Beethoven

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.