Podcast: Michael Daugherty. Three vivid orchestral narratives.

Michael Daugherty is considered among the Top 10 most performed American composers of concert music today. This podcast details three of his orchestral works that cement this status. Each was inspired by a larger-than-life American cultural figure—the author Ernest Hemingway, the artist Grant Wood and Randolph Hearst, who headed an extensive journalistic empire in the Read More …

Podcast: Aaron Copland. Martha Graham. Ruth Page. A balletic major triad.

Raymond Bisha presents two ballet scores by Aaron Copland: one woefully little known; one a beloved staple of dance companies. The jazz-influenced Hear Ye! Hear Ye! (1934) narrates the scenario of a nightclub murder and the ensuing trial in a Chicago courtroom. Highlighting life at the violent edge of American society, the work’s original choreography 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Podcast: Mozart’s Violin Concertos Nos 3, 4 and 5

The last three of Mozart’s five violin concertos have always been popular with recording artists, but there is always plenty more to be discovered in repertoire of such infinite variety. As soloist Henning Kraggerud has observed, “the true sign of a masterpiece must lie in the number of possible interpretations inherent in it.” Raymond Bisha Read More …

Podcast: The resurrection of a requiem. Randall Thompson’s choral masterpiece.

Join Raymond Bisha in a podcast of artistic discovery as he unveils yet another American classic—Randall Thompson’s Requiem. Reckoned by many to be his most ambitious work, the composer himself considered it to be his masterpiece, yet it has languished for decades on the periphery of the choral performance repertoire. This world première recording from Read More …

Podcast: John Rutter’s ‘Psalmfest’. A feast for the ears.

Although John Rutter’s musical upbringing was quintessentially British, the composer’s works today enjoy popularity on a transnational scale, not least his choral settings. Raymond Bisha gives both musical and historical context to this month’s release of Rutter’s Psalmfest: from the work’s textual inspiration to its place within the composer’s oeuvre, and the performers’ musical stewardship of Read More …