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
Last week, a very great musician and writer of my acquaintance, who is an outstanding musician, teacher, and, of course, writer, said that while she struggled mightily to sit down and write things, she had just discovered that she had to ‘pretend convincingly enough to myself that I don’t care if I’m a bad writer, … More Writing about writing…Oh, must you?
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
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
In 1714, Advent Sunday fell on 2 December, and at the ducal court of Weimar a new cantata by a new Konzertmeister – the 29 year old Johann Sebastian Bach – was played to mark the occasion. Just a few days short of 300 years later, I was playing the same piece, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland … More Bach at the Grosvenor Chapel
This week schools are on half-term, and as my private pupils have all gone on exotic holidays, I have a whole week free for research and writing. The interludes will be going to La bohème at ENO on Wednesday, and going to a workshop at the Oxford Life Writing Centre at Wolfson College, Oxford on … More Half-Term Relaxation … ?
In February I was part of a group visit by staff and students of OBERTO to Christopher Alden’s production of Rigoletto at the English National Opera. Several of us wrote abut the production, and our varied impressions can be found on the OBERTO blog. It was an extraordinary production in many ways, and my first encounter … More Rigoletto at ENO