Friday, July 24, 2009

and by the way

...I've had two rave reviews for SONGS, here: and here:

Reality begins at home...

My post today responds at some length to a very fine article by Johann Hari in the Indy telling novelists to 'get real'. I've had a bit of a rant, but someone had to.

I had a rant yesterday too, but went to Buxton for the day to see the in-laws so didn't have time to put up an alert here. If you haven't had enough ranting with today's job, keep scrolling down to the thing about the notion of a Cambridge Prom.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ring & Creation

I've a piece in today's Independent about Gergiev and the Ring Cycle, at Covent Garden together next week; also a write-up in Standpoint blog today about The Creation at the Proms the other night. And a piece in Standpoint Magazine about The Creation in general, as believe it or not it is my favourite piece of music of all time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Introducing SONGS

Video from the launch bash for Songs of Triumphant Love. Viewable at Standpoint.

I suppose I ought to apologise for the self-promotion, since I am British (did you know that nobody else gives a damn about such things? It's only Brits who think we're Bad People if we say we've written something). But after all the hard work, I'd quite like people to know that the book exists, and since it is not at the front of Waterstone's, if I don't do something then nobody will ever know. Such is life and the book trade.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Krystian Zimerman: the BBC Radio 3 Interview

I just found the entire Music Matters interview with Krystian Zimerman on YouTube! And have posted it in five sections (well, one section and the other four links) over at Standpoint. Do NOT miss this, not even if you heard it when it was broadcast last year.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happy birthday, Harrison Birtwistle

It's Birtwistle's birthday. Over at Standpoint I've posted a bit of The Minotaur and want your opinions on the great man's music, its importance, its nature and whatever else you'd like to comment about. Please leave your comments at the Standpoint blog, though - not here - to this effect I've disabled the comment facility that would normally appear below ;-). Follow this link:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Farewell to Ted Downes

Shock news today that the conductor Sir Edward Downes and his wife Lady Joan have ended their lives together in an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. More on my Standpoint blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I don't know how they do it

Singers, that is. It's not just singing in a wheelchair with a broken leg. Given the number of things that affect the voice, it's a wonder any of them ever get onto a stage. More at my Standpoint blog today...

Friday, July 10, 2009


Why can I hear the Kew Gardens Summer Swing Festival from my lounge when I live more than 2 miles away? Whatever happened to Health & Safety at pop concerts? More in today's blogpost at Standpoint...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Women on Wires

It's been a slow blog week, due to book launch, deadlines and technical glitches, but the underlying theme has been some seriously wired women, including me. Read all about it at

Some extra news for those who are still accessing the posts via JDCMB Original: Songs of Triumphant Love is to be turned into an audio book! This is really good news, not least because the others weren't, and it's an increasingly popular format.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

What Shostakovich did in London

Apparently in 1972 Shostakovich made a rare visit to London for a performance of his Symphony No.15. He had two free evenings. On the first of these, he went to the theatre to see Jesus Christ, Superstar. On the second free evening, he insisted on going to see it again. And said he'd have liked the chance to use some of those instruments. Imagine Shostakovich with an electric guitar... 
The JDCMB social secretary informs me that this was gleaned yesterday at the very lovely celebrations for the wedding of cellist Julian Lloyd Webber to Jiaxin Cheng, formerly principal cellist of the Auckland Chamber Orchestra. Many congratulations to the happy couple!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Why Brits don't win tennis...

Or anything much else, for that matter. We don't work hard enough! Read more at weekend post for Standpoint.


I am now off to Julian Lloyd Webber's fourth wedding.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Do you buy CDs?

My response to Anne Midgette's survey about whether people are still buying CDs and how we prefer to listen to music...