Podcast: Ludwig van Beethoven. Works for solo piano.

Raymond Bisha introduces a programme of Beethoven’s music for solo piano that contains some of his most visionary, groundbreaking and memorable works. Drawn from the Complete Edition boxed set (Naxos 8.500250), the selected movements from Beethoven’s best-known piano sonatas illustrate his dynamism as a composer/pianist, his gift for flowing melodic beauty, and the range of Read More …

Podcast: Unpacking the unusual, unfamiliar and unknown. French piano rarities.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new release from Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat of French piano rarities by Boulez, Debussy, Messiaen and Ravel: “I heard Ralph play this same repertoire at a concert in Carnegie Hall a couple of years ago, and it was amazing. Ralph says his aim is to convince people of the ‘immense Read More …

Timeless text. Evolving expression. Glory be.

Six centuries. Ten composers. One text. This week’s blog is a journey that savours the flavours of settings of Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest), the opening text of the Gloria section of music that has been written for use during the celebration of the Mass in churches down the ages. Read More …

Podcast: A 20th-century troubadour. A 21st-century tribute.

Raymond Bisha introduces Michael Daugherty’s This Land Sings: Inspired by the Life and Times of Woody Guthrie. The work celebrates The Dust Bowl Troubadour’s folk songs of love, wandering and social justice through Daugherty’s own original songs and instrumental music. These were composed after he drove for several weeks along the desolate, barren and dusty Read More …

Is there a doctor in the mouse?

As I write this blog, I’m in a lock-down situation in London arising from the Covid-19 epidemic. What was planned as a quick 7-day visit to the capital has turned into a longer-term relationship, since my home base of Thailand has pulled up the drawbridge against returning travellers such as myself. I’m staying in a Read More …

Podcast: Ludwig van Beethoven. Music from his late compositional period.

Raymond Bisha introduces the latest release in the Naxos Beethoven anniversary digital album series. Ranging from a solo piano to the huge resources required for his final symphony, the programme comprises ten works that define the last ten years of Beethoven’s creative life, exemplifying his ever more technically challenging pieces, their novel structures, and the Read More …

Drum roll for a teacher’s role

I was on a plane a few months ago during which the choice of in-flight viewing didn’t immediately excite, but my eye was caught by a film about Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968). Naxos and its affiliated labels have released numerous recordings of the composer’s works which, to be honest, I find much more engaging than I Read More …

Podcast: The resurrection of a requiem. Randall Thompson’s choral masterpiece.

Join Raymond Bisha in a podcast of artistic discovery as he unveils yet another American classic—Randall Thompson’s Requiem. Reckoned by many to be his most ambitious work, the composer himself considered it to be his masterpiece, yet it has languished for decades on the periphery of the choral performance repertoire. This world première recording from Read More …

Playing the fool

April Fool’s Day occurs each year on 1 April and although the day has been marked for many centuries in different cultures, its exact origin is difficult to pin down. One speculation links it to the move by France in 1582 to move from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, effectively moving the start of Read More …

Podcast: Ludwig van Beethoven–the concertos

Beethoven’s concertos enjoy the spotlight in this podcast from Raymond Bisha. It serves as a companion resource to the latest digital album in our series marking the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The technical and musical demands Beethoven makes of his concerto soloists shine centre-stage in this compilation of wonderful performances of movements from Read More …