Beethoven

Bewilderingly dull: the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms reviewed

16 September 2017 9:00 am

‘We’re going to live for ever!’ declares Robert Powell as Gustav Mahler at the end of Ken Russell’s 1974 biopic.…

Letters: the ‘leavebugs’ bite back against Matthew Parris

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Bugs bite back Sir: Matthew Parris is quite right to say that we Leavers would prefer independence in reduced circumstances…

Power, purity and pinpoint accuracy in this new recording of Beethoven’s greatest work 

29 July 2017 9:00 am

When you first encounter it, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis can sound like the Ninth Symphony with more singing but no tunes.…

East haunts West in a musicologist’s dark night of the soul

8 July 2017 9:00 am

As bombs fall everywhere in Syria and IS fighters destroy Palmyra, a musicologist in Vienna lies awake all night thinking…

That this Fidelio is merely frustrating counts as something of a success

1 July 2017 9:00 am

If you want to see an opera director kicking a genius when they’re down — and I mean really sticking…

Meet the composer who licked Beethoven’s carpet

24 June 2017 9:00 am

Gerald Barry once licked Beethoven’s carpet. At least, that’s what he told me, and I’m as sure as any interviewer…

Time to retire: pianist Maurizio Pollini at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2016

Maurizio Pollini needs to retire

25 March 2017 9:00 am

There’s a moment in the finale of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata when the frenzied piano writing turns unexpectedly jolly. The late…

Did Igor Levit’s latest Beethoven recital deserve to be booed?

4 March 2017 9:00 am

Nothing pleased Iannis Xenakis more than a great big rattling storm. The sound of a thunderclap would have him running…

A surprising number of great composers were fond of the bottle – but can you hear it?

10 December 2016 9:00 am

‘Brahms and Liszt’ is a lovely bit of rhyming slang, but it doesn’t have the ring of authenticity. Can you…

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…

Samir Basim leads the basses in France, 2013

Iraq's national youth orchestra: an improbable story on a heroic scale

20 August 2016 9:00 am

Now that even candidates for President of the United States can rise up from the undead dregs of reality television,…

My deafness has become an impediment to domestic harmony

8 August 2015 9:00 am

Most people, when asked if they would rather be deaf or blind, say they would rather be deaf. I would…

Those ancient Greeks were bores — but things are looking up

31 January 2015 9:00 am

Thick snow is falling hard and heavy, muffling sounds and turning the picturesque village postcard beautiful. I am lying in…

Was Beethoven influenced by yoga?

17 January 2015 9:00 am

How many digital radios have you bought over the years? How many are still working? Of the four I used…

My Schubert marathon

4 October 2014 9:00 am

Just how much fun is it listening to all 650 of Schubert’s songs, asks Damian Thompson

‘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…

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.…

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…

The state of opera today (it's not good)

4 January 2014 9:00 am

I’ve been hoping that in this, the last of my weekly columns on opera, I would be able to strike…

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…

Four recordings of Beethoven’s Ninth on a £10 app

25 May 2013 9:00 am

Last weekend my iPad sucked me deeper into Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony than I thought possible. Deutsche Grammophon and Touch Press…

Box of delights

4 December 2010 12:00 am

Sitting on my desk as I write are two objects of wonder and delight.