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: Stanisław Moniuszko’s sparkling legacy of dance music

Stanisław Moniuszko (1819–1872) may not be a household name today, but in 19th-century Poland his reputation as one of the country’s most significant composers was in no doubt. Statues were erected in his honour, competitions were named after him, and his portrait was included on postage stamps and banknotes. His life and prolific output ran Read More …

Podcast: Music to refresh the soul

The Elora Singers lend their meticulous, magical sound to the captivating music of Patrick Hawes, one of England’s most popular and inspirational choral composers. Raymond Bisha introduces the works on their programme, most of them in world première recordings. The dramatic imagery of Revelation finds a spiritual counterpart in the reflective Beatitudes, the two major Read More …

Podcast: Suite sounds. Strauss rescored.

The Buffalo Philharmonic’s latest release showcases two suites of music by Richard Strauss: the first, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, one of the composer’s favourite scores and an absolute jewel of incidental music; the second, a new symphonic orchestral suite of his opulent opera, Ariadne auf Naxos. Conductor JoAnn Falletta discusses both the music and the context Read More …

Podcast: Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé. Pastoral perfection.

Shabbily treated at its première by Sergei Diaghilev, who commissioned the work for his dance company Ballets Russes, Daphnis et Chloé went on to be hailed by ensuing generations as Ravel’s masterpiece; by Ravel himself as “a vast musical fresco”; and by general opinion as the epitome of impressionism in music. Raymond Bisha delves into Read More …

Podcast: Shostakovich. 2 popular piano concertos. 1 new transcription.

Time and again, Dmitri Shostakovich deftly managed to dodge the artistic bullet when it came to the expected political conformity of the day. His two piano concertos bear his distinctive musical voice, despite Soviet diktats. Cheeky banter and effervescence characterise the works, offset by a sublime movement in the second concerto that soloist Boris Giltburg Read More …

Podcast: Overtures by Domenico Cimarosa

Domenico Cimarosa was one of the last great exponents of the Neapolitan School of opera. In his time, he was one of the best known and most performed composers pre-Rossini. His operas were widely performed across Europe, and Cimarosa himself was transported to Russia following his appointment to the court of Catherine the Great. Living Read More …

Podcast: Premières from Peru

Raymond Bisha introduces four world première recordings of orchestral music by Celso Garrido-Lecca, one of Peru’s foremost classical composers who celebrates his 90th birthday this year. Like Peruvian culture in general, Garrido-Lecca’s music harmoniously blends European and Amerindian traits, in three classically conceived works that are suffused with the popular music of his homeland. In Read More …

Podcast: James Whitbourn’s Carolae. Ancient roots. Modern makeover.

Raymond Bisha introduces Carolae, a highly attractive Christmas choral work from the pen of GRAMMY®-nominated composer, James Whitbourn. Carolae is a fusion of two great English and American Christmas traditions—the occasions of readings and carols in the chapels at King’s College, Cambridge and Princeton University. Whitbourn’s love of medieval musical language is shown through his Read More …