Rooted in Christmas

While the more commercial aspects of Christmas move in tandem with market sentiment, some elements of the season’s celebrations happily remain more constant. Christmas cards (dating from the 1840s), Advent calendars (the first examples appeared around the same time) and attractively wrapped presents (a reminder of the Three Wise Men’s gifts of gold, frankincense and Read More …

The devil’s in the detail

“Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” … or something along those lines. The exact quotation and its source have long been the subject of speculation. But the devil certainly has attracted the attention of many fine composers who have etched him (or maybe her) into the musical annals as vividly as visual Read More …

The key to understanding

“Setting the right tone” is a common enough phrase that’s readily understood and achieved in everyday life. But how does a composer set the right tone in a piece of music? Composition is an increasingly common activity in schools nowadays, so even the youngest students will be able to rattle off for you the tools Read More …