27 April. 4 anniversaries.

It’s worth pausing today to remember four notable musicians, the anniversaries of whose deaths all fall on 27 April. Sigismond Thalberg (1812–1871) was a virtuoso pianist considered by some of his contemporaries as a rival to Franz Liszt. Although his death in Italy on 27 April 1871 is clearly documented, details of his birth and Read More …

A bridge to nowhere, except…

The rainbow. A beautiful natural phenomenon with its terminus of an illusionary pot of gold. A bridge to nowhere. Except in the imagination, that is. Which got me wondering how composers have tackled the tricky task of recreating the concept of a rainbow in sound, approaching the subject variously via mythology, folklore, fantasy and religion. Read More …

Rebooting the ear

‘New music’ doesn’t have to mean cacophonous ‘modern’ music: it can of course just be music we haven’t heard before. Nor does ‘modern’ music have to be particularly new. Even though we’ve had over 80 years to get used to Anton Webern’s Concerto for Nine Instruments, Op. 24 (1934), it can still seem like the Read More …