Try it now!

Listen to an extract of Clive explaining the technique used in one of Chopin's mazurkas to describe impatience through music.

  • Key changes »


Franz Schubert

Clive performs all the late piano works of Franz Schubert on three volumes of double CDs in The Enlightened Listener series.

Here is an extract from the impromptu in G flat major, D 899

  • Impromptu in G flat »


Schubert sleeve









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Why understanding enhances appreciation

I know from experience how valuable spoken illustrated guides to music can be.

Many of my most memorable insights into music as a student came from talks by Dennis Mathews, Anthony Hopkins (musicologist, not actor!), Vernon Handley, and others. Leonard Bernstein will always remain an important pioneer in the field of live explanation with his wonderful and groundbreaking Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic.

More recently the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas has carried on the tradition with the San Francisco Symphony, and in general the practice of offering some spoken introductions at concerts and recitals has taken hold in modern concert life, to the appreciation of most audience members.

It often surprises me at my own recitals how often people come up to me and thank me for the few words of introduction before the performance of a work, and how much this helped them put the piece in context and allowed them to listen to it with fresh ears, or with more prepared ones.

What The Enlightened Listener seeks to do is offer a repository of stimulating talks which can be accessed all the time, and not just on concert occasions.

Clive Swansbourne

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