Podcast: Debut on disc. Orchestral works by Enrique Granados.

Enrique Granados was a Spanish nationalist composer and outstanding pianist whose orchestral works have remained understandably overshadowed by the popularity of his piano compositions. This imbalance is now redressed by Naxos with the release of three volumes of orchestral music to mark the centenary of the composer’s death in 1916. Raymond Bisha presents the works Read More …

Leaving a legacy

Have you ever commissioned a new work from a composer? I’ve been through the process a number of times. No work longer than twenty minutes. But when you get the brief of the commission right, which encourages the composer to turn up a bit of magic, it can be one of the more satisfying experiences Read More …

Podcast: Making overtures. Haydn’s operatic openers.

Although Haydn’s operas are little-performed today, many of them were immensely popular during his lifetime and were staged far beyond the wealthy Esterhàzy court for which they were written. With subject matter ranging from very dramatic to very funny, Haydn sets the atmosphere for each of his stage works (including those for marionettes) with an Read More …

Going Gothic


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The Romantic period in classical music wasn’t only about expressions of love and depictions of nature. There was also a fascination with the occult. From the world of opera, think Weber’s Der Freischütz and Marschner’s Der Vampyr for starters. These dark pathways accompanied a renewed fascination with awesome Gothic architecture and the proliferation of horror Read More …

Podcast: Ravel’s treasured time piece – L’heure espagnole

Ravel’s opera L’heure espagnole combines an improbable plot with impeccable melodic charm and orchestral transparency. Raymond Bisha introduces this month’s new recording from Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon, which is coupled with the last work Ravel composed, the song cycle Don Quichotte à Dulcinée. View album details of Maurice Ravel’s L’Heure espagnole Read More …

The barbers of the quill

Papa Haydn’s morning routine probably wasn’t quite so bothersome as for many of us today. No dithering over which tie to match with which shirt, shoes, suit, and the rest. His obligatory Esterházy Court livery decided itself. Bad hair days must also have been less of an issue with courtly wigs at his disposal. But Read More …

Podcast: A Manhattan Medley

Surprising Sedaka…energised Emerson…distinctive Duke…great Gershwin. Manhattan Intermezzo is a musical melting pot of a CD. Join Raymond Bisha in his podcast of discovery. View album details of Manhattan Intermezzo – Piano and Orchestral Works by Neil Sedaka, Keith Emerson, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin at naxos.com Catalogue No.: 8.573490 http://blog.naxos.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/8.573490.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Read More …

Lost in translation?

Music must be the leader among the arts when it comes to what one might call high-quality spin-offs. By that I mean many compositions exist not only in their original version, but also in what might be called…well, what does one call them? We have different words for our industry of remoulding originals—transcriptions, orchestrations, paraphrases, Read More …

Podcast: Let’s case the music, and dance!

This month sees the latest Naxos release of music by Roberto Sierra. A native of Puerto Rico, Sierra’s compositional style marries his cultural heritage with a contemporary idiom. In this podcast, Raymond Bisha showcases the infectious rhythms and colourful orchestrations that pervade the composer’s award-winning Sinfonía No. 3 ‘La Salsa’, throwing into relief the captivating Read More …

Musical cheer for a Happy New Year!

New Year in the Gregorian Calendar has become a point in time for both public celebrations and private moments of reflection and resolution. These days we don’t associate New Year festivities and music so much with churchgoing, but in 18th-century Leipzig it was very much part of the Christmas cycle of celebratory services which ran Read More …