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).
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.
Ok, ok, I promise to use vibrato more if you promise to stop describing (and hearing) music without vibrato as “dead”.
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.
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.
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.
While doing some background reading as preparation for my first experience playing Peter Grimes, I discovered an unpublished poem by George Crabbe that would surely have resulted in a somewhat different opera had Britten come across it.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.