Dennis Brain – the Siegfried of the Horn

Dennis Brain, the much-loved horn player who died tragically in a motor accident 60 years ago on the morning of 1 September 1957, was a shining example of a quiet, unassuming but supremely gifted musician in a field populated by colourful characters many of whom lacked his modesty, reserve and gentle wit. In his all…

Back in the USSR: Going Viral with Sviatoslav Richter

Sviatoslav Richter was undoubtedly one of the greatest and most influential pianists of the 20th century. He came to epitomise everything that people expected from a Russian virtuoso: a stern, penetrating intellect, breathtaking skill, demonic powers and magical, tantalising performances. But he was no flamboyant showman. Complex, intensely private and sometimes eccentric, reports of his…

Rejoice in the Lamb

“This is still your best yet, you know” Peter Pears told Benjamin Britten in 1944 about his veritable gem of a work, the festival cantata Rejoice in the Lamb which Britten had been commissioned to write for the 50th anniversary of St Matthew’s Church in Northampton.

A Ceremony of Carols

When Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976) composed his magical A Ceremony of Carols in 1942 on a long sea voyage from New York to Liverpool, he little realised that he was penning what would become one of his best-loved and most performed works.