Bach

Igor Levit’s Goldbergs were transcendental

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Igor Levit has rapidly achieved cult status, as he certainly deserves. He has already reached the stage where he can…

Zuzana Ruzicková. Credit: Getty Images

Bach helped me survive Bergen-Belsen

25 May 2019 9:00 am

One of the great joys of the 18th-century novella La petite maison is the way Jean-François de Bastide matches the…

Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica performing performing Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Concertino for Violin and Strings in 2014. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito/ Getty Images

As a symphonist, Mieczyslaw Weinberg was a master: Weinberg Weekend reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

It’s a strange compliment to pay a composer — that the most profound impression their music makes is of an…

J.S. Bach and Horatio Clare in Arnstadt

The 280-mile walk that made Bach who he was

16 December 2017 9:00 am

It was in his organ loft at Arnstadt that I began my acquaintance with Johann Sebastian Bach — with JSB,…

Speed limit

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Slow radio is popping up everywhere at the moment — programmes that have no outward form but just meander through…

Vice and virtue

5 October 2017 2:00 pm

‘Can the ultimate betrayal ever be forgiven?’ screams the publicity for The Judas Passion, transforming a Biblical drama into a…

An orchestrated race storm

16 September 2017 9:00 am

A fascinating story has emerged from a north-western leftie quadrant of the United States: the sacking of British conductor Matthew…

‘I could do many things... but I could not listen to Bach’

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Six years ago, on Good Friday, the journalist Melanie Reid was thrown off her horse while on a cross-country ride…

Does the great Bach conductor Masaaki Suzuki think his audience will burn in hell?

12 March 2016 9:00 am

When the Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki leads his forces in a performance of a Bach cantata, does he worry that…

Why is the organ such hard work?

13 February 2016 9:00 am

My old Oxford college, Mansfield, isn’t a famous establishment, though its current principal, ‘Baroness Helena Kennedy’, as she incorrectly styles…

Was Bach really a ‘tasteless and chaotic composer’?

14 November 2015 9:00 am

It’s just not what you expect to hear on Radio 3 but I happened upon Music Matters on Saturday morning…

Detail of the bridge of the kora, a harp made from calabash and cow hide, with strings aligned in a perpendicular plane

The polyphonous Babel of global music

17 October 2015 8:00 am

‘Following custom, when the Siamese conquered the Khmer they carried off much of the population, including most of their musicians,…

The Heckler: why does John Eliot Gardiner have to be so rude?

2 May 2015 9:00 am

Sir John Eliot Gardiner is talented almost beyond measure. His Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and stupidly named Orchestre Révolutionnaire…

Our hero worship of Bach is to blame for rubbish like ‘Written By Mrs Bach’

4 April 2015 8:00 am

My impression that Bach has come to rival Shakespeare as a flawless reference point in the cultural life of the…

You realise how little you know of anybody when they die

31 January 2015 9:00 am

Whether or not you believe in the afterlife, death remains an impenetrable mystery. One moment a person is making jokes…

Wedding music lives or dies at the hands of the organist

20 September 2014 9:00 am

A few weeks ago I was at the perfect wedding. My young friend Will Heaven, a comment editor at the…

The sofa that became a work of art

20 September 2014 9:00 am

Last week on Front Row (Radio 4) the singer Joyce DiDonato recalled the advice she gave the new graduates of…

Why it's good to remember that Bach could be a tedious old windbag

7 June 2014 9:00 am

When I was first learning about classical music, 50 years ago, the scene was more streamlined than it is now.…

Are hymns dying? 

15 February 2014 9:00 am

I love a good hymn, so long as I’m not expected to sing it. Lusty declarations of faith sound ridiculous…

The splendour of the English carol

14 December 2013 9:00 am

The most celebrated Christmas carol, ‘Silent Night’, belongs to Austria. Father Joseph Mohr, the priest at Oberndorf, a small village…