Forging a Ring

November sees the release of Siegfried, part of the ongoing Naxos recording of Wagner’s complete Ring cycle. For this month’s blogs, we go behind the scenes of the finished product to meet some of the orchestral players involved in the project. We asked Natalie Lewis, a former member of the orchestra, to strike up the Read More …

A point in time: October 27.

October 27 marks five anniversaries—three births, two deaths—of four composers and a musicologist, so we’ll tune in to examples of their output, some of which may be familiar, others less so. It would be remiss, however, to begin without mentioning that October 27 also marks Black Cat Appreciation Day in the UK. The occasion attempts Read More …

Playing homage

A few months ago we aired a selection of works in which composers made reference to other composers by quoting snatches of their melodies. This week, we highlight pieces that are dedicated in their entirety to a particular composer, making the product less referential, and more reverential, although you may question that latter description in Read More …

A breeze through trees

A news release caught my eye a few months ago. Botanic Gardens Conservation International, an organisation based in the UK, announced that they had managed to compile the first-ever comprehensive list of all known trees. The total? A staggering 60,065 different species. It then struck me that, unlike an event or an emotion, a tree Read More …

Phrases of the loon

The recent passing of the actor Jerry Lewis, forever branded the nutty professor in the madness rankings, put me in mind of British entertainers The Crazy Gang (yes, I am that old), the 1960s comedy film It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world, and a whole host of other loony screenings. When crazy turns from 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Humming bees

With temperatures shifting unpredictably, the hibernating bee must occasionally get confused about when it’s time to rise from slumber and resume its pollinating routine. In many parts of the world, however, they’ll have long been about their business. This week’s blog gives a nod to that vital work they do, and a mention of some Read More …