Magazine · Issue 1

Delving deep into classical music, uncovering backgrounds and exploring the landscape of the living artist.

Mining the past to nourish the future

Rob Cowan, music journalist and critic, presents ContraClassics recordings from the Biddulph record label. Rob is music critic/journalist for The Independent and Contributing Editor for Gramophone. He is author of the Guinness Classical 1000, and has long been a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3.

In the beginning

The legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin talks about his very first recordings, being only eleven and twelve years old.

The hand of Chopin

The Swiss pianist Alfred Cortot was and is an extremely popular pianist, celebrated for his interpretations of the Romantic repertoire, particularly Chopin and Schumann. He published his own editions of their music, including in them his personal recommendations for how to tackle the technical and interpretative difficulties of each piece. Fascinated by Chopins technique, Alfred Cortot has written a text on Chopins hand in relation to some of his early recordings of Chopin.

Wilhelm Furtwängler, the paradox

The English music critic and journalist Bill Newman, is giving his thoughts on the German conductor icon, Wilhelm Furtwängler in relation to his recordings of Beethoven 5th, Tchaikovsky 6th, excerpts from the Wagner operas Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde and finally Furtwänglers own Symphonic Concerto in B minor.

Thoughts on the duos by Ravel, Kodaly and Halvorsen

The Norwegian musicologist and enthusiast August Albertsen, share his thoughts on the key repertoire for the violin and cello combination. Here represented in recordings by the Norwegian musicians Atle Sponberg and Øystein Birkeland. The duos by Ravel, Kodaly and Halvorsen, were all recorded in 1995.

Henri Temianka, in his own words

The Scottish-American Violinist Henri Temianka describes his very first recording, which was the Wieniawski Polonaise Brilliante No 2 in A major along wih his recordings for the Parlophone Company (1935–39), reissued by Biddulph Recordings and now available here on ContraClassics.