Visiting Bayreuth

Tchaikovsky was distinctly unimpressed with the new Festspielhaus (Festival Theatre) in the small Bavarian town of Bayreuth when he visited there in 1876 for the opening season. With its innovative design of a 1,925 seat auditorium resembling a classical amphitheatre (including a covered orchestra pit), the acoustics were tailor made for Wagner’s ambitious operas.

Wagner – from minor to major

While Richard Wagner’s lasting fame rests on his groundbreaking operas, he was evidently quite fond of his youthful Symphony in C major from 1832. Near the end of his life, he conducted a performance in Venice on 24 December 1882 for the birthday of his wife, Cosima Wagner; her father Franz Liszt also performed in…

Review: Tchaikovsky Selections

Pletnev’s masterly survey of Tchaikovsky’s orchestral works with the Russian National Orchestra continues with this stunning recording of some of his most famous works in performances which will delight fans and win over sceptics.

The Composer and the Hollywood Starlet

The strange and largely true story of the composer George Antheil and the actress Hedy Lamarr, told in the style of fan fiction. Apologies to Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and everyone else.