I can zing a rainbow

I never tire of listening to the voice of Peggy Lee (1920-2002), the American jazz and popular music singer who was also a songwriter, composer and actress. And with an active career that spanned some six decades, it seems I’m not the only one in her fan club. Her unique vocal timbre was apposite to Read More …

Podcast: Nino Rota’s works for solo piano. A magical melting pot.

Raymond Bisha introduces this new release from the Grand Piano label. It’s the opening volume in what is to be the first complete series of recordings of Nino Rota’s works for solo piano, performed by Eleanor Hodgkinson. Nino Rota embraced neo-Classical, neo-Romantic and even neo-Baroque affiliations. His music prized melodic directness and communicative generosity, so Read More …

Podcast: Write It – Reflections on Sanctuary Road

WQXR radio host Terrance McKnight introduces the world premiere recording of an oratorio by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell. It’s a deeply moving tribute to the men and women of the Underground Railroad and to one heroic man in particular, railroad conductor William Still (1821-1902), a chronicler of the inspiring stories of its Read More …

Podcast: A merry, musical Christmas buffet

You’ll find it hard to resist joining in with the magical performances of popular Christmas repertoire on the latest release from the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Chamber Orchestra. From eternal classics to cracking new carols, this is an irresistible seasonal spread presented in a tempting tasting menu by your host Raymond Bisha. View album details Read More …

Repetition, repetition, repetition.

It’s difficult to think of examples in the arts where repetition is as acceptable, even essential, as it is in music. Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans is about as far as I get. Repetition is so central to a composer’s tool box that we have a special term for a piece of music that specifically Read More …

Podcast: Cherished Christmas Classics

Raymond Bisha summons the seasonal spirit with a comprehensive 5-CD collection of music for Christmas on the Capriccio label. He makes his selection from the release’s one hundred classical Christmas titles, many featuring world-renowned choirs and orchestras from musical centres located throughout Europe, and notably Germany, including Dresden, Cologne, Vienna, Leipzig, Berlin and Regensburg. From Read More …

Mix of the month, November

The art of the arranger is, perhaps, under-appreciated. There are copious examples of the most famous composers having engaged in making arrangements of both their own and others’ works. Before the era of recordings, making arrangements was the only way you could practically communicate the essence of a composition, especially a symphonic work, to a Read More …