Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.

 The Tempest is the opposite of a disappointment; it is a masterpiece of airy beauty and eerie power. Alex Ross on Adès’s opera, The Tempest The New Yorker, March 1, 2004. This week we complete our trawl through 20th century English music with the work of Thomas Adès. I must admit to having to cheat (slightly), […]

A matter of life and death

From joyous birth (Finzi’s setting of Treharne, Dies Natalis) to mystic death (Herbert Howells’ Hymnus Paradisi) with the great bell of Winchester Cathedral ringing out over all to summon both the quick and the dead (Jonathan Harvey; Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco). All this together with the procession, ritual and game of the music of Harrison […]

Elizabeth Maconchy

“one of the most substantial composers these islands have yet produced.” Martin Anderson, The Independent Need convincing? Listen to this… Also, this week, a chance to explore the Four Ritual Dances from Tippett’s opera The Midsummer Marriage: Earth in Autumn, Waters in Winter, Air in Spring Fire in Summer Course materials: Elizabeth Maconchy Cycle of […]

The road not taken

Smyth, Bantock and Holbrooke; or, more familiarly, Ethel, Granville and Joseph (aka Josef). That familiarity, however, doesn’t extend – for most people, anyway – to a knowledge of the music of these three. So, this week, we’re going to explore an alternative history, to acquaint (or reacquaint) ourselves with the works of these distinguished composers. w […]

Christmas nostalgia

  Boxes of dates with a plastic sword; Turkish Delight that covered you (and the cat) in icing sugar; dying of a surfeit of Christmas cake; 14 variations on a theme of turkey (with a final, rather dyspeptic, passacaglia)… and so on ad (literally!) nauseam. But do you remember Amahl and the Night Visitors?? Every Christmas from […]