Podcast: Two Spanish Highs. Violin concertos by Édouard Lalo and Joan Manén.

Violinist and composer Joan Manén may be a relatively unknown figure today, but in his time (1883–1971) his popularity was in the same league as fellow Spaniard and cellist Pablo Casals. As a performer Manén gave more than 4,000 concerts, travelled around the world five times, and made the first recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. 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 …

Podcast: Simply unmissable

Once in a while you hear such incredibly beautiful music for the first time that you just can’t understand why it has remained under wraps for so long. The Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 by the Italian-born composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco are a case in point. Originally championed in the 1920s and 30s by no less Read More …

China’s Cultural Devolution

China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–76) was a turbulent decade that took no prisoners in sweeping away the ‘Four Olds’—old customs, old habits, old ideas and old culture. As far as artistic matters were concerned, the dictat meant that western music was suddenly a no-no in the new socio-political order, with practitioners frequently uprooted, relocated and rigorously Read More …