Music

The rude, ripe tastelessness of John Eliot Gardiner’s Berlioz is the perfect antidote to Haitink’s Instagram Bruckner

14 September 2019 9:00 am

Conducting is one of those professions — being monarch is perhaps another — where the less you do, the more…

Why did the Soviets not want us to know about the pianist Maria Grinberg?

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Only four women pianists have recorded complete cycles of the Beethoven piano sonatas: Maria Grinberg, Annie Fischer, H. J. Lim…

Why this première felt important: James MacMillan’s Fifth Symphony reviewed

24 August 2019 9:00 am

All symphonies were sacred symphonies, once. Haydn began each day’s composition with a prayer, and ended every score with the…

West Side Story's flick-knife-to-the-guts thrill never landed its final blow

17 August 2019 9:00 am

It was as though Damien Hirst had confessed a secret passion for Victorian watercolours, or Lars von Trier had admitted…

Bracing and provocative – but would Wagner have approved? Arcola's Rheingold reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

When it comes to the opening of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Mark Twain probably put it as well as anyone: ‘Out…

Hatsune Miku went on her first tour in 2016

Can computers compose?

3 August 2019 9:00 am

They already do, says Simon Ings – but will they ever do it better than us?

A sonic masterclass: the Silesian String Quartet at Wigmore Hall reviewed

20 July 2019 9:00 am

Of all the daft notions about the classical music business, the daftest is that it’s a business at all. Seriously:…

You leave awe-struck but also a bit frazzled: Holland Festival’s Aus Licht reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

In Stockhausen’s Klavierstück XI hands become fists, arms and elbows clubs, shoving, pounding and ker-pow-ing the keyboard to near oblivion.…

Testosterone and passion: Royal Opera’s Marriage of Figaro reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Another turn around the block for David McVicar’s handsome 1830s Figaro at the Royal Opera — the sixth since the…

Mane event: shaggy blond David Coverdale

David Coverdale, lead singer of Whitesnake, talks hair, love handles and 'sexism'

29 June 2019 9:00 am

‘Invest in your hair,’ advises David Coverdale, a man with a shag of the stuff glossier than a supermodel’s and…

Where was the sex? Opera Holland Park’s Manon Lescaut reviewed

15 June 2019 9:00 am

Where was the desire, the frisson, the flicker of attraction? Hell, where was the sex? I ask because a week…

Easily the best thing I’ve seen at the Grange Festival: Falstaff reviewed

15 June 2019 9:00 am

‘Tutto nel mondo e burla’ sings the company at the end of Verdi’s Falstaff — ‘All the world’s a joke’…

Igor Levit’s Goldbergs were transcendental

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Igor Levit has rapidly achieved cult status, as he certainly deserves. He has already reached the stage where he can…

Composer Amy Beach. Photo: Bridgeman Images

Amy Beach was better than Elgar

25 May 2019 9:00 am

At the Wigmore Hall last Friday, the Takacs String Quartet and Garrick Ohlsson played a piano quintet that was once…

Andras Schiff Credit: Robert Ghement/EPA/Shutterstock

Anderszewski went at Beethoven’s Diabellis with a nail gun

18 May 2019 9:00 am

Are Beethoven’s ‘Diabelli’ Variations really ‘the greatest of all piano works’, as Alfred Brendel claims? It’s hardly what you would…

The composer sir Michael Tippett. Credit: Erich Auerbach/ Stringer

This concert proves it is time to take Michael Tippett seriously

11 May 2019 9:00 am

In Oliver Soden’s new biography of Michael Tippett, he describes how Tippett wanted to open his Fourth Symphony with the…

Musical shapeshifters: I Faglioni performing Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible at Milton Court Concert Hall Credit: Mark Allan/Barbican

The Holy Grail of concert-going: I Fagiolini deliver serious musicianship that never takes itself too seriously

11 May 2019 9:00 am

We’ve all read the article. It does the rounds with the dispiriting regularity of an unwanted dish on a sushi…

Individual performers make their mark: Jacques Imbrailo as Billy Budd and Alasdair Elliott as Squeak

An abdication of interpretative responsibility: Royal Opera’s Billy Budd reviewed

4 May 2019 9:00 am

The climactic central scene of Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd ends unexpectedly. The naval court has reached a verdict of death,…

Richard Ayres' The Garden at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Image: © Mark Allan

Hearing Gilbert & Sullivan on period instruments was a revelation

27 April 2019 9:00 am

‘I consider that music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all,’ wrote Stravinsky in one…

The early death of Lili Boulanger is the most grievous of all among composers

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Total immersion weekends can prove tricky. The established masters don’t need them, while lesser-known figures often turn out to be…

Why did Parry's Judith vanish?

13 April 2019 9:00 am

‘When a man takes it upon himself to write an oratorio — perhaps the most gratuitous exploit open to a…

Aurora Orchestra's Brexit concert nearly turned me into a Leaver

6 April 2019 9:00 am

Back when the UK was assumed to be leaving the European Union on 29 March, the Aurora Orchestra was invited…

The fall of Daniel Barenboim

23 March 2019 9:00 am

A few years ago, I hooked up with a BBC team in Berlin to record a programme with Daniel Barenboim.…

Sarah Tynan, Nicholas Lester and Andrew Shore in ENO's new Merry Widow. Photo: Clive Barda

Cringingly vulgar, brainless and lacking heart: ENO’s Merry Widow reviewed

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Garrick Ohlsson is one of the finest pianists of his generation. Why, then, was the Wigmore Hall not much more…

Opera North's Rite of Spring shows the advantages of confining the music to the pit

2 March 2019 9:00 am

It was Stravinsky himself who suggested that, in order to preserve its difficulty, the opening bassoon solo of The Rite…