A baker’s dozen

Nadia Boulanger was born in 1887 on the date of today’s post, 16 September; she died in 1979 at the age of 92. She was a French pianist/organist and the first woman to conduct leading orchestras in Europe and America; she also composed. But she’s remembered chiefly as a teacher, who was responsible for the Read More …

Podcast: Aaron Copland. Martha Graham. Ruth Page. A balletic major triad.

Raymond Bisha presents two ballet scores by Aaron Copland: one woefully little known; one a beloved staple of dance companies. The jazz-influenced Hear Ye! Hear Ye! (1934) narrates the scenario of a nightclub murder and the ensuing trial in a Chicago courtroom. Highlighting life at the violent edge of American society, the work’s original choreography 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 …

Summer seasoning

As July turns to August many of us will be enjoying the sunshine and thinking of vacations past and present. For music lovers, few melodies conjure the languid spirit of the season as effectively as Summertime by George Gershwin, from his 1934 opera Porgy and Bess (8.110287-88) which is, paradoxically, a tale of hardship and Read More …