What Classical are you listening to?



Audioholic Slumlord
7,439 17 25
Just to give you a heads up.

This comic opera in four acts lasting two and a half hours by composer, violinist and pianist Alma Deutscher is about to be released on Blu Ray disc and DVD. This is from the American Premier in San Jose in December 2017. The first performance was in Vienna a year earlier. The Discs are being released by Sony Classical. The European release is this Friday October 26 and the US release on November 2 Yesterday it could be preordered in Europe and today in the US. It will be available on Amazon. Today however it is available for pre order on a number of sites including Walmart and Deep Discount.com, where I preordered my disc today, and also one for a Christmas present.

This is a really enjoyable opera, given a lavish production in San Jose. All night sold out and additional performance had to be added and sold out immediately. I expect these discs to also sell out fast. Any appearance by this artist sells out pronto.

This is a lovely and highly enjoyable opera. I have watched it three time on Medici TV. Miss Deutscher has shown she is master of humorous music which is much more difficult than tragic music. The opera if full of gorgeous themes that quickly become ear worms. The orchestration is totally assured as is the handling of opera chorus, solos and large ensembles of soloists. She has changed the story to make a story about the search for a composer of a melody and not a slipper. Altogether it is two and a half hours well spent which fly by.

What makes this incredible is that it has been composed by a young child without assistance, she also coached the singers. They describe the unique situation of taking instruction from a twelve year old, but loved it. At the first performance she was 11 and before the US premier 12. She is now 13.

She wrote the opera in earnest between the ages of 8 and 12. What is more incredible is that she composed the beautiful melody (the one that replaces the slipper) when just four years old. When she started composing her parents did not understand what she was trying to play. There is a video of this. She kept telling them it was her own music. Her drive in all this was to actually compose operas,which was a goal from her earliest years. She quickly started to read music and explore the early Italian masters. She could read music fluently before the written word. She has largely had to teach herself, as no one apparently really knows how to teach harmony and counterpoint anymore. She has had to teach herself orchestration. Her first language is English, but she is fluent in German and Hebrew. Her opera score is written in all three languages and can be performed, and has been in all three of those languages. Her French is now improving and she can conduct interviews in French.

She seems a very well balanced person and describes herself as very happy. She has no nervousness about performance. She does not like interviews but you would never know it. She realizes it goes with the territory.

Alma is incredibly honest and open about her childhood fantasies. She also realizes her music will change as she gets older. There is one incredibly revealing interview, not on YouTube, with Tom Service on BBC radio 3, Music Matters. His interview with Alma Deutscher starts at the 26 minute mark.

Her latest composition intrigues me greatly. This is a short and very beautiful German song: Near my Beloved. It is a song of parting from a loved one. This work is to me captivating. I have I think come to understand its meaning. Now Alma has now just gone through puberty. This is her first post pubertal composition. As far as we know she has had no serious love affairs to date. But I think this song is actually all about the parting from early childhood and coming of the maturing woman. This is about the fading of what she regards as a wonderful childhood in which she has been allowed to enjoy are fantasies. It's about this fading and the transition to adulthood. You can hear in the piano score there is trepidation in the transition.

On the face of it, it is a very simple composition, that it would seem would require no technical feats. Yet, experienced pianists are on record to say that can not play it like Alma does. Alma accompanied a professional singer in this song at this year's Lucerne festival. The singer made a total hash of it, singing it like Wagner and stomping all over it with a wild vibrato. Alma's version in the YouTube below is far better in which she is pianist and singer.

This is all interesting to watch. The big question remains as to how this young composer will make this treacherous transition from child to adult. Listen to this composition below very carefully and let us know what it reveals to you.

Among other projects she is currently composing her first symphony. She hopes the first performance will be by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The city of Vienna, its public and musician have performed and embraced her music more than anywhere else.

I find it interesting she composes the traditional canon. Her works do not have weird titles. She writes trios, quartets, concerti, symphonies and operas. I regard this as a sign she is serious about all this and plans to keep it that way.


Audioholic Chief
316 1

I keep meaning to pull this back out...

I saw my audio guy today and he sent me home with the Yamaha UDP. BD-S681
It has the same transport as the more expensive Yamaha BD-A A1060 that I went in for.
The Cambridge player was just too expensive for my needs. I doubt over 12 months I'll use it more than a dozen times.

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