What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our latest blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.
We can’t begin to imagine the excitement at the St Petersburg Conservatoire at the rediscovery of Stravinsky’s 1908 Pogrebal’naya Pesnya (Funeral Song), which had been lost for more than 100 years. Stravinsky wrote the piece after the death of his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, and only performed it publically once, in January 1909, after which time it was thought to have been lost, or destroyed in the 1917 revolution. Stravinsky expert Natalya Braginskaya had spent years painstakingly searching for the manuscript to no avail, but thanks to a little dumb luck a librarian found it hidden within a stack of forgotten scores. Thank goodness for librarians!
Have you ever wondered just how musicians manage to cope with the stresses of performing? David Cox explores the truly devastating effect performance anxiety can have on a musician’s mind, body and career, and looks at how the Royal College of Music is seeking to help young soloists build resilience in the face of performance stress.
On the subject of technology, is it time to start embracing the smartphone in the concert hall? Arts news pages have, for years, lamented nuisance phones disturbing musical and theatrical performances. But should we be harnessing their potential, rather than hiding them away? Bill Stensrud developed the InstantEncore programme, which allows audiences to re-watch live performances immediately after they have happened on their phones. Now he asks whether organisations can do more; should smartphones play a role in delivering programme notes or subtitles? They’re clearly here to stay, so why not embrace the possibilities?