three lyres on a shirt

This year’s men’s football world cup reminds me I wrote an article about football and music not so long ago, although then it was prompted by the death of a football star in year when a number of musical heroes were also passing (hee hee).

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could do better

Exam season is the ideal time to reflect and shudder at what we put people through at school. Here’s a glimpse of a better world that I knocked up a while ago for Classical Music magazine.


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not dead to me

Ok, ok, I promise to use vibrato more if you promise to stop describing (and hearing) music without vibrato as “dead”.

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practice as addiction

Practice is an addiction in that we are motivated by a certain belief that solving one more, one final technical problem will mean the world cannot fail to take notice at last.

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long ride in a slow machine

I finally had the opportunity to hear Morton Feldman’s second string quartet (the one that lasts five hours), at a festival in Monaco called Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo, and I wrote about the experience for the Strad magazine.

It was the Quatuor Béla who played it, not for the first time nor for the last since I understand they have future performances lined up. Even if I’m not there, I very much want them to programme Webern’s 6 Bagatelles in the second half.


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I’ll let you into a secret: not playing music is torture. You can fend off the torment by doing some practice and there’s a little bit more to it but really: a day not performing music with people is sheer torture. And when you know other people are, and you are not? It’s torture.

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grimes lines

While doing some background reading as preparation for my first experience playing Peter Grimes, I discovered an unpublished poem by George Crabbe that would surely have resulted in a somewhat different opera had Britten come across it.


There once was a fisherman named Grimes

Accused of some terrible crimes:

The mood got so dark

He said: stuff this for a lark!

And sailed off for sunnier climes.



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