Beethoven

— or, Stroking Her Feet to Opus 131. A new poem.

Beethoven set the bar impossibly high but composers like myself still regard it as the ultimate challenge

It is time to make a stand against incomprehensible modern music

Standing at the apex of our culture, the operatic art form remains the supreme test of any composer — as I know from experience

Far from being a diluted form of the orchestral work, piano transcriptions often reveal hidden depths to old favourites

Poor Michael Berkeley – a brilliant composer facing what we hope very much is only a temporary loss of his hearing – has written a fascinating piece about his experience. Required reading for all fans of Berkeley, Beethoven and Stravinsky (who didn’t lose his hearing, but features strongly) – and also for anyone who still likes to turn up the rock music volume too high. A salutory lesson lies therein. And hearing loss, as Berkeley points out, isn’t only about ‘loss’, it’s also, and probably more disturbingly, about distortion of sounds.

Back from France to discover some news that might, um, set the musical world on fire: new research shows that ‘Für Elise’ may not have been composed by Beethoven, or at least not entirely.