Distracted Cellist

On a Quest to Focus


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About Clara Schumann (II)

Welcome back to another episode – I mean, blog post about Clara Schumann! Last time, I talked in great detail about ‘The Girlhood of Clara Schumann’ written by Florence May (if you’d like a refresher of that, go ahead and click here). Today I’m going to look at a biography that was published more recently, and as such will offer us different insights. As I write, I’ll continually compare this book to Florence May’s – not to judge one over the other, but simply to offer a more nuanced picture. Strap in for another journey through Clara Schumann’s life!

 

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About Clara Schumann (I)

One of my resolutions for this year was not only to read more books (I managed a shameful four last year), but to read more books about female composers and musicians of the past. To ease myself into it, I decided to start with the more well-known ones, and out of a personal preference, I settled for Clara Schumann, née Wieck. From the outset I found myself wondering whether we would have remembered her at all, had she not been married to Robert Schumann, one of the Romantic greats. The two are now usually regarded as the most well-known lovers in the history of music, which is just as well for my purposes – it means that a fair number of books have been dedicated to Clara. During the last few months I’ve had the chance to read two biographies about her, which I would like to review and compare for your benefit! For the sake of keeping it short-ish, I’ll start with just one book here, then review the next one in a different post. As always, grab a drink and a comfy seat, and enjoy.

 

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Film review: Mr. Holland’s Opus

Today, I would like to kick off a loose series of film reviews – to be specific, reviews of films in which music plays a major role. I’ll concentrate mostly on classical music, or classical traditions for now, since those tend to be niche films (as opposed to, say, High School Musical, Pitch Perfect and so on). Please remember that I am by no means a professional critic of anything; I’d just like to share my views on films that talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart.

Oh, and I’ll keep my reviews as spoiler-free as I can!

The first film I’ll be talking about is…

Mr. Holland’s Opus

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas

Director: Stephen Herek

Screenplay: Patrick Sheane Duncan

Music: Michael Kamen

Released: 19th January 1996 (USA)

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Review: Red Brick Sessions, 13th Oct 2016

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Peel Building, Salford

“Tonight we request that you forget what you thought you knew about orchestral concerts and do turn on your mobile phones and tablets.”

This is the tag line for The Red Brick Sessions, a series of concerts on BBC 3 Radio, played by the BBC Philharmonic. As you can imagine, I was hooked from the moment I read it. Multimedia concert performance? Programme notes not on paper, but delivered live to your phone or tablet? What would it be like? Would it even work? I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to the concert, and I was excited. Not only because I’d never seen the BBC Phil perform before (I know, shame on me), but also because seemed to be exactly the kind of thing I think orchestras these days should do – go with the times, make access to concerts and classical music easier, and just make it a good time both for the musicians and the audience.

So without further ado, here’s my account of the evening!

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