Classical music

The forgotten female composer fêted by Mozart and Haydn

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Selina Mills on Maria Theresia von Paradis, the gifted but forgotten 18th-century composer, whose story will finally be told in a new chamber opera

Why orchestras are sounding better than ever under social-distancing

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Our college choirmaster had a trick that he liked to deploy when he sensed that we were phoning it in.…

The death of the Southbank Centre

5 September 2020 9:00 am

The roots of the Southbank Centre’s current crisis stretch back to before the pandemic, says Oliver Basciano

Couldn't the BBC have filled at least some of the seats? First night of the Proms reviewed

5 September 2020 9:00 am

The Royal Albert Hall, as Douglas Adams never wrote, is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely,…

Enter the parallel universe that is the Lucerne Festival

29 August 2020 9:00 am

There wasn’t going to be a Lucerne Festival this year. The annual month-long squillion-dollar international beano got cancelled, along with…

The original Edinburgh Festival

22 August 2020 9:00 am

James Sadler’s 1815 balloon flight, a Fringe first, heralded the greatest musical extravaganza that Scotland had ever seen, says John D. Halliday

The joy of going to a real concert: OHP's Heart of Delight reviewed

22 August 2020 9:00 am

I went to a concert! Not a livestream or download: a real concert, with real musicians, a real conductor, a…

‘Where I grew up, classical music was diversity’: an interview with conductor Alpesh Chauhan

15 August 2020 9:00 am

Richard Bratby talks to Birmingham Opera Company’s new music director Alpesh Chauhan about his Brummie roots, Bruckner and how his BAME heritage is a non-story

Beethoven 32 piano sonatas were his musical laboratory – here are the best recordings

18 July 2020 9:00 am

If you want to understand Beethoven, listen to his piano sonatas. Without them, you’ll never grasp how the same man…

Portrait of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic – Britain's oldest and ballsiest orchestra

11 July 2020 9:00 am

Richard Bratby on Britain’s oldest and ballsiest orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which has taken on everyone from gang leaders to Derek Hatton

After weeks of silence, Royal Opera reopened with a whimper

20 June 2020 9:00 am

It was the fourth time, or maybe the fifth, that I found myself reaching for the tissues that I began…

The musical event of the year: Wigmore Hall BBC Radio 3 Special Broadcasts reviewed

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Remember when 2020 was going to be Beethoven year? There were going to be cycles and festivals, recordings and reappraisals;…

Another drama about how women are great and men are rubbish: C4's Philharmonia reviewed

6 June 2020 9:00 am

On the face of it, a French-language drama about a Parisian symphony orchestra mightn’t sound like the most action-packed of…

I'm still not wholly convinced by Kirill Petrenko: Berlin Phil's Digital Concert Hall reviewed

30 May 2020 9:00 am

At the start of Elgar’s Second Symphony the full orchestra hovers, poised. It pulls back; and then, like a dam…

Swanky, stale and sullen, the summer music festival has had its day

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The summer music festival has had its day, says Norman Lebrecht

Drunk singers, Ravel on film and prime Viennese operetta: the addictive joys of classical YouTube

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The full addictive potential of classical YouTube needs to be experienced to be understood. And let’s be honest, there are…

The best recordings of the greatest symphony

16 May 2020 9:00 am

I am daunted. Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony is a work that I regard with love, awe and even anxiety. I always…

Michael Tanner remembers the greatest musical experience of his life

25 April 2020 9:00 am

No surprise: the greatest musical experience of my life was Parsifal at Bayreuth in 1962. I thought at the time…

The marvel of Mozart’s letters

18 April 2020 9:00 am

It’s 1771, you’re in Milan, and your 14-year-old genius son has just premièred his new opera. How do you reward…

The best recordings of my favourite Passion

11 April 2020 9:00 am

In the autumn of 1632, a man called Kaspar Schisler returned home to the small Bavarian town of Oberammergau. He…

Why do Radio 3 presenters adopt the tone stupid adults use when addressing children?

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Anyone who has listened regularly to Radio 3 over the decades — not to mention the Third Programme, which Radio…

The joy of Haydn's string quartets – here are the best recordings

4 April 2020 9:00 am

As Joseph Haydn was getting out of bed on the morning of 10 May 1809, a cannonball landed in his…

Bleak humour, resourcefulness and wit: Budapest Festival Orchestra’s Quarantine Soirées reviewed

28 March 2020 9:00 am

There’s a certain merit in bluntness. ‘Quarantine Soirées’ was what the Budapest Festival Orchestra called its response to the crisis,…

Bigamists, lunatics and adventurers: the raucous world of 19th century British music

21 March 2020 9:00 am

The world of 19th-century British music was raucous, but are there any masterpieces waiting to be rediscovered? wonders Richard Bratby

If your instinct is to undermine Beethoven, you’re directing the wrong opera: Fidelio reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

‘People may say I can’t sing,’ said the soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, ‘but no one can ever say I didn’t…