I’m hoping to go to a concert soon featuring pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov – two of my long-time favourite composers – and the other piece listed on the programme was Josef Suk’s Scherzo Fantastico. Whose’s What? I thought I could endure whatever it was, even if I – quite probably – didn’t much like it (I’m… Read More Josef Suk’s Scherzo Fantastico
This is a question any true Classical-music lover has to ask, confronted by the barrage of plastic-y noise that emanates from the world around them. I’m not saying I never like or listen to plastic-y pop music, or similar-sounding Christian worship songs; occasionally I do. But it’s like fast-food, or the fast-food-esque novels I talked… Read More Where has the good music gone?
Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 is one of my favourite pieces of music. I am aware that this is deeply ironic as this piece was a trailblazer for what I see as so many questionable developments in western religious music. The Vespers encapsulate the instrumentalisation, theatricalisation, and harmonic-overcomplication that was sweeping through Baroque Europe, along with… Read More Monteverdi Vespers – Oxford Early Music Festival Concert: A Review
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of Penguin Books, Penguin has released 80 Little Black Classics, each priced at 80p. They are mostly less well-known pieces by famous figures. Besides the serious danger of Penguin bankrupting me (I am trying, oh so hard, not to buy too many!), it is a brilliant idea. They are short,… Read More Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: My Dearest Father. A Review.
Yesterday, I went to Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman at the Royal Opera House (London). Tim Albery’s version is a great performance. The staging and scene were not over elaborate, but very effective. All the main soloists were very good, especially Adrianne Pieczonka ’s Senta, and the chorus and orchestra were first-rate. For me, it was “excellent”… Read More Lutheranism and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman
Many years ago, when my school choir conductor told us we would be singing Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, I turned my nose up. Why couldn’t we sing Victoria’s magisterial setting of those beautiful words? What is the point in re-setting something that has been done so perfectly before? I was then spellbound by Lauridsen’s interpretation.… Read More O Magnum Mysterium; or, re-treading worn paths