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A Pilgrim’s Progress – Jeremy Siepmann talks to the conductor Ryan Brown

September 20, 2010


Ryan Brown


When the great virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz was asked why he played octaves so fast, his answer was to the point. To a fault. ‘Because I can,’ he replied. Or so the story goes. If Ryan Brown, the esteemed American champion of Baroque French opera, were to be asked a similar question after whipping out his fiddle and dashing off a couple of celebrated concertos from the 19th and 20th centuries, he could reply like Horowitz. He would never do such a thing, of course. But the point is, he could. In an age of specialisation he is a broad-based musician of wide musical sympathies. Gently genial in manner, he is both soft-spoken and voluble, brimming over with enthusiasm and the joy of discovery. His recordings for Naxos explore the various traditions of tragédie-lyrique, opéra-ballet, pastorale, dramma-giocoso and opéra-comique, and juxtapose masterpieces by the likes of Lully, Rameau and Gluck with works by some of their lesser-known contemporaries (Sacchini, Rebel & Francœur, with forthcoming recordings of Philidor’s Sancho Panza and Grétry’s Le magnifique). Latest in the line is the opéra comique Le déserteur by Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny, (September 2010 release).

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