Kitchen-sink drama: Handel, ‘Theodora’, at the Royal Opera House

Handel’s ‘Theodora’ is an oratorio. In other (well, more) words, it’s a vocal/choral work that would normally have a plot at its core, but presented as a purely aural experience. Traditionally, oratorios would be sung in concert with no staging, movement, or action to speak of. The music must propel any narrative, drive every reaction,…

Cantus Covid Sessions A Singing Tour de Force

American ensemble Cantus recorded The Covid-19 Sessions back in March 2020 on their home territory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the time, Cantus were facing a year of cancelled concerts. The future was so dire, they believed that the recordings would be the last time they would perform together. I failed to listen to their album when it released in August 2020….

Opalescence – Piano and chamber music by Ruth Gipps

Sonata for cello and piano, op. 63 (1978) – world premiere recording The Fairy Shoemaker (1929) – world premiere recording Theme and Variations, op. 57a (1965) The Ox and the Ass Introduction and Carol, op. 71 (1988) Opalescence, op. 72 (1989) Scherzo and Adagio for Unaccompanied Cello, OP. 68 (1987) – world premiere recording Sonata…

‘Distant Fathers’ Marina Jarre’s Classic Memoir

Having just put down Marina Jarre’s page-turning memoir ‘Distant Fathers’, I am amazed that I have never heard of her before. I am an avid reader of European authors but it seems that even in Italy where she lived, she has been forgotten about. All this will soon change if her autofiction is anything to go…

The dark ascending: Dead Space Chamber Music, ‘The Black Hours’

This is music at once vivid, immediate – and at the same time, otherworldly, almost surreal. In its heady combination of genres, approaches and sounds, the album feels both timeless and original. In the best sense, it’s a sonic trap, daring you to identify familiar elements and motifs, only to snatch them away and re-purpose…

Picture This : ‘Pina’s Line Dancing Troupe’ by Natasha Durlacher

Pina is the one wearing the stripy trousers and here they are practising at St.Pauls Church, Marylebone, where I photographed them. Pina is eighty-four and is the choreographer and the one who set up the dance troupe about twenty years ago. The dancers are now all over seventy years old and most are in their late seventies,…

Picture This: ‘The Erasing of Names, Under Black and White’

‘The Erasing of Names, Under Black and White’ (Oil pastel, ink and acrylic on heavy paper, 75 x 55cm) Jim Aitchison, composer & artist This picture represents part of my work that explores acts of obscuring and erasing, but where the original object still affects the visual result, and where meaningful marks are rendered apparently…