Music

Kanye wipes the floor with David Letterman

6 July 2019 9:00 am

My plan to cut the BBC out of my life entirely is working well. Apart from the occasional forgivable lapse…

Hideously tasteful elegies to useless country singers: Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B– The first Springsteen song I ever heard was ‘Born To Run’, back when I was 14. I clocked…

The early death of Lili Boulanger is the most grievous of all among composers

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Total immersion weekends can prove tricky. The established masters don’t need them, while lesser-known figures often turn out to be…

Aspiring to profundity: Robyn at Ally Pally

At her best Robyn is magical – but her contribution to pop is hardly unique

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Last autumn, anyone who a) has an interest in pop music, and b) reads the weightier end of the press,…

Magnificently incoherent: Royal Trux’s White Stuff reviewed

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Grade:A Royal Trux are back — kind of. Singer (if that’s what you want to call what she does) Jennifer…

How good really was Berlioz?

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Hector Berlioz was born on 11 December 1803 in rural Isère. ‘During the months which preceded my birth my mother…

The soul of Lou Reed and the looks of Harry Styles: Matt Healy and the 1975

As so often, teenage girls called this one right: The 1975 reviewed

26 January 2019 9:00 am

The teenage girls are often right. They were right about Sinatra and they were right about Elvis. They were right…

Philipp Fürhofer's handsome and often ingenious designs for the Royal Opera's overcomplicated new production of The Queen of Spades. Photo: ROH 2018 / Catherine Ashmore

Never quite pivots from thesis to drama: Royal Opera’s Queen of Spades reviewed

19 January 2019 9:00 am

We increasingly accept the collision between life and art. Whether we’re puzzling over the real identity of Elena Ferrante, choosing…

Doors drummer John Densmore and Police percussionist Stewart Copeland. Photo: BBC / Somethin’ Else Sound Directions Ltd / Nico Wasserman

According to BBC4, what was one of the 'most important inventions in modern music'?

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Here’s a tricky quiz question for you. What word completes this sentence from a BBC4 documentary on Friday: ‘The world…

Listening to people talking about death can be strangely consoling

8 December 2018 9:00 am

‘Without death,’ says Salena Godden, ‘life would be a never-ending conveyor belt of sensation.’ For her death is what gives…

Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica performing performing Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Concertino for Violin and Strings in 2014. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito/ Getty Images

As a symphonist, Mieczyslaw Weinberg was a master: Weinberg Weekend reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

It’s a strange compliment to pay a composer — that the most profound impression their music makes is of an…

Reluctant sex object: Brett Anderson, lead singer of Suede, in 1993

Brett Anderson on fame, fear and hitting 50

29 September 2018 9:00 am

Brett Anderson talks to Michael Hann about fame, fear and hitting 50

Handel is rowed in a gondola on the Thames, in an illustration for ‘The Water Music’

Handel’s greatest hits — the glorious London decades

15 September 2018 9:00 am

Paul Kildea describes the glorious decades when Handel bcharmed London society with one masterpiece after another

‘Catholic music is often excruciating – I call it “Joan Baez meets Hildegard of Bingen in a 1970s cocktail lounge.”’ Baez: Pierre Andrieu /AFP/Getty Images Bach: Rischgitz/Getty Images

How Bach lifted my spirits at my mother's funeral

15 September 2018 9:00 am

I was at a funeral the other day at which the music was so inspiring that I struggled to feel…

A warning to those who argue that we live in a visual society

7 July 2018 9:00 am

‘Can one person really grasp the significance of what another person has been through?’ asks Dr Rita Charon in this…

Letters: Judging students by achievement is a greater scourge than diversity at any cost

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Harvard’s racial quotas Sir: While I largely agree with Coleman Hughes that racial quotas are counterproductive (‘The diversity trap’, 23 June),…

Vocalist, street performer and Jehovah’s Witness: Damo Suzuki in 1971

The industrial kling-klang of ‘Krautrock’

30 June 2018 9:00 am

The tricky term ‘Krautrock’ was first used by the British music press in the early 1970s to describe the drones…

The reluctant frontman: Ray Davies

‘I think The Kinks could have found a better frontman’: Ray Davies interviewed

23 June 2018 9:00 am

At 74, Ray Davies is as sharp as ever. Michael Hann talks to him about America, angry groupies and being a reluctant frontman

Pianist Clifford Curzon, composer Sir Arthur Bliss and musicologist Hans Keller at the very first Leeds International Piano Contest. Photo: Erich Auerbach / Getty Images

You vote for my pupil, I’ll vote for yours – the truth about music competitions

23 June 2018 9:00 am

A young Korean, 22 years old, won the Dublin International Piano Competition last month. Nothing unusual about that. Koreans and…

Garsington makes as good a case as you can for Strauss's frothy Capriccio

9 June 2018 9:00 am

‘Is there an end [to this opera] that is not trivial?’ asks the Countess in her final bars of Richard…

Hello darkness, my old friend: Paul Simon, determined to ensure that his true self remains in shadow

The sound of silence that echoes round Paul Simon

26 May 2018 9:00 am

Someone has gone to a lot of trouble choosing the jacket cover of Robert Hilburn’s authorised biography of Paul Simon…

Bravura, assurance and generosity: Mark Simpson's new Cello Concerto reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

The opening of Mark Simpson’s new Cello Concerto is pure Hollywood. A fanfare in the low brass, an upwards rush…

Viv Albertine, left, at Alexandra Palace, 1980; and right, today

Viv Albertine of the Slits on anger, honesty and being an arsey feminist

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Viv Albertine, formerly of the Slits, is publishing her second book – and it’s full of the honesty and anger that have marked her life. Michael Hann takes the brunt

How the Moody Blues only became good once they realised they were crap

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Rarely has one irate punter so affected a band’s trajectory. Without the anger of the man who went to see…

A Gerald Barry première really ought to be national news

17 March 2018 9:00 am

Blue Gadoo is one of those cats whose face looks like it’s been bashed flat with a wok. He lives…