Alex Byrne

A beginner’s guide to classical music

JS Bach – Suite No. 3 in D Major (~1730) Any piece from a myriad would be a good gateway to Bach. The well-known Suite No. 3 was likely written during the final period of Bach’s life in Leipzig. It is not of Bach’s usual style, which is heavier, more...
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Posted Feb. 19, 2019

The classical roots of modern music culture

To say that classical music has an enduring influence is an understatement. Musical genres are constantly in flux, not existing in a vacuum but flowing in and out of each other. Bach’s baroque style influenced Mozart’s classical style, which led to Romanticism. If you have ever heard music with a...
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Posted Feb. 13, 2019

In defence of opera

The English National Opera (ENO) is set to offer under-18s free tickets to see Saturday night opera. Stuart Murphy, CEO of the ENO, said that this move is based on a belief that “opera is for everyone”. Appreciation of opera has taken a steep decrease and initiatives like this show...
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Posted Feb. 5, 2019

The forgotten ancient classics you should read

The world of classical literature often feels introspective and insular. Yet some texts rise above this world and retain their place in the pantheon of literature today. Homer’s epic poems are the prime example. From Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida to Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, Homer’s shadow has loomed...
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Posted Dec. 27, 2018

An F1 season in hindsight

Since the first world championship season in 1950, only three drivers have won five or more Formula 1 (F1) titles. The first was Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentinian maestro who defied death and stood as a giant in his era. Half a century later, Michael Schumacher won his seventh title...
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Posted Dec. 18, 2018

The Vietnam Grand Prix is a threat to Formula 1

As part of their plan to market Formula 1 (F1) to a more global audience, F1’s owners Liberty Media have announced that Vietnam will host a new Grand Prix from 2020 onwards. Not only is this addition an unwelcome extension of the arduous F1 season, but it is also a...
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Posted Nov. 27, 2018

Hamilton has shown his dominance in Singapore

The 2018 Formula 1 World Championship is approaching its conclusion, and as usual, the Singapore Grand Prix has proved to be decisive. Once again, it has all but ensured Lewis Hamilton will stand atop the podium as world champion. It seems a forgone conclusion that Hamilton will secure his fifth...
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Posted Oct. 5, 2018

Despite Kipchoge, a 2-hour marathon will have to wait

In many ways the 2018 Berlin Marathon was unsurprising. Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s top marathoner, glided easily to the finish line, finally setting the world record that has long eluded him. What was surprising was the time that he ran: two hours, one minute, and 39 seconds. It is the...
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Posted Sep. 26, 2018

Formula One’s history of underhanded tactics has been overstated

Formula 1 (F1) is a sport of small margins, evidenced by only 0.044 seconds separating Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel during qualifying for the British Grand Prix. With such fine distinctions between teams there are often suspicions of underhanded tactics being used, whether it be different fuel mixes or aerodynamic...
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Posted Jul. 23, 2018