Any biography of Beethoven is in fact a portrait of the universal artist, and demonstrates that the most fascinating careers are never straightforward.

´neath the strength of strings of THE CASALS QUARTET

The Casals Quartet, winner of the 2006 National Music Award, is one of the most interesting and prestigious Spanish chamber ensembles on the international scene. It is made up of the violinists Abel Tomás and Vera Martínez, the viola player Jonathan Brown and the cellist Arnau Tomás. Together they have been on stage for more than 25 years, since its foundation at the Reina Sofía School of Music in Madrid. His name is his tribute to one of the best cellists of all time, Pau Casals. 


“pop” has more going on than it’s usually given credit for. Artists don’t have to move beyond “pop” to achieve loftier ambitions. There’s plenty of room for nuance and drama amid the hooks and beats.

turning of the jazz MOON TO GOLD

It is far more certain that Moon To Gold is a jazz album. By Karla Harris and the Joe Alterman Trio (left), the album boasts beautiful Nat King Cole or Oscar Peterson sounding trills along the piano by Joe, strolling bass lines by Kevin Smith and exciting but always empathetic drums by Justin Chesarek. However, it also contains songs I consider to be real Americana and Karla delivers a lovely, sad and sultry performance of Blue Moon and her glorious version of Bridge Over Troubled Water, that great sixties folk song, or is it a blues, or a gospel or even a hymnal jazz song in disguise?

in search of LagOmar: land of legend

This week one of the most emblematic architectural works of Lanzarote, inspired by the work of César Manrique, has gone on sale. Lagomar goes on sale for 7.5 million euros.


Now, in a 50th anniversary edition, popular music scholar Robert Rawlins brings the book fully up-to-date for the 21st century. Whereas previous editions featured only piano scores, the format has been changed to lead sheet notation with lyrics, making it accessible to a wider readership. Rawlins has also added more than sixty music examples to help complete the chapter on Irving Berlin.
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The use of textile language as metaphor continued to expand and develop. The warp and the weft (or woof), referring to the weaving together of horizontal and vertical yarn, has come to signify the building blocks or components of life or of an argument. More mundanely, losing the thread, cottoning on, and lining the pocket, are all self-explanatory terms. Dyed in the wool emphasises that cloth dyed before weaving retains its deep colour and is superior to the wool that is dyed in the piece.


as had been obvious by the laughter during the performance the audience had enjoyed themselves and were taking happy memories home with them and it is possible that members of this somewhat non-traditional audience for this genre of muisc might well return for more.


There is no such thing as too much Mendelssohn.


Till’s is a story we can grasp, not of unnamed millions but of a single knowable martyr to racial hatred. The sadism of his killers, the horrific beating they inflicted on the boy still shock us today. The Till case also reminds us of our long history of racism in criminal justice, from policing all the way through trial and incarceration. His fate reminds us too that white supremacy was never just a set of ideas and opinions, but a charter for violence inflicted on living bodies.