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 …

Podcast: Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2

The internationally respected artists on this release are well known to Naxos followers: pianist Boris Giltburg (whose recordings of Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann and Rachmaninov have been universally acclaimed); and conductor Vasily Petrenko (whose edition of the complete Shostakovich symphonies has been recognised as a historic recording milestone). They come together now in Beethoven’s first two Read More …

Mix of the month, September

September’s list of new releases again boasts a wide spectrum, from big-hitting orchestral performances to intimate solo recitals. I’ve taken a small-is-beautiful focus for the overview of this month’s line-up, highlighting solo performances, works for chamber ensembles and music for chamber orchestra. And I’m going to start with a large-scale work for chorus and orchestra Read More …

The long reed

For some woodwind instruments, their close cousins sound markedly different. Take the closing bars of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, for example. When the shrill piccolo slices through the texture, there’s no way you would mistake it for the sound of an homogenous flute. And when the bulky contrabassoon enters in Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, it’s a Read More …

Podcast: Music of Brazil. Violin sonatas by Miguéz and Velásquez.

This podcast introduces Vol. 2 in our ground-breaking The Music of Brazil series, a five-year project to record around 100 mostly orchestral works by 19th and 20th-century Brazilian composers, many in world premiere recordings. Released in February, Vol. 1 (8.574067) featured works by Alberto Nepomuceno. Gramophone declared it “urgently recommended”. We follow up with chamber Read More …