Easy listening

11 February 2012 12:00 pm

There is only one place these days where the music of Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924) sends its hearers into reliable…

A bite of the Apple

11 February 2012 11:00 am

For the first time in its 170-year history, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra has a native New Yorker at the…

Beyond the elite

4 February 2012 12:00 pm

There are few art forms with more colossal barriers to entry than classical music. Picture yourself finally plucking up the…

Unfinished business

21 January 2012 11:00 am

The phrase ‘community drummers’ strikes fear into me. When I read it in the programme notes for Survivor, Antony Gormley’s…

Out and about

21 January 2012 11:00 am

We are already more than halfway through January and I am still managing to stick heroically to my new year’s…

Kate comeback

14 January 2012 12:00 pm

What is Christmas for, exactly? For me, it’s a time of reflection and of sudden dawning realisation. Reflection on the…

The 40-part challenge

7 January 2012 11:00 am

Embedded somewhere in the Christmas story no doubt is the idea of much being contained in a small space —…

Sounds for a cool Yule

17 December 2011 9:00 pm

One of the unwritten rules in our house is that Christmas should never be mentioned until a few days before…

Heavenly voices

17 December 2011 9:00 pm

It seems that Christ was born with the sound of choral music in his ears. That, at any rate, is…

Wearing well

17 December 2011 8:00 pm

Born in the same year as John Lennon (1940), I was a sucker for the Beatles from the start. They…

The joy of Spotify

10 December 2011 12:00 pm

Like a few who have ploughed through the Steve Jobs biography, I am now heartily tired of early adopters, those…

Singing siblings

10 December 2011 12:00 pm

The Unthanks couldn’t have chosen a more fitting venue for the first night of their current tour than St James’s…

Pure and simple

26 November 2011 10:00 am

Philip Hensher finds Stephen Sondheim, in his later years, side-stepping from smartness into sincerity

Sound and vision

19 November 2011 11:00 am

The 20th century was a century of musical revolutions. One of the last and most audacious ignited 50 years ago…

Brain gain

19 November 2011 11:00 am

The arrival of the composer Eric Whitacre and his family in London as permanent residents brings a ray of Californian…

Pump up the volume

12 November 2011 12:00 pm

It occurs to me sometimes that this column is, essentially, one long and painful confessional. I admit to enjoying all…

What’s in a name?

5 November 2011 2:00 pm

There was a time when ‘classical music’ meant something you could put your finger on. It denoted the musical period…


22 October 2011 2:00 pm

The Biophilia live show at Harpa, Reykjavik is another cog in the complex wheel that makes up Björk’s eighth album,…

Box of delights

22 October 2011 2:00 pm

I don’t know about you but I have to steel myself these days to turn on the Today programme in…

Ideal marriage

15 October 2011 1:00 pm

In all the heavier-duty excitement of Liszt’s anniversary I had failed to register that W.S. Gilbert expired 100 years ago;…

All that jazz

8 October 2011 4:00 pm

The human voice has always been celebrated as one of the most direct forms of musical and personal expression. This is especially true in jazz, where improvisation is such a key element. We so often listen to singers ‘baring their soul’, revealing something ‘deep within’.

Giving it some Elbow

8 October 2011 4:00 pm

What with one thing and another, I had rather lost track of what Sting was up to. Still on the lute? Moved on to nose flutes?

Classical affair

1 October 2011 12:00 am

Before Stephen Fry walked on to the stage at the Barbican on Monday to take part in a discussion on…

Metal head

24 September 2011 12:00 am

CNN recently referred to Birmingham as ‘the unlikely birthplace of heavy metal’. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is hosting…

Understanding Boulez

24 September 2011 12:00 am

What was it Sir Thomas Beecham said about Stockhausen? ‘I’ve never conducted any of his music, but I once trod…