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Jessica Duchen
Friday 11th September 2009
Viva La Liberta!

Don't miss Tony Palmer's searing thump-on-the-head of a documentary on the Wagner family, screening as the first in the last-ever series of the South Bank Show on Sunday night. Here's a very short piece I wrote about the film for today's Independent. ITV should be ashamed of itself for dropping the single best series it has ever done. It's a scandalous, miserable and pathetic choice of the axe.

On a different tack, if you want to go to something in London this weekend and the Last Night of the Proms isn't your thing, there's a nice Haydn anniversary event with the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt at Kings Place all day on Sunday. It only seems possible to make a link to one concert at a time (here's the evening one). I wish Kings Place would get its act together. They have some great concerts and it's one of the best venues in town - great acoustic, a cool building, a lovely restaurant & bar on the canal... Yet my impression through several experiences this year is that teething problems in the website, box office and marketing are not helping to sell tickets (and contrary to popular opinion I can't do it all for them through this blog).

Besides, I'm off to Salzburg tomorrow. Well, Salzburg airport. From there, a bus to the wonderfully-named Wolfgangsee - then a long, long walk finishing some days later somewhere near, er, Berchtesgaden. Not a place I'd ever have imagined can see it in the Tony Palmer film, as well, of course...So, for Historical Friday, here (audio only, though) is the party scene from Don Giovanni, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler and featuring Tito Gobbi as the Don, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf as Donna Elvira, Irmgard Seefried as Zerlina and many more - recorded live in 1950 at, of course, the Salzburg Festival. Listen out for the three onstage bands playing in different time signatures. Tom was in one of these at Glyndebourne about ten years ago. Graham Vick told him off for overacting.

Mountains ahoy - viva la liberta! Back soonish.

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September 13th, 2009
12:09 PM
Years ago, in a Youth Orchestra, I played Shostakovich 9 and the Vaughan Williams tuba concerto in Berchtesgaden - they seemed to go down pretty well, give or take the odd giggle when the tuba soloist walked on. Not the kind of music you'd associate with that particular town - but maybe times have moved on!

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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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