Zwitsalterre...

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Shirokuro © Anja Beutler

Unmercifully gracious, 'Shirokuro' builds on hammered Ustvolskaya @HollandFestival

Holland Festival

The collaboration between pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama and choreographer Nicole Beutler in the performance 'Shirokuro', seen last week at the Holland Festival, provides a beautiful perspective on two piano sonatas by Galina Ustvolskaya. 'Shirokuro' means black and white in Japanese. Despite strong visuals and impressive co-protagonists on stage, the Russian composer's absolute music is never explained and therefore retains its sheer power.

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