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 …

A witty ditty

I think most of us need a bit of a giggle right now, as we squelch through ongoing developments on the world stage, both political and pugilistic. The problem is that, on the face of it, classical music doesn’t seem a likely source of humour, either for giggles, grins or guffaws. Some of you will 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 …

Carlo Gesualdo. A chromatic scale of life.

It’s now generally accepted by scholars that Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Italian composer extraordinaire, was born 450 years ago, in 1566. This week’s blog marks that anniversary. Gesualdo was no ordinary musician. First and foremost he was a prince, a rich and powerful man. He became famous for two reasons: first, the bloody 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 …

Bali hi!

I recently took a short break on the Indonesian island of Bali, a three-day cocktail not just of swimming, surfing and sunsets; colourful batik, engaging artwork and an ancient temple completed the mix. Ambling around the grounds of that temple, and above the respectful silence of the bevy of tourists, there floated a sound: gently 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 …

Insight, foresight. Klaus Heymann at 80.

Klaus Heymann, the German-born entrepreneur and visionary force in the classical music recording industry, celebrates his 80th birthday on October 22, 2016. His name needs no introduction to people familiar with this website, a name synonymous with making classical music available to a much wider audience than was the case prior to his founding in 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 …

Stanford. Ripe for renaissance.

If you think of British music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then the name most likely to spring to mind is Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934). Not for the first time in history, other significant composers of the generation regrettably became overshadowed. One such was Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924), though his music Read More …