Podcast: Towering transcriptions. Stravinsky and Debussy orchestral works in one pianist’s two very safe hands.

Ralph van Raat performs fiendishly difficult transcriptions for solo piano of two of the most important orchestral works of the early 20th century: Debussy’s symphonic sketches La mer, and Stravinsky’s score for the ballet The Rite of Spring. Raymond Bisha guides us through the transformation of these works from orchestral complexity to pianistic élan.   Read More …

Podcast: A dodgy deal. Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale.

Quirky, catchy and disturbing, Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale is also one of his most immediately engaging works. Conceived as a rich procession of narration, acting, dancing and instrumental interludes, the work leaves the listener ruminating on its message long after the final shot from the percussion. Raymond Bisha introduces the work, from its individual parts Read More …

Scoring Smackers

I had supper recently in a restaurant named after the American novelist Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961). His life was every bit as colourful as his literary works, as were the restaurant’s table mats. They carried a collection of his quotations. My dining companion and I happened to get the same one: “I didn’t want to kiss Read More …

Sounds disastrous

The ease of global communication nowadays brings home the frequency of natural disasters and their tragic consequences. The only positive offshoot of such terrible occurrences seems to lie in the artistic reflections that composers have made in trying to capture these events, born of the less comforting side of Mother Nature. Picking through the catalogue Read More …