CHOPIN – Introduction to the Complete Works

CHOPIN In response to requests from a few members of the audience last night, here is the text of my introduction to Warren Mailley-Smith’s cycle of the complete works of Chopin at St John’s Smith Square – Friday 4th September 2015 I am privileged to have been asked by Warren to say a few words […]

CHOPIN – The Two Photographs

CHOPIN – The Two Photographs This evening sees the first in a series of 11 concerts spread over 12 months in which the British pianist Warren Mailley-Smith will play the entire solo works of Frédéric Chopin in St John’s Smith Square. It’s a mammoth undertaking for any pianist and Warren has asked me to give a […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Aug 15) I never nursed a dear gazelle

OH! EVER THUS, FROM CHILDHOOD’S HOUR  Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of The Minstrel Boy and The Last Rose of Summer. He was responsible, with John Murray, for burning Lord Byron’s memoirs after his death Oh! ever thus, from childhood’s hour, I’ve seen […]


WHEN HE WHO ADORES THEE – MARGARET BURKE SHERIDAN There are some recordings you hear for the first time which stop you in your tracks. Something about the music and / or the performance just hits you in the emotional solar plexus – and you find your eyes burning. It takes you by surprise. Your […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Jul 15) You are old, Father William

THE OLD MAN’S COMFORTS AND HOW HE GAINED THEM Robert Southey (1799) Robert Southey (1774-1843) is little read today, though his poem ‘The Inchcape Rock’ remains a favourite of the period. Created Poet Laureate in 1813 (after Sir Walter Scott refused the post), his most enduring contributions to literature were to coin the word ‘autobiography’ and […]

An Early Morning Walk

This is my favourite time of the year. The countryside round where I live in deepest rural Essex is vibrant with greens and yellows and whites, and for once the farmers have not given the verges the severe haircut they usually do, so there is plenty of cow parsley and buttercups on show. I wish […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Jun 15) Immortal, invisible

I MMORTAL, INVISIBLE, GOD ONLY WISE Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908) This Christian hymn was written in 1867 and is sung to the tune St. Denio. Reportedly the favourite hymn of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the original final two stanzas were different, but this is how the words appear in most hymnals. The parody, as anyone […]

Kirill Gerstein recital

KIRILL GERSTEIN Wigmore Hall recital Thursday 14 May 2015 I’ve not been going to many piano recitals recently. Too often in the past year or so I’ve traipsed into London full of eager anticipation, an interesting programme promised, an exciting talent on offer – and I’ve come away underwhelmed, undernourished and generally disappointed. This is […]

Three Men and a Pianist Adrift in a Boat

THREE MEN IN A BOAT adapted by Craig Gilbert from Jerome K Jerome Arts Theatre, Cambridge – matinée 22 January 2015 Cast: J – David Partridge George – Michael Rouse Harris – Tom Hackney Nelly – Anna Westlake Director – Craig Gilbert A co-production by The Original Theatre and The Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (May 15) Danny Boy

DANNY BOY Music: Anon.              Lyrics: Fred E Weatherly It sounds like a folk song that’s been around for centuries but the lyrics of ‘Danny Boy’ were written as recently as 1913 by the prolific Fred E Weatherly. He was a lawyer by profession but in his spare time managed […]