Notre Dame

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Before I got to University, Notre Dame to me was the home of Disney’s Quasimodo. I’d never taken much interest in early music – I don’t think I even knew the concept of it. And then in my first year lectures, I started to learn about Notre Dame’s important place in musical history, and all about Leonin, Perotin, and the infamous Anonymous-IV. Continue reading

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Swan Lake, Shostakovich and the Soviets

IMG_5826.JPG2017 is a pretty big year. Both me and Russia are marking big anniversaries. I celebrated a significant birthday, and Russia marked the centenary of the 1917 Revolution. So, you know, basically the same. I decided, ‘why not “celebrate” both’?! St Petersburg and Moscow were both places I’ve always wanted to visit, but they’re both a little more special (and distant) than a typical European city break / weekend-away, so it seemed ideal to combine the two anniversaries!

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Musical mooch in Moscow

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I’ve just got back from Russia and had the absolute best time. I can’t recommend the place enough – both St Petersburg and Moscow are drenched in music and history, and you can hardly walk down a street without seeing a plaque with a famous name on it (particularly Lenin’s).

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Lenin woz here

There are numerous individual musical locations I’m going to talk about later, but I thought I’d start off with a musical mooch I took, taking in a few locations within a 30 minute walk in the centre of Moscow. Continue reading

Opera Bolognese

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Bologna has three nicknames – la dotta, la rossa, la grassa: the Learned (due to its 11th century university, the 2nd oldest in the world) , the Red (for the architecture) and the Fat – needless to say, I was most interested in the latter. The city is a lovely place, not somewhere I would’ve thought to visit to be honest, but I was lucky enough to have a friend who lived there so I popped over for a visit to catch up, soak up some sun and culture, and eat a lot of gelato.

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Hmmmpton Court

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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Hampton Court – my sister used to work there so we could get free entry, and it’s a good place to take visitors. It might not immediately jump out to you as a musical location (you can’t help but think first of Henry VIII and his numerous wives, then some Georgian royals, and then perhaps a documentary with Lucy Worsley), but with some basic archaeology we can follow in some musical footsteps. Continue reading