Discover Music

The Music that Inspired Star Wars

John Williams - Star Wars composer
John Williams - Star Wars composer

We celebrate Star Wars Day (‘May the Fourth be With You’) by looking into the pieces that inspired John Williams’ magnificent soundtracks for these space operas.
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13-year-old singing sensation Malakai Bayoh takes talent show by storm

Malakai Bayoh on Britain's Got Talent
Malakai Bayoh on Britain's Got Talent

Malakai Bayoh recently wowed the judges on Britain’s Got Talent with his extraordinary performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu (from his Requiem). Originally written as a duet, Bayoh sang the trickier upper line as a solo with a purity and effortlessness that won the hearts of the Britain’s Got Talent audience and stony-hearted judge Simon Cowell. He ranked it as a ‘Golden’ performance, putting him straight through to the next round of the competition:

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How to play the Hosepipe

OAE Horn player Martin Lawrence making a hosepipe horn
OAE Horn player Martin Lawrence making a hosepipe horn

Making a brass instrument from a hosepipe may sound like something from a cartoon, but if you think about it, even the most expensive brass instrument is not much more than a bit of pipe with either keys, or a slide to make the pipe longer.
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Celebrating the Musical Creativity of the COVID-19 Lockdowns

Dr Elvis singing during Covid lockdowns
Dr Elvis singing during Covid lockdowns

Three years on since the first lockdown, in-person musical activity has - with a few exceptions - more or less returned to the way it was pre-COVID.

For all the difficulties and tragedies of the period, one thing that did happen was a flourishing of musical creativity. Despite the restrictions and the challenges, people found creative to musically connect with one another during that strange time. Here we celebrate a few of them.

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A Very Quick Guide To... The Song Cycle

A sad man by a mill
A sad man by a mill

What’s it all about?


2023 marks the 200th anniversary of the composition of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, one of the greatest song cycles ever written and the work which established the genre as the go-to option for classical composers wanting to transform the humble song-with-piano into a major musical artform.

Why the name “song cycle”? Sounds like a musical bike . . .


Save the jokes for later please. Although admittedly the term is a bit random, and it’s often tricky to distinguish between “proper” song cycles (from the German, Liederkreis, or “song circle”) and simple song collections. Some song cycles, like Die Schöne Mullerin, have a definite narrative coherence, telling a story from beginning to end. Others are looser, comprising collections of songs linked only by a particular mood, or setting words by the same poet.


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The composers who died in mysterious ways

A composer with an ominous background
A composer with an ominous background

Music history seen some of its best-loved figures die in the most unexpected ways. Here are eight of the oddest, bloodiest and sometimes tragically comic composers deaths we know of….
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Fourteen French pieces every flautist should know

A flute a croissant and a coffee in Paris.
A flute a croissant and a coffee in Paris.

What is it about French composers and the flute? There’s no shortage of music for the instrument ranging from the baroque to the present day, but if there’s a golden age in the flute’s long and varied history it’s unquestionably the period stretching from the end of the 19th century through to the mid 20th – and is tinged with an unmistakably French flavour. We’ve rounded up fourteen of our favourite pieces, from Borne to Boulez.
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Mozart's sister might have been an even better composer

picture showing Maria Anna Mozart performing to some men.
picture showing Maria Anna Mozart performing to some men.

We've all heard of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most celebrated composers of all time. But could his sister have been just as good - or even better - if only she'd been given the same chances as her brother?


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When you use your cello as a guitar

Icelandic cellist Laufey
Icelandic cellist Laufey

We're all used to the cello as a beautiful melodic instrument - whether it's the gliding lyricism of Saint-Saëns's The Swan or the introspective warmth of Bach's Cello Suite No.1 but it can also be surprisingly percussive and rhythmic.

Here are three of our favorite examples of the cello being used as an instrument that's full of pluck!



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Cardiff Singer of the World Announces 2023 Lineup

Cardiff Singer of the Year
Cardiff Singer of the Year

The biennial Cardiff Singer of the World competition has become a great springboard for those on the cusp of their professional careers.

Established in 1983, it is regarded as one of the most important operatic competitions in the world, reflected both in the stellar nature of the judging panel, which has included Sir Geraint Evans, Dame Joan Sutherland, Galina Vishnevskaya and Christoph Prégardien, and in some its iconic finalists.

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