Happy February, everyone. I usually post on 1 January a state-of-the-blog update explaining for the benefit of newcomers what JDCMB is, what it does, what it doesn't, and why, but this year I forgot what with one thing and another. So here it is.
A very warm welcome to all readers, whoever and wherever you may be! JDCMB is Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog. It's a random and spontaneous collection of content involving words and music. I only write it if and when I have time and inclination.
I'm a writer who has a blog, rather than a 'blogger'. There are plenty of real, well-organised bloggers who plan everything meticulously, sometimes months in advance, and I'm afraid I'm not one of them. I'm very, very bad at thinking ahead; somewhat better at thinking aloud, or at least in writing.
Since my posts appear irregularly, if you'd like to be certain of seeing all new pieces, please sign up for the email distribution in the appropriate sidebar box (it is all automated by the site and I neither see nor harvest your address!).
About me: I studied music at Cambridge and piano with Joan Havill. I started out in editorial jobs on various music magazines, then spearheaded the UK's first independent piano magazine, which I edited for five years. I was with The Independent as a music journalist and critic for 12 years until 2016. Now I'm juggling novels, librettos, articles, reviews, programme notes and more. I give pre-concert talks and I love creating and presenting narrated concerts. Upcoming dates are listed in the sidebar.
Things you might already know: I fight the good fight for equality and internationalism. I have two cats. I'm married to a violinist. I've written biographies of Korngold and Fauré. My latest novels are Ghost Variations (about Jelly d'Arányi and the Schumann Violin Concerto) and Odette (swan-girl). I'm working on a novel about Beethoven's 'Immortal Beloved', Immortal. I've been writing opera libretti recently, respectively with composers Roxanna Panufnik, Paul Fincham and John Barber, in commissions for Garsington.
Things you might not know: Of my various hats, my librettist one is my absolute favourite. Meanwhile I'm a piano nerd. I adore historical recordings, especially slidey violins. I love a massive range of music from many centuries. I go to a lot of opera, orchestras and piano recitals, but my favourite pieces are mostly chamber music. I have some great roses in the garden. And I have a strong bullsh*t radar.
• Personal thoughts and occasional polemics, links to my various projects and articles, occasionally exclusive reviews of live performances.
• Values about music, art, quality, equality, passion. I believe everybody deserves to have great music, art and creativity in their lives.
• A feminist slant, because people are people are people, but the music business and related fields (actually, most fields) still often treat women as second-class citizens. There's been progress recently, but not enough.
• An internationalist outlook. Music is an international art and depends on its internationalism for its very existence.
• Irony and sarcasm. Please be prepared.
• English English, not American. I'm in London, UK.
JDCMB doesn't like:
• Sexism, racism or other prejudices.
• Comments boxes. For discussions, please come over to Facebook - I put all the links on my author page and we have some lively chats, but you do have to say who you are.
• Brexit. It's a gigantic mistake and we'll all be paying the price soon.
• Conspiracy theories.
• Personal attacks.
• Pop music or crossover. I've nothing against them but I don't cover them, because I do other stuff.
If you want coverage:
• Please remember that blogging is unpaid and time-consuming. Therefore I'm doing less of it than I used to. For example, while prices in the shops have doubled, and public transport more than that, many organisations are paying the same rates now as they did in 2000. I receive a lot of requests for coverage, but I can't do it all.
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the site. xx