Two Trips to Amsterdam

I am off to the Manuscripta Book Festival in Amsterdam tomorrow where Philippe Graffin and I are launching Hungarian Dances in Dutch. If any Amsterdam-based readers want to come and say hi, you can find us at the ‘Flex Bar Stage’ at 4.30pm. (There are no Aston Villa colours on the Dutch edition, incidentally, nor on Philippe’s matching CD. Philippe prefers Arsenal because it is largely French…)

I missed Friday Historical yesterday, so let’s hear one of Holland’s great singers, the lovely soprano Elly Ameling – who isn’t exactly historical, being very much alive and immensely distinguished, but is no longer singing. I always used to attend her London recitals at the Wigmore Hall with my parents, and learned much of the song repertoire listening to her recordings, not least her fantastic Faure with Gerard Souzay on EMI. We loved her freshness and charm and the distinctive purity of her timbre. Here is one of Chausson’s most beautiful songs, Le Colibri – written, unusually, in 5 – filmed in recital in 1980.

Back soon… 

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"