Rhenish

Robert Schumann wrote four symphonies. The last of them, the third (don′t ask! …well, not yet, anyway) was dubbed – not by Schumann – The Rhenish. With the exception of one movement, it’s a rather jolly work and its nickname seems, for once, almost justified [seeming to conjure the great waterway (of course); jolly peasants; […]

V Tatrách — In the Tatras

Vítězslav Novák may not exactly be a household name, but –together with another Dvořák pupil, Josef Suk – he was one of the most influential composers and teachers of the generation that followed Smetana and Dvořák. The tone poem In the Tatras is one of his most performed works and does for the Tatras mountains (they’re on […]

The posthumous papers of a peripatetic horn player

The trouble with alliteration is that once you start in on it, it’s not so simple to stop. Anyway, it’s not the title of Wilhelm Müller’s pithily named collection of poems (Gedichte aus den hinterlassenen Papieren eines reisenden Waldhornisten) – the source of the Winterreise texts –that concerns us here but more the wandering horn player himself. […]

Open my heart and you will see/Grav’d inside of it, “Italy.”

What did holidaymakers do in the halcyon days before the internet, Wi-Fi, smartphones and tablets? They sent one another postcards, of course! And before the postcard?? In the 18th/19th century affluent young gentlemen and (rarely) ladies were packed off to do the Grand Tour; sent traipsing around Europe in the fond hope that – rather […]