Podcast: Sister Carrie. The opera of the novel.

Sister Carrie, an opera by American composer Robert Aldridge, was first performed in 2012. Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, the novel on which the opera was based, was written in 1900. It was one of the first American novels about social status which, for women around the turn of the 20th century, depended almost entirely on Read More …

Pirated goods

The resurgence of piracy off the coasts of Africa in recent years has been a serious and shocking development, both for the owners of large, commercial vessels and smaller, private craft. The mix of cargo thefts and ransoms for hostages has provided much headline drama; images of gun-toting assailants have made their graphic impact. But Read More …

Podcast: Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto

Raymond Bisha introduces Boris Giltburg’s latest album of music by Sergei Rachmaninov that features the Études-tableaux Op. 33 and his ever-popular Piano Concerto No. 2. The latter charts a dramatic course: from the passion, darkness and pain of the first movement, through the dreamy idyll of the second, to the unequivocal victory of the finale. Read More …

Some capital music

The moment when the meaning of ‘globalisation’ started to sink in was during a visit I made to Beijing some years ago; specifically, a day trip to the Great Wall at Badaling, when first impressions weren’t formed by the impact of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, but by the incongruous vision Read More …

Podcast: The voice of Russia. Music by Georgy Sviridov.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new recording of music by the Russian composer Georgy Sviridov (1915–1998); the programme features one of his cantatas, a song cycle, and music for chamber orchestra. Sviridov was a prolific composer (his output encompassed film scores, symphonic suites and several thousand songs) and was fortunate to have Shostakovich as one of Read More …

Can I quote you?

Borrowing other people’s music and weaving it into your own composition is far from uncommon. We’re not talking plagiarism here i.e. passing other people’s music off as your own, which seems to happen far more regularly in pop music than in classical. A composer might borrow from himself, which explains why you might get a Read More …

Podcast: 3 concertos by George Tsontakis

Music by George Tsontakis adds to the ever-expanding Naxos American Classics Series with an inventive and colourful triptych of concertos, introduced on this podcast by Raymond Bisha. The works feature soloists Eric Berlin, member of Empire Brass and principal trumpeter of the Albany Symphony Orchestra; David Krakauer, one of the world’s finest klezmer clarinettists; and Read More …

A ram sang?

Here’s one for crossword buffs who enjoy massaging anagrams, to which the title of this week’s post alludes. We’ll outline a work for you, throwing in some audio clips, giving an anagrammatical clue as to the composer’s name, and then the challenge to also name the work. Check out your responses with the answers listed Read More …

Podcast: Granados @ 150

“Every time I do another podcast about Granados, I find new reasons to like his music,” says host Raymond Bisha. Join him as he marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Enrique Granados, one of the leading examples of Spanish musical nationalism, in a broadcast that surveys Granados’ varied oeuvre—from chamber music, to opera Read More …

Podcast: Vincent Persichetti’s harpsichord sonatas

Born in the United States in 1915, Vincent Persichetti’s contribution to music education eventually led him to a professorship at the Juilliard School of Music. Along the way, he composed prolifically for the harpsichord, including sonatas and other works, which rendered him one of the 20th century’s most important composers for the instrument. Raymond Bisha Read More …