Podcast: Colour-contrast-surprise. The symphonies of John Abraham Fisher (1744-1806)

Described as having ‘natural genius’, John Abraham Fisher was a significant figure in London during the second half of the 18th century. A virtuoso violinist, he also wrote admired stage works for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. His orchestral works are largely forgotten today, but his symphonies display a surprising awareness of contemporary continental trends Read More …

Podcast: Piano music by Aram Il’yich Khachaturian (1903-1978), ‘mouthpiece of the entire Soviet Orient’.

Aram Il’yich Khachaturian once described how he “grew up in an atmosphere rich in folk music, popular festivals, rites joyous and sad, events in the lives of people always accompanied by music… deeply engraved in my memory, that determined my musical thinking.” He remains the most renowned of 20th-century Armenian composers, whose unmistakable style came Read More …

Podcast: Villa-Lobos and the art of choral transcription.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of choral transcriptions by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) that forms part of Naxos’ Music of Brazil series. The programme represents part of Villa-Lobos’ efforts to create a body of music education resources, following his invitation in 1932 to set up an ambitious programme in the public school system Read More …

Podcast: Orchestral works by Žibouklé Martinaityté – a textural magician.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of orchestral works by Žibouklé Martinaityté (b. 1973). Born in Lithuania and now based in New York City, she was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lithuanian Government Award in 2020. The four works on the programme were written between 2013 and 2019 and employ a fascinating use Read More …

Sounds Interesting: In the wrong place at the wrong time.

This podcast from the Naxos Sounds Interesting series spotlights a collection of unfortunate musicians who became hostages of war at the outbreak of the First World War and whose story is as inspiring as the music that sustained them. The setting is Ruhleben, a racecourse in Berlin. The presenter is Richard Kennedy.      

Podcast: Hit and bliss. Dame Evelyn Glennie performs mallet percussion concertos.

Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of 21st-century mallet percussion concertos performed by virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong under Jean Thorel. The works by Alexis Alrich and Karl Jenkins put the marimba in the solo spotlight, while Ned Rorem’s 7-movement Mallet Concerto — written in 2003 and Read More …

Podcast: The art and craft of John Adams.

Raymond Bisha introduces a programme of orchestral music by the Pulitzer and Erasmus Prize-winning American composer John Adams. The two works on this new album from the Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero demonstrate why Adams is one of today’s most widely performed and recorded composers. Adams describes My Father Knew Charles Ives as “an homage Read More …

Podcast: Bruckner’s Latin motets. Devotions of distinction.

Choral music formed an important part of Anton Bruckner’s output throughout his career, even though the genre was widely underappreciated by a public more inclined to large-scale symphonic and operatic works. Although the big-boned structure of such music also made its presence felt in Church masses and oratorios, there was always a need for smaller Read More …

Podcast: Vítězslav Novák. Orchestral Works Vol. 1

Czech composer Vitězslav Novák (1870-1949), who was one of Dvořák’s composition students, rose to prominence with a series of increasingly ambitious orchestral works that fused elements of folk music, impressionism and late-Romanticism. Raymond Bisha introduces Vol. 1 of his orchestral works performed by Marek Štilec and the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme pairs the heady Read More …

Podcast: Bernard Herrmann in the round

Raymond Bisha discusses a release of music by the American composer Bernard Herrmann with Joseph Horowitz, co-founder of PostClassical Ensemble, a group dedicated to stepping across normal repertoire boundaries. The album’s programme showcases Herrmann’s talents not only as a composer of film scores, but also as a consummate provider of music for the forgotten genre Read More …