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 …

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 …