Posts Tagged ‘Mozart’

Bob Dylan, Miles Davis… and Mozart – your top musicians for grown-ups

April 29, 2009
Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Mozart are the favourite musicians of grown-up listeners.

Dylan (currently on an eight-date British tour), Davis and Mozart head the Top 10 poll, which includes rockers from the 1970s (Neil Young) and the 1980s (The Smiths/Morrissey) alongside pre-rock pop stars (Sinatra) and classical composers (Beethoven).

The Top 10 Musicians for Grown-Ups, as nominated by readers, are:


1. Bob Dylan
2. Miles Davis
3. Mozart
4. Neil Young
5. Frank Sinatra
6. Bruce Springsteen
7. Tom Waits
8. Beethoven
9. Van Morrison
10. The Smiths/Morrissey

The Top 10 Musicians for Grown-Ups


Given the focus of the website, there are few surprises in the ranking, though my own list wouldn’t place Springsteen or Tom Waits so high.

Thanks again to all readers who nominated their Top Musicians for Grown-Ups: analyzing your votes produced a wonderfully eclectic ranking of great musos from many genres.

The lucky winner of my new book, Music For Grown-Ups – who requested privacy – has been informed.

Gerry Smith

Mozart, Handel, Purcell: a classical feast on Radio 3

March 2, 2009
There’s classical riches aplenty to feast on in the next few weeks:

* Mozart: the great man’s latter days are celebrated in Radio 3’s Composer Of The Week on BBC Radio 3 this week – 1200 and 2200.

* Handel: all the operas on Radio 3, every Thursday afternoon from 2 – they’re revelatory.

* Purcell: a feast of the 17thC composer as Radio 3 devotes the weekend of 21/22 March to the great man.

Great musicians… great radio station…

Many BBC Radio 3 programmes are broadcast live online. Some are also accessible online via iPlayer for a short period after transmission:

Gerry Smith

Fela Kuti to Neil Young, John McLaughlin to Mahler, Mozart to Ryan Adams

October 28, 2008
FREE! Music for grown-ups on the BBC in the next 10 days:

Hidden among its vast output, BBC TV and radio has some magnificent music for grown-ups – every week of the year. And it’s all free (well, sort of… ).

The next ten days sees an unusually rich feast of great musicians:

Wed 29 Oct
1200 & 2200 Mahler, Composer Of The Week – BBC Radio 3
(3/5, continues Thurs-Fri)

Thurs 30 Oct
2300 Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour (rpt) – BBC Radio 2
2355, David Byrne, BBC Four Sessions (rpt) – BBC Four
0055, Ryan Adams, BBC Four Sessions (rpt) – BBC Four

Fri 31 Oct
2130 Neil Young, In Concert (1971) – BBC Four
2200 Neil Young – Don’t Be Denied – BBC Four
2300 CSNY/Déjà Vu – BBC Four

Sat 1 Nov
1600 John McLaughlin, Jazz Library – BBC Radio 3
1800 Cosi Fan Tutte, from Vienna – BBC Radio 3
1900 The Fourth, the Fifth, the Minor Fall (Leonard Cohen’s masterpiece, Hallelujah) – BBC Radio 2
2400 Bud Powell, Jazz Library – BBC Radio 3

Sun 2 Nov
2315/0240 Neil Young – Don’t Be Denied – BBC Four
2400 Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour (new) – BBC 6 Music

Mon 3 Nov
1200 & 2200 Dvorak, Composer Of The Week – BBC Radio 3
(1/5, continues Tues-Fri)

Tues 4 Nov
2230 Fela Kuti, the Afrobeat Revolutionary – BBC Radio 2

Thurs 6 Nov
2300 Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour (rpt) – BBC Radio 2
2355 Beck, BBC Four Sessions (rpt) – BBC Four

Fri 7 Nov
2355, Randy Newman, BBC Four Sessions – BBC Four

Online access: many BBC radio programmes are broadcast online, streamed. Please see the channels’ web sites for details. Archived BBC radio and TV programmes are accessible online for a short period via:

Gerry Smith

Delightful London revival of Don Giovanni

September 15, 2008
The new London run of Don Giovanni, the third revival of this production since the Millennium, is an unalloyed delight.

Singing and acting by the principals was outstanding. Simon Keenlyside – magisterial, dominant, Joyce DiDonato – rich, powerful, and Ramon Vargas – subtle, delicate, in particular, delivered world-class performances. It’s rare to see such talents together on the same stage. The lesser principals were formidable, too.

You can’t go far wrong with a good production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni – the score is relentless, engaging, the sections of musical genius seemingly queuing to follow each other, with hardly a let-up, for three hours. Da Ponte’s libretto, by turns comic and tragic, drives the action, remorselessly.

The Royal Opera House band, purposefully conducted by Charles Mackerras, brought out the glory and the subtlety of this great work.

Chorus, direction, staging, lighting, sets, dancing – all were exhilarating.

Friday’s Don Giovanni was one of the musical highlights of my life: music for grown-ups doesn’t come much better than this.

Great art: bravo Mozza, bravo Covent Garden!

Gerry Smith

Oh Vienna! Part 1

February 6, 2008

On my first trip to Vienna last week – Heaven only knows why it’s taken so long – I spent three days marvelling at the handsome Habsburg capital’s rich musical heritage. 

Never mind the magnificence of the built environment – Vienna is a world-class city – or the divine legacy of key visual artists such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Otto Wagner, the Austrian capital is a strong contender for Music for Grown-Ups global HQ. 

Everywhere you go, you’re reminded of its stature.  Major venues abound – Musikverein … Konzerthaus … Staatsoper … Volksoper …  And, round every corner you keep running into statues, squares, streets, plaques, and pavement memorials commemorating the great classical composers with roots in Vienna – Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, Mahler, Schoenberg … the list is almost endless.  Only Bach is missing. 

And that’s not to mention Music for Grown-Ups favourite, jazzer Joe Zawinul.

No city has more musical resonance: Oh Vienna, indeed.   

Gerry Smith 

(to be continued)