April associates.

Living in the northern hemisphere, we’re at that bubbly time of year when I can look out of the window and gorge my eyes on the colourful spectrum of flowers that the month of April brings. For this blog, then, I’ve put together an equally colourful collection of easy-listening pieces of music with April associations, Read More …

Podcast: The Kernis Kaleidoscope

Raymond Bisha introduces us to the eclectic and exuberant imagination of the American composer Aaron Jay Kernis, whose works are inhabited by a host of influences — musical, historical and personal. This disc of three of his diverse compositions features deliciously titled works in delectable performances. (This podcast was first published on 4 April 2015) Read More …

George Crumb (1929–2022)

The American composer George Crumb died on 6 February, aged 92. This edition of the Naxos Blog presents a selection of his works that, collectively, were allusive in style and drew on a wide range of inventive sound sources. Crumb’s haunting scores established him as one of the major representatives of the musical avant-garde in Read More …

Podcast: Bolcom, Byron, Lorca – rich colours, dramatic swings

Raymond Bisha’s podcast focuses on two works by William Bolcom recorded for the Naxos American Classics Series. The emotional spectrum of his Canciones de Lorca and Prometheus is reflected in colourful orchestrations and a mix of musical styles that swing between intense drama and surreal humour. (This podcast was first published on 20 November 2015)   Read More …

Fairy tails

Definitions of the word ‘fairy’ as perceived down the ages are wide-ranging, with notions of diminutive enchantresses contrasting with images of grotesque goblins. How have composers painted the former into humanly-generated sound? Let’s find out. All the audio selections in this week’s blog will feature at least the tail-end of the work, if only to Read More …

Podcast: Jean Sibelius – a journey beyond the symphonies

Raymond Bisha dips into a Naxos recording of works by Jean Sibelius that have been obscured by the popularity of his symphonies and the violin concerto, including many pieces he wrote to complement stage works. Although these might be termed incidental and occasional, they belie such labels by constituting an extraordinary treasure house of the Read More …

Skylights

One of the items on my bucket list that I’d like to tick off before the great light-switch of life gets flicked is to experience the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. The natural display can be seen best while gazing up at dark, cloudless skies in northernmost communities, optimally from late August Read More …

Podcast: Simply unmissable

Once in a while you hear such incredibly beautiful music for the first time that you just can’t understand why it has remained under wraps for so long. The Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 by the Italian-born composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco are a case in point. Originally championed in the 1920s and 30s by no less Read More …

When in Rome…

I live in the city of Canterbury, in the south east of England. It attracts many visitors, principally for its magnificent cathedral and plentiful other reminders of mediaeval life, from its city walls and towers to 14th-century pubs and Dane John, a strategic defence mound cited in the Bayeux tapestry. Step inside the 15th-century Three Read More …