Cláudio Santoro: Symphonies 11 and 12

The previous edition of our Naxos blog focused on two symphonies that Brazilian composer Cláudio Santoro composed in the 1950s – the Fourth and Fifth – the latter written to mark the founding of the country’s new capital, Brasilia. Santoro (1919–89) was a member of the Brazilian Communist Party, which brought him major problems during Read More …

Cláudio Santoro: Symphonies 5 and 7

Cláudio Santoro features significantly in the Naxos Music of Brazil series, which is a joint undertaking with Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote music by Brazilian composers in an extensive series of new albums. Santoro (1919–89) wrote fourteen symphonies, all of which feature on the project’s release schedule and represent the most significant set Read More …

Pater seraphicus (1822–1890)

Pater seraphicus is how the 19th-century pianist/organist/teacher/composer César Franck was known to his pupils. It might be fair to suggest that the consonant Panis angelicus, Franck’s setting of a verse from an ancient hymn, is how he’s best remembered by music-lovers with only limited knowledge of his output. Has the passing of time treated him Read More …

Good mourning, good music

If you’ve already made your will, maybe you’ve also stipulated the music you would like to be played at the assembly for your funeral service. After a lifetime in music, and not once having been able to nominate a favourite piece, I’ve recently opted for a quiet cremation and a silent scattering of ashes. Stirred Read More …

Scoring their centuries

When a composer’s work is marked as his or her Opus 100, it surely marks a milestone in their development. Some composers didn’t make it that far, of course, leaving us wondering what might have been, had they lived long enough or enjoyed circumstances that better facilitated a freedom to compose. Chopin falls into another Read More …

Mere trifles?

Labelling Beethoven’s Für Elise a mere trifle might appear insulting to such a household name and piano solo favourite. But that’s exactly what his Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor is, ’une bagatelle’ translating from the French as ’a trifling matter’. This blog examines the recipes composers have used for a selection of bagatelles over Read More …

August by name, not by nature.

Here’s a small selection of works celebrating August, not as an evocative month approaching Autumn, but as a dedicatee (August Bournonville), a composer’s name (August Baeyens, Friedrich August Belcke), a source of literary inspiration (August von Platen-Hallermünde, August Strindberg), and an arranger (August Eberhard Müller). Hans Christian Lumbye (1810–1874) began staging concerts in the manner Read More …

Warpaths

It’s maybe too convenient to restrict references to war to big anniversary dates, so this blog presents a small selection of musical works that paint the subject of conflict in tuneful reminders of how wearisome and worthless the daily pursuit is. There’s no place like home, as they say, so I’m going to start with Read More …

Don’t talk nonsense. Sing it!

With so many world events defying logic right now, I thought we might escape briefly into a space where words make no attempt to stack up, but merely divert for a while and lighten the spirit. Welcome to the literary worlds of Lewis Carroll, William Brighty Rands, Hilaire Belloc and someone called Mr Traditional. We Read More …