Music

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…

Partying like it’s 1899: two lieder recitals reviewed

4 November 2017 9:00 am

If a symphony is, as Mahler famously put it, ‘like the world’, then songs and lieder are like seeing that…

Was Richard Strauss the greatest film composer that never was?

21 October 2017 9:00 am

An opera without singers, a Strauss orchestra of just 16, and an early music ensemble playing Mahler: welcome to the…

I’d rather miss a season of Proms than the London Piano Festival

14 October 2017 9:00 am

If two concert pianists are performing a work written for two grand pianos, there are two ways you can position…

Painted more shades of grey than a Farrow & Ball catalogue: The Judas Passion reviewed

7 October 2017 9:00 am

‘Can the ultimate betrayal ever be forgiven?’ screams the publicity for The Judas Passion, transforming a Biblical drama into a…

Simon Rattle’s Rite of Spring was the best I’ve ever heard

30 September 2017 9:00 am

I was going to start with a little moan. About the shouty marketing, the digital diarrhoea, the sycophantic drivel, which,…

Forget Bowie – our times are ripe for Black Sabbath’s worldview

30 September 2017 9:00 am

To get a reminder of how strange the 1970s were, there’s no need to plough through lengthy social and political…

Simon Rattle’s job title has less clout than a viscountcy

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Much fuss has been made of the title given to Sir Simon Rattle on arrival at the London Symphony Orchestra.…

The music snobby London critics love to ignore

16 September 2017 9:00 am

A fortnight ago, the debut album by a young British guitar band entered the chart at No. 6. You might…

Could the new head of the Berlin Phil be a game-changer?

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Two summers ago, the BBC were offered a Proms visit by the Bavarian State Orchestra with its music director, Kirill…

The BBC Proms broadcast a piece of gloriously subversive new music – without realising it

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Sir James MacMillan’s European Requiem, performed at the Proms on Sunday, isn’t about Brexit. The composer had to make this…

Haydn would surely have approved of Simon Rattle’s repackaging of the symphonies

22 July 2017 9:00 am

‘Rarely, rarely, comest thou, Spirit of Delight!’ wrote Elgar, quoting Shelley, at the top of his Second Symphony. He should…

I had to watch through my fingers: Aurora Orchestra play Brahms One from memory

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Playing in an orchestra that disintegrates mid-concert is not an experience you forget. One moment everything’s motoring along nicely. Suddenly…

Glam is back

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Late on the Friday afternoon of The Great Escape — the annual three-day event for which the London music industry…

Flower power: the members of Geranium Pond

The legacy of Sgt. Pepper that’s really worth celebrating is toytown pop – not prog rock

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Pop’s counterfactuals tend to be built on questioning mortality: what if Jimi Hendrix had lived? Or Buddy Holly? Rarely does…

Harpsichordists at war

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Harpsichordists are supposed to make love, not war: Sir Thomas Beecham famously compared the sound they make to ‘two skeletons…