Great Grosvenor

To the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Wednesday evening for Benjamin Grosvenor’s first recital there. Barely twenty years old, he’s already a media star due to his own exceptional abilities and canny management and marketing. What makes him stand out from his peers is his complete but unfashioable affinity with the repertoire and style of playing of the…

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Unpublished Revelations

  Over forty years ago, I started collecting material about Leopold Godowsky: newspaper clippings, magazine articles, references in autobiographies, recordings and music. To cut a very long story short and fourteen publisher rejections later, the book finally appeared between hard covers in 1989 thanks to Bryan Crimp of APR.             During the four years prior to…

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Two sides of the (pianistic) fence

Someone once said there are two sorts of people in the world: those who divide the world into two sorts of people and those who don’t. Now call it a crude generalisation or a silly party game for pianoraks or, as I like to think, brilliantly perceptive, but I think you can divide concert pianists…

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‘Still Fairer Hopes’ – George Gershwin 75 years after his death

(this article is published online by Gramophone magazine) During the thirteen years of their almost exclusive collaboration, George and Ira Gershwin produced nearly one thousand songs, for a dozen shows and four films. Imagine the fruits of that partnership if George had been granted even ten more years – let alone forty.             Someone once…

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Richard 11 and This England

Shakespeare’s plays (like opera) rarely work on the small screen. Even in the cinema they tend to be heavy-handed with performances played at the same level as on stage. The production of Richard 11  on Saturday night (BBC2) was a shining, magnificent exception. On every level – performances, costumes, direction, decor, lighting, editing, verse speaking – the…

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The Lost Romantics

Resurrecting the second division 19th century composers. In his opening number, the eponymous Mikado in Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta sings of the music-hall singer who attends a series of ‘masses and fugues and ’ops / By Bach, interwoven / With Spohr and Beethoven, / At classical Monday Pops.’ Yes, Ludwig (or Louis as he called…

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