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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.

Edinburgh Book Festival programme announced

Edinburgh Book Festival programme announced

The Edinburgh Book Festival has just announced its programme for this summer. I will be taking part on Sunday 11 August at 6.45pm, talking to Kate Molleson about my book Women and the Piano. I'm delighted to be included in this very popular festival. This year the...

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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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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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Mozart piano and violin sonatas download

Mozart piano and violin sonatas download

This week I've been trying to find out what happened to the album of Mozart piano and violin sonatas that the wonderful Viennese violinist Erich Höbarth and I made in 2012. (That's us in the photo.) It was compiled from live recordings of a concert series we performed...

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Channel 4’s ‘The Piano’

Channel 4’s ‘The Piano’

I've been watching Channel 4's new series, 'The Piano', in which amateur piano-playing members of the public put themselves forward to come and play an upright piano in the foyer of one of Britain's main railway stations. Unknown to them, watching behind the scenes...

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‘Famously opaque world of classical music’

‘Famously opaque world of classical music’

The other day I read a review in The Guardian of a book, 'In Good Hands', by conductor Alice Farnham, about the art and craft of conducting. I haven't read the book, but I was struck by several phrases the reviewer, Caroline Crampton, used when talking about classical...

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Favourite books of 2022

Favourite books of 2022

Last December my blog post about my favourite books of 2021 was quite popular, so here's another round-up of the best books I read in 2022. Once again it turns out that I read over fifty books, but some were re-readings, which either does or doesn't count, depending...

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Christmas cake decorations

Christmas cake decorations

We generally try to make our own decorations for our home-made Christmas cake. We used to attempt traditional scenes of snowmen, sledging, fir trees, snowballs etc. In recent years, after icing the cake, we've switched to making animals out of the leftover icing. Each...

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The fieldfares are back

The fieldfares are back

Every winter at around this time, we see a kind of bird we never see at any other time of the year. Fieldfares, which are large thrushes, arrive from Scandinavia and eat the last of the berries on the rowan tree outside our kitchen window. First we notice that the...

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Signing paperbacks

Signing paperbacks

This week marks the official publication date of the paperback edition of my Yale University Press book The Piano - a History in 100 Pieces, but as usually seems to be the way, copies seem to have been circulating for a while already. At least, at my Cambridge recital...

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Advent at King’s College Chapel

Advent at King’s College Chapel

Last night I attended the Advent Service in the chapel of King's College, Cambridge. The service, which commemorates the events leading up to the birth of Christ, has a simple and irresistible narrative. At the beginning, the chapel is in darkness. Approaching from...

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Paper trail

Paper trail

Last week a friend was showing me how she can call up musical scores on various electronic devices, linking the devices so that she can use whichever best suits her needs at the time. She even had the option of writing in fingerings and expression marks with an...

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