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  1. May 30, 2014

    British composers and the English landscape

    The composer Richard Skelton walks to work. Every day he leaves his cottage, located deep within the fell lands of Cumbria...

  2. July 22, 2013

    Lau, Larmer Tree Festival, UK – review

    It is a mark of the ecology of British summer festivals – or perhaps just a mark of the peculiarity of this British summer –...

  1. July 14, 2013

    First Night of the Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London – review

    They’re off! If a BBC Proms season of 58 consecutive nights sounds like a marathon, Friday’s opening concert was the...

  2. June 24, 2013

    Lost voices of British music

    Next year will see the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war. Preparations for commemorating it are well under...

  3. April 12, 2013

    Vaughan Williams: Symphonies 5 and 8

    Neglected in London, the Vaughan Williams symphonies still have champions elsewhere in the UK – no more so than Manchester,...

  4. August 12, 2012

    Glass’s 10th Symphony, Grand Théâtre de Provence, Aix-en-Provence

    Enough composers – Beethoven, Mahler and, if you ignore the small print, Dvorak, Schubert, Bruckner and Vaughan Williams –...

  5. August 3, 2012

    Jonathan Dove: There Was a Child

    Commissioned to write a piece of music in memory of a teenager who drowned while snorkelling in Thailand, Jonathan Dove has...

  6. March 16, 2012

    Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony, Serenade to Music

    This is a wonderfully atmospheric account of VW’s London portrait, played by the Rochester Philharmonic and conducted by a...

  7. December 13, 2011

    Steeleye Span, Salisbury City Hall

    Salisbury is only a few miles from the tiny Wiltshire village where Steeleye Span came together in the winter of 1969. Only...

  8. October 22, 2011

    Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony, Oboe Concerto

    Since the death of Richard Hickox two years ago, Vaughan Williams has lacked an effective champion. On the basis of this...

  9. October 15, 2011

    Tenebrae, Hubert Parry: Songs of Farewell

    Parry’s six unaccompanied motets are luminous settings of texts by mainly 17th century poets, reflecting his love of English...

  10. September 22, 2011

    Weather strikes a chord with composers

    Britain’s rotten weather has been blamed for everything from sudden plunges in high street sales to a national predilection...

  11. September 13, 2011

    Berlin Philharmonic/ Nelsons, Berliner Philharmonie

    The stakes in the music world are not as high as they used to be. Marsyas was skinned alive for losing his musical battle...

  12. July 5, 2011

    Nash Ensemble, Drapers’ Hall, London

    The walls of the imposing Drapers’ Hall are hung with full-length portraits of British kings and queens. At the head of...

  13. May 9, 2011

    Clemency, Linbury Studio Theatre, London

    Grant Doyle as Abraham James MacMillan completed his new chamber opera long before the US sent a group of commandos to...

  14. April 28, 2011

    Mark Padmore and Friends, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

    Here was an inspired piece of programming: a chamber and song recital spanning the careers of Vaughan Williams and his...

  15. January 29, 2011

    Rubbra: String Quartets 1, 3 and 4

    Edmund Rubbra String Quartets 1, 3 and 4 Maggini Quartet (Naxos) Naxos’ English music series is turning into one of the gems...

  16. January 23, 2011

    Skills reforms hark back to guild system

    Proposed reforms to the English apprenticeship system have been inspired by “a mix of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with...

  17. December 10, 2010

    Berkeley, Britten, Quilter, Swayne and Vaughan Williams: Departures; Bowles, Barber, Glick and Vaughan Williams: Let Beauty Awake

    Berkeley, Britten, Quilter, Swayne and Vaughan Williams Departures Benjamin Hulett (Saphrane) Bowles, Barber, Glick and...

  18. December 4, 2010

    Vaughan Williams, Mendelssohn and Bach: The First Nowell

    Vaughan Williams, Mendelssohn and Bach The First Nowell Vladimir Jurowski London Philharmonic Orchestra The Christmas...

  19. November 26, 2010

    Hugh the Drover, Cadogan Hall, London

    When Ralph Vaughan Williams set out, early in his career, to turn a boxing match into opera, he could hardly have chosen a...

  20. October 22, 2010

    The ‘dream world’ of Steven Isserlis

    Steven Isserlis at home in London playing what he calls ‘everyone’s favourite instrument’ Don’t ever tell Steven Isserlis,...

  21. October 4, 2010

    Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, Cambridge

    The cold wind from Scandinavia that was chilling Cambridge had also blown in the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek....

  22. September 13, 2010

    Last Night of the 1910 Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London

    Here’s a first: a Last Night that did not raise the roof. This was not the 2010 Last Night, which comes on Saturday, but a...

  23. August 6, 2010

    BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London

    Contrary to popular belief, flags are not waved every night through the BBC Proms season. It took one patriotic soul to go...

  24. June 14, 2010

    Folk's first families, fragile and emotional

    The curator of this year's Meltdown Festival at London's Southbank is Richard Thompson. Ever since he took an electric...

  25. June 13, 2010

    Meltdown, Southbank Centre, London

    Singing of sin: Richard Thompson on Friday The curator of this year’s Meltdown Festival at London’s Southbank is Richard...

  26. May 9, 2010

    Bookmakers win over opinion polls

    The general election has thrown up many interesting issues for investors, but none was so marked as the continuous...

  27. May 8, 2010

    Aronowitz Ensemble: Climbing the Skies

    Aronowitz Ensemble Climbing the Skies Chamber music by Elgar, Huw Watkins and Vaughan Williams(Sonimage) The Aronowitz...

  28. April 3, 2010

    Vaughan Williams: Sancta Civitas

    Vaughan Williams Sancta Civitas Bach Choir/David HillNaxos Most of VW’s choral output seems trapped between Elgar and the...

  29. February 24, 2010

    Spiro

    At first breath, Spiro sound like a folk band. But their relationship to traditional music is oblique. Vaughan Williams took...

  30. February 23, 2010

    Spiro, The Forge, Basingstoke

    At first breath, Spiro sound like a folk band. But their relationship to traditional music is oblique. Vaughan Williams took...

  31. December 5, 2009

    In terra pax: City of London Choir/Hilary Davan Whetton

    In terra pax: A Christmas Anthology City of London Choir/Hilary Davan Whetton Naxos Christmas anthologies usually have me...

  32. July 11, 2009

    Defining moment: An American psychologist finds a betting system that works, April 1949

    When the second world war ended, US army psychologist Richard M. Griffith found himself stationed at the Veterans...

  33. June 13, 2009

    An antidote to fear and fury

    The outstanding recent production of Peter Grimes at the London Coliseum, I was thinking, might have sounded like a...

  34. January 8, 2009

    Mark Padmore, Julius Drake and friends

    The Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn anniversaries are upon us, but the echo of the Vaughan Williams year - 2008 marked the...

  35. January 7, 2009

    Mark Padmore, Julius Drake and friends, Wigmore Hall, London

    The Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn anniversaries are upon us, but the echo of the Vaughan Williams year – 2008 marked the...

  36. December 1, 2008

    Time and tide and Ireland

    Fiona Shaw is Irish, she knows the setting, she understands the theatre. Yet as director, she has made a self-indulgent,...

  37. November 30, 2008

    Time and tide and Ireland

    Riders to the Sea, Coliseum, London Fiona Shaw is Irish, she knows the setting, she understands the theatre. Yet as...

  38. October 31, 2008

    For You

    It didn't need a composer-genius to make a musical drama of Ian McEwan's tart libretto about fading creativity, deceit and...

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