My first quartet concert. I’m nervous as a foal.
I know nothing about Beethoven, have no idea
his first quartet is such a deal for him…

(‘To Be Played with the Utmost Delicacy’, from Beethoven Variations)

You can read my essays on music here.

As for most people, music is a vital part of my life.  Mostly classical – I’ve always sung in choirs and singing groups, have played the viola from childhood, and have talked on radio about music in various ways – presenting a programme of  Radio 3’s The Choir, in which I asked, What is the voice of a choir? Who are they supposed to be as they sing? I also wrote and presented a series on Elgar,  have talked about Playing the Violahave talked for Front Row on Beethovenand for In Tune. on Scheherazade with the City of London Sinfonia. I began my biographical collection of poems on Beethoven with a poem about how my parents met, playing music.

My choices on Michael Berkeley’s Private Passions, 1998, and Desert Island Discs, 2009, roved around opera and chamber music, but also folksong, Muddy Waters,  Cretan songs, and Melina Merkouri singing The Boys from Peiraeus.

I did once confess that in another life I’d love to have been an opera director, and I wish I’d learnt the oud as a child. I also wish I’d learned to improvise, on any instrument. But I am taking raga lessons, so maybe that’s a start. Music is a journey for everyone and I feel I’m just beginning.