Musical discoveries U–Z

We reach the final instalment of our alphabetical collection of composers whose music has been somewhat neglected as the years have rolled by, with this blog casting a spotlight on Galina Ustvolskaya, Francesco Maria Veracini, Peter von Winter, Iannis Xenakis, Isang Yun and Joaquim Zamacóis. Galina Ustvolskaya was born in Petrograd in 1919, educated in Read More …

Musical discoveries P–T

Continuing our alphabetical spotlighting of less well known composers and their works, this week’s blog visits Italy, Poland and Guatemala and presents music from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. We start with the first of three Italians — Giovanni Benedetto Platti (pre 1692-1763). Although his presence as a young man is recorded in Venice Read More …

Musical discoveries K–O

Karłowicz, Lipiński, Magnard, Nepomuceno, Ohzawa. These are the composers who give us our next alphabetical tranche of unfamiliar names and neglected outputs that deserve a more frequent airing. Mieczysław Karłowicz (1876–1909) was born into a wealthy academic family at Wiszniew (in what is now Lithuania). He initially trained as a violinist but, after his arrival 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Magic moments.

Do you recall hearing a particularly affecting piece of music for the first time, maybe as a younger newcomer to the world of classical music? I certainly do, and at the risk of peddling in self-indulgence I thought I would share a few of those magic moments in this edition of the Naxos blog. We’re Read More …

A centenary’s outs and ins [2]

Picking up from our last blog that featured musicians who died a century ago, in the year 1921, we consider a selection of singers, instrumentalists and composers who were born in that year. My first pick is the virtuoso British horn player Dennis Brain (1921-1957), who was tragically killed in a car accident when he Read More …