Listening Club with Sandy


Join us on this new online adventure – each week we listen to a piece of great classical music and talk about it, with insights and analysis from me and the chance to ask questions.  From Monteverdi to Messiaen, the list of weekly sessions is here, together with links to register – the price of each session each session is £7.00. “See” you there!

NADFAS briefing day


I’m delighted to be joining NADFAS in 2017 as an accredited lecturer at an exciting time in the organisation’s history.  More details to follow…

Discovery Day at Kinnordy Chamber Music


Excited to be invited to host a Discovery Day at Kinnordy Chamber Music, a brand new festival up near Kirriemuir in Angus, Scotland.  The Saturday of the Festival concentrates on Music of the Great War, and the lineup of performers is superb – details here.

Aldeburgh Festival 2015


A return visit to the Aldeburgh Festival as tour director with ACE Cultural Tours, working alongside my distinguished colleague Humphrey Burton.

Crash Course in Classical Music at Union Club, Soho


Another outing for my popular Crash Course in Classical Music, this time at the Union Club in London’s Soho. It’s a fun and informative single-evening event in partnership with the Idler Academy. I’ll be tackling four key areas of classical music:– Baroque, Classical, Romantic and twentieth-century – in the course of the evening, and focussing on a major work from each. And I’ve had fun picking these!

JS Bach: Prelude & Fugue in C major (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1)

Mozart: B flat String Quartet K458, “the Hunt”

Mahler: Symphony no 1

Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps/Rite of Spring

I’ll analyse the music, illustrate some important moments, provide a glossary of key terms, and put each piece in context. All part of my Classic Discovery series.

Putney Music playlist

Tonight I’ve been invited down to Putney Music to talk about music and my take on it.  I can’t wait to play some great recordings and special moments – here are the ten pieces on my playlist:

1.) Dmitri Shostakovitch: Symphony no 5, finale

WDR Symphony Orchestra, Rudolf Barshai

2.) Thomas Tallis: O Nata Lux

BBC Singers, Bo Holten

3.) Jeremy Sams: Train Music, Restaurant Wander, Hotel Escape

(Le week-end, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

4.) Edward Elgar: Symphony no 2, Larghetto OR Rondo: Presto

BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox

5.) Kurt Masur interviewed by Sandy Burnett, BBC Radio 3, 250902

6.) Richard Strauss: Daphne, Mondlichtmusik

Renee Fleming, WDR Symphony Orchestra/Bychkov

7.) Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 1 Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, opening movt

English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir, John Eliot Gardiner

8.) Johann Sebastian Bach: Matthew Passion BWV 244, Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand

Clare Wilkinson (alto), Dunedin Consort and Players, John Butt

9.) Wes Montgomery: Mister Walker

(The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, 1960)

10.) Gene Harris Quartet: The Song is Ended

(Listen Here, 1989)

Burton Bradstock Festival


Playing jazz and classical music at this festival run by the brilliant David Juritz.  I’m also being interviewed, which should be interesting.

interviewing John Bridcut


On the subject of British twentieth-century composers, John Bridcut is one of the most perceptive writers and programme-makers around. I’m interviewing him about Britten, and making a podcast out of the end result for the Barbican’s successful classical music podcast series.

Classical music crash course – postlude

To everyone who squeezed into the Idler Academy for the Classical music crash course last night, it was good to meet you and thanks for your rapt attention and interesting questions … Scroll down on this blog for a closer look at the glossary of terms relevant to each era. Since many of you expressed interest, I’m hatching a plan for a full-blown Classical music lecture series at the Idler Academy, each of them examining a musical era in much more detail than last night, which was a mere taster. This might get going as soon as the next few weeks, but I’ll keep you posted with a post here as the plan crystallises. In the meantime, if you have any feedback or queries, or if you’d to put your email address on the mailing list, do drop me a line here. And here’s a reminder of what it was all about.


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Huntsman’s Funeral

Often talked about but rarely seen: the woodcut that apparently inspired the 3rd movement of Mahler’s First Symphony. Double-click on it for a closer look.  Eerie/unheimlich