Is it not wonderful, sir, that all true constitutional watchfulness of England should be dead to the only real danger that the present day exhibits and they should alone be roused by the idiotic clamour of republican frenzy and popular insurrection, which do not exist? We are come to the moment when the question is whether we should give to the King, that is to the executive government, complete power over our thoughts.
Charles James Fox, December 1792
My favourite creation myth: God made humans just so he could listen to the music we make. Turns out nothing else – good, evil, whatever – matters. Just the music. Go play.
My current enthusiasm is for music from the Levant: gypsy music from the Balkans, arabesque pop from Turkey or rai from north Africa. The place to hear it is the annual Guča Trumpet Festival in Serbia. Particular favourites playing in Britain these days are Orkestra del Sol, The Baghdaddies and Paprika Balkanicus. See also Kazum! for events in London.
A longer-standing love is of early twentieth-century chamber music: Bartók, Kodály, Hindemith, and Janaček. Kodály’s “Sonata for Unaccompanied ’Cello” Op. 8 and Hindemith’s “Sonata for Viola & Piano”, Op.11 N°4 are special favourites.
Late Junction on BBC Radio 3 is my best source of new music.