First impressions. A quick quiz.

Here are the openings of 20 well-known works, or of movements within those works. Can you name the composer and the title of the work? Scroll down the page to check your answers. Question 1   Question 2   Question 3   Question 4   Question 5   Question 6   Question 7   Question Read More …

A podium for panache. Concertos for Orchestra.

In some respects you might say that all orchestral works – symphonies, overtures, tone poems — are showcases of collective talent displaying expertise in coordination, balance and deft execution of the notes. But the notion of a concerto for orchestra implies that the composer is shining an even more intense spotlight on rank-and-file players or Read More …

Podcast: Ludwig van Beethoven. Works for chamber ensemble.

Raymond Bisha introduces a selection from the rich and varied catalogue of chamber works that Beethoven wrote throughout his life. It includes the ‘Archduke’ piano trio, examples of his violin and cello sonatas, and extracts from both his Octet for Wind Instruments and the Septet in E flat major, Op. 20, a work so popular Read More …

July. A summer selection.

For composers, July holds two main sources of inspiration, being both the warmest summer month in the Northern Hemisphere and that which marks the occasion of America’s Fourth of July, or Independence Day. I’ve chosen seven pieces that reflect this, a number of which may be new to many and, I hope, an interesting discovery. Read More …

Podcast: Orchestral works by Christopher Rouse. Intensely active. Wonderfully lyrical.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new release of orchestral music by American composer Christopher Rouse, who died in September 2019. It’s a fitting tribute to one who led the revitalisation of contemporary orchestral music with works that ranged from intensely active to wonderfully lyrical. As both a Pullitzer Prize and GRAMMY Award winner, his personal mission Read More …

Sounds Interesting: Leaving a legacy.

Composers can’t always hang around waiting for a visit by Euterpe, the ancient Greek Muse of music, to sow a seed of inspiration for their next composition. Commissioning agents have a long and much-appreciated record of standing in for when that vital role of providing a creative impetus is required and this podcast from the Read More …

Podcast: Johan Smith performs his dream guitar recital programme

Raymond Bisha introduces Johan Smith, winner of the 2019 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, in a recital that the Swiss artist has described as his dream programme: “It’s an exceptional album in many ways: the music is engaging, the playing is outstanding, and the recorded sound is first-rate. And the artist himself is uniquely intriguing, Read More …