Norman Lebrecht is surely the most controversial and arguably the most influential journalist covering classical music. Here in conversation with host Gilbert Kaplan, he focuses on today’s key issues: Who are the best young conductors? Which of today’s composers are capable of connecting with the audience? Which are the best and worst recordings?
From his perch in London he has covered and uncovered the classical music world in his full-page weekly column in the Evening Standard which through the internet is must-reading around the world.
He almost never reviews concerts, concentrating on reporting on the organizations and the people managing – or as he often sees it, mismanaging – the classical music world as well as the stars who dominate this culture. All this with a sensibility normally associated with a political reporter or even a police reporter. He was the first to predict the demise of the major classical record companies – now documented in his recently released book The Life and Death of Classical Music.
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat, Opus 106 “Hammerklavier.” First movement [excerpt]. Artur Schnabel, piano. EMI Classics 7 63765 2.
Johann Sebastian Bach Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Continuo in D minor “Double Concerto”. Second movement [excerpt]. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Sir Eugene Goossens. David and Igor Oistrakh, violin. Deutsche Grammophon 447 427-2.
William Joseph Russo Street Music, Opus 65 “A Blues Concerto” [excerpt]. San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Seiji Ozawa. Corky Siegel, harmonica and piano. Deutsche Grammophon 463 665-2.
Jacques Brel “Ne Me Quitte Pas.” Nina Simone, vocal and piano. Philips 822 846-2.
Gustav Mahler/Uri Caine Das Lied von der Erde “Der Abschied” [excerpt]. Uri Caine Ensemble. Aaron Bensoussan, cantor. Winter & Winter 910 004-2.
Peter Lieberson Neruda Songs “My love, if I die and you don’t” [excerpt]. Boston Symphony Orchestra. James Levine. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano. Nonesuch 7559-79954-2.
Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9 in D major. Third movement [excerpt]. Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Bruno Walter. EMI Classics 7 63029 2.