The Spin Doctor Europadisc's Weekly Column

A Question of Taste

10th August 2022

One of the droller jokes to do the rounds during the COVID-19 pandemic was the teasing of friends that they wouldn’t know if they had the illness, as they never had any taste in the first place. When we talk of artistic ‘taste’, we touch on an enormous subject. It can refer, like the taste of food we eat, to a purely sensory experience: whether we find the music (or poetry, or painting, or film…) appealing, sweet, vibrant, sour, and so on. But it can also reflect a dimension that verges on the moral: we often refer not just... read more

read more

Music Makers: Reinhard Goebel and Musica Antiqua Köln

3rd August 2022

Released to coincide with Reinhard Goebel’s 75th birthday, Deutsche Grammophon have gathered together all the recordings he made for Archiv Produktion with his own ensemble, Musica Antiqua Köln, between 1977 and 2004. It’s a mouthwateringly substantial box: 75 discs in all, housed in handsome ‘original jackets’ sleeves reflecting the gradual changes in Archiv’s house style between the late 1970s and the first years of the new millennium. With so many works of short, multiple tracks, the booklet is largely given over to a... read more

read more

Have we reached ‘Peak Mahler’?

27th July 2022

With a new cycle of the complete symphonies recently launched by Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic on Pentatone, and another – from Ádám Fischer and the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker on C-Avi – finished a few months back, the recording industry’s love affair with Mahler’s music shows no signs of diminishing. At a conservative estimate, the number of conductors who have set down the full cycle is at least 25, among whom a select few (Bernstein, Maazel) have tackled it twice on disc. Several others have... read more

read more

More on Bach’s ‘Art of Fugue’: In Performance – Review

19th July 2022

The Spin Doctor took a trip to London on Saturday – there and back, thankfully, before the current heatwave peaked. The reason? Acclaimed harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani was performing Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge as part of his ongoing Bach series at the Wigmore Hall. Almost ten years to the day since he directed the Academy of Ancient Music in an ensemble performance of the same work at the 2012 BBC Proms, Esfahani played the entire work – without an interval – on the harpsichord. The instrument, specially made for him by the... read more

read more

Works in Focus: J.S. Bach’s ‘Art of Fugue’

13th July 2022

In any reckoning of Bach’s most popular works, the great vocal masterpieces (St Matthew and St John Passions, Mass in B minor and Christmas Oratorio), concertos (particularly the ‘Brandenburg’ Concertos) and instrumental works such as the Cello Suites, Violin Sonatas and Partitas, and the Goldberg Variations, are likely to be the frontrunners. But for many Bach aficionados, the apex of Bach’s compositional output is Die Kunst der Fuge (‘The Art of Fugue’), a collection of fourteen fugues and four canons which,... read more

read more

View Older Posts