…how strange the change from major to minor

Apart from it being a rather useful (trite but it works?) internal rhyme, Cole Porter wasn’t exactly wrong about the deep emotional effect of the juxtaposition of majors and minors; it’s just that it’s a bit more complicated than that. Have a listen… recognise them? The simple act of flattening one note in a chord, like […]

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. […]

Winterreise — The Winter Journey

The last five years of Schubert’s life. Just five years? Doesn’t seem that long, does it? But, in a life span of a mere thirty-one — once you take away ten or so years for childhood — those five years come to represent a quarter of the composer’s mature life and, in terms of composition, the […]

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 […]