Concerto superbo!

At the time of sitting down to write this edition of Thought for the Week, I decided to consult the Naxos monthly bestsellers  lists and consider writing a retrospective about our 2017 market leaders. While reviewing the January-October rankings, two things stood out. First, in no fewer than three of those months, the bestselling release Read More …

Rooted in Christmas

While the more commercial aspects of Christmas move in tandem with market sentiment, some elements of the season’s celebrations happily remain more constant. Christmas cards (dating from the 1840s), Advent calendars (the first examples appeared around the same time) and attractively wrapped presents (a reminder of the Three Wise Men’s gifts of gold, frankincense and Read More …

A point in time: December 8

An article in The Independent caught my eye a couple of months ago; maybe yours, too. A ghostly, unfinished, non-miniature portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots had been discovered layered beneath a later painting. The article about this colourfully tragic monarch gave a detailed account of both the queen and her unfinished likeness. I then Read More …

Forging a Ring. From junk boats to anvils.

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 …

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 …