Getting the look right

Gestalt Laws

The principles of grouping (or Gestalt laws of grouping) are a set of principles in psychology, first proposed by Gestalt psychologists to account for the observation that humans naturally perceive objects as organised patterns and objects, a principle known as ‘Prägnanz’.  Gestalt psychologists argued that these principles exist because the mind has an innate disposition […]

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Convey the message clearly

penny black

Prior to 1840, most people expected to get quite a few birthday cards.  The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. By the early 15th century, […]

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God doesn’t attend concerts

St Sepulchres Church Holborn

St Sepulchre’s in Newgate is known as the National Musicians Church.  The ashes of Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, lie in its north chapel which is dedicated to the commemoration of significant British musicians.  You would therefore expect this church to be a thriving centre for music, both as part of worship and  through concerts […]

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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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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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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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New Beginnings

In 1985 the German artist Joseph Beuys took 31 rough, bulky basalt rocks and threw them across the floor in a seemingly random manner. The stones are all a muted beige colour, mottled with patches of grey. Each rock measures between one and two and a half metres in length and has a cone-shaped hole drilled into the […]

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