music

Domenico Scarlatti and Basil Bunting

April 9, 2017 2 Comments
Domenico Scarlatti and Basil Bunting

Under his full wig he looks like a successful but no-nonsense, even grumpy eighteenth century aristocrat or businessman.  It would be hard to guess, if you didn’t know, that this is Domenico Scarlatti, the composer of the most inventive, quirky and joyful Baroque music ever written. Born in Naples in the same year as Bach […]

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Me, myself and I

April 9, 2016 0 Comments
Me, myself and I

Billie Holiday and Lester Young had as close and creative a musical friendship as any two people could.  All agree: the pair themselves, their friends and musical colleagues, their biographers, and anyone else with a view. How can you get a proper sense of that friendship, 70 and 80 years after the event?  The scattered […]

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Blues recordings: gwallter’s top 10

January 23, 2016 1 Comment
Blues recordings: gwallter’s top 10

  Richard ‘Rabbit’ Brown, James Alley blues, 1927 James Alley is in New Orleans.  Like Louis Armstrong Brown was a native of the Storyville district of that city.  He only recorded six songs, but this one, recorded in his home town, is a peach.  Brown was already in his late forties when he sang it, […]

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Glenn Gould’s ‘The idea of north’

December 12, 2015 0 Comments
Glenn Gould’s ‘The idea of north’

This week, as part of its Northern Lights season, Radio 3 broadcast an hour-long documentary made by the pianist Glenn Gould for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1967 called The idea of north. It turned out to be as absorbing as his piano playing. By 1967 Gould had famously turned his back on performing in […]

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Jimi Hendrix and Ludwig Wittgenstein in Swansea

January 18, 2015 2 Comments
Jimi Hendrix and Ludwig Wittgenstein in Swansea

That Jimi Hendrix came to Swansea was news to me until yesterday. It seemed almost as unlikely as the fact that Ludwig Wittgenstein used to stay here on his holidays. Gary Gregor, in his excellent South Wales Evening Post column ‘Hidden History’, says in his latest contribution that Hendrix visited the city in the 1960s. […]

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John Fahey, American primitive?

December 10, 2013 0 Comments
John Fahey, American primitive?

Like many teenagers of the late 1960s I was first awakened to what would become my most treasured music by the late John Peel.  His weekly programme Top Gear on Radio One was unmissable.  It was almost the only place you could come across American musicians ignored by the mainstream (Peel had worked on a […]

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Cyngerdd Tŷ

July 13, 2013 0 Comments
Cyngerdd Tŷ

Ar noson grasboeth arall dyma ni’n dau’n cerdded ar hyd pafin ein stryd dan gario cadair blygu’r un, ar ein ffordd i ‘gyngerdd tŷ’.  Daeth y gwahoddiad oddi wrth Delyth Jenkins a’i merch Angharad – ‘DnA’ yw eu henw proffesiynol – sy newydd ryddhau albwm newydd o awelon Cymreig traddodiadol a newydd, Adnabod (Fflach). Chlywais […]

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Lester Young and ‘Oh! Lady be Good’

July 4, 2013 3 Comments
Lester Young and ‘Oh! Lady be Good’

At 10 o’clock in the morning of Monday 9 November 1936 – an unlikely day and an even unlikelier hour for jazz musicians – five people assembled in the studios of the American Record Corporation in Chicago.  They played just four short pieces.  Two of them, the first appearance of Lester Young on record, constitute […]

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