Prom disposal unit

It’s not often I take up my ArtMuseLondon pen in literal anger, writing to purge myself somehow of an irritation that has been eating away at me for a day or two now. I speak – as you have no doubt guessed – of the latest BBC Proms recruitment ad, seeking candidates for roles in…

Yu Kosuge in her element with ‘Wind’ album

Yu Kosuge’s new album ‘Wind’, is the pianist’s third album devoted to the four elements of nature. Water (Volume 1) and Fire (Volume 2) preceded on the Orchid Classics label. This feels like a very personal project for 37-year-old Kosuge, who has a long, successful piano performing career behind her. It all started when she was…

Pianist Clare Hammond offers a new angle on a well-known genre

It’s a simple concept – a theme, or melody, initially stated in its original form, is put through a series of transformations, often quite complex and including textural, dynamic and key changes, to take player and listener on a fascinating musical journey. The Theme and Variations remains a popular genre amongst composers and the myriad…

Soprano Katharina Konradi sings Schubert, Strauss and Mozart

You may be forgiven for not having heard of soprano, Katharina Konradi. Brought up in the mountainous republic of Kyrgyzstan, Konradi left her homeland in Central Asia in her teens, to go and live in Germany. Since then her star has been steadily rising, in Europe mostly. Her successes in singing competitions has earned her…

Programme, notes: supporting the new Wigmore Hall series

Wigmore Hall’s Spring Series is now well under way. That’s right – an entire season of concerts, programmed as if concerts as we know them were actually happening. Obviously, there are some differences: for example, the venue is still silent at the weekends, unthinkable in virus-free times. And most glaringly, of course, there will be…

Second time, round: Kate Arnold, ‘Rota Fortunae II’ EP

For the second year running, Kate Arnold has released a set of songs that possess so much beauty, intricacy and eloquence, they are like precision hits of perfection. This is a genuinely long-awaited release: I’ve looked forward to a sequel ever since Arnold issued ‘Rota Fortunae I’ in February 2020. Understandably, the follow-up has taken…

A Clarinet in America and the American sound

What is it that makes American classical music of the 1940s and 1950s so distinctive and so different from ours from that period? For one thing, it is so very upbeat. I asked myself this question this week, as I listened to Clarinet in America, which showcases music by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Miklós Rózsa. I…

Soprano Lara Martins Sings Guarnieri the Brazilian Mozart

Lara Martins sings Guarnieri, the Brazilian Mozart. During this pandemic, I have listened to many new CD releases and have marvelled at what singers have been able to produce during such difficult times. Several lockdowns have brought about much soul-searching and thinking outside the box. Some artists have been inspired to explore, indeed embrace new…

Rank amateur

I’m writing this piece on the birth date of my favourite composer, Schubert. Here’s to you, Franz. Has Schubert always been my favourite composer? No, not at all. I first got seriously into classical music through choral works, so from the outset Byrd and Pärt were vying for my affections. I found opera through Adams,…