Some capital music

The moment when the meaning of ‘globalisation’ started to sink in was during a visit I made to Beijing some years ago; specifically, a day trip to the Great Wall at Badaling, when first impressions weren’t formed by the impact of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, but by the incongruous vision Read More …

Podcast: The voice of Russia. Music by Georgy Sviridov.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new recording of music by the Russian composer Georgy Sviridov (1915–1998); the programme features one of his cantatas, a song cycle, and music for chamber orchestra. Sviridov was a prolific composer (his output encompassed film scores, symphonic suites and several thousand songs) and was fortunate to have Shostakovich as one of Read More …

Can I quote you?

Borrowing other people’s music and weaving it into your own composition is far from uncommon. We’re not talking plagiarism here i.e. passing other people’s music off as your own, which seems to happen far more regularly in pop music than in classical. A composer might borrow from himself, which explains why you might get a Read More …

Podcast: 3 concertos by George Tsontakis

Music by George Tsontakis adds to the ever-expanding Naxos American Classics Series with an inventive and colourful triptych of concertos, introduced on this podcast by Raymond Bisha. The works feature soloists Eric Berlin, member of Empire Brass and principal trumpeter of the Albany Symphony Orchestra; David Krakauer, one of the world’s finest klezmer clarinettists; and Read More …

A ram sang?

Here’s one for crossword buffs who enjoy massaging anagrams, to which the title of this week’s post alludes. We’ll outline a work for you, throwing in some audio clips, giving an anagrammatical clue as to the composer’s name, and then the challenge to also name the work. Check out your responses with the answers listed Read More …

Podcast: Granados @ 150

“Every time I do another podcast about Granados, I find new reasons to like his music,” says host Raymond Bisha. Join him as he marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Enrique Granados, one of the leading examples of Spanish musical nationalism, in a broadcast that surveys Granados’ varied oeuvre—from chamber music, to opera Read More …

Podcast: Vincent Persichetti’s harpsichord sonatas

Born in the United States in 1915, Vincent Persichetti’s contribution to music education eventually led him to a professorship at the Juilliard School of Music. Along the way, he composed prolifically for the harpsichord, including sonatas and other works, which rendered him one of the 20th century’s most important composers for the instrument. Raymond Bisha Read More …

Podcast: Padre Antonio Soler. His keyboard sonatas.

Born in 1729, the Spanish composer Antonio Soler entered holy orders aged 23 and died in his monastery in 1783, aged 54. Considering the fact that the order to which he belonged observed silence and solitude, it’s remarkable that he produced more than 500 works which clamour to be heard, including over 200 keyboard sonatas. Read More …

Podcast: Shining through the shadows of history. Chamber music by Mark Nowakowski.

This first full-length album of music by Mark Nowakowski affords a deeply affecting experience: the fusion of the composer’s Polish heritage and that country’s defiant survival of historical upheavals, his American upbringing, the influence of Catholic philosophy and mysticism, masterful playing by the Voxare String Quartet, and an ingenious use of mixed media. Raymond Bisha Read More …

Humming bees

With temperatures shifting unpredictably, the hibernating bee must occasionally get confused about when it’s time to rise from slumber and resume its pollinating routine. In many parts of the world, however, they’ll have long been about their business. This week’s blog gives a nod to that vital work they do, and a mention of some Read More …