Podcast: Airs of authority. Concertos for guitar duo.

The combined gifts of the extraordinary Brasil Guitar Duo and two eminent Latin American composers produce a depth of experience and rare musical beauty in two concertos for guitar duo. Cuban composer Leo Brouwer has written ten concertos for guitar, but The Book of Signs is his first for guitar duo. Paulo Bellinati’s Concerto Caboclo Read More …

Podcast: A final flourish.

The new Naxos edition of Saint-Saëns’ works for piano and orchestra reaches its final volume with a recording of the composer’s Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5, works described by soloist Romain Descharmes as “brilliant music that opens doors to a new world”. The Fourth Concerto showcases virtuosic music written by one of history’s most Read More …

Podcast: Every step of the play. Prokofiev’s score for the ballet Romeo and Juliet.

As was often the case, bringing performances of classical music to fruition in Russia’s Soviet era was more challenging than the actual composition. Responding to a commission from the Bolshoi Ballet in 1935, Prokofiev quickly completed the task of writing a score for Romeo and Juliet, but the first performance had to be postponed owing Read More …

Podcast: 3 new concertos. 1 original composer. Michael Daugherty.

Michael Daugherty is one of today’s leading American composers. Previous Naxos recordings of his works have received no fewer than seven GRAMMY® awards. His latest release features three recently completed concertos, respectively for flute, tuba and percussion. The programme boasts a rare line-up of female soloists and a release date that coincides with Women’s History Read More …

Podcast: Burgess meets Bach

Anthony Burgess wrote The Bad-Tempered Electronic Keyboard in 1985 to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of J. S. Bach. It was also the year he took receipt of a new electronic synthesiser that offered Piano, Organ, Frog and Funny among its pre-set sounds. The musical homage that resulted sports an intriguing mix of Read More …

Podcast: All in the family. 3 concertos. 1 orchestra.

Principal players from the Nashville Symphony Orchestra step up to the solo spotlight in world premiere recordings of 3 wind concertos. Frank Ticheli’s Clarinet Concerto pays homage to a different American composer in each of its three movements; Brad Warnaar’s Horn Concerto attests to the composer’s own professional mastery of the instrument; while Behzad Ranjbaran’s Read More …

Podcast: Towering transcriptions. Stravinsky and Debussy orchestral works in one pianist’s two very safe hands.

Ralph van Raat performs fiendishly difficult transcriptions for solo piano of two of the most important orchestral works of the early 20th century: Debussy’s symphonic sketches La mer, and Stravinsky’s score for the ballet The Rite of Spring. Raymond Bisha guides us through the transformation of these works from orchestral complexity to pianistic élan.   Read More …

Podcast: Hallmarks of Hungary. Kodály’s orchestral works.

Conductor JoAnn Falletta discusses the Buffalo Philharmonic’s latest recording of Hungarian music with broadcaster Peter Hall. Zoltán Kodály wrote major orchestral scores that were deeply enriched by his researches into Hungarian folk music, not least the heritage of gypsy music. The recording’s programme comprises Dances of Galánta and Dances of Marosszék, both full of swagger Read More …

Podcast: Percy Grainger’s music for wind band

The Australian born composer and pianist Percy Grainger (1882–1961) maintained a lifelong affection for the wind band as a performance medium for his works. “As a vehicle of deeply emotional expression,” he once said, “it seems to me unrivalled.” Grainger’s initial commitment to the ensemble was hands-on: during a stay in London in 1901 he Read More …

Podcast: Sounding singular. Onutė Narbutaitė’s orchestral works.

Onutė Narbutaitė came of age as a composer in the 1980s in Soviet-occupied Lithuania where, along with other artists, she strove to maintain a cultural environment of silent resistance behind a stifling iron curtain. This artistic, political stance was to produce haunting, mesmerising music crowned by Narbutaitė’s unique stamp of a truly arresting listening experience. Read More …