Alexander Lee

A staple of Russia and the Slavic world, borscht has inspired films and novels – and has even reached outer space.

The world’s most popular fast food has ancient roots, but it was a royal seal of approval that set it on the path to global domination.

A children’s opera brought a brief respite from the terrors of the Holocaust.

Ethel Smyth took on the forces of inequality, in both politics and culture, producing highly acclaimed works of music that are now all but forgotten.

Though originally set to music, we almost always encounter the Ancient Greek epics as mute texts. But now their songs can be heard again.

The French emperor was a hero to the composer, inspiring a revolutionary symphony. But disillusionment was soon to follow.

Historians set great store by what people heard in the past, but what about those things they misheard? 

While best known as the author of The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli played an important if unlikely role in the history of music. 

As the sounds of the world rattled into the future, so, too, did art and music.