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John Mansfield Thomson

The distinguished New Zealand musical and cultural historian John M Thomson died on September 11 in Wellington. John was founding Editor of the Early Music quarterly. Read Eric Van Tassel's appreciation of Thomson.


Arts Centre for Beijing

We hear of an ambitious Chinese scheme to build an Arts Centre in Beijing. A French design appears to have been selected which places a glass dome in a lake. At an estimated $314 million we assume it to be a large dome in a large lake. No official announcement has yet been made.


New releases from ASC

The following new releases are now available from ASC, a new record label specialising in British classical music:

ASC CS CD 3 Contemporary British Piano Music Vol 2. John McCabe performs Alan Rawsthorne's Theme and Variations, and music by Thomas Pitfield.

ASC CS CD 4 Contemporary British Violin Music. Andrew Long, violin and Stewart Death, piano perform music from Walton to Pitfield.

ASC CS CD 5 New Perspectives on Autumn. Camerada perform the music of Gordon Jacob and E.J Moeran.

ASC CS CD 6 An image of truth - The music of composer/producer David Ellis, featuring The Coull Quartet and the William Byrd singers.

ASC CS CD 10 The Vocal and piano music of Richard Stoker.

ASC CS CD 11 Fast Forward - Quartets for the 21st century by Anthony Gilbert, John Casken and Geoffrey Poole.

ASC CS CD 13 Twentieth Century Piano Duets played by The Davies Duo. Includes Alan Rawsthorne's The Creel and the premier recording of Kenneth Leighton's Sonata for Four Hands.

To order any of these CDs at GBP 10.95 each (inclusive of postage), please send your name and address to Gareth Thatcher at or by fax to +44 (0)1625 435802. When you receive the CD(s), please send a cheque by return.


A privileged voice - Alfredo Kraus

One of opera's most famous lyric tenors, Alfredo Kraus, died of cancer on September 10 in Madrid, aged 71. Kraus was born on 24 September 1927 in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, the son of a Spanish-naturalised Austrian. Following his 1956 debut in Cairo as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, he sang and acted around the world's stages and screens for more than 40 years. Montserrat Caballé said that Kraus had a 'privileged voice', and that his death leaves a huge void in the opera world.


Elder at the Hallé

Mark Elder is to take over as the principal conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester.


Bernstein Center aquired by NARAS

Leonard Bernstein believed that the experiencing and creation of art could be a model for learning, and his belief was used as the basis for the founding of the Leonard Bernstein Center for Learning. Since its creation in 1992, the Center has produced a teacher-training course - 'the Bernstein Artful Learning Approach'. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) has recently announced its acquisition of the Bernstein Center, and NARAS president Michael Green considers that the Center's aims are in-line with those of NARAS.


Scriabin in the Himalayas

An unusual new CD from pianist John Bell Young offers recording premières of music by Scriabin, by his lecture-recital partner Hugh Downs, by Leo Tolstoy (!) and by concert pianist Michel Block. Young arranged for Scriabin's dying wish - that his uncompleted final work, the ceremonial Mysterium be performed in the Himalayas - to be satisfied. Alpine climber Carlos Buhler scaled Himalayan Mount Melungtse in August 1999, with a copy of Young's new CD, and played both Scriabin's 7th sonata and a recording of a 'completion' of Mysterium by Russian composer Alexander Nemtin from the summit. Further information from Americus Records or from John Bell Young.

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