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: Shostakovich. 2 popular piano concertos. 1 new transcription.

Time and again, Dmitri Shostakovich deftly managed to dodge the artistic bullet when it came to the expected political conformity of the day. His two piano concertos bear his distinctive musical voice, despite Soviet diktats. Cheeky banter and effervescence characterise the works, offset by a sublime movement in the second concerto that soloist Boris Giltburg Read More …

25/9

2015 marks milestone anniversaries for a number of significant classical composers, including Sibelius, Bartók, Glazunov, Franck and Arvo Pärt. Today, however, we consider a trio of other composers who were born on today’s date: 25 September. If you’re an organist, the name of the first composer will be well-known to you, even if only by Read More …

Party time at the Proms

Our 17 July blog made connections between some of the composers featured in the first four weeks of this year’s BBC Promenade Concerts. Almost two months on, and the world’s largest music festival is only now drawing to a close. The celebrated Last Night of the Proms will be held tomorrow, Saturday 12 August, with Read More …

Podcast: Shostakovich 13

Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra bring their brilliant cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies to a stupendous conclusion with the release of the Thirteenth Symphony, Babi Yar. It’s a work the Russian conductor has inhabited since his teenage years, when he first recorded it as a member of the male chorus. In conversation Read More …

Scoring ten

Most people know about the curse of the ninth, but if you don’t, here’s a quick explanation. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Choral (8.550181) laid down a few benchmarks. Its influence was felt most recently, perhaps, during the dawn of the age of the compact disc. Consideration had to be given to how many minutes of music Read More …

Recreation

After a hard day’s work, there’s nothing like going into flop mode, a glass of something in one hand, the other gently rifling through ranks of CDs or scrolling through a digital cache of music, finding the escape hatch from office stress into down time. Pity, then, the poor composer who has been struggling all Read More …