Basil Ramsey

English music publisher, journalist, editor and organist Basil Ramsey was born in Chelmsford on 26 April 1929.

He was Director of Publications at Novello and co (now part of the Wise Music Group), and later ran his own publishing business, Basil Ramsey Publisher of Music. He edited various publications, including The Musical Times, Music and Musicians, Choir and Organ and Music & Vision Magazine. In these various positions, he was inspirational to many composers and music journalists.

Basil died in North Yorkshire on 13 June 2018, aged eighty-nine, following a long illness.


Articles by Basil Ramsey

The Public Ear


A genuine discipline?

Please read this


Once a year

Christmas carols and chants played by Anonymous 4

Musical expansion

The ultimate level

More readers' letters

Fresh starts

Nancy Ambrose King plays oboe concertos

John O'Donnell plays Bach on the Ahrend organ in Monash University, Australia

Do we understand 'normality'?

Edward Higginbottom conducts New College Oxford Choir


Basil Ramsey listens to concertos by Czerny and Ries, played by Felicja Blumental

Expanding language


Torn to shreds

Agreeable respect

Basil Ramsey listens to the music of Einojuhani Rautavaara

more readers' letters

A gruelling test

There are days - Musical passion


A foothold - those early years

The organ music of Paul Fisher

Basil Ramsey listens to the music of Warren Burt

Basil Ramsey listens to music from the Jewish Folk Music Society

Music for cello

Slow and passionate melodies played by John Reed

Basil Ramsey listens to Dohnányi piano music

In step - remembering one who was

Debussy songs

Composer at work

stand up and be counted

Music by Anthony Iannaccone

Surfacing - Music up and down

Sounds ever upward

Sing for peace

Clementi in musical flight

Schubert piano music played by Zeynep Ucbasaran

a selection of our readers' letters

Basil Ramsey hears a composer playing his piano music

To order. Considering the commissioning of composers

Goals. Looking to experiences when 'we know'

Natural selection. The musical journey

Con moto

Basil Ramsey lingers over the delights of seventeenth century lute songs and dances

Once in a while

Wilfred Josephs and the clarinet

The flute concertos of Leopold Hofmann

Basil Ramsey plus a duo

An eager response. Some editorial thoughts requiring readers' follow-ups

Basil Ramsey hears the charms of Telemann released by an experienced group

Walking wounded

Recalling the rigours of musical accuracy

His Stabat Mater reconsidered

Basil Ramsey listens to Charlotte Brontë set over music

A long journey in performance practice

Howells in ecclesiastical mode

The fun side of music

Piano sonatas by Myroslav Gutej, as

The yearly miracle for millions

The pros and cons of meddling, considered after a game of ludo

a selection of letters from our readers

Wondering how much we miss

Switching nightmares for daymares

Considering music we hear without listening


Symphonies from New Zealand

Keeping tracks. Basil Ramsey finds fresh guitar tracks to draw upon

Creative glue. Buxtehude and the sonata

Perceiving the error of our ways

Astonishing flow. Basil Ramsey finds Telemann in good company

The fascination of the rarest jewels.

Count me out. Basil Ramsey trying Spohr

Boldly on. Recent music from Italy

Born by the sea. Folk dances from Colombia

fiddling. Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt

The glow of its period. Hummel Piano Sonatas considered

Russian master. Basil Ramsey enjoying Shostakovich

From South America. Little-known piano music

Struggling for silence.

Preparing to be absurd.

Editor Basil Ramsey considers the part played by music during occasions of national mourning

Unexpectedly vivid. Basil Ramsey experiences the music of Portuguese composer Joly Braga Santos

Beaming with pleasure. The lightweight in company with the flute, as heard and enjoyed

Characterisation. Piano preludes by César Cui

Time machine

Danish pastry. Basil Ramsey listens to symphonies with hang-ups

Your conclusions from January's Editorial

Giving generously. A Recording of church music by Peter Aston

The Editor finds himself perturbed, and asks for a reaction from readers

That is it. Steve Martland is passing through

the new year as a challenge

Duetting. A new CD of French music considered

The Editor attempts to thread a few thoughts together as a thunderous year draws to a close

Unexpected delicacies. Telemann concerti as savoured

Piano sonorities. Basil Ramsey hears American piano music.

Minus the Adagio. Barber and some orchestral music

Spinning on - looking at art in an uneasy world ...

Natural affinity. Geoffrey Poole's music is tracked and enjoyed

Ample gifts. From the world of Brahms

On being caught - back on the trail ...

Alongside AD1620. Basil Ramsey listens to the music of Edward MacDowell

Flighty music. Unusual repertory with two flutes, as

Benefits. A CD of Anthony Powers' music

The sounds of music - an attempt at some conclusions at a time of world crisis

Church music by gaslight. Sullivan's church offerings

Mere ramblings

No piano on that one. Basil Ramsey overhears musicians getting together

Confident skill. Basil Ramsey listens to a choral composer at work

Full flower. Schubert lieder - Ian Bostridge with Julius Drake

letters received, including a comment from the Editor

Drawing out. Herbert Howells on CD

Two by two. Animals and music

Guitar scenario. Basil Ramsey hears a record from Christopher Parkening

Prom fever

A comfortable stroll. Basil Ramsey meets with clarinet, basset horn and piano

Bach and Handel. Some thoughts

Quick-change artist. Encounters with Poulenc

a selection of letters from our readers

Period reflections. Grechaninov's symphonies

Worth a challenge. William Schuman's music

Space and light. Two American composers in the light

Daily routine. Noting the downside

Looking for the best

The divide. Basil Ramsey struggling with the Virtual Orchestra

A neglected vista. Basil Ramsey views Handel afresh

Basil Ramsey with Malcolm Arnold's symphonies

The Editor gently ruminates

The Kirkby sound. Handel from a special voice

Collecting material. '... a mélée of romantic and selective modern language ...' Utilising the unusual

Seeking a perspective - selecting what we need

Invention. Flute and piano

Musical manners. Basil Ramsey listens to Robert King's performances of Johann Schelle

The ravishing factor. Basil Ramsey spends 131 minutes with Mozart

Floating. Bohemian Flute Concertos

Touching Wood. Charles Wood's church music

Book search

Checking the pulse. Vaughan Williams and chamber music

Knowing Knüpfer. A pre-Bach notable

Speaking out. The little-known Slavický

Flute tones. Basil Ramsey reports on the unusual in ensemble

Saint-Saëns and Seki. An Admirable partnership

Technology, music and life. A new sense of purpose?

The Editor's Quarterly Surprise

Give and Take. Basil Ramsey enjoys companion organ CDs

Four-handed music. Igor Kipnis & Karen Kushner

Personal experience. Eligibility to captivate

Out with a bang. Trios for clarinet

Absolute partnership. Finding choral sensitivity

A Mediterranean Soundworld. Camilleri on record

Visiting ducks. Encounters with a recorder quartet

Gentle pleasure. Dallying with Grétry

Highs and lows. Global issues, announcing new online forms to publish your concerts and news items.

Elemental music. Icelandic works

Flattery. Doubtful Bach well dressed

From rags to riches. '... clear purpose and technical prowess.' Peter Dickinson's music

Young music. Early quartets by Arriaga

Spring in his step. Diabelli entertains

A maverick streak. Nielsen at his best

Finger tapping. Looking ahead

Basil Ramsey looking both ways, but not at once

Uphill struggles. Paul Archbold and Fabrice Fitch - Composers today

Circuit of excellence. '... the Lindsays provide performances matching the quality that strides through some of the best of Dvorák.' Dvorák well served

A message from Editor Basil Ramsey to all reading at this time

Lure of the hounds - a saxophonist's Christmas

A true spirit. The Nativity

Bach passion. '... JSB himself would be bewitched and bewildered by what has emerged, even after being introduced to the wonders of electricity.' A bizarre pilgrimage

A shining example

Instant Blend - Weigl the unknown

The Russian Psyche - Sadness in song

Those captivating moments - an unusual request from Basil Ramsey

Energy and calm. Stirring musical waters

Musical heaven. Bach up aloft

Irresistible beauty - Anonymous 4

Handelian decoration - Putting on the style

Over the hills - Delius before the first cuckoo

Dussek in good light - Stylistic pleasures

A sense of balance. '... authoritative and splendid performances ...' Hummel back in the light

Manners of clothing - At ease with the sacred

Unique forays - the CDs we overlook

Noise ... on facing the unavoidable

Blowing to good purpose - Brass in consort

Fruits of Glory - young composers in church

Spirit and polish - Hymns in demonstration

Initial reaction - Icelandic music

Another selection of letters from readers

Cellos rule - the Berlin team in action

Vivaldi in season - Fruitful music

'A composer is or isn't'

Visits to Cambridge

The born and stillborn - Harping on

Inventiveness. '...a resourceful CD to extend our knowledge of Bach's seemingly infinite ideas with chorale-based music.' Bach's captivating qualities

Fruits of the best

Basil Ramsey listens to 17th century organ music

Seeking illumination -

Skilful manoeuvres - The art of John Gardner

Naked Power - the organ roars

Renaissance. 'Jennifer Paull gives sparkling performances.' The oboe d'amore revitalised -.

Logging on

Musical spurs. 'His musical palette constantly overflows with colour, never garish yet sometimes opulent and sometimes sombre.' Irish convictions - Basil Ramsey investigates the music of Ian Wilson.

Thrill of the chase

A state funeral. 'It is not every day that one of England's smaller cathedrals has the opportunity to participate in bringing to our ears such an historic occasion as this.' Basil Ramsey listens to music for Lord Nelson.

Composers anonymous

Exposure - Bach known and unknown.

The traveller. 'His music even exceeds the brilliance of the man, travelling a path through an intense musical atmosphere interacting so bounteously with his creativity.' Basil Ramsey encounters Jesús Villa-Rojo, a composer from Spain.

The outlook - shocking talk. What shape are we musicians in for the next 100 years?

Suspending time - Working together. Basil Ramsey listens to Richard Stoltzman and Nexus.

By Special Arrangement - Basil Ramsey listens to the Rodolfus Choir

Wonderfully moving - Exploring the music of Frank Martin

Visionary ideals - Rued Langgaard's Sinfonia interna

with Basil Ramsey. Invading Privacy.

Life and Music - A celebration

Fairest Isle - A New National Songbook

Authenticity and Beauty - Medieval chant and polyphony from Anonymous 4

Individual expectations - A composer from Texas

Incredible repertory - The world of the 18th century

'Light and dark' - Basil Ramsey listens to lesser-known Schumann

Time and Space - John McCabe in flight

Who can tell? - Bach in good hands

Areas of specialisation - The organ in various colours

Armoury of Invention - Nicholas Maw in fine form and Stan and Olly - Pranks with music

A New Adventure - Basil Ramsey discovers Bach in a different light

Varying Landscapes - New prizewinning music

Varying Landscapes - New prizewinning music

Songwriting - A welcome gathering

Górecki's path - A journey in music

Deep shadow - Light on Telemann

Almost as one - a chance for Medtner

with Basil Ramsey. One thing after another - vanquishing peril.

Latin urgency - Turina at his best

The 'Withdrawn' Symphony - Mendelssohn's 'Italian' in a new light

Odd bedfellows - Partsongs for all seasons

Liquid fire - comparing the two Haydns, and The power of tradition - Iceland's church music

From Puerto Rico - another voice, and My Dancing Day - carolling from Windsor

On the uplift - The quest for noble hymn tunes

Joyrides - The American way

Oxbridge - Basil Ramsey listens to choirs from both cities

Real rapport - Martinu & chamber ensemble

Intensity - Medieval Motets

Steals on the ear - Christmas sounds are back

Intentions - Exceptional CDs from Sweden

The Tuba in company - Brass in light-hearted mood

The Irish approach - Music from a Dublin cathedral

Love of the music - Bach arias in a superb collection

Full of ideas - chamber music amongst friends and a CD of unusual interest

Pale reflections - a Siberian composer of the past

Raging Torrents - a Mendelssohnian escapade

Musical appetites - another composer restored to life

Time and Space. Chorales as treated by Bach - newly recorded

Some virtues of pastiche

The small legacy. Taking note of Alfredo Casella

Beyond cliché. Basil Ramsey meets the music of Johann Vanhal.

Levels of Invention. Martinu's way with voices

Fragmentary Bach. Bach's throw-offs scrutinised.

As one. Early music with charisma.

Landscape Artist - Three orchestral works by John McCabe on CD

Basil Ramsey reminds everybody of the unique music festival that takes over in London every summer

A Prince amongst composers - Monteverdi and the voice of Maria Cristina Kiehr

Sustaining Power - A Czech composer of yesteryear

Back to the drawing board

Basil Ramsey recounts one way of facing disaster with a composer

Listening well - Basil Ramsey invites you to discover that Samuel Barber wrote more than one work

Mirror image - Basil Ramsey introduces a CD that concludes a series devoted to the organ music of Herbert Howells

with Basil Ramsey

Canticle setting and singing - Basil Ramsey listens to a living tradition on record

Basil Ramsey writes a second coda to composer neglect

Basil Ramsey extends his survey of composer neglect

On American Independence Day, Basil Ramsey recalls a special composer

Lifting the veil - Recent recordings of John Tavener considered

Basil Ramsey considers the outcome of our two recent polls

John McCabe's musical contribution as seen

Three Choirs in single file

Basil Ramsey remembers ...

Audio enhancement software and other offers are now available

MacMillan's Easter Triptych

Obtain free trial issues of various music magazines

Basil Ramsey muses on organ playing

Some post-survey thoughts

Paul Sacher's death

Kevin Bowyer playing the organ of St Mary's Warwick

Passacaglia - organ music played by Paul Ayres

The grand old man of British percussion has died, age 97

Basil Ramsey listens to early music at a festival

Basil Ramsey replies to David Arditti

Basil Ramsey asks for your help with our 20th century composer survey

One of Britain's most celebrated cellists died April 6th 1999.

Conviction - Music for Men's Voices

Editorial musings

Basil Ramsey explores more correspondence received by Music & Vision

Editorial musings

The internationally celebrated violinist died on March 12th

The Sweet Smell of Success - our first review of the brilliant young German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl

Editorial musings

Editorial musings

Stravinsky and John Woolrich

The Juilliard in China

Larry Phelps

Basil Ramsey reads about Elgar the cyclist.

Editorial musings

Editorial musings

Echoes and re-echoes - Basil Ramsey reviews Schubert's Nachtgesang on Harmonia Mundi HMC 901669

How are we doing?

Basil Ramsey reviews Symposium Records' CD transfer of 1940s Moeran broadcasts

Editorial musings

an obituary

Editorial musings

1 Bernard Herrmann

Editorial musings from Basil Ramsey

with Basil Ramsey

CDs of music by Casella, Bach, Handel, Krebs, Mozart and Alan Gibbs

Basil Ramsey explores the correspondence received by Music & Vision during its first two days

(book review)

(book review)

Basil Ramsey introduces Music & Vision

Articles about Basil Ramsey

Amazingly Kind - Keith Bramich marks the passing of South African-born composer John Joubert, who died on 7 January

Write for us - Editor Keith Bramich's comments and tips on contributing to this online magazine, twenty years on

Ensemble. Daily Puccini - Malcolm Miller enjoys an opera lollipop recital in the city of the composer's birth

From Heaven Winging - Keith Bramich remembers this magazine's founding editor, Basil Ramsey, who passed away this week

Editorial musings with Basil Ramsey - Book search

2000 choice - Basil Ramsey looking both ways, but not at once

Christmas again - A message from Editor Basil Ramsey to all reading at this time

Editorial musings - Noise ... on facing the unavoidable, with Basil Ramsey