Monteverdi at 450


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is regarded by many as one of the most significant and influential composers of the Western Art music tradition. He oversaw the transition of music from the Classical style, full of poise and balance, to the Romantic style, characterised by emotion and impact.  Or did he?  We know for example that […]

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Classic FM Hall of Fame 2017

Hall of fame

Over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Classic FM presented their annual ‘Hall of Fame’.  This is described as the largest poll of the world’s favourite classical music as voted for by listeners through a public vote.  The thing is, it’s all very predictable and as such really rather dull. This year, once again Vaughan Williams topped the chart with his […]

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Everything is not what it seems

lancaster bomber

Every so often, well usually approximately every 12 months, I find myself with the urge to find a purveyor of motor cars.  For the last 10 years or so these have always been reasonably fast things made by the Germans.  Whatever you think of our European friends, it seems the Germans do know how make a car. […]

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Not making a fuss


This afternoon, a man with a beard went to Brussels to hand over a letter to a Polish chap.  Meanwhile, some woman in the UK said it was a “moment of celebration for some, disappointment for others”.  I refer of course to the triggering of Article 50 which starts the process of Britain being removed from the European […]

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Women and Places where they sing

Choirs in Malmesbury Abbey

During the early 1990s the Church of England suddenly noticed women.  In 1991, despite warnings of “sacrificing a wonderful, ancient tradition of men and boys’ choirs for political correctness”, Salisbury Cathedral introduced a Girls’ Choir for the first time.  Then on 12 March 1994, the first 32 women were ordained as Church of England priests. However, it was […]

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Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

World Book Day

Yesterday, apparently in certain corners of the world, it was World Tailors Day. This is an annual day observed on February 28 by tailors in several countries. The date is in recognition of the birthday of Sir William Elias Howe. In 1845 he invented the sewing machine by using the lock stitch loop method.  In India, it was National Science Day […]

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Parking in Leicester

Leicester cathedral organ

Last weekend I was in the Midlands. My primary objective whilst there was to play the organ for a weekend of services at the Cathedral, which were being sung by Quorum, a fantastic chamber choir from Milton Keynes.  In addition I had agreed with their Musical Director, Chris Williams, that I would record the choir during […]

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Running a Choir – Just how hard can it be?

CMVC Cirencester

Last weekend I was in Berlin to run a choir workshop for a Global Law firm.  The recipe for this event sounded fairly straightforward.  Take 60 legal types, feed well before placing in a conference room with an unlimited supply of achoholic beverages.  Then, once settled, dim the lights pull back a screen and reveal a […]

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How much is that Cake?

Cake for Choirmaster

Earlier this week, British pianist David Shenton was invited to accompany Sevi Regis at the Presidential inauguration ceremony of Donald Trump.   Naturally he enquired about the fee and was told there is no fee due to the prestige of the event.  Apparently there was also no option to claim expenses for this gig.  Not surprisingly […]

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On Friday 13 November 1868, the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini died from pneumonia at his country house in Passy.  Possibly an unremarkable event if, like me, you are fairly indifferent to Italian opera.  But it is one which sparked great excitement to those who are superstitious about Friday 13th. One suggested origin of this superstition […]

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