A Magnificent Seven

Alan Fletcher is the president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival, one of America’s leading classical music events. He has every reason to be proud of the festival’s history and achievements; but he’s less enamoured of his country’s track record in promoting the works of certain 20th-century American symphonists. Last month he elaborated on Read More …

You ditty rats!

The Brothers Grimm cited the date as 26 June 1284; Robert Browning gave 22 July 1376. Different dates, same event: the occasion when the Pied Piper, cheated of his promised reward for clearing Hamelin of its infestation of rats, led the children of the town away and into a mountainous cavern, never to be seen Read More …

Podcast: Polish violin concertos. Polished performances.

Raymond Bisha presents a new recording of works for violin and orchestra by four Polish composers, who may not all be household names, but collectively they’re worth the warmest of welcomes to anyone’s CD collection. Each composer had more than one string to his or her bow, so to speak, which may account for the Read More …

Circles in sound

Mediaeval religion held to a belief in the perfect essence of the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and so it followed that notated music in triple time was announced by the symbol of perfection for its time signature: a circle. Music in duple time shattered that notion of perfection and was represented by a shattered circle, Read More …

Podcast: Copland, Corigliano, Torke. A vibrant American triptych.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new release of three highly contrasted orchestral works, unified by the quintessentially American styles of the three composers. The optimism of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and the sparkling colour synesthesia of Michael Torke’s Bright Blue Music stand in stark contrast to John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1. The latter is an intensely Read More …

Podcast: Gold Rush. The Legend of Joaquin Murieta.

The Chilean musician José Luis Dominguez has taken his experience of conducting ballet and applied it to the composing of his energised score for the ballet The Legend of Joaquin Murieta. The music glitters in sync with its California Gold Rush setting. Shades of Zorro permeate. Rooted in the great tradition of symphonic film music, Read More …

Mastering the Music(k)

The longevity of the British monarchy is currently in the spotlight, with the official birthday of the 90-year-old Queen Elizabeth II being marked tomorrow and Prince Philip, her husband, celebrating his 95th birthday today, 10 June. The royal ceremonial displays for which Britain has become renowned rely to a large extent on the grandeur of Read More …

Podcast: Mozart’s Violin Concertos Nos 3, 4 and 5

The last three of Mozart’s five violin concertos have always been popular with recording artists, but there is always plenty more to be discovered in repertoire of such infinite variety. As soloist Henning Kraggerud has observed, “the true sign of a masterpiece must lie in the number of possible interpretations inherent in it.” Raymond Bisha Read More …

Podcast: The resurrection of a requiem. Randall Thompson’s choral masterpiece.

Join Raymond Bisha in a podcast of artistic discovery as he unveils yet another American classic—Randall Thompson’s Requiem. Reckoned by many to be his most ambitious work, the composer himself considered it to be his masterpiece, yet it has languished for decades on the periphery of the choral performance repertoire. This world première recording from Read More …