Notes beyond notes

We’ve just reached the time of year in New Zealand when arts organisations reveal their programmes for 2017. In the last few weeks, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Chamber Music New Zealand, and Orchestra Wellington have launched new seasons. The programmes are ambitious and stimulating, an embarrassment of riches that will bring to audiences a mixture of outstanding local musicians, … More Notes beyond notes

Dynamic contrast

Part I The title of this post is taken from a frequently recurring comment on the grade sheets my pupils received after taking a variety of ABRSM exams this term. Sometimes they ‘attempted dynamic contrast’, sometimes they ‘achieved dynamic contrast’ and one even ‘demonstrated imagination in dynamic contrast.’ Examiners speak in riddles sometimes, but I … More Dynamic contrast

In the Wellcome Library: Stoddart and Smart

During today’s post-lunch recovery phase at the Wellcome Library, I found a short book by William Henry Butter Stoddart (1868-1950) an eminent practitioner in the field of ‘mental diseases’ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His 1908 textbook The Mind and its Disorders was a key text for doctors interested in emerging ideas about psychology … More In the Wellcome Library: Stoddart and Smart

Die Moritat von Mackie Messer

In 1998 my little brother embarked upon his Grade 5 TCL violin exam. One of his pieces was an arrangement of the ‘Tango-Ballad’ from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Die Dreigroschenoper. We invested in a CD of Die Dreigroschenoper, the 1958 recording from the Afifo Studio, Tempelhof Berlin, with Lotte Lenya.  In retrospect, the ‘Tango-Ballad’ was a louche choice of arrangement … More Die Moritat von Mackie Messer