Some highlights from Joshua Rifkin's career(s):
- At the age of 21, in only five weeks, he wrote and conducted The Baroque Beatles Book, an album of Beatles themes rendered in the styles of Bach and Handel.
- On Wildflowers and In My Life, he arranged some of Judy Collin's best tracks, including "Albatross" and "Suzanne."
- Rifkin helped kickstart the 70s ragtime renaissance with three acclaimed Joplin albums.
- In 1981, he published an infamous paper [JSTOR] declaring that Bach's choral work wasn't actually choral work as we understand it. Rather, Bach intended only one singer to take each vocal part...
The English Baroque Festival Orchestra performs Händel's The Water Music with the English Bach Festival Dancers. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) [more inside]
Halvorsen's Duo for Violin and Viola (after Handel), played by Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman in London, 1977.
SLYT: Awesome Silent Monks singing the Halleluia chorus! Did this really not make it here yet? Totally awesome, but delete with prejudice if it's lame or a double. If not, Happy Holidays to everyone!
Nearly 122 years ago, The first field recording was made. In the Crystal Palace, London, 4000 voices were recorded singing Handel's Israel In Egypt. [more inside]
For many, this time of year brings to mind George Frideric Handel's masterpiece "Messiah" - a three part oratorio for orchestra, chorus and soloists. For many, the holiday season has not begun until the local Messiah Sing-Along. (Need a score to sing along? It's always a good idea to check the Choral Public Domain Library! And before you go, make sure you're ready with a handy - and hilarious - quiz!) But the Messiah narrative has much less to do with that omnipresent, tacit, eponymous character and much more to do with the shared and often painful condition of the human family and our attempts to understand and commune with the universe. Director Claus Guth has staged the oratorio using a setting that mirrors that experience: a funeral. [Clips of that performance within.] [more inside]
The Doctor of Music. "A General History of Music From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period, Volume IV", written by the English musician and historian Dr. Charles Burney (1726-1814) was published in 1789. Its first volume, completed in 1776, was the first History of music ever published. The fourth volume is of particular interest as it discusses the state of music in Burney's own lifetime. He observed the music, and musicians that he wrote about first hand. In fact, Burney was close friends with composers such as Haydn and Handel, he even played violin in Handel's orchestra, and lived with Dr. Thomas Arne for two years in London, as his apprentice. The fourth volume, to Dr. Charles Burney, was the most interesting as he preferred the music of the current time, finding no interest in "antiquarianism." In the main link, the entire volume -- in facsimile -- is available to readers. Burney also translated Pietro Metastasio's Memoirs. Also: The Burney Collection of Newspapers at the British Library. More inside.