Music

The maestro could hear if a single player was doing something wrong, even in the most noisy tutti

Toscanini and the morality of conducting

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Toscanini’s simple set of values made him certain of the rights and wrongs of everything, says Michael Tanner – except regarding women

Scabrous and sarcastic: singer-songwriter Randy Newman

‘Things are less liberal than they used to be’: Randy Newman interview

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Randy Newman tells Michael Hann that he wouldn’t get away with his more troubling songs nowadays

Virginie Despentes attempts a fresco of modern French society

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Virginie Despentes remains best known in this country for her 1993 debut novel, Baise-Moi, about two abused young women who…

Band apart: conductor John Wilson, whose orchestra boasts some of the best wind and brass players on the planet

The joy of the John Wilson Orchestra

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Richard Bratby meets the conductor John Wilson, who thinks we should take Gershwin as seriously as we do Beethoven

McGonagall for sad hipsters: Jay-Z’s 4:44 reviewed

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Grade: B – All criticism is pointless, I suppose, given the sheer magnitude of the Shawn Corey Carter machine —…

Beth Ditto was once a riot grrrl – but her latest album is about as edgy as Wilson Phillips

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Boy is she fat, and getting fatter. I realise this is something we’re not meant to mention when talking about…

‘Tennis’, 1930, by Eric Ravilious

How artists from Ravilious to Rauschenberg fell for tennis

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Tennis is best played with a wooden racket on a shady lawn somewhere close to Dorking. There is no need…

No one in this marvellously profane genre can touch Snoop Dogg: Neva Left reviewed

10 June 2017 9:00 am

The problem Calvin Broadus has is persuading the rest of us that he still a baaaad muthafucka. Snoop is now…

L’Orfeo is at its darkest and most painful outside the opera house: Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s concert staging reviewed

3 June 2017 9:00 am

The ancient Greeks had a word for it —katabasis, descending into the depths, to the underworld itself, in search of…

Flower power: the members of Geranium Pond

The legacy of Sgt. Pepper that’s really worth celebrating is toytown pop – not prog rock

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Pop’s counterfactuals tend to be built on questioning mortality: what if Jimi Hendrix had lived? Or Buddy Holly? Rarely does…

The radio documentary that makes you think again about the Nuremberg Trials

27 May 2017 9:00 am

‘Hell is better than what I personally witnessed,’ says Ben Ferencz, who was one of the American troops sent in…

Telemann was much more than a prolific purveyor of musical muesli

27 May 2017 9:00 am

The concert began with a flourish and a honk. Well, of course it did. Telemann wrote his last Ouverture-Suite in…

Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma, 1969, photography by Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson

The album art that dazzled a generation

29 April 2017 9:00 am

James Walton talks to Aubrey Powell, the man behind the album art for virtually every 1970s rock band you can think of

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…

I didn't think playing all Scriabin's piano sonatas in one afternoon was possible

29 April 2017 9:00 am

Just before Peter Donohoe played the last of Alexander Scriabin’s ten piano sonatas at the Guildhall’s Milton Court on Sunday,…

The best tunes Ray Davies has come up with since 1972: Americana reviewed

29 April 2017 9:00 am

There is some surprise that after all these years Ray Davies has turned his attention to America. He is the…

London’s orchestral scene is dead. Time to change the music – and some CEOs

15 April 2017 9:00 am

For much of the past half-century, London has been the world’s orchestral capital. Not always in quality, but numerically without…

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…

A ravishing Rameau premiere – pity the choreography was pure Bez

15 April 2017 9:00 am

The English weren’t the first cowpat composers. Jean-Philippe Rameau raised the art of frolicking in the fields to such heights…

‘SS-GB’ takes the commitment to the crepuscular a lot further than most

A drama set in Nazi-occupied Britain really shouldn’t be this dull: BBC1’s SS-GB reviewed

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Rival law-enforcement agencies arguing about which of them should investigate a murder has, of course, been a staple of crime…

I’ve got Mick Jagger’s lost memoir

18 February 2017 9:00 am

I’ve got it. But you may never see it

Why do people think it’s OK to order me to dance?

18 February 2017 9:00 am

Why does it make people angry that I don’t want to?

Spare us the gerontophilia

11 February 2017 9:00 am

Brahms didn’t always have a beard. The picture in the London Symphony Orchestra’s programme book showed him clean-shaven, and rightly.…

A masterclass in radio reporting

11 February 2017 9:00 am

The BBC foreign correspondent Hugh Sykes was meant to be talking about how music has shaped his life with Sarah…

On the waterfront: The Deep, Hull

How Hull won me over

4 February 2017 9:00 am

James Walton finds a lot to love about this year’s City of Culture – even on a bleak January weekend