Bread

I was sitting in a hotel bar the other day when my eye fell on the following sage statement displayed above the bartender’s head: Every loaf of bread is a tragic story of grains that could have become beer. Which got me wondering if the staple could have become music. I found that it had Read More …

Long live the King (of instruments!)

Organ recitals aren’t the most user-friendly events for getting familiar with repertoire. The instrument is rooted to where it was born, usually a church, where the performer is rarely in the sight-line and the seating is on the Spartan side. So, I thought a blog on introducing organ music to newcomers to the instrument might Read More …

Pulsation frustration.

I don’t watch much television, and what I tune into most are news channels that give me quick updates on the often dire state of the world, and the even direr state of the art of the news anchor. I may be a cantankerous old beezer, but I do get so irritated by announcers who Read More …

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 …