A Fab Four

The week ahead moves between the Zodiac signs of Leo (ends August 22) and Virgo (starts August 23). No doubt there’s a gradual astrological change of character traits between people born under the respective signs, but this particular week of 19-25 August marks the anniversaries of the births of four people who all bear a Read More …

Podcast: John Field’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 7 + Piano Sonata No. 4

The pianist and composer John Field certainly didn’t let the grass grow under his feet. He was born in Dublin, spent time in Bath and London, performed before Haydn, sustained a long European association with Clementi, then took Russian residency for a quarter of a century before spending his final years battling the illness that Read More …

Echoes of Edinburgh

August 5 marks the opening of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival [EIF]. Together with the Fringe Festival’s cladding of some three thousand satellite events, EIF’s exhaustive programme of theatre, music, dance and opera runs until August 29. In the words of The Spectator: “… you can sleep in September.” Founded in 1947, EIF has developed Read More …

A Magnificent Seven

Alan Fletcher is the president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival, one of America’s leading classical music events. He has every reason to be proud of the festival’s history and achievements; but he’s less enamoured of his country’s track record in promoting the works of certain 20th-century American symphonists. Last month he elaborated on Read More …

You ditty rats!

The Brothers Grimm cited the date as 26 June 1284; Robert Browning gave 22 July 1376. Different dates, same event: the occasion when the Pied Piper, cheated of his promised reward for clearing Hamelin of its infestation of rats, led the children of the town away and into a mountainous cavern, never to be seen Read More …

Podcast: Polish violin concertos. Polished performances.

Raymond Bisha presents a new recording of works for violin and orchestra by four Polish composers, who may not all be household names, but collectively they’re worth the warmest of welcomes to anyone’s CD collection. Each composer had more than one string to his or her bow, so to speak, which may account for the Read More …

Circles in sound

Mediaeval religion held to a belief in the perfect essence of the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and so it followed that notated music in triple time was announced by the symbol of perfection for its time signature: a circle. Music in duple time shattered that notion of perfection and was represented by a shattered circle, Read More …

Podcast: Copland, Corigliano, Torke. A vibrant American triptych.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new release of three highly contrasted orchestral works, unified by the quintessentially American styles of the three composers. The optimism of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and the sparkling colour synesthesia of Michael Torke’s Bright Blue Music stand in stark contrast to John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1. The latter is an intensely Read More …

Podcast: Gold Rush. The Legend of Joaquin Murieta.

The Chilean musician José Luis Dominguez has taken his experience of conducting ballet and applied it to the composing of his energised score for the ballet The Legend of Joaquin Murieta. The music glitters in sync with its California Gold Rush setting. Shades of Zorro permeate. Rooted in the great tradition of symphonic film music, Read More …