Tchaikovsky’s June

Here is a little something to offer tranquility in a mad world: the ‘June’ Barcarolle from Tchaikovsky’s piano cycle The Seasons. Sviatoslav Richter is the pianist. Wonderful for a lazy afternoon punting down the river in the sun [warning to my niece: not until after your exams!].

Why don’t more pianists play The Seasons? Twelve gorgeous slivers of vintage Tchaikovsky – yet the only time I’ve encountered them in the flesh, so to speak, has been for the occasional ABRSM exam and, er, in ballet class. Technically there aren’t many high-jumps or sprint marathons involved, which could explain it…too many performers prefer virtuosity. This is for those who’d rather cut straight the poetry beneath.


An autumn note

“For many, the end of this uneasy year cannot come quickly enough”

An ordinary killing

Ian Cobain’s book uses the killing of Millar McAllister to paint a meticulous portrait of the Troubles

Greater—not wiser

John Mullan elucidates the genius of Charles Dickens