Not the World Cup was a “glorious celebration of classical and world music” that ran alongside a small men’s football competition in late 2022.
I got together with my friend the conductor and writer Lev Parikian to pick some highlights and talk about a few of the things we learnt – about music, about how we listen and how it makes us feel. (41 mins.)… Listen
An extraordinary, ambitious, blend of art and science, Johanes Kepler’s Harmony of the World is a 17th century attempt to understand what the then known universe sounded like – on a planetary level! In the 1970s, using the latest technology professors Willie Ruff and John Rodgers were able to make Kepler’s Harmony into music – an extended piece of electronica, hypnotic and thought provoking. (25’+ listening time)… Listen
Urbane sophistication mixes with poetry and drama in Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio, her biggest piece from a small catalogue of great music. Better known in recent times as the wife of Robert Schumann, it was Clara who was an international star as the leading pianist of their day. It was composing, though, that brought her the greatest joy and her music is full of deep inspiration and honesty. Listening time … Listen
Terror, excitement and delight – all there in handfuls as Carl Maria von Weber takes us into the depths of the forest for a folk tale of magic, sorcery, love, good and evil. One of my long time favourites and a brave new world for German opera in Der Fresichütz (“The Free-shooter”). Are you brave enough to go down to the woods today? Listening time, 20mins… Listen
At a time when everything seemed on the brink and the old ways no longer looked fit for purpose, Anton Webern was part of a musical revolution – giving us new ways of hearing music and seeing the world. His six pieces for large orchestra are. Whole worlds compressed into a few minutes of bleak beauty, terrifying dissonance and even more disturbing silence. It’s compelling. Listening time 22mins… Listen