Do you have someone on your gift list who is mad for Mozart? Batty about Beethoven? Excited about Elgar? This gift guide can help.
Here are gifts sure to please the classical-music or opera lover on your Christmas list:
Access to concerts and operas online
With the performing arts, experience and live exposure are what really count. It’s easy to gift your loved ones with certificates to local institutions like Seattle Symphony (www.seattlesymphony.org) and Seattle Opera (secure.seattleopera.org) and allow them to choose for themselves from the season’s upcoming events.
And when it comes to orchestras a bit further afield, like the Berlin Philharmonic, try out a subscription to the first-rate offerings available from the BP’s vaunted Digital Concert Hall (digitalconcerthall.com/en/home). Meanwhile, the Paris-based medici.tv (medici.tv) offers an online cornucopia of live and archived performances from the world’s major concert halls and opera houses.
“Dutilleux: Orchestral Works” (Seattle Symphony Media)
Celebrate the hometown band with this three-volume set from Seattle Symphony’s self-produced and superbly engineered label. It consolidates the orchestra’s internationally acclaimed performances under Ludovic Morlot of the complete orchestral music of this modern French master, which glow with sensuous detail. (www.seattlesymphony.org)
“Brendel: Music, Sense and Nonsense: Collected Essays and Lectures” (Robson)
When Alfred Brendel officially retired in 2008, he announced his intention to spend more time writing and lecturing. And what a wealth of experience the pianist has channeled into his observations about his favorite composers, the art of interpretation and the life of a modern performer; there’s even a poignant reflection on suffering an acute loss of hearing.
“Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music” by Anna Beer
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The Metropolitan Opera’s current production of the intoxicatingly beautiful “L’amour de loin” by Kaija Saariaho marks the first time a female composer’s work has been produced by the company since 1903. A tipping point? We can only hope. British biographer Anna Beer’s thought-provoking survey of women in classical music inspires a determination to rewrite the history of the future.
“Robert Schumann’s Advice to Young Musicians” by Steven Illerlis (Faber)
For anyone thinking about starting a career — or likely to relish a fresh perspective — the cellist Steven Isserlis has revisited Robert Schumann’s wise advice, offering updated commentary and humor of his own.
Love Tuner mini-flute
This tiny “meditative flute,” attached to a brass/copper necklace, is easy to play: simply breathing in and out through the mouthpiece produces “therapeutic tones” tuned to 528hz (roughly a C), believed to be a healing frequency. (uncommongoods.com)