Music

Currentzis's Beethoven asked us to listen with our bodies rather than our minds

4 August 2018 9:00 am

Some conductors conduct from the fingers — think of Gergiev’s convulsive gestures, flickering up and down the keyboard of an…

The indispensable recorded legacy of Rafael Kubelik

14 July 2018 9:00 am

Rafael Kubelik is watching Wimbledon when I enter his suite at the Savoy. ‘Tennis fan?’ I ask, slightly surprised. He…

The virtuoso virtue-signallers of classical music

7 July 2018 9:00 am

All my life I’ve wanted to compose music, and now I’ve done it. I’ve written a sonata for solo flute…

Pianist Clifford Curzon, composer Sir Arthur Bliss and musicologist Hans Keller at the very first Leeds International Piano Contest. Photo: Erich Auerbach / Getty Images

You vote for my pupil, I’ll vote for yours – the truth about music competitions

23 June 2018 9:00 am

A young Korean, 22 years old, won the Dublin International Piano Competition last month. Nothing unusual about that. Koreans and…

Garsington makes as good a case as you can for Strauss's frothy Capriccio

9 June 2018 9:00 am

‘Is there an end [to this opera] that is not trivial?’ asks the Countess in her final bars of Richard…

Cold and confusing: Garsington's Die Zauberflöte reviewed

9 June 2018 9:00 am

The picnic hamper’s open, the bubbly is chilled, and country house opera is starting to eat itself. When you arrive…

One of the last remaining all-boys' choirs in Britain, St George's Chapel Choir, which sang in the recent royal wedding in Windsor

I dread the extinction of boys’ choirs

2 June 2018 9:00 am

One by one, cathedrals have succumbed to the inevitable. In blazes of publicity, with front-page photographs of girls in cassocks…

What a wasted opportunity: Jonas Kaufmann's Four Last Songs reviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

No wonder we have a problem with classical music in this country. The week started in celebration. The stats are…

How does David Matthews get away with writing symphonies with tunes in them?

19 May 2018 9:00 am

‘All fish in flood and fowl of flight/ Be mirthful now and make melody’ writes the poet William Dunbar in…

Dudamel's Amériques made The Rite of Spring sound like Einaudi

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Apparently it’s called ‘expectation management’. Pollux, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s new work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, takes its name from…

Bravura, assurance and generosity: Mark Simpson's new Cello Concerto reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

The opening of Mark Simpson’s new Cello Concerto is pure Hollywood. A fanfare in the low brass, an upwards rush…

An unmitigated triumph: Salome at Opera North reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Salome is my favourite opera by Richard Strauss, the only one where there is no danger, at any point, of…

Closing the Queen Elizabeth Hall invigorated the new music scene. Why reopen it?

21 April 2018 9:00 am

Imagine the National inviting RuPaul to play Hamlet. Or Tate giving Beryl Cook a retrospective. The London Sinfonietta offered a…

The greatest recording of Mozart's Requiem

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Glenn Gould used to say that Mozart died too late rather than too early. The remark was intended to get…

Iceland’s national composer returns from oblivion

7 April 2018 9:00 am

The lur is a horn, modelled in bronze after a number of 3,000-year-old instruments discovered at various archaeological sites across…

How the Moody Blues only became good once they realised they were crap

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Rarely has one irate punter so affected a band’s trajectory. Without the anger of the man who went to see…

A short history of French musical decadence

10 March 2018 9:00 am

My two attempts to see Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at the Guildhall School were frustrated by the weather. Forced back…

Remembering one of the best – and bitchiest – pianists who ever lived

3 March 2018 9:00 am

I’m unlucky with Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata. Twice in the past year I’ve bolted for the exit as soon the pianist…

A step too far: the new production of Carmen at the Royal Opera House

A colossal bore: Royal Opera's Carmen reviewed

17 February 2018 9:00 am

The new production of Bizet’s Carmen at the Royal Opera has received mixed reviews. It shouldn’t have done. They should…

Celebrating Carter was one of the most energising musical occasions in years

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Das Rheingold at the Royal Festival Hall was, all told, a disappointment, but it might not have been had there…

Some of the greatest moments at HCMF 2017 were the gentlest

2 December 2017 9:00 am

The musicians of Ensemble Grizzana are arranged in the usual way for their concert at St Paul’s Hall in Huddersfield.…

Here comes the son: Baxter Dury

Baxter Dury on London going to the dogs, his acclaimed new album and his dad

25 November 2017 9:00 am

Michael Hann talks to Baxter Dury about his acclaimed new album – and the challenges of being Ian Dury’s son

The Chinese classical-music revolution up close

25 November 2017 9:00 am

On a bullet train out of Shanghai, a nuclear family catches my eye. The father, weather-beaten and wearing an ill-fitting…

Embarrassing – but electrifying: Bernstein 100 reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

‘There is something enviable about the utter lack of inhibition with which Leonard Bernstein carries on,’ wrote the critic of…

Two great pianists – but who was the headstrong youngster and who was the veteran?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune begins with a sigh: a long, languorous exhalation played on the lower notes of…