About Barry Forshaw

Barry Forshaw has written about classical music for a variety of newspapers and magazines, and has interviewed many composers, singers and musicians (beginning, as a tyro journalist, with Olivier Messiaen). His latest books are Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction and British Crime Film. His other work includes British Crime Writing: An Encyclopedia and The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction, along with books on Italian cinema, Film Noir and the first biography of Stieg Larsson. His next books are The Modern Adventure Thriller and a study of Thomas Harris and The Silence of the Lambs. He edits Crime Time, and is a talking head for ITV and BBC TV documentaries. He has been Vice Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association.

8 thoughts on “About Barry Forshaw

  1. Dear Mr Forshaw,

    I am writing from the Cotswolds in the UK. I am an English/Australian pianist currently engaged in recording the Beethoven piano sonatas for MSR Classics in the States.

    I wondered whether you may be interested in receiving some review copies? All my details are on my website and the record company website below if you have a moment to take a look.

    All best wishes,


    James Brawn
    Concert Pianist
    MSR Classics; http://www.msrcd.com

      • This is the inaugural release in James Brawn’s cycle of Beethoven 32 Piano Sonatas. Entitled A BEETHOVEN ODYSSEY, Brawn seeks to bring about all the rich variation of Beethoven’s inspiration in his performances. James Brawn grew up with Beethoven, and over the years has probed deeper and deeper into the composer’s work, taking care to know the surrounding circumstances. His training as a pianist has, itself, “grown up” with Beethoven, including intensive study with pupils of Beethoven interpreters like Solomon, Claudio Arrau and Rudolf Serkin. Brawn also studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he received the Beethoven Prize for a performance of the “Waldstein” Sonata. Brawn sees Beethoven’s piano sonatas as “modern, relevant and necessary to life” in the twenty-first century, and endeavours to serve as a conduit between Beethoven’s expression and the modern audience. Full of enormous physical, intellectual and emotional challenges, these sonatas provide tremendous artistic fulfilment for performers and listeners alike.

        Born in England in 1971, James Brawn’s musical journey began in New Zealand, where he started piano lessons at age seven. He played Bartók on New Zealand television and in 1979 won his first awards in Auckland. After relocating to Australia, he studied with Rita Reichman, among others, throughout the 1980s. A successful debut there in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.25 marks the start of his solo career. During that time, he won prizes at the Melbourne Eisteddfods competitions, and was awarded the Hephzibah Menuhin Memorial Scholarship by Yehudi Menuhin. In 1987, he reached the concerto final of the ABC Young Performers Awards, which led to concert appearances. He has performed in master classes with András Schiff, Tamás Vásáry and Stephen Kovacevich, and is a co-founder of the Scotch College Piano Festival. Brawn regularly performs solo recitals at venues throughout the United Kingdom, including St. James’s Piccadilly, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Queen Elizabeth Hall, and in Paris, Sicily, Hong Kong and throughout Australia and New Zealand. More recently, he has given solo recitals internationally that included Beethoven’s “Pathétique”, “Moonlight”, “Tempest”, “Waldstein”, “Appassionata” and “Les Adieux” sonatas.

          November 2013

          A BEETHOVEN ODYSSEY – Volume 2
          Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 “Pathétique”
          Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”
          Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49, No. 1 “Leichte”
          Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49, No. 2 “Leichte”
          Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 “Waldstein”


In Volume 1 of his “Beethoven Odyssey”, UK-pianist James Brawn emphasized that Beethoven’s piano sonatas represent not only a high expression of Western culture, but also chronicle the composer’s stormy personal life over a 30-year period. Brawn sees them as a core component of his repertoire, accompanying him on his artistic path. In the same way that “Beethoven’s spirit animates the performance of these works,” Brawn’s imaginative interpretations inform this series of recordings, and no less in this second volume. Although his finely detailed contemplation of each sonata brings something new to the dialogue, at the same time he, as a former student of noted “old school” Beethoven interpreters like Solomon, Arrau and Serkin, exhibits respect for the pianistic traditions that can be traced back to the composer himself. In the Volume 2 annotation, Brawn shares personal comments about the music, providing insight into the artistic choices he makes. World-class audio production adds to the experience.


Also Available from James Brawn

          Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1
          Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3
          Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata”

          IN RECITAL – Volume 1
          MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition
JS BACH: Prelude in C major from The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1, BWV 846
          JS BACH-BUSONI: Chaconne from Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
LISZT: Mephisto Waltz No. 1 | Consolation No. 3 in D-flat major 
RACHMANINOFF: Prelude in B minor, Op. 32, No. 10

  2. Barry,

    I am with the Divine Art Records Group. We noticed you have done a review of one or more of our releases in the past and wondered if you’d like to receive new release information in the future. If so, please let me know your contact information so I can add you to our list.

    Thanks so much,
    Executive Assistant

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