Classical music

When Fauré played The Spectator

1 June 2024 9:00 am

Gabriel Fauré composed his song cycle La bonne chanson in 1894 for piano and voice. But he added string parts…

Bristol’s new concert hall is extremely fine

25 May 2024 9:00 am

Bristol has a new concert hall, and it’s rather good. The transformation of the old Colston Hall into the Bristol…

Meet the man who says improvisation is the key to Mozart

18 May 2024 9:00 am

In August 1993, the pianist Robert Levin sat down in Walthamstow Assembly Rooms with the conductor Christopher Hogwood and the…

Across Britain punters are lapping up ultra-trad opera – the Arts Council will be disgusted

11 May 2024 9:00 am

Another week at the opera, another evening with an elitist and ethically dubious art form. I love it; you love…

The mutilation of Radio 3

4 May 2024 9:00 am

On Saturday 12 December 1964, Harold Wilson addressed his first Labour party conference as prime minister, George Harrison was photographed…

Baffling and vile: ETO’s Manon Lescaut reviewed

20 April 2024 9:00 am

In 1937, John Barbirolli took six pieces by Henry Purcell and arranged them for an orchestra of strings, horns and…

We have lost an unforgettable teacher and one of the greatest living critics

20 April 2024 9:00 am

Tanner, the critic RICHARD BRATBY Michael Tanner (1935-2024), who died earlier this month, had such a vital mind and stood…

Death of a choir

30 March 2024 9:00 am

Can everyone please shut up about Maria Callas?

4 November 2023 9:00 am

Rupert Christiansen on the cult of Callas

The miracle of watching a great string quartet perform

28 October 2023 9:00 am

Joseph Haydn, it’s generally agreed, invented the string quartet. And having done so, he re-invented it: again and again. Take…

A Radio 3 doc that contains some of the best insults I’ve ever heard

28 October 2023 9:00 am

A recent Sunday Feature on Radio 3 contained some of the best insults I have ever heard. Contributors to the…

Every crumb of Kurtag’s music is a feast: Endgame, at the Proms, reviewed

9 September 2023 9:00 am

The fun starts early in Beckett’s Endgame. Within minutes of opening his mouth, blind bully Hamm decides to starve his…

A euphoric meat-and-two-veg programme: Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich/Paavo Jarvi, at the Proms, reviewed

9 September 2023 9:00 am

We used to call it a ‘meat and two veg’ programme, back in my concert planning days: the reliable set…

Doesn’t get better than this: The Threepenny Opera, at Edinburgh International Festival, reviewed

2 September 2023 9:00 am

It’s the Edinburgh International Festival, and Barrie’s back in town. Once, Edinburgh was pretty much the only place that you…

Fast cars, minimalist design and en suite bathrooms: the real Rachmaninoff

2 September 2023 9:00 am

Fast cars, minimalist design and en suite bathrooms: Richard Bratby visits the composer’s starkly modern Swiss home

A brilliantly cruel Cosi and punkish Petrushka but the Brits disappoint: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence reviewed

26 August 2023 9:00 am

Aix is an odd place. It should be charming, with its dishevelled squares, Busby Berkeley-esque fountains, pretty ochres and pinks.…

Imagine a school concert hosted by Bela Lugosi: Budapest Festival Orchestra and Ivan Fischer, at the Proms, reviewed

19 August 2023 9:00 am

‘Audience Choice’ was the promise at the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s Sunday matinee Prom, and come on – who could resist…

In defence of the Arts Council

29 July 2023 11:24 pm

I once knew a monster who said she could not read Proust because there were no figures in Proust with…

The West has much to learn from Hungarian culture

29 July 2023 9:00 am

Hungarian culture is living through a golden age, says Igor Toronyi-Lalic, and the West has much to learn from it