Podcast: Guitar Laureate: Xavier Jara

Raymond Bisha introduces the latest release in the Naxos Guitar Laureate series. The featured performer is Xavier Jara, winner of the 2016 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, adding to the artist’s ongoing string of successes. The acoustic guitar has an ancestry that can be traced back thousands of years; this recording presents music from the Read More …

Podcast: Villa-Lobos: Symphonies 8, 9 and 11

Heitor Villa-Lobos is probably the best known of all South American composers. His contribution to Brazilian music—in education, in community projects, in the concert hall—was all-pervasive. Raymond Bisha drops in on Naxos’ ongoing project to record all his symphonies in a new edition that was launched in 2011 by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra’s publishing Read More …

Podcast: Monteverdi’s Eighth Book of Madrigals

Published in 1638, Monteverdi’s Eighth Book of Madrigals reflects a genius at the height of his powers and parades an incredible emotional range, from bold proclamations to a beauty and sensuousness that’s almost painful in its intensity. Raymond Bisha introduces the latest recording from the Italian instrumental and vocal ensemble Delitiæ Musicæ, under their founding Read More …

Podcast: International reach. Dvořák’s sacred choral music.

The first performance of the orchestral version of Dvořák’s Mass in D was given at London’s Crystal Palace in 1892. That same year also saw the premiere of his Te Deum in New York, a commission from the founder of the American National Conservatory, Jeanette Thurber, who also instigated the composer’s three-year residency in the Read More …

Podcast: Fusion and flowerpots. Music by Lou Harrison.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the American composer Lou Harrison, who distinguished himself through his pioneering works in writing for percussion and integrating Western and Eastern idioms. “Everything in the world should be considered a legitimate influence,” he said. In his music, however, the sounds of the largely percussive Javanese Read More …

Podcast: A Bohemian Rhapsody

Reminiscent of the music of Smetana and Dvořák, Vitĕzslav Novák’s works are surprisingly little known outside his native Bohemia. Peter Hall talks with JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, about the latest release in her long list of recordings for Naxos that both surprise and delight with their engaging discoveries. Here they unwrap 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: 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 …