Podcast: Berlioz and the Shakespeare effect

Berlioz left us a number of Shakespeare-inspired works, chief among them his masterpiece Roméo et Juliette. The work took a decade to complete and is cast in an innovative form, a kind of ‘super-symphony’ that incorporates elements of symphony, opera and oratorio. Raymond Bisha introduces this new recording by Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National Read More …

Podcast: Compare and contrast. 2 ballet scores by Aaron Copland.

Raymond Bisha presents a pair of vividly contrasting ballet scores by Aaron Copland, superbly performed by Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Grohg immediately suggested itself as the basis for a ballet after Copland attended a screening of Nosferatu, the popular German silent horror film, in 1922; the story-line of a vampire magician able Read More …

Podcast: Agustín Barrios (1885-1944). The Paraguayan paramount of guitar music.

Raymond Bisha introduces the fifth and final volume in our series of recordings of guitar music by Agustín Barrios, the virtuoso Paraguayan guitarist and composer who was one of the first guitarists to understand the potential of making recordings. Sometimes referred to as ‘the Paganini of the guitar from the jungles of Paraguay’, his music Read More …

Podcast: Orchestral works by Alberto Nepomuceno: Brazil’s nationalist music starts here.

Raymond Bisha introduces a recording of orchestral works by Alberto Nepomuceno (1864-1920), a herald of Brazilian musical nationalism. It’s the first release in a significant new Naxos series titled The Music of Brazil. This is a monumental, 5-year undertaking in collaboration with Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to produce around 30 releases of some 100 Read More …

Podcast: Curtain up! Opera overtures by Albert Lortzing.

Born to actor-singer parents, it’s little wonder that Albert Lortzing (1801-1851) devoted his life and his musical talents to the world of opera. Although little known outside his native Germany, this actor-singer-librettist-conductor-composer’s operas were amongst the most popular productions in German theatres for more than a century, second only to Mozart and Verdi. Raymond Bisha Read More …

Podcast: Respighi’s Roman Trilogy. A musical prism.

Conductor JoAnn Falletta talks with radio host Peter Hall about her recording of Respighi’s Roman Trilogy, her 24th release for Naxos with the Buffalo Philharmonic. Respighi’s tone poems employ a large symphony orchestra and use a myriad of effects to take the listener through time, space and musical styles. The resultant portraits of Roman festivals, Read More …

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 …

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 …

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 …