Friday 23 March 2007


Any chessplayer worth his salt has heard of Philidor. If not, I suggest you beat a path to Wikipedia and read about him: He is usually regarded as the best 18th century chessplayer.
Most of us will also aware that he had an equally high profile career as a highly-regarded composer of music, but I guess few of us have ever had the chance to hear some of it.
Now is our chance... today's Guardian has a review of a double CD published by Naxos featuring Philidor's compositions, including Carmen Saeculare and various overtures.
The review is generally complimentary: "much of the music is astonishingly inventive, as one gorgeous number follows another in excitable profusion". Sounds promising, doesn't it? In a spirit of gens una sumus, I feel tempted to visit my local record store to buy a copy.
My thanks to Phil Adams for drawing my attention to this.


  1. I saw the review too and have to say it got me rather curious... alas he doesn't turn up on youtube though, where I listen to most of my music nowadays...

  2. Of course he's also referred to in A Matter of Life And Death, which some critics regard as the greatest British film of all.

  3. Yes, a great film indeed. I recall Marius Goring referring to "ze great Feel-ee-dorrr!" in his cod French accent, which in its turn reminds me of an old TV advert which tried to persuade us that "Ze French adore Le Piat D'Or" when in all likelihood they had never heard of it.

    I wonder if Gambit Publications considered "The French Adore Philidor" as a punning title for Christian Bauer's new book "The Philidor Files". Hmm... probably not.