Podcast: Orchestral music by Eugene Zádor (1894-1977)

Born in Hungary in 1894, Eugene Zádor moved to the USA in 1939 and remained there as a naturalised citizen until his death. He left a sizeable catalogue of works that includes more than 120 film scores, 13 operas and a wide variety of concert music. Zádor has been described as a classicist, a romantic Read More …

The numbers factor

Triskaidekaphobia. Paraskevidekatriaphobia. Could they be ancient Greek versions of that song from Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins, sounding even more atrocious than Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? No. They’re terms signifying respectively a fear of the number 13 in general, and Friday the 13th in particular. Today’s blog post, falling on such a date, will try and unearth some musical Read More …

Podcast: Lindpaintner’s 4-act opera Il vespro siciliano (1843) enjoys a revival.

Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner (1791–1856) was a much admired figure in his day, referred to glowingly by such distinguished musicians as Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn, who acknowledged respectively his gift for composing operas and his skill as an orchestral conductor. Like the 21 operas he wrote, Lindpaintner himself has since been virtually forgotten, which Read More …

Pulsation frustration.

I don’t watch much television, and what I tune into most are news channels that give me quick updates on the often dire state of the world, and the even direr state of the art of the news anchor. I may be a cantankerous old beezer, but I do get so irritated by announcers who Read More …

Ear trainers

I’ve been thinking about trains these past few weeks for three reasons. First, it’s the anniversary of the linkage of three important London transport facilities 111 years ago, on 22 June 1907, namely the connection of the London Underground with Charing Cross and Euston Stations; second, the surfacing of my childhood memories of the unforgettable Read More …

Podcast: Three American Classics

Raymond Bisha introduces a new release of three American orchestral triumphs in stunning performances by the youthful ranks of the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic under GRAMMY Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller. Carl Ruggles’ Sun-treader, Steven Stucky’s Concerto for Orchestra No. 2 and John Harbison’s Symphony No. 4 constitute the programme’s towering trio of symphonic masterpieces. Read More …

Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942). An introduction.

This week’s blog marks the anniversary of the birth of the Jewish Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff, on 8 June 1894. His artistic abilities soon became apparent, and a musical career was decided on following a recommendation from no less a figure than Antonín Dvořák. Schulhoff studied at the Prague Conservatory from 1904, followed by piano Read More …

Podcast: Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Cello Concerto. A radiant rediscovery.

The composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco moved from Italy to the US during the turmoil of the Second World War. That he should have been immediately befriended by such musical giants as violinist Jascha Heifetz and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky speaks reams about the respect the Italian engendered. His Cello Concerto was commissioned by Piatigorsky, who premiered the Read More …

Viola concertos

It’s been on my conscience for a while now that in a previous blog I was ungracious enough to use a clutch of jokes at the expense of viola players to spice up the narrative. Although such witticisms will no doubt remain in the profession’s repartee for some time yet, I thought I would try Read More …

Podcast: ‘Rach 3’. The Mount Everest of piano concertos.

Raymond Bisha helps turn the pages of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, following the release of Boris Giltburg’s fine performance of the work with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. Noted for its length and technical difficulty, ‘Rach 3’ (its popular moniker) is reckoned to have more notes than all of Mozart’s Read More …