The Magic of Schumann (again)

I have just spent my annual week at the Open Chamber Music session of IMS Prussia Cove, down in Cornwall. It is lovely (in an intense sort of way) to be surrounded by great chamber music for every waking hour. Read more…

The Dangers of Recordings – from another angle

Many people, including myself, have written on the dangers of recordings – how they superimpose interpretations on impressionable ears, make one performer’s eccentricities standard, etc. But there’s one danger that has perhaps been overlooked Read more…

Seeing with different eyes…

Later this month, I am to record CPE Bach’s wonderful concerto in A major, which exists in versions for cello, flute or keyboard. The absolute glory of the work is its deeply moving slow movement, a tragic aria marked to be played Largo e mesto (slowly and sadly). Read more…

A non-musical (but intriguing, I think) story…

A couple of years ago I wrote a short piece about my wonderful friend Archie Campbell-Murdoch, on the occasion of his 103rd birthday. Read more…

Harpo (and me/I)

(Warning: This article may be chiefly of interest to fellow Marx Brothers fanatics…)
Read more…

Listening to auditions…

Quite a few weeks ago now, the evening that I dread each year rolled around, as it inevitably does: I had to listen to recordings sent in by prospective students for my class at IMS Prussia Cove in Cornwall Read more…

The World of Kurtág

I have just embarked on my (scary) series of recitals combining the Bach suites with several solo pieces by Gyorgy Kurtág. The combination works remarkably well, I find – quite a tribute to the mastery of Kurtág. Read more…

The dangers of redundant beauty…

I often wonder, when I buy a sandwich or a cake, why the first is so abundantly slathered with butter, mayonnaise and so on, and why the latter is so unnecessarily sweet. It usually seems to me to be an attempt to disguise the paucity of the basic ingredients. Similarly with people who try very […] Read more…

The point of practising??

Are you sitting comfortably, O Cellists and Others? Good – then we’ll begin… A question that my girlfriend Joanna asked me the other day got me thinking. I was preparing the cycle of Beethoven’s sonatas and variations for piano and cello, which I was playing for perhaps the tenth time with Robert Levin on fortepiano; […] Read more…

Four Great Teachers

I had to give a farewell speech at the end of IMS Prussia Cove’s Open Chamber Music in Cornwall last week, and, while pontificating a little tipsily about the ideals of the seminar, mentioned the differences between the three great Hungarian teachers with whom I’d worked there, Sandor Vegh, Gyorgy Kurtag and Ferenc Rados. Read more…

Next page »