A recent article on the BBC News website suggested that ‘better’ music lessons had enabled 974 students ‘at risk of expulsion’ to save their education. Attendance leapt to 95% and ‘there were also links to people taking part performing higher than expectation in subjects such as Maths and English as well as music during the … Continue reading Stormzy will save us all
I think this is a great question; it’s certainly one which has been asked often in the past 120 years. A number of previous answers have, correctly in my view, pointed out that no-one can really tell. Some composers we know well took time to reach their position, others arrived very quickly. I do think … Continue reading Are there currently any living modern composers who will go down in music history alongside the famous classical composers?
During my hiatus from regularly writing here, I missed a significant passing in the musical world – that of Oliver Knussen. Since I first started seriously exploring contemporary music while I was at Cambridge, Knussen has been a constant presence. His death on 5th July last year was a real loss to music, both as … Continue reading Knussen bolts
Written in answer to a question from Robert Holmén on Quora. It seemed to me worth spending a little time on. I don’t know what you are basing your question on - I’m not sure that the data actually bear out your premise, though it certainly isn’t easy to find clear information about listening figures. … Continue reading Is Classical music dying?
How do you know that there hasn’t been? It depends on exactly what you mean. Clearly, there can’t actually be another Mozart but there could be another composer who demonstrates similar qualities. For me, Mozart’s greatest quality is an absolute mastery of the musical language such that at its best, his music sounds so inevitable, … Continue reading Why has there not been another Mozart?
It has been some time since I posted and much has changed both within my focus and outside it. I am 18 months into a teaching career that has proved massively more rewarding and enjoyable than I could possibly have imagined. Social media is filled with positive spins on everyone’s life – people cherry picking … Continue reading The road being travelled
A couple of months ago, I wrote a response to an article in The Economist lamenting the continued devaluation of music in the curriculum in the UK. A couple of weeks ago a similar article was published in The Times by Alice Thomson. I’m not sure what prompted the article but it drew a supportive … Continue reading Make the case for music!
Bach fulfills a huge number of criteria that people use to judge the quality of a composer. He had extraordinary harmonic control, he wrote beautiful melodies, he had great structural control, he wrote wonderfully for voice and idiomatically across all instruments, he was equally adept at both small- and large-scale works, he had a palpable … Continue reading Why was Bach so great?
I discovered the other day that someone I have known for many years committed suicide. This is the second time I have experienced someone connected to me taking their own life; a friend of mine also committed suicide when he and I were both in our late teens. Knowing one person who took their own … Continue reading The people around us
The Musicians’ Union (MU) in the UK recently released data about pay for orchestral musicians which raised a few news stories and some comment. Most of the comments I saw bemoaned the disparity between skill level and pay, drawing comparisons between doctors and lawyers in particular. A few talked about the need for orchestras to … Continue reading Should we all pay for orchestras?