From Mandalay to Tinseltown. An excursion with Rudyard Kipling.

Were you among the traditionalists who tuned in to the UK’s annual televised Royal Christmas address, broadcast on Christmas Day? It’s currently delivered by Queen Elizabeth II, who was just a 6-year old when the first such royal broadcast was made by her grandfather, King George V, in 1932. He opened this enduring tradition with Read More …

Exercising choice

So, with the festive season’s excesses not long past and New Year resolutions on our minds, it doesn’t take much of a leap to imagine that many of us will be thinking about taking more exercise. Going to the gym these days seems to demand the heavy beat of pop music as a constant companion. Read More …

Out of the blue

I’ve always thought of musical blues as being a tad unfair on the colour. Although ‘feeling blue’ is a convenient phrase to express a state of feeling emotionally low, there’s a lot more character to the colour to be found in recording catalogues. And in life, too. Living in Bangkok, I’m endlessly fascinated by the Read More …

Giving voice

The second Sunday of December each year is designated World Choral Day. I’m not sure when it was established, but I suspect that my primary school teacher may have preempted it: he always reserved one day per year as his Opera Day. That was over 50 years ago. For the whole morning and afternoon, we Read More …

A witty ditty

I think most of us need a bit of a giggle right now, as we squelch through ongoing developments on the world stage, both political and pugilistic. The problem is that, on the face of it, classical music doesn’t seem a likely source of humour, either for giggles, grins or guffaws. Some of you will Read More …

Carlo Gesualdo. A chromatic scale of life.

It’s now generally accepted by scholars that Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Italian composer extraordinaire, was born 450 years ago, in 1566. This week’s blog marks that anniversary. Gesualdo was no ordinary musician. First and foremost he was a prince, a rich and powerful man. He became famous for two reasons: first, the bloody Read More …

Bali hi!

I recently took a short break on the Indonesian island of Bali, a three-day cocktail not just of swimming, surfing and sunsets; colourful batik, engaging artwork and an ancient temple completed the mix. Ambling around the grounds of that temple, and above the respectful silence of the bevy of tourists, there floated a sound: gently Read More …

Insight, foresight. Klaus Heymann at 80.

Klaus Heymann, the German-born entrepreneur and visionary force in the classical music recording industry, celebrates his 80th birthday on October 22, 2016. His name needs no introduction to people familiar with this website, a name synonymous with making classical music available to a much wider audience than was the case prior to his founding in Read More …

Stanford. Ripe for renaissance.

If you think of British music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then the name most likely to spring to mind is Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934). Not for the first time in history, other significant composers of the generation regrettably became overshadowed. One such was Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924), though his music Read More …

A baker’s dozen

Nadia Boulanger was born in 1887 on the date of today’s post, 16 September; she died in 1979 at the age of 92. She was a French pianist/organist and the first woman to conduct leading orchestras in Europe and America; she also composed. But she’s remembered chiefly as a teacher, who was responsible for the Read More …