Online Journal

From Michelle Loughran, Manchester

Although I understand some of the sentiments displayed in John Woodford’s February editorial, there remains the fact that the Entertainment Industry is one that caters for the tastes of a musically-illiterate public, rather than high-flying, expertly-trained musicians. Let’s face it…there are a damned sight more of them, so if Charlotte Church, Russell Watson or Hear’Say (who Woodford aptly names The Morons) are provided with hyper-hype and cleverly-managed marketing campaigns to a predominantly plebeian public, then so be it – as has happened time and again, musical people can always ignore them. As far as the fame issue is concerned, Woodford would do well to remember that everyone wants their fifteen minutes-worth, a response to a culture in which just about everyone envies the glamour and public attention that is meted out by the press. If it is more important to be famous than be a musician, don’t blame the performers…blame the power of media management…they’re the ones who are really trying to be successful!

From Richard Ashcroft, Surrey

I would like to express my thanks to for their excellent Into Practice series – not only am I impressed that a top-class performer such as Kevin Bowyer feels able to provide an online master class, but also that his comments are supported by excellently-played musical examples. I have downloaded these and have passed them onto my pupils. Bowyer has shown that not only is he an excellent performer, but a pedagogue of the highest order. I hope that there are future plans for more excellent articles in this vein.

Many thanks for your kind words of support; we aim to provide music teachers and students alike with similarly exciting articles. If you haven’t already noticed, this month’s Into Practice examines the performance of Mozart’s A major Sonata K331; written by eminent teacher and performer Paul Janes, it also includes downloadable MP3s of the whole sonata. Listen and enjoy! JW

From Larry Woodgate, North Yorks

…the article on Viktoria Mullova was sensitively written with a good deal of humour thrown in. Miss Mullova comes over as a delight, helped considerably by John Woodford’s witty, elegant style of writing that is, unusually for a journalist, grammatically correct. However, I sometimes wonder about Mr Woodford’s motives in championing the early music cause – is it an attempt to brainwash arch-Romantics (such as myself) into abandoning steel in favour of sheep intestine, and vibrato in favour of flimsy bows and flat, out-of-tune playing? The Mullova interview is one example of several that have sneaked their way into the pages of’s Online Journal in recent months…are you to continue ignoring the superb talents of many ‘modern’ violinists, keyboard players and singers?

Sorry Larry, but you are quite wrong in your assumption that we at are period-instrument (we have a swear box for every time people say “early music”) apparatchiks. Our philosophy is simple…if they are excellent performers, then we report on them. However, we believe in using the right tool for the job; after all, you wouldn’t drink a bottle of 1977 Beaujolais from a coffee-stained tin cup, would you? Today, many top musicians perform on both modern and period instruments, and demonstrate their abilities by adapting their techniques and approaches to performance practice in a way that would have never been possible twenty years ago. The period-instrument revolution has occurred. Long may it reign!

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