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I’ve been writing this blog since 2009, but there still seem to be plenty of interesting topics to mull over. You can subscribe (it’s free) to follow the blog by email – each new post will pop into your inbox.

La Puerta del Vino

La Puerta del Vino

Debussy's Prelude 'La Puerta del Vino', from his second book of Preludes for piano (written 1912-13), has been one of my favourites for a long time. I've always loved its evocation of harsh guitar music, flamenco singing and the rhythms of the habañera. Long ago I...

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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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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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The Gaudier Ensemble’s festival

The Gaudier Ensemble’s festival

Last week I took part in the Cerne Abbas Music Festival, held by the Gaudier Ensemble in rural Dorset. For the past thirty-two years, the same group of musicians has been gathering in Cerne for a week in the summer, to present a series of chamber music concerts in the...

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‘Fifty Portraits’ at King’s College Cambridge

‘Fifty Portraits’ at King’s College Cambridge

I was in Cambridge at the weekend to give a piano recital as part of the events marking fifty years of women as undergraduates at King's College, Cambridge. As well as playing a concert, I was also there to see the opening of a special exhibition: Fifty Portraits, a...

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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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Music at the Coronation

Music at the Coronation

The Coronation of King Charles III came in the same week that we heard the organisation Psappha, which promotes new music, had been forced to close because of funding problems. This in itself followed hard on the heels of threats to close the BBC Singers and reduce...

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Watching the Queen’s Coronation on TV in 1953

Watching the Queen’s Coronation on TV in 1953

Talk of how people are going to watch the King's Coronation next week has reminded me of my father's tale about Queen Elizabeth's Coronation in 1953. My father had recently moved to Scotland to marry my Scottish mother. Before coming to Edinburgh, my dad had been...

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My old friend Gerald

My old friend Gerald

This weekend I heard that my old friend Gerald Pointon had died. I felt like writing this little reminiscence. Gerald was a high-powered lawyer in Paris, specialising in arbitration. As a graduate student at Cambridge University he had sung in the famous choir of...

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Posing on the steps of the Opera

Posing on the steps of the Opera

Last week I was in Vienna for a few days of Easter holiday.  We managed to pack in lots of music-related things: a concert at the Musikverein, an evening at the State Opera, a visit to one of Mozart's apartments, a visit to Haydn's house in what was the village of...

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A belated review of ‘Out of Silence’

A belated review of ‘Out of Silence’

My 2010 book Out of Silence has received a decade-late review in American Record Guide - in the nicest possible way. Their reviewer Bruno Repp had written a long article about lesser-known piano music he thought readers would enjoy discovering. He ended with this...

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