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LEBRECHT LISTENS | Please Don’t Tell Me You’ve Never Heard Of Otto Zykan

By Norman Lebrecht on May 8, 2020

Otto_M._Zykan

Otto M. Zykan: Cello Concerto; Beethoven’s Cello (Kairos)

★★★★☆

🎧 Presto Classical | Amazon

Zykan’s the last name in all good music dictionaries and many think he’s a hoax. Maybe that’s what they want you to think.

A Viennese cellist (1935-2006), Zykan existed on the fringes of the music establishment, making his living by writing TV jingles and not getting a call from the Vienna Philharmonic until he was almost 70.

His Cello Concerto, written in 1982 for the magnificent Heinrich Schiff and recorded live, was described by the composer as ’40 minutes of seriousness’. Actually, it gives two fingers to Vienna’s stuffed shirts with an in-your-face solo opening and more percussion than has ever been heard in the same room as a lone cello. It’s fun. Are we not allowed fun?

Otto M Zykan - Violoncellokonzert

Beethoven’s Cello (2005) is a laconic commentary on a theme from the scherzo of the Eroica Symphony — intelligent, engaging, witty and surprising. Schiff plays like a tiger; Zubin Mehta conducts. This is musical conversation at a level we just don’t hear anymore.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

Norman Lebrecht’s new book Genius and Anxiety is available now.

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Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Three Major Toronto Arts Groups Combine In Historic Virtual Choral-Orchestral Video

By Michael Vincent on June 2, 2020

The TSO has joined the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, to perform Gabriel Fauré’s moving Cantique de Jean Racine, under the baton of conductor Simon Rivard.
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THE SCOOP | Stratford Summer Music Postpones 20th Anniversary Season, But Remains Hopeful For August

By Michael Vincent on May 5, 2020

Stratford Summer Music has postponed their coming 20th anniversary season, while remaining hopeful that some events may take place in August.
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SCRUTINY | Convergence Theatre’s ‘The Corona Variations’ Offers Fun Interactive Plays By Phone

By Paula Citron on May 15, 2020

In this time of plague and closed theatres, Convergence Theatre is actually trying to earn money with original material.
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