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 …

September Songs

Having grown up a student in the northern hemisphere, September was never a favourite month of mine since it primarily marked the start of a new academic year. This mild dread was exacerbated by all the jolly ‘Back to School’ advertisements, since the experience itself never seemed particularly jolly to me. Knowing that Naxos will Read More …

A Fab Four

The week ahead moves between the Zodiac signs of Leo (ends August 22) and Virgo (starts August 23). No doubt there’s a gradual astrological change of character traits between people born under the respective signs, but this particular week of 19-25 August marks the anniversaries of the births of four people who all bear a Read More …

Echoes of Edinburgh

August 5 marks the opening of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival [EIF]. Together with the Fringe Festival’s cladding of some three thousand satellite events, EIF’s exhaustive programme of theatre, music, dance and opera runs until August 29. In the words of The Spectator: “… you can sleep in September.” Founded in 1947, EIF has developed Read More …

A Magnificent Seven

Alan Fletcher is the president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival, one of America’s leading classical music events. He has every reason to be proud of the festival’s history and achievements; but he’s less enamoured of his country’s track record in promoting the works of certain 20th-century American symphonists. Last month he elaborated on Read More …

You ditty rats!

The Brothers Grimm cited the date as 26 June 1284; Robert Browning gave 22 July 1376. Different dates, same event: the occasion when the Pied Piper, cheated of his promised reward for clearing Hamelin of its infestation of rats, led the children of the town away and into a mountainous cavern, never to be seen Read More …

Circles in sound

Mediaeval religion held to a belief in the perfect essence of the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and so it followed that notated music in triple time was announced by the symbol of perfection for its time signature: a circle. Music in duple time shattered that notion of perfection and was represented by a shattered circle, Read More …

Mastering the Music(k)

The longevity of the British monarchy is currently in the spotlight, with the official birthday of the 90-year-old Queen Elizabeth II being marked tomorrow and Prince Philip, her husband, celebrating his 95th birthday today, 10 June. The royal ceremonial displays for which Britain has become renowned rely to a large extent on the grandeur of Read More …