These are two videos produced by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. They are fine examples of what’s possible when the visual and musical arts are sympathetically combined. The artist shown at work is Zack Smithey. The music is the final two movements of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, one of the masterpieces of the Twentieth Century. The performers are David Shifrin (clarinet), Daniel Hope (violin), Paul Watkins (cello) and Gilbert Kalish (piano).
So, for the first time since our annual trips away began in 2001, 2010 will see the first return to a city we’ve already been to. By a clear majority (six votes as opposed to one each for Paris and Vienna) Berlin was chosen on 17th October.
The now-usual timing will apply: in and around the May bank holiday weekend. With the destination decided, it’s now time to move on to consideration of which musical events to attend. The main attraction (for Wagnerites, at least) is the complete Ring in the Deutsche Oper (28th, 29th 30th April and 2nd May). Though tickets for this are currently unavailable, it is expected that some will come on-stream eventually. Other operatic possibilities include Carmen, Rosenkavalier, Fidelio and The Marriage of Figaro, while Berlin is positively overflowing with concert and recital possibilities at that time.
Here’s hoping that we’ll manage to assemble a decent-sized group, hopefully including some first-timers.
UPDATE (25th November) : Dermot had already committed himself to Berlin long before the Group decided on it as the 2010 destination for our annual trip. Things have now moved on. Bernard, Jim and Ron have booked tickets for two operas which they will attend together (Carmen and Der Rosenkavalier), and Ron has also managed to wangle tickets for the entire Ring cycle. In addition, Bernard and Josquin have already booked their flights and accommodation.
UPDATE (18th January) : Jim & Carl have finalised their arrangements, and will spend the entire week from Thursday 29th April to Thursday 6th May. As well as the two operas already mentioned, both will attend the performance of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis in the Philharmonie on Tuesday 4th May. The most recent development is that Roy & Steven have booked flights, and will be in Berlin from Thursday 29th April until Tuesday 4th May. Musical involvement has not been finalised, but Monteverdi’s Vespers has been mentioned, as have Carmen and Rosenkavalier. All in all, things are shaping up nicely, with nine people now confirmed for the trip.
Hot on the heels of the recent deaths of Hildegard Behrens (also see Alex Ross’s appreciation) and Alicia de Larrocha comes news of yet another music death; this time, the Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer, who died of liver disease on 21st August.
Who’ll be next, I wonder? (And why does it take so long for these obituaries to appear?)