Mix of the Month, June

Working with a small selection from this month’s new releases, I’ve forged a theme of the orchestra as a scene-setter, story-teller, support artist, symphonic duettist, and stand-alone protagonist. Many orchestral concerts begin with a warm-up act, a few minutes of attention-grabbing music in which the orchestra flexes its facility for colour and impact. Such concert Read More …

Podcast: A foundation for finesse.

Raphaël Feuillâtre, winner of the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America’s 2018 International Concert Artist Competition, shares his success with the public through this attractively varied programme; a recording contract with Naxos forms part of the winner’s bundle of opportunities each year. Raymond Bisha presents his selection of intimate compositions. View album details of Guitar Recital: Read More …

The da Vinci mode.

Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago, in 1519. He was arguably the greatest polymath who ever lived, and it’s held that composing was one his talents, though none of his purported works have survived. To ’picture’ what might have been on that score, today we visit the lives and works of five European composers Read More …

Podcast: Kabalevsky. A Soviet sparkler.

There are scintillating sounds aplenty in our new release of orchestral works by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987). Raymond Bisha introduces a programme of two overtures and a pair of symphonies by the Russian composer who endeavoured to position himself as both a progressive and a conservative during his country’s difficult Soviet era. The performances are by Read More …

Sounds Interesting
Sleeping Beauties

This podcast from the Naxos Sounds Interesting series presents a selection of soporific representations by composers down the centuries, from John Dowland to Benjamin Britten. The presenter is Richard Kennedy.       https://blog.naxos.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/sleeping-beauties.mp3Podcast: Play in new windowSubscribe: Android | RSS | More

Mix of the Month, May

The New on Naxos monthly releases always comprise an eclectic body of works, with something old challenged by something new, and an occasional knockout discovery for good measure. For this month’s survey, however, I’m going to limit the overview to works written during the last century. So, out go works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Liszt, Dvořák, Read More …

Podcast: A fervent expression of hope. Jonathan Leshnoff’s Fourth Symphony.

Complementing the artist line-up of Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony on this recording are the Violins of Hope, a poignant collection of restored instruments that survived the Holocaust. Jonathan Leshnoff wrote his Symphony No. 4 with this unique set of orchestral voices in mind; Raymond Bisha introduces the performance and the background to its Read More …

Bread

I was sitting in a hotel bar the other day when my eye fell on the following sage statement displayed above the bartender’s head: Every loaf of bread is a tragic story of grains that could have become beer. Which got me wondering if the staple could have become music. I found that it had Read More …

Podcast: The musical alchemy of Manuel de Falla

Manuel de Falla is renowned as the greatest Spanish composer of the early 20th century, whose genius rested in part on his ability to meld diverse stylistic, folk or literary influences into distinctive new musical languages, forging masterworks that would ultimately become cultural emblems of his homeland. Raymond Bisha presents a new release of a Read More …

Podcast: From soundtrack to centre stage. Björk’s Vespertine

The Icelandic singer/composer Björk released her concept album Vespertine in 2001. Raymond Bisha introduces a new audio recording of an opera that was born of that release. The inherent theatricality of Björk’s original was the inspiration for an expert creative team to effect the transition from studio to stage, from sound tracks to symphonic support. Read More …