May 16, 2019

The official website of Milan Cathedral offers a history of the eminent musicians who have worked at the building. Among those listed as having served as choristers, choir directors and organists are several whose fame stretched far beyond: Josquin des Prez, Franchinus...

October 11, 2018

In August this year, news broke that St Asaph’s Cathedral in Wales had made its Director and Assistant Director of Music redundant. The Dean and Chapter’s statement made it clear that the decision was due to ‘financial pressure’ resulting in a ‘reduction in the budget’...

June 1, 2018

I read this article in the Spectator last night and felt that I wanted to write a response. Here it is:

Let me say this at the outset: I get it. I understand the power of cathedral choirs, the skilled voices of children and adults combining in beautiful acts of worship...

July 19, 2017


My first encounter with the music of Hieronymus Praetorius was as a 12-year-old treble. I was singing at the Edington Festival, an extraordinary week-long celebration of church music, held annually in a 14th century Priory church in Wiltshire. We sang Praetorius...

March 15, 2017

Last night, as most of London was on its way home from work, I cycled along the Thames to Chelsea, to take part in what has become a regular - and in my overactive imagination, top secret - gathering of renaissance polyphony enthusiasts.

At about 7pm the...

March 8, 2017

On reading Lucy Denyer's piece in today's Daily Telegraph I nearly spilt my coffee down my International Women's Day t-shirt.

Denyer's flawed argument opposing female membership of cathedral choirs (despite admitting her disappointment at not being allowed to be a cathe...

January 18, 2017

Herbert Howells and Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gloucester 1956

I have been reading Paul Spicer's fascinating biography of Herbert Howells, and marvelling at the many illuminating details it offers up of the composer's life. For instance, while I knew that Howells was an ar...

October 9, 2015


In the aftermath of the Conservative party conference this week, something has been troubling me. It could have been one of many distasteful episodes: Theresa May’s incendiary speech on immigration, David Cameron’s personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn, or the rising profi...

March 22, 2015

Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina at the piano



Recently, when BBC Radio 3 devoted itself to playing music by female composers to celebrate International Women’s Day, the response was not unanimously positive. As one presenter, Clemency Burton-Hill, related on Twitter...

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© 2015 by Patrick Allies