Saturday, September 24, 2016
We are saddened to report the death of Basil (Nick) Tschaikov, former Director of the National Centre for Orchestral Studies and for many years a stalwart of London’s orchestral scene. Nick, who died on Frday, had been fading away unhappily in a nursing home. He was 91. As second clarinet of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1943-47) and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1947-55), Nick was a member of the Thomas Beecham elite. Even after he moved on to the Philharmonia Orchestra, where he served for a while as chairman, he continued to rise to Sir Thomas’s magic and played, in fact, in the old man’s final concert in May 1960. He went on to become Director of the National Centre for Orchestral Studies and a wonderful teacher. Here ‘s a memoir by the rock musician Rick Wakeman: My clarinet professor, a wonderful man called Basil Tchaikov, a fabulous player. I went to his lesson one day and he said “What’s troubling you?” And I told him. I said “I don’t know what to do. I’ve got a real problem. I’m doing all these sessions. I’m learning an awful lot. I’m playing with all sorts of different people. The doors are really opening for me in that area. But I’m now getting offered so many sessions that it’s starting to interfere. I’ve been skipping a few lectures, things I haven’t been able to get to. I just don’t know what to do.” I said “I’m frightened if I finish the course, which is another year and a bit, then those doors might close.” He said to me, “What you need to do is go and empty your locker. Walk out of the Royal College Of Music. Walk across the road.” Right opposite the Royal College Of Music is the Royal Albert Hall. He said “Walk up the stairs of the Royal Albert Hall. Do not look back. Walk around the Royal Albert Hall and go That’s where I want to be. That’s my next step.” And I said “Yeah!” And he said “And don’t come back.” Nick’s autobiography, The Music Goes Round and Round is fully readable now online. It appears that both of his grandfathers were Jewish musicians. One was second clarinet in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He is seen here in 1978 with the Philharmonia’s music director, Riccardo Muti and its financial supporter Ian Stoutzker.
This fall, Joyce DiDonato makes her greatly anticipated debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, on a three-concert series with Maestro Riccardo Muti focusing on rarely performed gems of the Italian repertoire. Ms. DiDonato sings Martucci’s La canzone dei ricordi (“Songs of Remembrance”) on a programme that also highlights Catalani’s Contemplazione and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. The performances take place September 29 & 30 and October 1 ; read more about the concerts via CSO Sounds and Stories .
From the Lebrecht Album of the Week: Two albums of Prokofiev concertos arrive in the same delivery, one piano, the other violin. Both are from pedigree artists, pedigree labels. Which one do I review? Here’s where you run into the problem of having too much music in your head. I cannot listen to the 4th and 5th Prokofiev concertos, or the 7th and 8th sonatas, without hearing Sviatoslav Richter as a parallel soundtrack, allowing others little room for manoeuvre. Likewise, the 3rd concerto which I heard Martha Argerich play with Riccardo Muti one Sunday afternoon more than 40 years ago with such effervescence that all else pales beside it. So forget the piano concertos…. Read on here. And here. And here.
The maestro dropped by the gorgeous Capodimonte Museum in his native town Naples on Sunday and couldn’t resist a challenge to play one of its historic pianos. Graham Spicer has the story – and the video – here .
The beautiful opera singer Daniela Dessi died in Brescia on August 20. She was diagnosed with cancer and began treatment last month. Our hearts go out to her husband, the tenor Fabio Armiliato, and their family. Fabio messaged: ‘A short, horrible and incomprehensible illness has taken her away in these months. The greatest opera singer of the last 20 years has gone.’ Engaged by Claudio Abbado at La Scala in the early 1980s, she was quickly taken up by Muti, Mehta, Sinopoli and other leading music directors. James Levine brought her to the Met. She often appeared with her partner, Fabio Armiliato. The pair were singing Aida together in Berlin on the night in April 2011 when their friend Giuseppe Sinopoli collapsed and died in the pit. They never forgot the horror of that moment or the nearness of mortality.
At the Salzburg Festival this afternoon, Riccardo Muti gave both concertmaster Rainer Küchl (pictured) and first violinist Eckhard Seifert solo bows after the concert, which appears to be their last. The first half was Richard Strauss Le bourgeois gentilhomme, apparently programmed for Rainer to float his trademark solos. Second half was Bruckner 2nd symphony.