Cosima Wagner

I came across this article from August 1894 in To-Day, a magazine edited by Jerome K. Jerome. Richard Wagner had died just 11 years earlier and this encounter with his formidable widow fully justifies her reputation as the Queen of Bayreuth. She was a notably unpleasant human being with even stronger anti-Semitic views than her…

Andre Previn R.I.P.

André Previn was the most complete musician I have ever met – I was lucky enough to interview him on three occasions.  Everything seemed to come so easily to him, laid back and apparently effortless whether in the role of conductor, classical pianist or jazz pianist.           He was also a marvelous raconteur, and one story…

Hymn for Today

Idon’t dislike all modern hymns – or ‘worship songs’ as they are called by the people who sing them – but I dislike most of them. The words are generally as unmemorable and as undistinguished as the latest teenage lament being belted out over the PA system in my local Co-Op. ‘Love’ and ‘Jesus’ are…

TOO MANY BEETHOVEN SONATAS

The Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda invited me to take part in a symposium in Cremona during the annual festival in which luthiers and piano manufacturers from all over the world congregate for their annual exhibition. I had never been to Cremona before. The hotel was a stone’s throw away from the imposing duomo – the medieval…

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…

MARGARET BURKE SHERIDAN

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…

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…