Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Dresden Sonatas

Whenever I stop to think about it I’m always amazed that despite the fact that he was so influential particularly regarding the concerto form’s development that contemporary string musicians paid so little heed to him. There’s no  "school of Vivaldi" consisting of violinists or players of other stringed instruments. The only exception to this rule…

Cole Porter (1891-1964): The tale of the oyster – Grant Doyle

Porter’s ‘Tale of the oyster’ received it’s first airing in 1929 in a show called ‘Fifty Million Frenchmen’. Like many of Porter’s songs the ‘tale’ excoriates the snobbery and social climbing of New York ‘society’ and I suspect that this was why Gilbert Seldes who knew which side his bread was buttered on dismissed it…

Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D774

This deceptively simple song is one of Schubert’s most pleasing, and famous, water songs, it’s strophic but we hardly notice that we hear the same music in each of the three verses. The lyrics are a sentimental poem by  L. Graf zu Stollberg which Schubert takes and gives it  a rhythmic and harmonic treatment that…

Vespers – Deus in adiutorium

I’m quite often asked ‘What is Vespers?’  Vespers is a one of the liturgical Hours or "offices" that are celebrated at defined moments of the day. The word comes from Latin ‘vespera’ which means ‘evening’ and the office of Vespers was held1 between 5 and 6pm (17:00 – 18:00). Vespers followed a strict pattern: 1:…