One of the joys and challenges of life as a freelance musician is its frequent variety. I might be performing at the Royal Opera House in London one day and introducing children to the wonders of Baroque music the next, or rehearsing a Handel chorus with a Gospel Choir before discussing ornaments in François Couperin’s keyboard Ordres.read more »
Handel’s Tamerlano is a psychological drama exploring extremes of human nature in the clash of two Titans. Is Tamerlano, who has triumphed over Bajazet, a magnanimous victor or a tyrant? Is Bajazet a protective father whose love for his daughter Asteria shows him as a noble martyr, or is he an emperor whose intractable pride prevents him from acting rationally?read more »
Since Handel’s delightful setting of 1744, Semele has often been regarded as something of a voluptuous sex kitten. Who can forget her excessively florid vocal runs in ‘Myself I shall adore’ in Handel’s version? It’s nothing short of theatrical Viagra! But, as John Eccles shows, William Congreve’s libretto can be read on many levels...read more »
When Timothy Roberts invited me to record John Worgan’s harpsichord music, I reacted with some scepticism. Who was this unknown English composer whose music is littered with unusual figurations, breaches of eighteenth-century compositional orthodoxy and even moments of harmonic kinkiness?read more »
It is always a treat to indulge in Mozartkugeln when visiting Salzburg. Dark chocolate, marzipan and nougat are an irresistible trio for this chocaholic minstrel. But what does such a confectionary delight actually have to do with Mozart? Are we to believe that his music is merely a sweetmeat?read more »
An introduction to the pasticcio...
'He takes other men's pebbles and polishes them into diamonds'. So said Boyce concerning Handel’s now notorious habit of incorporating music by other composers into his own works. But was such musical alchemy an unusual practice in the Baroque period?read more »
There is a touching anecdote that illustrates Handel’s respect for Purcell. When told that a movement of Jephtha reminded the listener ‘‘of some of old Purcell’s music’’, Handel is said to have replied: ‘‘O got ter teffel. If Purcell had lived, he would have composed better music than this.’’read more »
I first met Christopher whilst an undergraduate at Cambridge University, when he introduced me to his extensive keyboard collection at his home in Brookside on which he kindly allowed me to practise.read more »
Stephen Dodgson died at his home in Barnes on April 13th, 2013. He was 89.
Few composers have written idiomatically for such an array of musical instruments. In addition to his celebrated guitar pieces, Stephen’s many compositions include nine string quartets, seven piano sonatas, wind band music, a bass trombone concerto and a chamber opera.read more »