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 …

Classic tweets

I don’t know if the art of précis is still taught in the classroom. It was one of my stronger points as a teenager, although in a subsequent phase as a journalist, and in the face of a word count that exceeded the interest factor of the commissioned piece, it was easy to succumb to Read More …

Podcast: Ravel’s Antar. A collaborative creation.

Antar was the subtitle of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Second Symphony (1867–68), so when Ravel was asked in 1910 to write incidental music for a play about the 6th-century Arabic warrior-poet, he turned to the Russian maestro’s piece for inspiration. Ravel’s incidental music, however, needed a narrative cloak to make it suitable for the concert platform. This was Read More …

Podcast: Off stage. On song. Krassimira Stoyanova airs Puccini.

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini’s long list of given names was matched by his extensive output of operas, thirteen in all. These masterpieces for the stage have understandably occluded his remarkable set of songs for soprano and piano (and religious songs with organ accompaniment). All of these are now gathered together for the Read More …

Podcast: Saint-Saëns. The piano concertos. A new cycle launches.

Camille Saint-Saëns was arguably the greatest child prodigy ever. His Piano Concerto No. 1, considered the first by a major French composer, was written in 1858. The second, one of his most frequently performed works, followed ten years later. Both concertos are showcased in this latest podcast hosted by Raymond Bisha. The recording is the Read More …

Podcast: Kevin Puts. Three fascinating symphonic works.

Kevin Puts is one of today’s leading American composers. His persuasive music, colourfully orchestrated and emotionally charged, is well showcased on this month’s new release of three of his highly engaging symphonic works. Raymond Bisha guides us from the adventurous harmonic combinations of River’s Rush to the elegant transparency of the Flute Concerto and the Read More …

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 …