Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kissin tells

The JC has news that Evgeny Kissin has written a letter to the BBC accusing it of an anti-Israel bias...a few thoughts, from him and from me

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

About Time, Too

Today The Times took a leaf out of my 'Bog off, Bruckner' idea and got arts figures to pick the classics they hate. Here's a little response.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rodolfo the Red-Nosed Tenor

Piotr Beczala drops out of Boheme opening night half way through. Why do singers never have 'normal' colds, only 'severe' ones?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nut, cracked

The Baryshnikov Nutcracker from American Ballet Theatre, 1977, starring the man himself with the glorious Gelsey Kirkland. Watch and marvel. Happy Friday Historical Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's All About the Music

How often do you hear opera directors say that? Meet one who does: the marvellous John Copley. Here's my interview with him, via What's On Stage:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday historical: meet Arthur Rubinstein

Interview with Rubinstein for his 90th birthday, film in 2 parts. Unmissable: an inspirational, marvellous man.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Any Questions?

I'm putting out a call for reader questions - please drop 'em into the comments box at the Standpoint site by Sunday evening and I will do my best to answer them next week. Questions should be polite, reasonable and pertinent, please! and posted to Standpoint via the link, not on Blogger.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sad stuff,,,and cheering stuff too

The sad stuff involves my two pieces in the Indy this week - a look at Chopin's thoroughly nasty side out today, and a review of the worst piano recital I've heard this year, out yesterday. The cheering stuff involves two great concerts coming up tomorrow in London and Leeds, and a wonderful Friday Historical video showing Cziffra playing Liszt's Gnomenreigen. Personally I'm off to ballet class.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fun Time?

My pal wrote an article about how someone criticised him for his "self-indulgent" hobby: playing the piano! What is the world coming to? Some angry words, plus a bit about Roger Scruton.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Xmas presents...

If you fancy giving a signed copy of one of my novels as an Xmas present, I can do 'em. Paperbacks of all four available, plus the Hungarian Dances CD and hardbacks of 'Rites of Spring'. Email me for details or tweet to @jessicaduchen ...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Franck, Horszowski and a recording of Tchaikovsky whistling

Links to fascinating material at Stephen Hough's blog featuring the voice of Tchaikovsky and great stuff about the Franck Prelude, Chorale & Fugue, plus my own memories of Horszowski playing it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mischa, Jascha, Toscha, Sascha...

Wonderfully indulgent historical violin stuff for a wet Sunday and the anniversary of Korngold's death, with Gershwin attached, lots of Jascha and Toscha and a bit of dear old Fritz, plus a little help from Tanita Tikaram and Philippe Graffin. Ideal sampled with fruity porridge. Utterly my kind of stuff.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Historical: Menuhin plays Brahms

A rare live broadcast from 1943 of Menuhin in the slow movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto. Breathtaking & sublime...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

If you've got it, use it

An e-interview with cellist Robert Cohen about his new series of free podcast interviews with arts movers and shakers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Comply with compliance..."

A few thoughts on this peculiar concept, plus a link to a very good article - and do you remember the time that someone said "f***" on R3??

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Alt-Classical": is this the future?

Thoughts on the direction of new music as reflected in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's new composers-in-residence, with thanks to Greg Sandow, James MacMillan and Norman Lebrecht, not to mention Riccardo Muti and Sakari Oramo...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Last Composer Standing

Norman Lebrecht is inviting votes for the living composers most likely still to be performed 50 years from now. Interesting stuff for a number of reasons...and I've added a rogue name to the roster: Kapustin. Read more...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Driving to Distraction

In which Clive Davis has a problem with speedy Bach, I recall a little Wagner on the M3 and we encounter the unfortunate consequence of forgotten sandwiches on the way home from Macclesfield...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Historical: The Comendian Harmonists

A visit to Germany's greatest pre-war singing troupe, in honour of my mother-in-law, who was born into their world in 1925 and is critically ill at present.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

"Ochin priatna"

Apparently the Beast from the East likes classical music. Why should this sound so weird?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Moments of Inspiration

Diverse news and inspiration for Friday morning, featuring a link to a profoundly moving story about the healing power of music, some words of wisdom from Lionel Shriver and a rather odd photo from outside a Rite of Spring rehearsal...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Notes on programme notes

So what do you want from a programme at a concert or opera? A few thoughts on what's wrong and why. Ideas, please, on how to fix it. (Comments at the Standpoint site, please, rather than here - it's good to have one discussion rather than two - thanks!).

Monday, November 02, 2009


November edition of Standpoint includes my article on No Music Day and how our minds affect our listening; and a stunning essay by James Macmillan on music and modernity.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dilettante's Composer Competition Countdown

An e-interview with Dilettante Music's Digital Composer-in-Residence Competition judge Nico Muhly as the big evening approaches:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Two posts today...

First, a review of The Turn of the Screw which opened at ENO last night - and it's as good as it gets.

Then, as it's Friday afternoon & time for historical stuff, an absolute gem from Nino Rota's rarely-heard-these-days score for The Glass Mountain, from the 1949 movie starring Tito Gobbi.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Voting is Open... the Dilettante Music digital composer-in-residence competition. Listen to the three finalists online and cast your vote!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


My colleagues at The Independent on Sunday had some fun with The Emperor's New Clothes - 50 Myths about Modern Britain. So I thought we'd join in & have set out to debunk my 13.5 top musical myths. Trouble is, I keep thinking of more, so watch for updates...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Magnum opera

Mad props to The Independent which has included my blog in its 25 best music websites roundup today (but without a link!). And a couple of interesting things I spotted at the Royal Opera House last night. More about the performance of Tristan a bit later, when I have managed to get back down from the ceiling.

Monday, October 05, 2009

In this month's Standpoint Magazine... column is about what has become of the 'Russian school' since the fall of communism. Link via my blogpost here:

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Speaking of Talks...

I'm giving a talk/reading re Songs of Triumphant Love at East Sheen Library on Thursday evening. Do come along if you can. 7pm for 7.30pm, 1 min from Mortlake Station (SW Trains from Waterloo). East Sheen Library, Sheen Lane Centre, Sheen Lane, London SW14. Love and hugs to all attendees.

When the show mustn't go on...

Kaufmann cancelled the other day at the ROH and all hell has broken loose in Intermezzo's comments boxes...