What makes English music English?

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Uncategorized | No Comments
What makes English music English?

  What makes English music English? It is an endlessly fascinating challenge, trying to tease out the ingredients that make up a national musical language.  As with a decent stew, some elements are obvious, like rich red tomatoes or onions, and others are more subtle – a pinch of spice or a hint of exotic […]

Getting inspired

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Uncategorized | No Comments
Getting inspired

I was asked recently to write a poem for a Prom on war themes. I researched a lot, from how bullets work to ancient Greek battles and nicknames for Tommy helmets (‘salad bowls’, apparently). I chose eventually to look at those who I felt were doubly lost, those missing in action and never laid to […]

Bill Evans and Poulenc

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Uncategorized | No Comments
Bill Evans and Poulenc

It is well known that jazz pianist Bill Evans drew on Debussy and Ravel for inspiration for his jazz voicings. (He also pored over Wagner scores, but that seems to have been swept under the carpet a little).  I find the twists and turns in Evans’ harmonic writing and clear melodic lines sometimes remind me […]

Pronouncing Janácek – a masterclass with maestro Hrusa

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Uncategorized | No Comments
Pronouncing Janácek – a masterclass with maestro Hrusa

Jan-acek? Ja-nAH-cek? I’ve often wondered how to pronounce his name so as to avoid minor faux pas when supping on canapés in Glyndebourne (perhaps as a future, richer self, at least). I had the chance to get the definitive answer from Czech conductor Jakub Hrusa, whom I interviewed last Saturday. It was meant to be […]