Understanding the period and context in which a piece of music was created can offer great rewards for the listener.
How and why did concert-going change from a raucous, noisy affair to one of hushed appreciation?
It is not just the Christian musical tradition that has struggled to differentiate between the sacred and the profane.
In Renaissance Florence, church and civic bells frequently rang out across the city’s crowded soundscape. Their calls were far from impartial.
Attempting to recover the human experience of Communism in the post-Soviet era, a Belarusian investigative journalist found pessimistic nostalgia in place of hope for the future.
In newly independent Indonesia, nationalism, communism and Islam competed for the attention of the people. But the country’s greatest novelist saw humanity behind the ideologies.
Angered by his native country’s rush towards western-style modernisation, the acclaimed Japanese author committed a shocking act of protest. Alexander Lee reveals the journey that led to such an extreme conclusion.
Struggling to make sense of the Holocaust, one Hungarian novelist came to the startling realisation that the 20th century’s darkest moment might not yield any lessons for posterity, writes Alexander Lee.
The dead, white, male canon has not merely stifled African-American history so much as smothered it. One author has spent her career grappling with the problem of America’s whitewashed past, writes Alexander Lee.
The ideas of a French philosopher provided the great Egyptian novelist with a way of assessing the good and the bad in his nation’s past, writes Alexander Lee.