'Musings' Blog Post Archive
A podcast for the ‘Brainland’ series

A podcast for the ‘Brainland’ series

I have done an interview for the 'Brainland' podcast, a series 'where neuroscience, the arts and humanities mingle'. An old college friend, doctor and cellist Steve Brown, interviewed me about how I got started in music, how I got into chamber music, what motivates...

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Backstories and ‘The Piano’ TV show

Backstories and ‘The Piano’ TV show

Channel 4's series The Piano began its second series last night. It's always interesting to see the different playing styles of the pianists who put themselves forward to play a station piano in front of a crowd of listeners. Some of them play beautifully. However,...

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Another report on the benefits of music

Another report on the benefits of music

On Monday there was a report in The Guardian about the benefits of being involved in music. This time it was, 'Playing a musical instrument or singing is linked to better memory in older age'. To my delight the next paragraph began, 'The piano was especially...

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Concertos from long ago

Concertos from long ago

I was looking through the list of candidates for a concerto competition recently and was struck by the list of pieces they were playing. Mozart (lots), Haydn (several), Beethoven (several), Mendelssohn (several), Schumann (several), Chopin, Brahms (several), Grieg,...

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‘So somewhere in my youth … or childhood’

‘So somewhere in my youth … or childhood’

During the Christmas holidays we watched The Sound of Music on television. Some parts of it will forever be charming, while other parts have not worn so well. No matter - it's still a feast of nostalgia for those of us who remember the film when it first came out. Bob...

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Why are most concerts performed just once?

Why are most concerts performed just once?

We were discussing the fact that there are so few concert reviews in the newspaper these days. Time was when most concerts in prestigious venues were reviewed the next day. But now there are few reviews. What gets covered? - the Proms, perhaps, and some special visits...

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Playing at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge

Playing at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge

I've been in Cambridge, where I played a solo recital on Thursday at Kettle's Yard (see photo), a delightful art gallery/museum I used to love visiting when I was a student. The audience at Kettle's Yard has a particular character - perhaps it's partly my expectation,...

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A view seen through a window

A view seen through a window

We recently visited a lovely cafe situated on a cliff top near the sea in East Lothian. The walk to the cafe took us along the cliffs in splendid weather with seagulls wheeling around us, a brisk wind blowing (as usual) and the sea sparkling. We went inside the cafe...

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Giving feedback at competitions

Giving feedback at competitions

At the competition in Munich last week (I was on the jury) I encountered a very modern problem. The way the competition was run was similar to most of the other competitions I've been involved with: at the end of each round, the results were announced. Those who were...

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Disappearing piano tuners

Disappearing piano tuners

There was an article in The Guardian this week about the dwindling number of highly-trained piano tuners in Australia. Not only is the pool of piano tuners getting smaller, it is in danger of not being replenished because there aren't enough training courses in this...

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Hyperion Records now available on streaming platforms

Hyperion Records now available on streaming platforms

Hyperion Records, which was recently bought by Universal, has decided to make its catalogue of recordings available on streaming platforms for the first time. The first batch of 200 Hyperion recordings has just gone up on Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes and so on. As the...

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A curved piano keyboard

A curved piano keyboard

A friend has sent me information about a new piano, designed with an ergonomically curved keyboard. I have wondered about the feasibility of such a keyboard for a long time, but have never had the opportunity to try one. As a pianist, often required to traverse the...

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John Keats and Haydn symphonies played on a rented piano

John Keats and Haydn symphonies played on a rented piano

This week I have been in Rome, where Bob was giving a seminar at La Sapienza University. We added on a few days to turn it into a little holiday. We visited the Keats museum at the Spanish Steps. I have been in Rome a number of times, and have toiled up and down the...

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Playing a historical piano

Playing a historical piano

This week I'm giving a recital of music by historical women pianist-composers. I'll be playing an Erard grand piano made at the end of the 19th century by the firm of Sebastien Erard in Paris. (Officially the piano is dated around 1900, but a technician told me he...

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