Classical Kent

Peter Warlock STUART MILLSON searches for unjustly overlooked Kent composers A recent release on an innovative recording label – with the somewhat obscure title, Heracleitus – brings a mysterious figure from 20th century music in this country into view. The CD from the recording arm of the English Music Festival, an organisation dedicated to the…

Canadian rock revisited

Derek Turner interviews Canadian rock titan EDGAR BREAU Q. Canada’s musical heritage is as varied as its landscape – from the Celtic-and French-infused “music of the maritimes”, via Portia White, Oscar Peterson, Paul Anka, Neil Young, Steppenwolf, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, to M.O.R. mega-acts like Rush, Bryan Adams, Céline Dion, Michael Bublé, and Justin…

Moby Grape – the greatest rock-and-roll combo you’ve never heard of

CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD recalls a brilliant, betrayed band All rock musicians carry a strong potential for disaster. On top of their youth and volatility, already a toxic combination, they swim in the notoriously shark-infested waters of showbusiness. Add the proximity of mind-warping drugs, uncomplicated sex and other inducements, and, notwithstanding the example of a few carefully…

A gallop through English myth

John Gardner, 1917-2011 The Ballad of the White Horse by John Gardner. Hilary Davan Wetton conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra, City of London Choir and Paulina Voices, with Ashley Riches, baritone. EMR CD057 STUART MILLSON relishes a forgotten folkish treat In the late 1950s, the English composer, John Gardner (1917-2011) – one of many forgotten…

Auntie’s anti-conservatism

ALEX PUGH suggests some reasons why the BBC is so leftwing I first worked in the BBC in 1981 in its Birmingham Pebble Mill studio. I well recall its large bar, where I sometimes drank with a middle-aged producer. One day, a Cheltenham MP named Charles Irving was in the news. This producer said to…

Un-easy listening

DEREK TURNER tries translating Lingua Ignota Radio 6 is one of the rare good things about the BBC, championing alternative, independent or overlooked pop and rock from the 1950s up to the present. On any evening of any week, you can hear anything from film scores to 1960s psychedelia, prog rock to trip-hop, industrial to…

Why Milton matters

Gustave Dore illustration for Paradise Lost BARRY SPURR rides to the rescue of the blind visionary When the Oxford philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, was at St Paul’s School in London, in the 1920s, John Milton’s 200-line pastoral elegy, ‘Lycidas’, was set for learning by heart by the boys. Decades later, when Berlin visited the newly-established Wolfson…

Medusa’s hair

Head of Medusa, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1610 SYDNEY LORD finds a metaphor for cancel culture in mythology Medusa, with her famous hair of writhing snakes, has had many metamorphoses over the centuries – so many the Greeks and Romans stopped counting. After World War II, some feminist activists – which I call ‘femocrats’- used…