Music

Consummately psychotic: Mark E. Smith of The Fall

If the idea of disturbing kraut-punk sung by a troll appeals, you'll love The Fall

4 October 2014 9:00 am

I had a fair idea of what I was in for when I went to see The Fall at Brixton’s…

Christopher Hogwood: the absolutist of early music

4 October 2014 9:00 am

The death of Christopher Hogwood has deprived the world of the most successful exponent of early music there has ever…

Wedding music lives or dies at the hands of the organist

20 September 2014 9:00 am

A few weeks ago I was at the perfect wedding. My young friend Will Heaven, a comment editor at the…

The secret to a long and happy pop career? Don’t die

13 September 2014 9:00 am

As everybody in the world except me seems to have seen Kate Bush’s live shows — against all apparent arithmetical…

Enough ‘themes’ at festivals

6 September 2014 9:00 am

One might have expected the streets of Edinburgh, especially at festival time, to bear some evidence of the political struggle…

Kate Bush Hammersmith Apollo review: Still crazy after all these years

30 August 2014 9:00 am

It says something about Kate Bush’s standing in the music world that, perhaps uniquely in the history of long-awaited live…

‘Ashtray’ Annie Fischer was a piano giant. Why didn’t more people realise this?

23 August 2014 9:00 am

This year marks the centenary of a pianist whom London orchestral players nicknamed ‘Ashtray Annie’. Only at the keyboard did…

My daughter wants to know why you haven't heard of the Jayhawks

9 August 2014 9:00 am

One of the many delightful aspects of having children is that you can get them to do things you are…

Was Elgar’s The Kingdom an attempt to write a religious Ring Cycle?

2 August 2014 9:00 am

To go from the second day of the England v. India Test match at Lord’s to the Albert Hall for…

Is Handel’s Messiah anti-Semitic?

19 July 2014 9:00 am

The Hallelujah Chorus crops up in the most unexpected places, says Michael Marissen in his new book about Handel’s Messiah.…

How do you like your pop: clean, dirty or downright soap-shy?

12 July 2014 9:00 am

I am still listening to the new Coldplay album, and liking it more and more, and not just because everyone…

Roger Wright's legacy at Radio Three – and his one big mistake

5 July 2014 9:00 am

Roger Wright’s precipitate departure from both Radio Three and the Proms came as a surprise. At first the news was…

A Glastonbury adventure with Led Zeppelin, Lana del Rey, drug dealers – and my son

5 July 2014 9:00 am

‘Charlie. E. Powder,’ said the friendly, helpful man working his way through the crowd during the mindblowing Friday-night headline set…

I think I've found the new Alfred Brendel

21 June 2014 8:00 am

Can you tell how intelligent a musician is by listening to him play? Last year I discovered a recording of…

Has any band of the past 20 years been as consistently irritating as Coldplay?

14 June 2014 8:00 am

It’s a long time, a very, very long time, since I bought a Coldplay album. Has any band of the…

Why it's good to remember that Bach could be a tedious old windbag

7 June 2014 9:00 am

When I was first learning about classical music, 50 years ago, the scene was more streamlined than it is now.…

I could be dead soon. What should I listen to?

24 May 2014 9:00 am

If I live as long as my father, I’ll be checking out on 9 December 2017. Since every man in…

One man’s guilty pleasure is another’s palpable greatness

10 May 2014 9:00 am

The film critic Anne Billson wrote a typically pugnacious piece recently about the phrase ‘guilty pleasures’, which has spread like…

British choirs can’t match up to those from abroad

3 May 2014 9:00 am

To curate a festival these days is to put oneself in the firing line. There is every chance that all…

In the mood for Parsifal, my Passiontide fare

19 April 2014 9:00 am

This week, I have been mostly listening to Parsifal. Not the St Matthew Passion, which is my usual Passiontide fare.…

Pop has become a conservative art form and an old man’s game

12 April 2014 9:00 am

It is coming to something when relatively young pop stars die not of drugs or misadventure but, essentially, of old…

The mean, bullying maestro is extinct – or should be

5 April 2014 9:00 am

W.H.Auden once wrote: ‘Real artists are not nice people. All their best feelings go into their work and life has…

Menuhin is the world’s toughest violin competition. Why is it packed with Asians, and no Brits?

22 March 2014 9:00 am

‘The truth is,’ says Gordon Back, lowering his voice, ‘that if the violin finalists from the BBC Young Musician of…

Addicted to Vole

8 March 2014 9:00 am

Earworm: what a wonderful word. It describes, as nothing else quite can, the effect a really invasive melody can have…

Less subsidy means better music

1 March 2014 9:00 am

One of the unlooked-for side effects of the financial crisis has been what might be called the desocialising of music…