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Alive & Listening

Monday, 16 January 2023

It’s been too long since my last “Listen With Father” update. My excuses: last autumn was a time of intense reading after I was appointed chair of judges for the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize, UK’s most prestigious non-fiction book award. I programmed and ran two book festivals in September & November. And latterly I’ve been caring for my 88-year-old Mum who had a horrible fall in early November, breaking…

#ListenWithCaroline: Piano Practice

Friday, 24 June 2022

At the beginning of 2022, I made a New Year’s resolution to play the piano every day. It’s not the first time I’ve resolved this but the pattern of sticking to it, and then not sticking to it is always the same. During the winter months, I manage to sit down and play most days just before, or after supper. As soon as it’s light in the early evenings however, I begin to neglect my playing in favour…

#ListenWithCaroline: Lesson from a Chess Starlet

Monday, 2 May 2022

Seventy years ago last week, when he was just 17, my Dad became the joint 1952 British Boys’ Chess Champion.

From his early teens, Dad was an accomplished self-taught player, whose exploits regularly hit the local headlines. I have a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings from the Leicester Mercury, lovingly pasted in from the late 1940s onwards by his mother Nellie.  “14-year-old Ashby Boy in Chess Final…

#ListenWithCaroline: Antonio Vivaldi: La Tempesta di Mare

Monday, 21 March 2022

What more appropriate signature tune could there be for the vernal equinox and this sunny weather than La Primavera (Spring) from the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, with all its uplifting zing. And yet listening to this glorious and oh so familiar piece made me realise that beyond his famous Four Seasons concertos, I didn’t know any other music by Vivaldi. 

Since writing “Listen With Father”…

#ListenWithCaroline: Fryderyk Chopin: Études

Thursday, 3 March 2022

I’ve been listening to Chopin’s Études this week. I was originally prompted to do so because 1st March is the composer’s birthday: he was born on that day in Żelazowa Wola in Poland in 1810.  But during these grim days in which we have all been trying to come to terms with what Putin is wreaking in Ukraine, there’s another, incredibly poignant reason why Chopin’s music speaks to our times.


#ListenWithCaroline: Clara Schumann, Piano Concerto in A Minor

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

When I was a child, it didn’t occur to me that my Dad listened only to the music of dead white males. Maybe because the the names of the composers he loved sounded wonderfully exotic to a small child’s ear: Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Schhhhubert.

Now I regret that I never challenged Dad to add some female composers to his CD collection. To give him his due, he had recordings by plenty of female soloists…

~#ListenWithCaroline Rhapsody on Blue

Monday, 17 January 2022

I’m writing this, my first “Listen With Father” update of 2022 on Blue Monday, apparently the most depressing day of the year. So a cheer-up musical thread is in order.

Despite its title, George Gershwin’s sublime “Rhapsody in Blue” could be the perfect antidote to any despondency you feel. I’ve been on a Gershwin listening binge after watching Christopher Wheeldon’s gorgeous staging of the musical…

#ListenWithCaroline ep 4

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

As we approach the end of 2021, this week's #ListenWithCaroline is a listening suggestion for anyone who, like me, prefers a reflective New Year's Eve.

Thank you so much for your support of "Listen With Father" this year. 

Wishing you a happy and a healthy 2022.

Love from Caroline x

#ListenWithCaroline ep 3

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Today’s #ListenWithCaroline is, of course, something Christmassy – Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.

Whilst I love the tradition of singing the same litany of carols of every Christmas, the twelve short pieces that make up this work have long been a favourite of mine, ever since a friend recommended them when I was at university – I still have the original cassette tape recording they made…

#ListenWithCaroline ep 2

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Today is the 8th anniversary of my father's death from prostate cancer. It feels both a long time ago, and also all too recent and raw. Bereavement scrambles time, I've noticed.

In my #ListenWithCaroline post today, I'm recommending Robert Schumann's "Kinderszenen" or Scenes from Childhood in memory of my Dad who you can see below as a child himself (that's a toy engine, not a gun he's holding…


Monday, 6 December 2021

Hello everyone. If you've already supported "Listen With Father", I'd like to say a huge thank you: it means a great deal to me that you like the sound of what I've written.

From now on I'll be posting Monday updates on different themes (a good musical word) from my book so do look out for these both here and on social media.

I'd like to invite you to follow me on Twitter (@CaroSanderson), and…

A Book of Remembrance

Monday, 15 November 2021

Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday, the day when we come together to honour the fallen. It’s a collective memorial, but it was built of many thousands of individual bereavements, and to some extent still is. In our house, we remember in particular my husband’s grandfather, a 25-year-old RAF flying officer on a Halifax bomber, killed when it was shot down on a mission over France in 1943, leaving his…

Watching the Reels

Monday, 1 November 2021

Since "Listen With Father" launched a week ago, I've been reflecting on what a performance listening to music used to be.

To play a record you had to ease it carefully from the sleeve without touching the grooves and then place it gently on the turntable. Then you'd lift the arm, and lower it delicately on the vinyl. One false move and you'd scratch the record horribly.

When the first side of…

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