Classical music

Where to start with the music of Ethel Smyth

17 April 2021 9:00 am

I’m reminded of an old Irish joke. A tourist approaches a local for directions to Dublin. The local, after much…

Community music-making is the jewel in the British crown

3 April 2021 9:00 am

Community music-making is the unifying jewel in the British crown, says James MacMillan

My favourite failed podcasts

27 March 2021 9:00 am

The promise of the internet was supposed to be thus: you could be your own bizarre, inappropriate self, and you…

Three new releases that show the classical recording industry is alive and well

13 March 2021 9:00 am

Rachmaninov’s First Symphony begins with a snarl, and gets angrier. A menacing skirl from the woodwinds, a triple-fortissimo blast from…

Perfect English songs in fresh new colours: Roderick Williams sings Butterworth

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Another week, another online concert; and since orchestral music seems likely to be confined to screens and stereos for a…

The two composers who defined British cinema also wrote inspired operas

20 February 2021 9:00 am

It’s my new lockdown ritual. Switch on the telly, cue up the menu and scroll down to where the vintage…

From bad joke to 21st-century classic: the best recordings of Korngold’s Violin Concerto

13 February 2021 9:00 am

Erich Korngold was what you might call an early adopter. As a child prodigy in Habsburg Vienna, he’d astonished the…

The music we need right now: James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio reviewed

6 February 2021 9:00 am

The two most depressing words in contemporary classical music? That’s easy: holy minimalism. I know, I know. Lots of people…

British opera companies and orchestras must start investing in native talent

23 January 2021 9:00 am

Brexit and Covid have pushed us out of the common musical market and thrown us back on homegrown sprouts. Good, says Norman Lebrecht

Most artistic careers end in failure. Why does no one talk about this?

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Rosie Millard dispels the myth that persistence is always rewarded

Alfred Brendel the Dadaist

16 January 2021 9:00 am

How many people are celebrating the fact that, last week, one of Europe’s most inspired writers about music, modern art…

There’s no better sonic hangover cure: New Year’s Day Concert reviewed

9 January 2021 9:00 am

The best moment in the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Day Concert comes after the end of the advertised programme.…

Alan Rusbridger on the joys of four-hand piano

19 December 2020 9:00 am

One of the few social activities not yet prohibited under lockdown laws is four-handed piano playing. I don’t mean sitting…

Hear the greatest Parsifal of our time sing like a Muppet: Jonas Kaufmann’s Christmas album reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

In classical music circles, Christmas arrives with the overture to Handel’s Messiah. Or so they’ll tell you. In truth, festivities…

Refined and dreamy: CBSO centenary concerts reviewed

12 December 2020 9:00 am

For an orchestra to lose one anniversary concert may be regarded as unfortunate. To lose two? Welcome to 2020. The…

How we became a nation of choirs and carollers

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Alexandra Coghlan on how we became a nation of choirs and carollers

The grotesque unevenness of Mozart’s Requiem

28 November 2020 9:00 am

It is amazing what fine performances you can get beamed to your computer these days. Slightly less amazing is the…

Unobtrusively filmed, powerfully performed but still unsatisfying: LSO's Bluebeard reviewed

7 November 2020 9:00 am

The timing couldn’t be better. Just as the gates clang shut on another national lockdown, trapping us all indefinitely with…

A silly, bouncy delight: Glyndebourne's In the Market for Love reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Offenbach at Glyndebourne! Short of Die Soldaten with a picnic break or a period-instrument revival of Jerry Springer: The Opera,…

Why did Balakirev's beautiful, inventive works go out of fashion?

10 October 2020 9:00 am

Anyone who invited the Russian composer Mily Balakirev to dinner had to be jolly careful about the fish they served.…

I don’t know when I’ve been more moved: Ora Singers at Tate Modern reviewed

3 October 2020 9:00 am

It’s the breath I miss most. The moment when a shuffling group of men and women in scruffy concert blacks…

The forgotten female composer fêted by Mozart and Haydn

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Selina Mills on Maria Theresia von Paradis, the gifted but forgotten 18th-century composer, whose story will finally be told in a new chamber opera

Why orchestras are sounding better than ever under social-distancing

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Our college choirmaster had a trick that he liked to deploy when he sensed that we were phoning it in.…

The death of the Southbank Centre

5 September 2020 9:00 am

The roots of the Southbank Centre’s current crisis stretch back to before the pandemic, says Oliver Basciano

Couldn't the BBC have filled at least some of the seats? First night of the Proms reviewed

5 September 2020 9:00 am

The Royal Albert Hall, as Douglas Adams never wrote, is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely,…