Music

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…

Are hymns dying? 

15 February 2014 9:00 am

I love a good hymn, so long as I’m not expected to sing it. Lusty declarations of faith sound ridiculous…

Prefab Sprout's comeback gives hope to the over-50s

8 February 2014 9:00 am

Every musical career has its own narrative, and most of them include at least one comeback. To come back, you…

How Claudio Abbado bridged old and new

1 February 2014 9:00 am

Not long ago the great conductors of classical music were general practitioners. They expected to give satisfactory interpretations of music…

Goodbye, Claudio Abbado. You helped us glimpse eternity

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Fellini’s credo ‘the visionary is the only true realist’ could also be applied to the life of Claudio Abbado, who…

I know how to cure my music addiction

18 January 2014 9:00 am

About 30 years ago, not long before he died, my father bought an LP of Sir Clifford Curzon playing Schubert’s…

This charming man: Lang Lang rehearsing with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic

Lang Lang: You can't compare Bach and Schoenberg, or Justin Timberlake and The Beatles

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Matthew Stadlen talks to the Chinese pianist Lang Lang

All I want next Christmas is new Christmas songs 

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Three months until spring. Four months until the start of the cricket season. And only nine months until the radio…

Could this be the year of C.P.E. Bach?

4 January 2014 9:00 am

Looking through the list of composers who celebrate some sort of anniversary in 2014 is a depressing business. I don’t…

The splendour of the English carol

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Michael Henderson on the splendour of carols

Albums of the year? Some years we can answer it, some years we can't 

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Albums of the year? What a good question. Some years we can answer it, some years we can’t. The essence…

Music to listen to when you've broken up with a precious friend

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata is thrilling and brain-twisting. Its nickname derives from the fact that it was published as a sonata…

A century before Miley Cyrus, it was male performers — like Nijinsky — who bared all 

7 December 2013 9:00 am

While the airwaves resonate with celebrations of Britten’s birth, I cannot help thinking that what was happening in Paris at…

Peter Phillips: I saw the other side of John Taverner

23 November 2013 9:00 am

When I first met John Tavener in 1977, he was still largely known for his dramatic cantata The Whale, which…

Morrissey can't even moan properly — here's a frontman who can

9 November 2013 9:00 am

There is much to be said for Schadenfreude. (If it was edible, it would be a meal in a very…

'I was an arrogant 18-year-old': Daniel Harding on growing up

2 November 2013 9:00 am

Michael Henderson talks to the youthful conductor Daniel Harding, who realises that the older he gets the more he has to learn

How to conduct a Tallis motet in a cardboard cathedral

2 November 2013 9:00 am

To undertake a concert tour of New Zealand’s cathedrals at the moment is to be constantly reminded of the destructive…