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 …

Podcast: Grétry’s L’épreuve villageoise: staged comedy, community setting, international reach.

First performed in 1784 in Paris, Grétry’s comic opera L’épreuve villageoise plays out merrily against the insouciant backcloth of a European society about to undergo an irreversible, violent upheaval, just five years later. Grétry was a master of the comic opera genre, and this particular stagework presents a lighthearted feast of flirting in a cosy Read More …

Podcast: Richard Danielpour. Songs for Serious Subjects.

Three orchestral works by the contemporary American composer Richard Danielpour immerse the listener in both a world of conflict and the richly colourful palette with which the composer depicts his narrative. Songs of Solitude and War Songs respectively present a response to 9/11 and commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil Read More …

Podcast: Two Spanish Highs. Violin concertos by Édouard Lalo and Joan Manén.

Violinist and composer Joan Manén may be a relatively unknown figure today, but in his time (1883–1971) his popularity was in the same league as fellow Spaniard and cellist Pablo Casals. As a performer Manén gave more than 4,000 concerts, travelled around the world five times, and made the first recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Read More …

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 …