Music

Status Quo's Rick Parfitt (Photo: Getty)

I should never have been ashamed to love Status Quo

31 December 2016 9:00 am

I bought a record in a second-hand shop in the summer of 1981. A double album. I made sure nobody…

Alice (Barbara Hannigan) throttles the Red Queen (Allison Cook) as the White Queen (Hilary Summers) looks on. Image: Mark Allan

Nonsense squared: Alice’s Adventures Under Ground reviewed

31 December 2016 9:00 am

Gerald Barry loved playing organ for Protestants as they allowed him a lie in. Then they found out he wasn’t…

Soldiers on the Western Front celebrating Christmas Day in a shell hole partly occupied by the grave of a comrade

The muddy, bloody origins of a treasured Christmas Eve ritual

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Alexandra Coghlan reveals the muddy, bloody origins of a treasured Christmas Eve ritual

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A surprising number of great composers were fond of the bottle – but can you hear it?

10 December 2016 9:00 am

‘Brahms and Liszt’ is a lovely bit of rhyming slang, but it doesn’t have the ring of authenticity. Can you…

John Carter Cash and Johnny Cash, 1972

Scholar, entertainer, poet, hoarder: the many faces of my father Johnny Cash

10 December 2016 9:00 am

John Carter Cash reflects on the many faces of Johnny Cash: scholar, entertainer, poet, hoarder

Priscilla Presley introduces Elvis (Photo: Getty)

Elvis would have loved it: Elvis in Concert at the O2

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Elvis Aron Presley departed this world on 16 August, 1977. Even if you delight in conspiracy theories and believe the…

A visitor to Atlantis: Frank Zappa

Zurich’s hidden rock’n’roll side

26 November 2016 9:00 am

On the green edge of Zurich, where this neat and tidy city melts into neat and tidy countryside, an icon…

Sir Neville Cardus, (centre), an authority on both music and cricket, talking to musician Yehudi Menuhin (left) and former cricketer Sir Len Hutton (Photo: Getty)

I always thought the North and classical music didn’t mix

12 November 2016 9:00 am

Years ago, when I met a famous concert pianist, I was surprised when he greeted me in a northern accent.…

Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists on the Olympic medal stand in Mexico City (Photo: Getty)

The beauty of the Star-Spangled Banner

12 November 2016 9:00 am

There was something unexpectedly moving about hearing not just one but several renditions of the somewhat naive and rose-tinted but…

zadie

Zadie Smith’s latest dance to the music of time

5 November 2016 9:00 am

Zadie Smith explores themes of identity, freedom, rhythm and time with much skill and grace, says Ruth Scurr

Fleur de Bray as Katherine Cavalieri (Photo: Marc Brenner)

Like a kids’ entertainer on crack: Amadeus reviewed

5 November 2016 9:00 am

Amadeus by Peter Shaffer is haunted by its own antecedents. Viewers are apt to feel that a new production lacks…

Actress Kim Cattrall (Photo: Getty)

Is radio better without the talking?

5 November 2016 9:00 am

There’s nothing new about Radio 3 tearing up the schedules, temporarily abandoning regular favourites such as Private Passions, The Early…

Charles Own performing at the London Piano Festival, Kings Place. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski/Redferns

Life’s too short for ‘well-crafted’ pieces by musical mediocrities – and Handel

15 October 2016 9:00 am

There’s a folder in my computer’s external hard drive in which you’ll find 24 complete recordings of the Bach Cello…

Engraving composer Johann Sebastian Bach

Performing the Goldberg Variations on the piano involves too many compromises

1 October 2016 9:00 am

The churning, rheumatic mechanism of a harpsichord — notes needling your ears like drops of acid rain — doesn’t necessarily…

Natural high: John Sebastian’s acoustic set at Woodstock, 1969

A great retro shop with a dreary message: V&A’s You Say You Want a Revolution? reviewed

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Back in the high optimism of the 2008 presidential campaign, one of Barack Obama’s more extravagant hopes was that ‘the…

(Photo: Getty)

Yes, I butcher whales. What's all the fuss about?

3 September 2016 9:00 am

 Toftir, Faroe Islands Almost twenty years ago I founded a heavy metal band called Týr. Our songs, with titles such…

Samir Basim leads the basses in France, 2013

Iraq's national youth orchestra: an improbable story on a heroic scale

20 August 2016 9:00 am

Now that even candidates for President of the United States can rise up from the undead dregs of reality television,…

piano / keyboard playing hands and finger

What could resist the Red Guards? Music and storytelling

13 August 2016 9:00 am

Madeleine Thien’s third novel, recently long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, begins in Vancouver with Marie, who, like the author,…

Deejay in club

Electronic Dance Music is not for rebels – it’s for tyrants and drones

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Electronic Dance Music is dying. You may not have noticed. It may not affect you directly. But it’s a really…

Carol White as Cathy and Ray Brooks as Reg star in Cathy Come Home by Jeremy Sandford 'The Wednesday Play', 1966

Was 1966 really as grim as this BBC4 documentary suggests?

30 July 2016 9:00 am

In the song ‘All the Young Dudes’, David Bowie gamely tried to reassure the youth of the Seventies that, despite…

Heath addresses a Tory party conference at Blackpool, while Margaret Thatcher looks on

Ted Heath: still a surly man of mystery

23 July 2016 9:00 am

Ted ‘Grocer’ Heath, as he will always be for me, was chosen by his fellow MPs to be their leader…

Author James Kelman (Photo: Getty)

James Kelman plays Memphis

9 July 2016 9:00 am

When James Kelman won the Man Booker prize for How Late it Was, How Late, one judge stormed out, calling…

Britten and Pears, photographed by Cecil Beaton

The Britten-Pears relationship: no longer an (open) secret

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘You are the most adorable man and artist, intelligent, gifted, simple, loving and noble… I am really very, very lucky…

(Photo: Getty)

No, the crowds at Glastonbury were not bumming out about the EU Referendum

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘How do we feel about leaving the EU today? Who doesn’t give a fook?’ yelled Oli Sykes of Sheffield’s Bring…

The New Gypsy Kings (Photo: BBC)

A Gypsy documentary that alternated between the eye-opening and the hair-raising

18 June 2016 9:00 am

In his latest documentary for the This World series, the Romanian film-maker Liviu Tipurita could have been forgiven for treading…