Podcast: Introducing the music of Florence Beatrice Price.

Born in 1887, Florence Beatrice Price went on to become one of the first prominent African-American composers. Following a move to Chicago in 1927, her career as a composer took off, not least following the award of several prizes intended to support black composers. This success brought her to the attention of the director of Read More …

Amplified by the power of zero.

Mozart is reckoned to have posited that silence, paradoxically, is the most powerful element in music. And I once read that, while there’s one particular zone of your brain that is stimulated when an object starts to produce a sound, it’s a different part that reacts when a clock, for example, ceases its tick-tock and Read More …

Podcast: Liszt’s Transcendental Studies.

Franz Liszt was one of music history’s first superstars, whose stunning technique and charismatic stage presence facilitated his development of the solo piano concert format. This release puts his 12 Transcendental Studies centre stage, where they share the spotlight with award-winning pianist Boris Giltburg, an emerging superstar in his own right whose pianism clothes Liszt’s Read More …

Couperin @ 350

We shouldn’t ring out the year without noting that 2018 marked the 350th anniversary of the birth of the French Baroque composer, François Couperin (1668-1733). He was known as le grand to distinguish him from an uncle of the same name, and emerged as the most accomplished member of a large family of musicians, officially Read More …

Podcast: Romuald Twardowski. A masterly blend of tradition and modernity.

Romuald Twardowski was born in Lithuania in 1930. He pursued post-graduate studies in Poland before becoming a student of Nadia Boulanger in Paris. The works on this new release, for violin and orchestra, cover a fascinating spectrum of styles. From his Spanish Fantasy, to music written for young performers (not that you’d guess it from the Read More …

Stocking fillers

The Greatest Story Ever Told, George Stevens’ epic film depicting the life of Christ, received mixed reviews. It continued to do so more than forty years after its release, the Guardian opining on Christmas Day 2009 that ” …  it suffers in the retelling. With such inherently dramatic source material, George Stevens’s cameo-packed 1965 dramatisation Read More …

Podcast: Four centuries of music for guitar ensemble.

Guitar Gala Night comprises performances by the Amadeus Guitar Duo and the Duo Gruber & Maklar in a programme that’s a veritable variety show, combining original compositions with arrangements for one, two and four guitars. Ranging from the abstract to the descriptive, the earliest piece (1612) represents dance music by Michael Praetorius, while the most Read More …

Podcast: Rossini’s Sins of Old Age.

Raymond Bisha introduces us to the flip-side of Rossini the opera composer, who spent the last 40 years of his life in operatic retirement, instead composing some 200 vocal and solo piano pieces (his Sins of Old Age) whilst also indulging in the pleasantries of life as a gourmand and amateur chef. The final release Read More …

Podcast: Chamber music by Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968). World premiere recordings.

The three newly published pieces on this recording were written in the decade following Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s flight to the United States in 1939 in the wake of the proclamation of anti-Jewish laws by Italy’s fascist regime. The programme includes his Concerto No. 3 for Violin and Piano (1939–40), written for no less a figure than Read More …

In the wrong place at the wrong time.

When I decided to focus this week’s blog on the end of World War I, the centenary of which is marked this Sunday, Armistice Day, little did I think I’d be opening with a Franz Liszt connection and continuing with sketches of a group of musicians who were simply in the wrong place at the Read More …