Podcast: Introducing guitarist Mabel Millán. From lyrical beauty to dramatic virtuosity.

Raymond Bisha introduces Spanish guitarist Mabel Millán in her debut album for Naxos. A fast-rising star in the guitar world, she has already appeared at international festivals and prestigious Spanish venues, and gained numerous awards at international competitions. Her combination of nuanced musicality and technical ease illuminate her programme, from the Andalusian rhythms and atmosphere Read More …

Musical discoveries F–J

This is the second instalment in our alphabetical sifting through composers whose profiles are sadly more obscure than their quality compositions often deserve. Our selection focuses on surnames beginning respectively with F, G, H, I and J. The American composer Arthur Foote (1853-1937) studied at Harvard University where he was a student of the eminent Read More …

Sounds Interesting: Alma. Her life, loves, lieder.

This podcast from the Naxos Sounds Interesting series focuses on Mahler’s wife, Alma. Her life was as multi-faceted as her several talents, that ranged from competent composer to sizzling socialite. Richard Kennedy peels back the intriguing layers beneath the common perception of her as simply the hard done by wife of the illustrious Gustav. For Read More …

Podcast: Music networking on the Inca Trails.

In this podcast, Raymond Bisha takes us on a journey across South America, making musical stops in the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Colombia. The Inca Trails that connected these lands and their people produced a sharing of ideas and cultures: ancient traditions of indigenous sounds and rhythms fused with cultural influences Read More …

Musical discoveries A–E

This is the start of a 5-part series highlighting the distinctly engaging music of less well-known composers. I’ve selected their names alphabetically, and this edition’s tranche features composers with surnames beginning respectively with the letters A, B, C, D and E. First in the spotlight is the Georgian composer Vaja Azarashvili.  Born in 1936, he Read More …

Podcast: Archivo de Guatemala. Where indigenous styles meet courtly life.

Raymond Bisha’s latest podcast finds him in conversation with world-renowned guitarist and lutenist Richard Savino who introduces his debut recording for Naxos that also features his renowned ensemble El Mundo. The focus of the album is a programme compiled from the remarkably fine music held in the archive of Guatemala City Cathedral, works that reflect Read More …

Easter pegs

Places of Christian worship the world over will be marking the Easter Story at this time, no doubt with many performances of sacred music that vividly portray the central scenes of Jesus’ execution on the cross, his entombment, and his subsequent resurrection. I’ve chosen three pieces of music for this blog that reflect those three Read More …

Podcast: Colour-contrast-surprise. The symphonies of John Abraham Fisher (1744-1806)

Described as having ‘natural genius’, John Abraham Fisher was a significant figure in London during the second half of the 18th century. A virtuoso violinist, he also wrote admired stage works for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. His orchestral works are largely forgotten today, but his symphonies display a surprising awareness of contemporary continental trends Read More …

All the fun of the fanfare.

The Naxos Glossary of Musical Terms has this definition of the word ‘fanfare’: A fanfare is a flourish of trumpets or other similar instruments, used for military or ceremonial purposes, or music that conveys this impression. The Naxos catalogue tells a slightly different story, in that you’ll find a number of compositions with the word Read More …

Podcast: Piano music by Aram Il’yich Khachaturian (1903-1978), ‘mouthpiece of the entire Soviet Orient’.

Aram Il’yich Khachaturian once described how he “grew up in an atmosphere rich in folk music, popular festivals, rites joyous and sad, events in the lives of people always accompanied by music… deeply engraved in my memory, that determined my musical thinking.” He remains the most renowned of 20th-century Armenian composers, whose unmistakable style came Read More …