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Wednesday 12th January 2011

Sometimes, someone has to speak out. More and more frequently, it is the musicians, artists and writers who do so.

Just look at what is happening in Hungary. A new law threatens to muzzle the media; racist, xenophobic and homophobic attitudes are taking a powerful hold; and who leads the way to protest? Musicians. Yesterday the conductor Adam Fischer, who resigned his post at the Hungarian State Opera in anger at the increasingly heavy-handed influence of the government, raised the issues in Brussels, along with a group of Hungarian authors and artists.

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Wednesday 12th January 2011

A good strong puff for beloved Bartok, in today's Independent. I did spend a bit of time in the first draft trying to explain how Bartok went into a revolving door behind Stravinsky and came out in front, but it was a little, well, a bit, um... The Philharmonia, Takacs and co have a veritable feast lined up, anyway, and it's going to be amazing. As for Hungary, once again, its music holds the alter-ego of the place: its spirit at its very, very best. More of that shortly.

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Friday 7th January 2011
Here's my piece from today's Independent about the terrific young British soprano Sophie Bevan — and her family of 60 (SIXTY) singing Bevans! We also discuss her Wigmore Hall recital debut tonight, her appearance there next week with the Classical Opera Company, why she hates competitions and why she didn't want to be the next Charlotte Church.
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Wednesday 5th January 2011

In case you hadn't already noticed, BBC Radio 3 is playing every note that Mozart ever wrote, to the best of all our humble knowledge. It's taking 12 days and the initial concept did not precisely make me reach for the "on" switch (I can't listen to music while I write in any case). But today is Piano Day: the Mozart Piano Sonatas are centre stage, thanks not least to the brilliant Leon McCawley, and it seems high time for a bit of defence for these astonishing and oft-maligned works.

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Saturday 1st January 2011

***HAPPY NEW YEAR!***

And here, on 1.1.11, are a selection of 7 Top Reasons to Welcome 2011:

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Friday 31st December 2010

...apropos of Johann Strauss for new year, it's Friday and time for historical treats. Here's Miliza Korjus, accompanied by the matchless solo violin playing (on the sound track) of Toscha Seidel, singing Tales of the Vienna Woods in the 1930 film The Great Waltz. After this, all we need is a bit of cut-price bubbly and we're ready to meet 2011 and whatever it may do. "Something so sweet and so dangerous..."

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About Jessica Duchen

Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.

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