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📖 Sunday Culture Crunch 📖
For all your weekend culture needs
Good morning all, hello to new subscribers, and welcome to the Sunday Culture Crunch — my weekend roundup of thought-provoking listening/reading, new music, upcoming events, and recommendations for general culture stuff to look out for over the next few weeks. Happy browsing, and do comment if there’s anything you’d like to see featured in the Crunch. Want more/less fiction? Non-fiction? Old recordings? Let me know!
A reminder that I’m going to be at the Barbican on 5th November with violinist Fenella Humphreys and pianist Nicola Eimer, presenting a concert based around the music in Quartet. Tickets are available here, and if you want a preview then you can hear Fenella and Nicky playing Clarke’s Midsummer Moon here.
I’m also introducing the Madeleine Dring centenary concert at Conway Hall on the 23rd October with pianist Antonio Oyarzabal and oboist Nicholas Daniel, and will be speaking about Quartet at Arts Richmond on the 1st November. Hope to see you there!
What I’m Reading
Maggie O’Farrell, The Marriage Portrait. A stunningly powerful book. Here O’Farrell’s imagining the life of Lucrezia de’ Medici, married at thirteen to the Duke of Ferrara and dead three years later. She manages to communicate loneliness and frustration so beautifully (but if you want some thoughts about anachronisms in historical fiction, this piece by Jessica O’Leary is great). If you like O’Farrell, an adaptation of Hamnet is also running at the Garrick.
Tom Hindle, The Murder Game. This is for you if you want a zip-through cosy crime. It takes a classic plot — someone is actually murdered at the murder mystery evening — and does it well, with pacy writing and some great characters. The twists and murderer/motive were a bit obvious, but I’m still going to recommend it because it was good fun along the way.
The Rise, Fall, and Remaking of the GirlBoss: Anne Helen Petersen’s interview with Marisa Meltzer, author of Glossy
I love Errollyn Wallen’s music, so I’m looking forward to her part-memoir Becoming a Composer which publishes on 2 November.
Farrenc: Piano Trios, Cello Sonata. If you like Beethoven & Schubert but don’t know Farrenc yet, you are missing out. Try this sumptuous disc of chamber music for size.
Melodies et Chansons. Tailleferre is one of my favourite composers, so I’m always going to get excited about new recordings of her music. This one doesn’t disappoint — a bumper recordings of songs by her and Milhaud from baritone Holger Falk and pianist Steffen Schleiermacher.
Echoes of Life. A vibrant new disc from pianist Alice Sara Ott, interspersing Chopin’s Preludes with works by composers including Pärt, Ligeti & Takemitsu.
Rita Strohl: Musique vocale. La Boîte à Pépites continue their recordings of neglected women composers. This time it’s Strohl, and the pre-release track promises an exciting album.
A Vestige Preserved. Film music by Polish composers Artur Malawski and Roman Palester, this is for fans of mid-century movies.
Andras Schiff — complete Decca collection. If you’re a Schiff fan then this is the release for you. Rather does what it says on the tin.
Painted Lights. A wonderfully reflective album from the Solem Quartet, featuring Finnis, Lili Boulanger, Bosmans, Reeves, Witter-Johnson and Mitchell.
The Christmas recordings are starting to come out! This album of contemporary choral works from St Martin’s Voices is a delight.
An oldie and a goodie…
If you listen to one recording of Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus, make it the one by Andreas Scholl and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. The artistry here is just exquisite, and his rendition of ‘Cum dederit’ will make you weep.
For Fela Kuti’s birthday today, there’s a Felabaration in Peckham with the Dele Sosimi Quartet, and the Jazz Cafe are celebrating with Bukky Leo & Black Egypt.
The K-Music Festival is up and running — catch groove& and DUO BUD’s percussion show on the 19th October, haeparry on the 24th, Sun Mi Hong Quartet on the 1st November, and Leenalchi on the 7th. If you want a preview, here’s Leenalchi’s ‘Tiger is Coming’.
Electric Voice Theatre present the music of Eliza Flower at Conway Hall on 27 October.
Abel Selaocoe and the Bantu Ensemble are touring the UK at the end of October. They’re in Manchester on the 30th, Birmingham on 1st November, Newcastle on the 2nd, Liverpool on the 3rd, Leeds on the 4th, London on the 5th.
This is a words and music combo: storyteller Nick Hennessey performs stories from the Finnish epic the Kalevala at Kings Place on 2nd November. If you’ve never been to storytelling before this is the guy you want to see, and I guarantee it’s worth a shot.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales are performing Grace Williams’ Symphony No. 2 with Kaija Saariaho and Sarah Lianne Lewis on the 2nd.
Stile Antico are giving the world premiere of a new work by Kerry Andrew inspired by William Byrd, in Birmingham on the 8th November.
And for something completely different…
If you’re into fashion, then check out designer Kemi Telford. Her pieces are stunning, and if the prices are a bit steep then try Kemi’s Wardrobe which has clothes for lower prices including samples and second-hand. The brand also has a really wonderful Instagram account.