Monthly Archives: July 2014

Profile: George Handel

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George Frideric Handel is one of the most revered classical musicians of the 17th century and quickly rose through the ranks and gained international fame for his work.

Born in 1685 to George Handel (1622-97) and Dorothea Taust, Handel displayed musical tendencies from a relatively young age.

Despite his father's strict insistence that he forget about music and instead focus his attention on law, Handell practiced his skills on the hidden clavichord in the attic, with his mother's encouragement.

After travelling with his father across the country to visit a relative, who was serving as valet to Duke Johann Adolf, Handel was encouraged to play the organ.

So impressed was the Duke with Handel's skills that he convinced his father to let the young musician study music under Friedrich Zachow. 

This opened up many doors for Handel, who then went on to play the violin and harpsichord for the only opera company in Germany that existed outside the royal courts, as part of the orchestra of the Hamburg Oper am Gänsemarkt (Goose Market Theatre).

Despite his strong focus on music, Handel did study law in Halle University in 1702, although he left a year afterwards to travel to Hamburg.

Following that, he produced his first two operas, Almira and Nero, in 1705.

Later, he decided to take his musical genius to London, where he played for German Prince George, who later became King George I of Great Britain and Ireland.

It was from there that his career really began to take off as he formed a reputation for being one of the most renowned and well-respected composers of the century.

In 1719, Handel was invited to become the master of the orchestra at the Royal Academy of Music, which was one of the first Italian opera company's in London.

From there, he went on to produce several operas with the Royal Academy of Music.

However, although these were well-received, they were not as profitable as expected and did not produce particularly lucrative returns for the company.

Eventually, Handel broke away from the Royal Academy and produced Italian operas on his own.

However, like many fashion trends, the appetite for such operas was very quickly beginning to wane, and he then decided to make his mark by producing Oratios instead.

This proved to somewhat of a turning point for Handel and ended up being a big hit among London audiences.

Handel very soon became 'the latest craze' in 17th century London and he went on to produce over 14 concerts made up primarily of oratorios.

Some of his most famous pieces include Messiah, which was first performed at the New Music Hall in 1742.

Shortly afterwards, he went onto produce other greats including Alexander Balus and Hark! Hark! He strikes the golden lyre, Daphne (Die verwandelte Daphne) and Florindo (Der beglückte Florindo), to name but a few.

Sadly, Handel died in 1759, and had lost his vision shortly before his death due to cataracts. However, his disability failed to quench his musical passion, and he continued composing until the day he died.

So loved was he, that over 3,000 mourners attended his funeral.

George Frideric Handel is one of the most revered classical musicians of the 17th century and quickly rose through the ranks and gained international fame for his work. Born in 1685 to George Handel (1622-97) and Dorothea Taust, Handel displayed

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Summer dating ideas

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Summertime is here again and it is the perfect time to go on new adventures and meet people.

It is also a great time to go on dates – because the good weather and great vibes open up a number of different options on where to go and what to do.

Below we have compiled a list of some fantastic dating ideas and tips for the sunny season.

Outdoor theatres

A number of opera companies and theatres are hosting plays and performances outdoors.

What better time to go and see them than on a hot, new date? If you are an avid fan of Shakespeare or opera, then this presents an opportunity not to be missed.

Some of the major shows and plays coming up include a performance of Macbeth in Wimpole, Cambridgeshire on August 1st and Peter Pan on August 29th.

You can also enjoy a musical performance at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire on August 30th and classical music from the 18th century at Fenton House in  Hampstead on September 12th.

In Yorkshire on the other hand, you can attend a party in the park at Gibside near Tyneside on August 1st.

All of these are just a small sample of open-air performances that are taking place across the UK.

Picnics in the parks

If the sun is shining and the weather is hot, why not go on a jaunt to the local park with your date? There is nothing quite like sitting on the grass, with a bottle of wine and some good food, with a beautiful man or woman on your arm.

It also gives you a chance to get to know each other better in beautiful surroundings.

Camping

If you have gotten to know your partner quite well and you want to do something particularly creative this summer, then camping is perfect.

Not only do you get to spend the day out in the wilderness, surrounded by nature but you also get to huddle together under the moonlight in your tent or camper van.

Outdoor festivals

One of the great things about summer is it is full to the brim with outdoor parties and festivals. Glastonbury is perhaps the most famous of these, but there are festivals happening in cities and small towns across the UK.

Why not seek out the festival closest to you and spend the whole day partying away with your date?

Sports

Summer seems to be the season for sports. If both you and your date are hardcore sports fans, then why not book a date at the local football match or cricket tournament?

With so many sporting events going on across the country, you are sure to find something that you both enjoy.

Hiking

If you love going for long walks in the countryside, then hiking is the perfect way to spend some time together. Whether you are trekking up mountains, or making your way through the suburban bush, there is hardly anything more satisfying than exploring the countryside and all that it has to offer with your date.

Summertime is here again and it is the perfect time to go on new adventures and meet people. It is also a great time to go on dates – because the good weather and great vibes open up a number

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Max Hole announces 2015 Bristol Proms

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The 2015 Bristol Proms will return to the city for the third consecutive year, Universal chairman Max Hole has announced.

In an interview with Classic FM, Mr Hole said that next year could be the first time the event takes over the entire city. The show aims to provide audiences with extraordinary performances in an informal environment.

This year’s event started on Monday (July 28th) with a performance by Bryn Terfel, who has made  a great name for himself with his dazzling bass-baritone performances.

Speaking to the news provider, Mr Hole expressed his excitement for 2015 and hopes to make the event “bigger and better” than previous years.

“We’d like to keep the core of it at the Bristol Old Vic, but we’d like to think we can take over the city a little bit more.

“We’re hoping this will go on from year to year and become part of the classical music calendar,” he continued.

The 2014 Bristol Proms are still ongoing, with a host of artists set to perform over the coming days. The first night saw the aforementioned Bryn Terfel open proceedings before Lisa Batiashvili, Will Gregory and the Erebus Ensemble wowed audiences.

The following night was titled Music In The Shadow of War and saw a host of other artists perform songs marking the emotions and stresses of war. The Songs That Went To War and Jonathan James’ War and Music show were among the events scheduled.

Tonight (July 30th) is entitled Pure Music, Pure Technology and includes numerous works inspired by the legendary Beethoven.

The 2014 Bristol Proms will continue until Saturday August 2nd, when the Theatre of Music night will close the event. Performances from John Elliot Gardner and Jonathan James are just two of the excellent shows scheduled. 

It will be interesting to see how the 2015 Bristol Proms develops, as the possibility of a city-wide event is sure to leave classical music fans excited. 

Such an occasion could help to make a big impact on Bristol’s position in the country’s music scene, reinforcing its already-strong reputation for classical performances. 

The 2015 Bristol Proms will return to the city for the third consecutive year, Universal chairman Max Hole has announced. In an interview with Classic FM, Mr Hole said that next year could be the first time the event takes

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Men: What not to do on a date

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Dating is nearly always a nerve-wracking experience, particularly if you are meeting someone for the first time.

In many ways, it is a little bit like a job interview: get it right, and you will most likely see them again, get it wrong and you'll be shown the door.

Of course, there can never really be any hard and fast rules on exactly what you should do and say on a date, because to a great extent, it depends on the person you are seeing and their cultural background.

However, unless you want to make it in the hall of fame for dating don'ts, there are definitely some things you will want to avoid.

Don't turn up late

If you really want to impress your date – turning up late is a big no-no. If anything, you should aim to be at least five to ten minutes early, just to give yourself plenty of time to straighten up, find the location and wait for her.

On the other hand, if she has to sit alone waiting for you to turn up, the chances are you won't be treated to a second date. 

Don't date your mobile phone

If you spend the entire date looking at your mobile phone or texting then, not only is it discourteous, but it makes it seem as though you are not interested in her.

Ideally, you should keep your phone out of sight altogether. However, if there is an emergency and you do have to take that call – it is best to apologise before you do.

Do not spend the date looking at her chest

Seriously, guys this one is a real deal breaker. But actually, you should avoid doing anything that could be misinterpreted or taken the wrong way. This includes touching her knee, slapping her bum, or complimenting her on her figure.  

No matter how keen you may be to skip to physical intimacy, get it wrong or make your move too soon and you are likely to left with a very red face – and no second date.

Getting drunk

Getting drunk is never a good idea on a date – particularly when you are meeting someone for the first time.

Not only do you risk vomiting all over her skirt and telling her how highly you scored on the online psychopath test, but it will effectively destroy any chance you have of a second date. 

Never talk about your ex

Talking about your ex is never a vote winner on a date. Whether you are talking about how great they were or how awful they are, it is a no-win situation and will nearly always reflect badly on you. 

Therefore, save yourself the trouble (and the bad impressions) by steering clear of this subject.

Never be stingy

It is traditional for a man to pay the bill at the end of a meal or to buy the lady in question a drink. Of course, there are many who disagree, but if you want to stand out over all of the other men who may or may not be fighting for her attention, then it pays to be generous.

The only caveat to that is if there is any expectation or no acknowledgement on her part, then to be honest, it is worth paying that little extra initially, to discover that and run for the hills before it is too late.

Dating is nearly always a nerve-wracking experience, particularly if you are meeting someone for the first time. In many ways, it is a little bit like a job interview: get it right, and you will most likely see them again,

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National Lottery funding given to opera companies

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The National Lottery is set to fund a number of opera companies across the UK, it has been revealed.

Among 99 recipients of the awards are the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Opera North, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Welsh National Opera.

In total, £69,610,659 of lottery money will be spent on the 99 groups per year. 

The funding is part of an initiative by the Arts Council England (ACE) to honour its commitment to finance projects, or aspects of projects that are unlikely to be funded by a government department.

Commenting on the findings, Alan Davey, who sits on the executive board of ACE, said: "In the last investment process we used lottery funding as part of the overall total budget for our national portfolio. This was for a specific purpose ‒ touring and work with children and young people. 

"In this next investment process some organisations will be funded wholly through the lottery, and the rest wholly through grant in aid. This will allow us to fund a greater number of national portfolio organisations than we could have done with a budget comprising solely of grant in aid."

Awards ranging between £1,000 and £100,000 will be given to selected projects and are set to increase over the next few years.

This is not the only money that has been given to organisations across the UK, which offer classical music education or entertainment to young people.

Recently, the government announced that around £75 million will be given to a network of 123 music education hubs in England in 2015-16.

This figure includes a year-on-year increase of nearly 30 per cent.

The National Lottery is set to fund a number of opera companies across the UK, it has been revealed. Among 99 recipients of the awards are the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Opera North, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Welsh National Opera. In

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£75m pumped into classical music education

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The government has announced a new round of funding for classical music education.

Over £75 million will be given to a network of 123 music education hubs in England in 2015/16.

The figure represents a year-on-year increase of nearly 30 per cent, which will enable thousands of disadvantaged people to have access to music lessons. Centres will also be able to purchase tens of thousands more instruments.

Commenting on the news, education minister Nick Gibb, said: "Music hubs have made a very encouraging start – and now we want to build on that. That is why we are increasing funding by £18 million. No children should miss out on the inspiration and excitement that music can bring to their lives."

The announcement has been welcomed by those who work within the music industry. 

Darren Henley, the managing director of Classic FM whose review of England’s music education led to the National Plan for Music Education and the recommendation of the hubs model, said he was "delighted" about this recent announcement. He added that it will help hundreds and thousands of children across the country.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) that established an initiative called 'Protect Music Education Campaign' earlier this year, hailed the move as ‘a substantial victory'.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the ISM, said: "This is wonderful news for all children and young people. This funding is a critical component in ensuring that access to music education is there and we welcome this decision by the new secretary of state.

"We now hope that all political parties will commit to music education funding until 2020 and that the Department for Education remove the damaging guidance to local authorities when they respond to the recent consultation."

The government has announced a new round of funding for classical music education. Over £75 million will be given to a network of 123 music education hubs in England in 2015/16. The figure represents a year-on-year increase of nearly 30

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Dating tips for the silver surfer

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Much has been written about dating tips and information for young people. Nowadays, the proliferation of online dating sites such as Classical Music Lover has made it easier than ever for lonely hearts to get in touch with each other and meet the right person online.

Years ago, there used to be a stigma attached to online dating, but that is no longer the case. This is because with the increasingly busy lives we are living, it is becoming harder and harder to meet people in the traditional way.

What we are seeing now is a rise in the number of older people or "silver surfers" who are also trying their hand at meeting people online. Many of those who are juggling family responsibilities, divorced or are retired are deciding to take that step and try their hand at meeting people in a new way.

But if you are over 50, and you are new to the online dating game, it can sometimes be difficult and indeed a little overwhelming to navigate your way through the hundreds of unsuitable, misleading, or outright fraudulent profiles that are out there.

There are some who find it a real challenge to take the right approach when it comes to internet romance and increase their chances of meeting the right person.

However, the rules remain the same as they would for anyone who is meeting people on the internet.

These include things such as being very clear about what your interests are, being honest about your likes and dislikes – after all, you want to meet the person whose personality closely matches your own – and exercising the usual precautions when it comes to meeting people in person.

In addition, you should also ensure that you join the right site in the first place. For example, if you have a specific interest that occupies a great deal of your time – such as playing the violin or watching opera performances – then it is important to select a site that is more closely aligned to those interests.

Much has been written about dating tips and information for young people. Nowadays, the proliferation of online dating sites such as Classical Music Lover has made it easier than ever for lonely hearts to get in touch with each other

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Opera singer Russell Watson battles to regain voice

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Opera singer Russell Watson has spoken of his struggle to regain his voice after a tumour treatment, it has been revealed.

Watson had a life-threatening brain tumour removed in 2006 and 2007. As a result, his vocal range has been affected – and is still not recovered fully.

However, the singer who was once dubbed "the Voice" said he is confident he would be able to sing again in the same way one day.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Watson explained that he had changed his singing style slightly and was almost in full range.

He added: "I’m 85, 90 per cent back to my best. When I came first came out of radiotherapy and was trying to hit top notes, I was only getting towards the mid-range of my vocal level and I was blacking out, so it was very difficult. 

"When I finished my radiotherapy treatment after my second operation and I couldn’t get any of the tenor notes I had to go out and change the styles of my records — soul instead of classical."

However, he also revealed that his ordeal has not stopped him from performing in front of audiences in the meantime and he has another concert planned for August 22nd as part of Greenwich Music Time Festival.

The event is set to be a fusion between traditional opera and chart music and runs from August 20 to 23 at the Old Royal Naval College.

During the performance, he will play a starring role in the timeless classic 'Les Miserables'. In the same interview with the Evening Standard, Watson added: "I think we are going to do some of the Les Mis stuff, and we’ll finish with a Last Night at the Proms-type finale — Land of Hope and Glory, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Jerusalem."

Opera singer Russell Watson has spoken of his struggle to regain his voice after a tumour treatment, it has been revealed. Watson had a life-threatening brain tumour removed in 2006 and 2007. As a result, his vocal range has been

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Your guide to online dating

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For many people, online dating is so much easier than going to a club, chatting up some random person at the bar and then hoping for the best.

When it comes to internet dating, you are able to find out more about the person you are interested in and read about their interests and personality in greater depth.

There are many different aspects of internet dating to consider, and in this guide, we take you through just a few.

Safety

This applies predominantly to women but also to men. You should bear in mind that when you are meeting someone for the first time online, as they are still essentially a stranger. For this reason, you should always take all of the usual precautions when meeting someone for the first time.

Never give away too much information about where you live when writing up your profile.

You should also be careful not to give away any information that might allow a person to track you down online, through social media sites or by other means. For this reason, most people don't put their full name next to their picture when writing up their profile and instead use a screen name.

Also – be wary of people who ask for money online. It is not unheard of for some people to take advantage of those looking for romance and use it as a means to trick that person into giving money.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Before you agree to meet someone, you can also use the internet to find out if they are who they say they are. There are many online software programmes that allow you to check whether a person's picture has been taken from a magazine, while social media websites enable you to see if the name and other important details they have given you are genuine.

When you do go out on a date, always ensure that someone knows where you are and can be on hand to help you if things go wrong.

Profile

It is also important to bear in mind, that like anything, online dating is essentially an advert. Therefore, it is worth spending some time to write a profile that is engaging, accurate and attention-grabbing. 

There are no hard and fast rules as to exactly what you should say about yourself, but there are basics that everyone should follow.

For example, always list specific interests that are unique to you, rather than just saying: "I'm a fun, outgoing person". Everybody says that. Think about what it is that makes you fun and which activities you would potentially like to share with a romantic partner.

So for instance, if you have an interest in playing the violin, or participating in opera performances, you should note that down. You should also avoid using text speak in your profile. Not only does it make you sound less intelligent, it will also put people off. Finally, describe your best features – but without coming across as arrogant or self-centred. If you have a particular talent or an attractive quality then flaunt it!

For many people, online dating is so much easier than going to a club, chatting up some random person at the bar and then hoping for the best. When it comes to internet dating, you are able to find out

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Guide to BBC Proms 2014 – Something for everyone

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Today (July 18th) marks the start of one of the biggest and most famous classical music concerts in the world.

This eight-week event is set to feature 76 concerts at the Albert Hall and promises to dazzle, entertain and educate audiences from the UK and abroad.

In addition, it will include 13 chamber music proms that will be held in Cadogan Hall.

The Proms features classical music at its very best and this year it takes on an exciting new twist as it seeks to become even more accessible and global than ever before.

It will include 22 international orchestras in addition to a number of unique performances including War Horse, a CBeebies concert and even a Sports Prom.

Celebrities such as Paloma Faith, Laura Mvula and the Pet Shop Boys are also set to make an appearance.

They will be performing alongside musicians who will be recreating compositions from some of the legends of the classical music world, such as Beethoven, Brahms and Strauss.

Tonight's concert will feature a piece from one of the world's most legendary composers: Edward Elgar’s 1906 oratorio The Kingdom.

This world famous composition was first performed at the Birmingham Music Festival on October 3rd 1906.

It is part of a biblical trilogy that started with The Apostles and continues the narrative of the lives of Jesus's disciples. 

So great was his work, that the BBC has also dedicated part of the second Proms night to this great artist, with a performance of his work, Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 in G major 6.

On Saturday July 19th, there will also be performances of Tchaikovsky's Fantasy-Overture 'Romeo and Juliet 20', and Liszt's 'Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major 19'.

Another performance that audiences can look forward to is the World Orchestra for Peace, which will be led by conductor Valery Gergiev.

This classical supergroup will honour Strauss’s 150th anniversary with the upbeat and atmospheric renditions of his operatic masterpiece Die Frau ohne Schatten.

The music will also celebrate the diversity of the world's three major religions, with Roxanna Panufnik’s Three Paths to Peace, which combines the musical traditions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

So let's look in further detail at some of the major performances that we can look forward to at this year's Proms:

Lest We Forget

The Proms will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, with a performance of Lest We Forget on August 17th.

It is set to feature the work of composers such as George Butterworth, Frederick Kelly and Rudi Stephan, who all died in the war.

Commenting on the performance, James Edward Petroc Trelawny is a British classical music radio and television broadcaster, and BBC presenter said in a transcript published by the Express: "Butterworth was a terrifically talented young composer killed at the Somme. Frederick Kelly and Rudi Stephan were also killed on the front, so it seems very worthwhile to acknowledge the extraordinary creative force there was across Europe in the first decades of the last century and how terrible [it is that] so much of that was wiped out. 

"Those losses had a terrible impact on music making in the decades that followed – many of the next generation of composers and orchestra players died in the war – and it’s appropriate we mark that."

War Horse

This performance is set to take place on August 3rd. It will feature new music from Adrian Sutton, the show's composer.

It will also include life-sized puppets from the West End production, while the music itself will be performed by the Military Wives Choir and conducted by Gareth Malone in his Proms debut. 

CBeebies

This year's Proms truly contain something for everyone. The first ever CBeebies Prom will take place this year, and will include some of the channel's favourite characters as they explore the sounds of the orchestra, as well as the everyday sounds around us. 

In addition, it will feature live music from the BBC Philharmonic symphony orchestra.

Sports Prom

This summer has been marked by major sporting events such as the World Cup, Wimbledon and the Tour de France.

It is also set to include the Commonwealth Games. This has helped to spark the inspiration behind the first ever BBC Sport Proms.

Gabby Logan will be hosting the event which will combine memorable TV themes with classical favourites.

Sports stars will also be selecting their favourite classical tunes and reliving some of the most famous moments in sporting history.

The event will also include famous tunes from classical musicians such as Mozart's A Musical Joke – Presto and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet – Montagues and Capulets (Dance of the Knights).
Additionally, it will include Josef Strauss's Sport Polka.

Pet Shop Boys

On July 23rd, the event 'Late night with the Pet Shop Boys' will take place. Not only will it feature some amazing performances by the pop duo, but it will also include renditions of Overture to 'Performance' (arr. R. Niles) 8', and Four Songs in A minor (orch. A. Badalamenti) 20, among others.

Today (July 18th) marks the start of one of the biggest and most famous classical music concerts in the world. This eight-week event is set to feature 76 concerts at the Albert Hall and promises to dazzle, entertain and educate

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