A Suitable Stirring Solution for the Pandemic

Eternal gratitude is what I feel when my excellent ear training for the musicality of the spoken word is needed. Whatever the situation. It goes back to the time I was at London University’s Institute of Education, studying for the Postgraduate Certificate in Music Education, just specifically introduced for Music two years earlier. It would … Read more

BBC Last Night of the Prompts: a strictly personal report

BBC Proms Live – Last Night of the Proms: Golda Schultz (soprano), Nicola Benedetti (violin), BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra / Dalia Stasevska (conductor). Broadcast live (directed for TV by Matthew Woodward) from the Royal Albert Hall, 12.9.2020. (JB) Mozart – The Marriage of Figaro (Overture); ‘Deh vieni, non tardar’ R. Strauss – ‘Morgen!’ Andrea Tarrodi – Solus (BBC commission: … Read more

Norma Fisher recalls ‘My Life and Music’ at St Mary’s Perivale

Something a little different today – Sunday 6 September 2020 – at St Mary’s Perivale: not a recital but a distinguished recitalist talking about her life in music. I don’t often talk about myself and I’m not very good at it says Norma Fisher, opening her talk. That is not modesty on her part. Most … Read more

A Truth in Art: Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain

Salome by Aubrey Beardsley (c) Tate Britain

A truth in art, said Oscar Wilde, is one whose opposite is also true. Aubrey Beardsley’s same friend also said, one should either be a work of art or wear a work of art. That is Dandyism for you. These men would sometimes spend hours tying a cravat. Whichever way you look at Beardsley there are contradictions. It is comic while being tragic. Lightweight while being ponderous. Intense while being relaxed. Dismissive while being possessive. Comic while being tragic. Knowing while being unknowing. Gilbert and Sullivan were Beardsley’s exact contemporaries. See my recent Seen and Heard piece on G&S topsy-turveydom (click here).

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Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvydom

There can be no doubt – No ifs or buts: Mike Leigh ranks Gilbert World’s leading misery-guts. It may come as a surprise that the parents of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert outshone him in eccentricity: a valuable tool which is a leitmotif in Mike Leigh’s impressively researched and thoroughly entertaining 1999 biopic. Other authors too … Read more