Archive for September, 2010

Frans Brüggen

Posted in Music with tags , , , on September 28, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

British Cheese Week

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Lancashire Cheese

I would find a life without cheese barely worth living I think.

I spent a few mouth-watering moments at the stall of Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheeses in Piccadilly, Manchester at the weekend, and now Matilda Battersby (what a fantastic name) of the Independent reminds me that it is British Cheese Week.

Visit the British Cheese Board (ha!) website for more cheesy information and recipes.

Stephen Fry Loves Wagner

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

“Isn’t Wagner fantastic?”

Do you find it hard to get into Wagner? Stephen Fry has some advice for you:

If anyone asks me, “How do I listen to Wagner? How do I get into it?”, I say: “Just go to the first act of one of them and follow it.” Nobody sings on top of each other, it’s all nice and straightforward. It’s a drama. It’s a story. It’s fantastic.

Thanks, Stephen! Now I feel more comfortable about penetrating Wagner’s Ring.

Brown Bread: Geoffrey Burgon

Posted in Music, Obituaries with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Former Python Terry Jones has written the composer’s obituary in the Grauniad.

Ever since John le Carré’s “Tinker Tailor” used Geoffrey Burgon’s Nunc Dimittis to introduce each episode I have loved this piece of music.

He also wrote the very attractive theme music for the ITV production of Brideshead Revisited. I have a tape of it somewhere – if I can just find something to play it on …

Good grief! I have just stumbled upon an EMI CD of Burgon’s vocal music recorded in 1988, featuring James Bowman, Charles Brett and the City of London Sinfonia under the late Richard Hickox. Completely forgot I had this!

Ashamed to say that I haven’t played it in years – I really must give it a try.

R.I.P. Geoffrey Burgon, composer, born 15 July 1941; died 21 September 2010

Save the Arts

Posted in Culture with tags , , on September 14, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Don’t let the new government risk destroying our vibrant arts culture!

100,000 signature are needed – don’t sit back and wait, do it NOW!

Find out more about the campaign

Paul Lewis

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

With no piano lessons on offer at school and only John Denver records at home, it was against the odds that Paul Lewis rose to become our finest young pianist. He tells Ivan Hewett of the Daily Telegraph how it happened.

So how did he get into music? “Well, I grew up in Liverpool, and in the Seventies there were still proper public music libraries with big record collections. We had one just round the corner, and I spent most of my life there, picking out the piano records. I really loved Wilhelm Kempf and also Alfred Brendel.”

Royal Opera Japan tour diary

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Anna Netrebko

Nicholas Wroe joins “Britain’s best opera company” as it begins a whistlestop Asian tour. “It’s not quite rock ’n’ roll – but nearly,” he writes:

While the tour is not quite analogous to, say, Led Zeppelin’s jaunt round the US in 1972, it does have its moments. In a what might be an exquisite extended joke – or maybe because it’s the closest bar to the hotel – the company has chosen a tiny karaoke joint as its late-night meeting place of choice. No sightings of any professional singers in there so far, but to be honest they’re not much missed.

Everyone from stage crew to company managers is in fine voice, banging out Carpenters, Tom Jones and Sex Pistols numbers. There is time yet for a pro to take them on, I suppose, but in the meantime it’s off to Yokohama for La Traviata.

Who knows, one day the Royal Opera may tour the UK.

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