Music

Daniel Barenboim conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Photo: Getty)

Why Daniel Barenboim should be the next head of the Berlin Phil

Music

Daniel Barenboim is back in town: the South Bank is mounting a ‘Barenboim Project 2015’ in which he’s playing the Schubert piano sonatas and conducting his magnificent Berlin Staatskapelle in Elgar’s Second Symphony and Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, with Martha… Read more

Chris Rainbow fan: DJ Kenny Everett Photo: Getty

The golden age of pop has been replaced by the golden age of pop obituaries

Music

The golden age of pop music may be long gone, but the golden age of pop musicians’ obituaries is definitely with us. Soon I shall have to start apologising for returning to this subject with such regularity, but barely a… Read more

Written by Mrs Bach: Anna Magdelena Bach Photo: BBC

Our hero worship of Bach is to blame for rubbish like ‘Written By Mrs Bach’

Music

My impression that Bach has come to rival Shakespeare as a flawless reference point in the cultural life of the nation has recently received some further corroboration. Remember the fuss that some academics, in the hope of recognition, created around… Read more

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran poses with his Brits Awards for album of the year and male solo artist Photo: Getty

Why you should never trust songwriting credits

Music

Songwriting credits are, as we know, not always to be trusted. Since the dawn of music publishing, there has always been a manager or an agent or a well-connected representative of organised crime willing to take a small cut of… Read more

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There’s nothing wrong with getting into Thomas Tallis on the back of Fifty Shades of Grey

Music

Great works of art may have a strange afterlife. Deracinated from the world that created them they are at the mercy of what people think is important centuries later. Nothing shows this more clearly than the contribution that Tallis’s ‘Spem… Read more

Simon Rattle with the Berlin Phil at the Barbican. Photo: Mark Allan / Barbican

Classical music's greatest political butt-kissers: Dudamel, Gergiev and Rattle

Music

On 8 March 2013, Gustavo Dudamel stood by the coffin of the Marxist autocrat Hugo Chavez and conducted the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in the Venezuelan national anthem. He assumed, like everyone else, that the coffin contained a fresh corpse:… Read more

James Blunt Photo: Getty

James Blunt's sense of entitlement is so palpable you could wear it as a hat

Music

Only a fool would mess with James Blunt. As his Twitter followers know, he has a sharp wit, and, as befits a former officer in the Life Guards, he is always ready for a fight. Indeed, the grievous suffering around… Read more

SWEDEN-MUSIC-COMPANY-SPOTIFY

Spotify: saint or sinner?

Music

We have all read about the current woeful state of the CD industry — how it is 28 per cent down on last year, which was 25 per cent down on the previous year, and so on — but do… Read more

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Confessions of an illegal downloader

Music

I’ve never been into shoplifting, though I once had a friend who was. And, no, before you ask, I’m not using that old ‘friend’ device to hide my own identity. She was a girl I met at university. Bookshops were… Read more

2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Weekend 2 - Day 1

His lyrics are hopeless, his covers are catastrophic, yet I still love Bryan Ferry

Music

There were two new albums I wanted for Christmas — the Bryan Ferry and the Pink Floyd — and to my delight I got both. Others may prefer the unknown and the experimental as presents, but at this time of… Read more

A pair of iron "castratori" are held in front of a painting of Italian Castrati singer Gaetano Guadagni Photo: Getty

Does anyone have the balls to bring back castrati?

Music

One of the most complete bars to the authentic performance of both baroque opera and some renaissance polyphony is the current unavailability of castrati. There isn’t much to be done about it of course, but we might regret that we… Read more

"Andrew Mueller hates The Doors more than any band in the world" Photo: Getty

Why we love hating the music we hate as much as we love loving the music we love

Music

With seconds to spare, I think I have chanced upon my music book of the year. Such choices are always frighteningly subjective, relying as they do on the narrow musical tastes of the chooser, his or her sex, age, education… Read more

Composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle Photo: Redferns/Getty

Why Church music is back in vogue - and squeaky-gate music has had its day

Music

One of the growth areas of contemporary music is in setting sacred texts. It might be thought that I had a special interest in claiming this, but in fact what I am about to describe represents a sea change in… Read more

Christian Blackshaw Photo: Herbie Knott

Is this 65-year-old British pianist the next big thing in classical music?

Music

Earlier this month the Wigmore Hall was sold out for a Schubert recital by a concert pianist whose only solo recordings consist of two volumes of the Mozart piano sonatas. That would be understandable if he were 23 years old… Read more

Tim Burgess of the Charlatans Photo: Getty

Is there anything a gospel choir can't cheer up?

Music

‘I’m starting to think that all of the world’s major problems can be solved with either oyster sauce or backing vocals.’ That was Brian Eno writing in his diary one evening, after a long day’s thinking and maybe a glass… Read more

The Shanghai Jiao Tong University Student Choir: one of several choirs springing up in China dedicated to the Western classical tradition

Peter Phillips is mugged by a gang of Praetorius-loving six-year-old girls in China

Music

We have read about the remarkable opening up of China in recent years: how many people live there and how good they are at business, perhaps finding the prospect of them rushing into our world rather daunting. However, a part… Read more

Composer Alexander Glazunov Photo: Getty

The drunk conductor who ruined Rachmaninov’s career

Music

Would musical history have turned out differently if Alexander Glazunov hadn’t been smashed out of his wits when he conducted the first performance of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 1 in D minor? The best of Glazunov’s own neatly carpentered symphonies hover… Read more

Steve Howe of Yes Photo: Redferns via Getty

Why Yes are still the funniest rock band in the world (although Radiohead are catching up)

Music

My favourite comment about the Scottish referendum came from the eminent comedian and novelist David Baddiel. ‘What if Yes wins, but due to a typographical error, the prog-rock band gets in and Jon Anderson becomes First Minister?’ You probably had… Read more

Consummately psychotic: Mark E. Smith of The Fall

If the idea of disturbing kraut-punk sung by a troll appeals, you'll love The Fall

Music

I had a fair idea of what I was in for when I went to see The Fall at Brixton’s Electric last Friday. They’re a middle-aged band from Manchester, just like the Stone Roses, or the various incarnations of New… Read more

Christopher Hogwood Photo: DPA/PA Images

Christopher Hogwood: the absolutist of early music

Music

The death of Christopher Hogwood has deprived the world of the most successful exponent of early music there has ever been, or is ever likely to be. It has also reduced by one the quartet of conductors who have been… Read more

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Wedding music lives or dies at the hands of the organist

Music

A few weeks ago I was at the perfect wedding. My young friend Will Heaven, a comment editor at the Telegraph, married the beautiful Lida Mirzaii, his girlfriend since university. The service was in Wardour Chapel in Wiltshire, a neoclassical… Read more

Kate Bush at her family home, 1978 Photo: Getty

The secret to a long and happy pop career? Don’t die

Music

As everybody in the world except me seems to have seen Kate Bush’s live shows — against all apparent arithmetical sense — these have been gloomy weeks in the primary Berkmann residence. Even the mother of my children managed to… Read more

Jonathan Mills gives way next year for Fergus Linehan Photo: Getty

Enough ‘themes’ at festivals

Music

One might have expected the streets of Edinburgh, especially at festival time, to bear some evidence of the political struggle currently engulfing our nation, but in fact there was none at all. Apparently, the arguments for and against independence have… Read more

Second coming: Kate Bush is now regarded with almost universal awe

Kate Bush Hammersmith Apollo review: Still crazy after all these years

Music

It says something about Kate Bush’s standing in the music world that, perhaps uniquely in the history of long-awaited live comebacks, nobody has suggested — or possibly even thought — that her motives might be financial. After all, this is… Read more

'Ashtray' Annie, 1956 Photo: Getty

‘Ashtray’ Annie Fischer was a piano giant. Why didn’t more people realise this?

Music

This year marks the centenary of a pianist whom London orchestral players nicknamed ‘Ashtray Annie’. Only at the keyboard did she have a cigarette out of her mouth. Annie Fischer (1914–1995) was one of those female pianists who, despite their… Read more

Latitude Festival 2010: Day 1

My daughter wants to know why you haven't heard of the Jayhawks

Music

One of the many delightful aspects of having children is that you can get them to do things you are too old, lazy or important to do yourself. My disinclination to attend any sort of music festival, owing to a… Read more

First night of The Proms, Royal Albert Hall Photo: Redferns/Getty

Was Elgar’s The Kingdom an attempt to write a religious Ring Cycle?

Music

To go from the second day of the England v. India Test match at Lord’s to the Albert Hall for the opening night of the Proms was to make a journey that a chosen few might find enviable. Nonetheless, different… Read more

Handel's statue in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner. Photo: Getty

Is Handel’s Messiah anti-Semitic?

Music

The Hallelujah Chorus crops up in the most unexpected places, says Michael Marissen in his new book about Handel’s Messiah. For example, it’s used in a TV ad ‘depicting frantic bears’ ecstatic relief in chancing upon Charmin toilet paper in… Read more