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 …

Podcast: The Music of Brazil Vol. 3. Villa-Lobos in full colour.

This latest release in Naxos’ ongoing series The Music of Brazil features chamber works and concertos by Heitor Villa-Lobos, one of Brazil’s best known and most prolific composers. He wrote more than two thousand pieces and was a major figure in the development of classical music in Brazil. Raymond Bisha introduces a colourful programme that Read More …

Remember, remember the 8th of November

I started musing on the date of the posting of this blog, 8 November, as its initial focus. But I soon found myself sidetracked by some interesting snippets that popped up en route. At least I ended up gathering some hopefully attractive music samples for you in my wake. If you’re ready to go walkabout Read More …

Mix of the month, October

Although classical music is able to fill a multitude of niches, most would agree that it falls into two broad categories: works that prompt the listener to formulate a picture in their mind of the composer’s initial inspiration (a story, an event from history, a painting, and so on); and pieces that elicit an emotional Read More …

Podcast: Magna Sequentia II. A quick step through J. S. Bach’s keyboard dances.

If playlists had been available in the 18th century, Magna Sequentia II would undoubtedly have enjoyed an enthusiastic reception, with its varied track list embodying a theme of music by association. In her second of three Magna Sequentias, pianist Sonia Rubinsky leads with J. S. Bach’s Overture in the French Style and follows by building Read More …

48 + 72 Preludes and Fugues

Think Preludes and Fugues, and J. S. Bach’s two volumes of the 2-movement sets will for many be the first to spring to mind: with 24 in each volume, his magnificent achievement is known simply as ‘The 48’. Written in 1722 and 1742, Bach’s collection has since inspired many great keyboard players to give searching Read More …