Bach

J.S. Bach and Horatio Clare in Arnstadt

The 280-mile walk that made Bach who he was

16 December 2017 9:00 am

Horatio Clare on the walk that made JSB who he was

What’s the appeal of slow radio?

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Slow radio is popping up everywhere at the moment — programmes that have no outward form but just meander through…

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…

The conductor, a joke between friends and an orchestrated race storm

16 September 2017 9:00 am

A fascinating story has emerged from a north-western leftie quadrant of the United States: the sacking of British conductor Matthew…

Luther’s music had an even greater impact than his words

29 April 2017 9:00 am

It’s 500 years since Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, sparking…

This is how you reimagine Bach’s St John Passion

22 April 2017 9:00 am

‘The dripping blood our only drink/ The bloody flesh our only food…/ Again, in spite of that, we call this…

The making of Bach’s Passion

15 April 2017 9:00 am

It’s the oddest place to find a profound meditation on the death of Christ, but there it is on Radio…

Charles Own performing at the London Piano Festival, Kings Place. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski/Redferns

Life’s too short for ‘well-crafted’ pieces by musical mediocrities – and Handel

15 October 2016 9:00 am

There’s a folder in my computer’s external hard drive in which you’ll find 24 complete recordings of the Bach Cello…

Performing the Goldberg Variations on the piano involves too many compromises

1 October 2016 9:00 am

The churning, rheumatic mechanism of a harpsichord — notes needling your ears like drops of acid rain — doesn’t necessarily…

Igor Stravinsky’s body being carried through Venice to the Basilica of San Zanipolo, where, by papal dispensation, a Russian Orthodox service was held

Southbank’s ‘Belief and Beyond Belief’ series is beyond parody

23 July 2016 9:00 am

A forthcoming ‘festival’ at the Southbank Centre exposes the secular mindset of Britain’s arts establishment, says Damian Thompson

‘I could do many things... but I could not listen to Bach’

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Six years ago, on Good Friday, the journalist Melanie Reid was thrown off her horse while on a cross-country ride…

Does the great Bach conductor Masaaki Suzuki think his audience will burn in hell?

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Damian Thompson talks to the great Bach conductor — and strict Calvinist — Masaaki Suzuki

Why is the organ such hard work?

13 February 2016 9:00 am

My old Oxford college, Mansfield, isn’t a famous establishment, though its current principal, ‘Baroness Helena Kennedy’, as she incorrectly styles…

Was Bach really a ‘tasteless and chaotic composer’?

14 November 2015 9:00 am

It’s just not what you expect to hear on Radio 3 but I happened upon Music Matters on Saturday morning…

Detail of the bridge of the kora, a harp made from calabash and cow hide, with strings aligned in a perpendicular plane

The polyphonous Babel of global music

17 October 2015 8:00 am

‘Following custom, when the Siamese conquered the Khmer they carried off much of the population, including most of their musicians,…

The Heckler: why does John Eliot Gardiner have to be so rude?

2 May 2015 9:00 am

Sir John Eliot Gardiner is talented almost beyond measure. His Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and stupidly named Orchestre Révolutionnaire…

Our hero worship of Bach is to blame for rubbish like ‘Written By Mrs Bach’

4 April 2015 9:00 am

My impression that Bach has come to rival Shakespeare as a flawless reference point in the cultural life of the…

You realise how little you know of anybody when they die

31 January 2015 9:00 am

Whether or not you believe in the afterlife, death remains an impenetrable mystery. One moment a person is making jokes…

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 sofa that became a work of art

20 September 2014 9:00 am

Last week on Front Row (Radio 4) the singer Joyce DiDonato recalled the advice she gave the new graduates of…

Spectator letters: Islamophobia, breast-feeding and Bach

21 June 2014 8:00 am

Rational fear Sir: An interesting contrast between the articles by Douglas Murray and Innes Bowen on Islamic influence in 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.…

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…

The splendour of the English carol

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Michael Henderson on the splendour of carols