Oct 30

Two welcome reissues from Deutsche Grammophon

Two welcome reissues from Deutsche Grammophon.

One is of Leonard Bernstein conducting his 1985 version of the musical West Side Story with Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, Tatiana Troyanos, Kurt Ollmann and Marilyn Horne. Iconic photo of Leonard Bernstein on the back cover is by Lebrecht photographer Don Hunstein.

The other is a reissue of Heroes Symphony by Philip Glasss in 1996 which was commissioned and performed by the American Composers Orchestra together with Glass’ Concerto for Violin and Orchestra performed by Gidon Kremer, the Wiener Philharmoniker and conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi. Atmospheric photo of Philip Glass is by Lebrecht photographer Thierry Martinot.



Oct 30

Legendary bass-guitarist Jack Bruce 15 May 1943 – 25 October 2014

Jack Bruce, legendary bass-guitarist and co-founder of Cream, died of liver failure on Saturday. Born to musically literate parents in Lanarkshire, Scotland, Bruce attended fourteen different schools before enrolling at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Unlike the Conservatoire of today, the Academy looked down on jazz; since Bruce was heavily leaning this way, he left the Academy and toured Italy with the Murray Campbell Big Band. From that point, he would go on to play with some of the more respected and revered musicians in post-war music history, including Alexis Korner, Graham Bond, John McLaughlin, and, most notably, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, with whom he founded Cream in 1966. It was with this outfit – acclaimed by contemporary luminaries such as Jerry Garcia as the “heaviest” band in the world at the time – that Bruce won global fame, pioneering hard rock, heavy metal, psychedelia, and extremely loud improvisation. Their live shows were renowned, and reached such deafening amplitudes that drummer Ginger Baker suffered permanent hearing damage.

Despite, or perhaps because of, their tremendous success (selling either 15 million or 35 million records in two years; estimates vary between the two), Cream disbanded in 1968, having released Wheels of Fire – the world’s first platinum-selling double-album – earlier that year. Bruce went on to pursue other paths, including successful solo releases and collaborations with greats such as Frank Zappa, Tony Williams and Rory Gallagher. His final album,Silver Rails, was released in March 2014 to positive acclaim.

Jack Bruce
© Paul Tomlins/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Jack Bruce
© Paul Tomlins/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Oct 16

Cheltenham Literature Festival photographs now online

Photographs from this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival are now available to view on www.lebrecht.co.uk. Lebrecht photographer, Paul Tomlins, captured a varied selection of the speakers attending this year’s festival, including chef Yotam Ottolenghi, actress Sheila Hancock, writer Howard Jacobson, historian Simon Schama and the Right Reverend Rowan Douglas Williams. Click here to browse more of Paul’s Cheltenham photographs.

309572_Yotam Ottolenghi at the Cheltenham Liter copy

309568_Simon Schama at the Cheltenham Literatur copy

309561_Sheila Hancock signs copies of her lates copy

309554_Howard Jacobson at the Cheltenham Litera copy

309558_The Right Reverend Rowan Williams lectur copy

Oct 09

Christopher Hogwood, champion of early music dies aged 73

The renowned conductor, writer and musicologist Christopher Hogwood CBE has died aged 73. Incidentally, it was with the “Class of ’73″ that the Nottingham-born musician made his name, founding the Academy of Ancient Music in 1973 and specialising in performing Baroque and early Classical music using period instruments. Hogwood had over 300 recordings to his name, with his 1985 recording of Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’ rising to the top of the pop charts. Many critics deemed his purism too academic, while much of the public took the music to heart; his 1980 recording of ‘Messiah’ was particularly renowned for being an influential ‘new’ interpretation of an old piece. Always an influential figure, Hogwood was appointed juror for the Westfield International Fortepiano Competition – America’s first fortepiano competition, hosted at Cornell University. At the time of his death on 24 September 2014, he was Honorary Professor of Music at his alma mater, the University of Cambridge. He will be missed.

Christopher Hogwood
© T.Martinot/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Hogwood playing medieval harp
© G.MacDomnic/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Christopher Hogwood - sitting at piano - English conductor, harpsichordist
© Ben Gibson/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Sep 30

Bucolic Frolic at Knebworth 1974

Forty years ago on 20 July 1974, the grounds of Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, near the village of Knebworth, were transformed into an open-air concert venue with a programme entitled Bucolic Frolic. Lebrecht photographer, Bill Smith, was in the crowd capturing acts such as The Allman Brothers, Van Morrison and the Doobie Brothers, as they took to the stage in front of 60,000 festival goers. Bill’s photographs provide a brilliant time capsule back to the early days of outdoor music festivals and the energy of 1970s performers. Click HERE to browse all of Bill’s Knebworth pictures.

Since Bucolic Frolic, Knebworth concerts have become an important part of the festival scene, with famous groups including Led Zeppelin, Queen and Oasis all taking over this green pastoral corner of the English countryside at different times. Click HERE to view our full coverage of Knebworth concerts, spanning the past four decades.

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Van Morrison at the First Knebworth Festival

Knebworth Festival 1974


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Tom Johnston with the Doobie Brothers.
© Bill Smith/Lebrecht Music & Arts