Ambition, Talent & Determination

Often, there’s a negative connotation associated with the word ‘ambition’. An ambitious individual is pictured as someone cold, and self-centred, willing to trample on anyone and anything in order to get what they want. They are people who stop at nothing. We generally assume they’re not the kind of people we would like to know, or be ourselves. Read more →

OAE: Flying the Flag – The French Beethoven / Beethoven 3 / Onslow 1

Brilliant and entertaining as I found Onslow’s writing in the first symphony, it lacked the expansive musical development evident in Beethoven’s revolutionary Eroica. Eroica hinted at one of the reasons why we haven’t heard much from the overlooked British-born composer: competent man in the wrong place struggling to make a lasting impact in the midst of composers with more distinctive voices. The fact Onslow still managed to pull off a creation with poise, precision and drama, makes him less of a 19th century also-ran and more of a musicological and marketing fascination. How many other composers have we let slip through our fingers? Read more →

Nearly 10 things that have sort-of already changed at classical music concerts

I was intrigued (by which I actually mean, suprised) by conductor Baldur Brönnimann’s blog post 10 Things We Should Change At Classical Music Concerts. In it he points to a number of things he thinks need to change in order to make people feel more welcome in the concert hall. Such link-bait demands a response – isn’t that what listicles like this are designed for? Read more →

Music for the final curtain

Before I cark it (or before I lose all cognitive function) I’ll insist on a notepad and pen. I’ll need some time alone. Just me, the beeping machine and a nurse fussing in the corridor, wanting to come in and check on my vitals. I’ll note down the absolute requirements: simplicity, poise and lilies. I’ll double-underline the no-nos: ostentatious fittings; recorded music; and no self-indulgent wailing. And whilst we’re on the subject, no Comic Sans in the order of service either. Read more →