Posted inPlaylist

A Psappha Playlist

“Psappha is now closed.” On November 6, Psappha, a contemporary music ensemble based in Manchester, posted a short notice that signaled the end of over 30 years of commissioning, performing, and championing music from the 20th and 21st centuries. On the perennially shaky UK new music scene, organizations are routinely thinned, trimmed and pruned, but […]

Posted inUncategorized

Show Some Emotion

Currently, Laurence Osborn is moving house, from Notting Hill (West London) to Notting Hill (West London). We meet for coffee on Gloucester Road (West London) in an hour squeezed between cardboard boxes. As someone whose magpie-like tendencies have steadily transitioned from shiny sounds to juicy words, I remember being struck by the title of Osborn’s […]

Posted inPages Turned

Through the Rubble

There’s a decent case for Felix Mendelssohn being the most important figure in the history of Western classical music, though primarily for the music he programmed, rather than for the music he wrote. Answering the impassioned cry of Bach’s biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel for an increased visibility of masterpieces if music wished to be taken […]

Posted inProfile

The Value of Normality

I The drive from Tbilisi airport to the Tsinandali Estate should take about two hours, but it’s a much swifter journey in the very early morning. We zoom serenely along the quiet highways, slowing only to swerve stray dogs who have wandered onto the road. Each swerve is a sudden lurch that jolts me out […]

Posted inReview

Smeared in Gold

In his program interview with theater writer A.J. Goldmann, Barrie Kosky described his new production of the Royal Opera House “Ring” cycle as “stripping opera back to the quintessential human condition,” taking inspiration from the distilled purity of Greek dramas over the expanse of Norse and Germanic myths. This spare, brutal, yet lubricious production sets […]

Posted inPages Turned


“It’s a bit of a shame that there is no confrontation anymore,” Nuria Schoenberg Nono reflected in an interview with Wolfgang Schaufler, a publisher at Vienna’s Universal Edition. “Everything is in order today; [audiences] only have ­enthusiasm for the great interpreters, and that is right—but the music itself often has little or nothing to do […]

Posted inReport

Clouds, Unmoving

Though the worst of the downpours have retreated for now, the sky is hardly Stanford blue for classical musicians in the UK. Recently, there has been retaliation to the difficulties imposed by the toxic cocktail of inflation, Brexit, COVID aftershocks and funding cuts to institutions: yesterday, the Royal Opera House orchestra voted overwhelmingly in favor […]

Posted inRankings & Roundups

Rising to a Crescendo

When news broke of Martin Amis’s death in May, I ordered a copy of his essay collection The War Against Cliché, and set about learning how to write. As it turned out, some of the Amisian impulse to strike cliché from the page was already there. For the past few years, I have compiled my […]

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