An Agincourt for our age

STUART MILLSON enjoys seeing Shakespeare’s Henry V brutally updated The year is 1415... Trumpets sound at the Globe Theatre; Olivier draws his sword and heroically sets forth to ‘the vasty fields of France’ where English arms and chivalry triumph, and a youthful English king wins the hand of France’s fair princess, Katherine... That is the…

Diary of an organ-playing nobody

Credit: Shutterstock R. J. STOVE reflects on life as an antipodean performer on the King of Instruments ‘“What?”, said [piano manufacturer] Herr Stein. “A man like you …  wants to play on an instrument which has no sweetness, no expression, no piano, no forte, but is always the same?” “That does not matter,” I replied.…

John Pritchard – master of sonorities

STUART MILLSON recalls an unjustly overlooked conductor The early 1980s was a vintage time for British orchestral music. Gennady Rozhdestvensky was halfway into his term (1978-1982) as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a position which brought great kudos to the ensemble – Rozhdestvensky recording and performing Tchaikovsky ballet music, and venturing into the…

Dreaming of utopias past

Henry Wrong, first administrator of the Barbican Centre, overlooking the build. Credit: Barbican Archive Building Utopia: The Barbican Centre Nicholas Kenyon et al, Batsford, 2022, 288pp, fully illus., £40 ALEXANDER ADAMS acknowledges a modernist monument’s coming of age My first exposure to the Barbican Centre came obliquely. In the children’s science-fiction drama The Tripods, when…

Escaping from reality – ‘The French Dispatch’

GUY WALKER greatly enjoys a playful new film, but finds it ultimately insubstantial Early on in The French Dispatch we encounter an imprisoned murderer who takes the art world by storm with an abstract nude painting of a female prison officer, with whom he manages to conduct an affair, secretly painted in his French prison.…

Unfinished symphony in Oz

R. J. STOVE says reports of the death of Australian classical music education have been greatly exaggerated The most satisfying paid regular employment that I have ever experienced concluded on 11 November 2021. For a twelve-week course, I worked as a sessional tutor under the University of Sydney’s auspices. The tutorials – overarching title: ‘Music in…

Charlie Watts, 1941-2021 – the solidest Stone

Credit: Terry Murden/Shutterstock CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD salutes the most grounded member of the Rolling Stones There can be few terms in the English language more debased than ‘rock star’. Nowadays, it seems, the press makes a fetish of every halfway plausible such chancer to appear over the horizon, regardless of whether their art will endure, or…