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Raymond Bisha presents an overview of Boris Giltburg’s project to learn and record all of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, which are now released in a 9-CD box set edition following their inception as critically acclaimed digital releases. The recordings reflect only one facet of Giltburg’s gem of an undertaking, in that performances were also filmed …
 
Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was a brilliant swordsman, athlete, violin virtuoso and gifted composer, with a claim to being the most talented figure in an age of remarkable individuals. He was an early and important exponent of the hybrid symphonie concertante, a genre that draws on both the symphony and concerto traditions. In this…
 
Lithuanian composer Jurgis Karnavičius was born in 1884, and became one of the early classical music leaders in his country. His 3rd and 4th string quartets were composed and first performed in the 1920's, and then ignored for decades. This podcast, and the new recording by the Vilnius String Quartet show why Karnavičius deserves to be remembered.…
 
Significantly influenced by his experience of playing in some of the earliest Soviet jazz bands, Nikolai Kapustin trained as a pianist at the Moscow Conservatory but subsequently devoted himself to composition. His output includes many works for piano, two of which are featured on this new album — the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Concerto for Viol…
 
Raymond Bisha prefaces his latest podcast with this introduction: “Heitor Villa-Lobos, the prolific Brazilian composer of some 2,000 works, conductor, cellist, guitarist and music educationalist, wrote his three violin sonatas between 1912 and 1920. When he wrote the first sonata, he was still a struggling young composer trying to make a name for h…
 
French composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) is remembered as someone who could spin melodies as easily as he breathed. Naxos is marking the centenary of his death with a 3-CD box set that comprises all his symphonies and a sequence of atmospheric and dramatic symphonic poems, including Phaéton and the ever-popular Danse macabre. Raymond Bisha p…
 
With multiple GRAMMY nominations and wide critical acclaim to her credit, Joan Tower’s latest album in the Naxos American Classics series demonstrates why she is so often performed, and why she is such a respected person among American composers. Raymond Bisha presents the programme on her new release that comprises four world premiere recordings. …
 
Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy ran one of the finest salons in pre-revolution Paris. She was well educated and well connected, with a circle of friends that ran from Luigi Boccherini to Benjamin Franklin. She was also a fine composer. Because of the social norms of the day, however, her role within Parisian culture was restricted, and none of her musi…
 
Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871) was one of the most famous composers of the 19th century. Working with his lifelong collaborator, the renowned dramatist and librettist Eugéne Scribe, he gave definitive form to the uniquely French genres of grand historical opera (La Muette de Portici) and opéra-comique (Fra Diavolo). His overtures were fam…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces Spanish guitarist Mabel Millán in her debut album for Naxos. A fast-rising star in the guitar world, she has already appeared at international festivals and prestigious Spanish venues, and gained numerous awards at international competitions. Her combination of nuanced musicality and technical ease illuminate her programme,…
 
In this podcast, Raymond Bisha takes us on a journey across South America, making musical stops in the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Colombia. The Inca Trails that connected these lands and their people produced a sharing of ideas and cultures: ancient traditions of indigenous sounds and rhythms fused with cultural influ…
 
Raymond Bisha’s latest podcast finds him in conversation with world-renowned guitarist and lutenist Richard Savino who introduces his debut recording for Naxos that also features his renowned ensemble El Mundo. The focus of the album is a programme compiled from the remarkably fine music held in the archive of Guatemala City Cathedral, works that r…
 
Described as having ‘natural genius’, John Abraham Fisher was a significant figure in London during the second half of the 18th century. A virtuoso violinist, he also wrote admired stage works for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. His orchestral works are largely forgotten today, but his symphonies display a surprising awareness of contemporary con…
 
Aram Il’yich Khachaturian once described how he “grew up in an atmosphere rich in folk music, popular festivals, rites joyous and sad, events in the lives of people always accompanied by music… deeply engraved in my memory, that determined my musical thinking.” He remains the most renowned of 20th-century Armenian composers, whose unmistakable styl…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of choral transcriptions by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) that forms part of Naxos’ Music of Brazil series. The programme represents part of Villa-Lobos’ efforts to create a body of music education resources, following his invitation in 1932 to set up an ambitious programme in the public scho…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of orchestral works by Žibouklé Martinaityté (b. 1973). Born in Lithuania and now based in New York City, she was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lithuanian Government Award in 2020. The four works on the programme were written between 2013 and 2019 and employ a fascinating use of orchestral colour,…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of 21st-century mallet percussion concertos performed by virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong under Jean Thorel. The works by Alexis Alrich and Karl Jenkins put the marimba in the solo spotlight, while Ned Rorem’s 7-movement Mallet Concerto — written in 2003 and …
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a programme of orchestral music by the Pulitzer and Erasmus Prize-winning American composer John Adams. The two works on this new album from the Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero demonstrate why Adams is one of today’s most widely performed and recorded composers. Adams describes My Father Knew Charles Ives as “an…
 
Choral music formed an important part of Anton Bruckner’s output throughout his career, even though the genre was widely underappreciated by a public more inclined to large-scale symphonic and operatic works. Although the big-boned structure of such music also made its presence felt in Church masses and oratorios, there was always a need for smalle…
 
Czech composer Vitězslav Novák (1870-1949), who was one of Dvořák’s composition students, rose to prominence with a series of increasingly ambitious orchestral works that fused elements of folk music, impressionism and late-Romanticism. Raymond Bisha introduces Vol. 1 of his orchestral works performed by Marek Štilec and the Moravian Philharmonic O…
 
Raymond Bisha discusses a release of music by the American composer Bernard Herrmann with Joseph Horowitz, co-founder of PostClassical Ensemble, a group dedicated to stepping across normal repertoire boundaries. The album’s programme showcases Herrmann’s talents not only as a composer of film scores, but also as a consummate provider of music for t…
 
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 an artist that Jascha Heifetz, the…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a new release of Baroque violin sonatas by 18th-century Italian violinists trained in the tradition of Arcangelo Corelli, spreading his elegant, expressive and virtuosic style on their travels throughout Europe. Giovanni Mossi’s sonatas retain Corelli’s dramatic contrasts and structure, while Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli als…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces recordings of J. S. Bach’s cello suites, transcribed for guitar and performed by Jeffrey McFadden. Bach himself made arrangements of other composers’ works, as well his own, recycling them for new uses, a practice that continues with these two new volumes. Pablo Casals (1876–1973), the eminent cellist who was pivotal in res…
 
Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds (b. 1977) has demonstrated his versatility by writing in a variety of genres, from orchestral and film scores to electronic and multi-media works. Choral music, however, features in much of what he does. The richness of texture and variety of colour in his music for choirs reflects his practice of dividing the vocal…
 
No lover of classical music from the Romantic period should miss an opportunity to become acquainted with the music of Hans Rott, a little known composer (even in his day), but one who made a significant impact before his untimely death at the age of 25. Improbable though it may seem, it’s likely that not a single one of Rott’s works was performed …
 
Peter Breiner is one of the world’s most performed composer/arranger/conductors with record sales in the millions and over 200 CD titles to his credit. Slovak Dances, Naughty and Sad, the latest of his many releases for Naxos, consolidates his outstanding reputation as an arranger. It features Breiner’s typically colourful orchestrations that inclu…
 
Considering the size of the wind band industry in the United States, the occasion of an established classical composer writing for the medium comes as a rare but highly welcome treat. Raymond Bisha introduces a programme of wind band music by Kenneth Fuchs, during which the American composer describes the progression of his experience and opportuni…
 
Alexander Kastalsky’s Requiem for Fallen Brothers was written between 1914 and 1917, during World War I, a conflict that killed more than 20 million people and injured even more. Kastalsky achieved poignancy in his memorial by using melodies and texts from many of the countries involved in the war — Russia, Serbia, Italy, England, Japan, India and …
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a selection from the rich and varied catalogue of chamber works that Beethoven wrote throughout his life. It includes the ‘Archduke’ piano trio, examples of his violin and cello sonatas, and extracts from both his Octet for Wind Instruments and the Septet in E flat major, Op. 20, a work so popular that Beethoven himself arr…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a new release of orchestral music by American composer Christopher Rouse, who died in September 2019. It’s a fitting tribute to one who led the revitalisation of contemporary orchestral music with works that ranged from intensely active to wonderfully lyrical. As both a Pullitzer Prize and GRAMMY Award winner, his personal …
 
Raymond Bisha introduces Johan Smith, winner of the 2019 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, in a recital that the Swiss artist has described as his dream programme: “It’s an exceptional album in many ways: the music is engaging, the playing is outstanding, and the recorded sound is first-rate. And the artist himself is uniquely intriguing, h…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a programme of Beethoven’s music for solo piano that contains some of his most visionary, groundbreaking and memorable works. Drawn from the Complete Edition boxed set (Naxos 8.500250), the selected movements from Beethoven’s best-known piano sonatas illustrate his dynamism as a composer/pianist, his gift for flowing melodi…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces a new release from Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat of French piano rarities by Boulez, Debussy, Messiaen and Ravel: “I heard Ralph play this same repertoire at a concert in Carnegie Hall a couple of years ago, and it was amazing. Ralph says his aim is to convince people of the ‘immense beauty and diversity of contemporary musi…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces Michael Daugherty’s This Land Sings: Inspired by the Life and Times of Woody Guthrie. The work celebrates The Dust Bowl Troubadour’s folk songs of love, wandering and social justice through Daugherty’s own original songs and instrumental music. These were composed after he drove for several weeks along the desolate, barren …
 
Raymond Bisha introduces the latest release in the Naxos Beethoven anniversary digital album series. Ranging from a solo piano to the huge resources required for his final symphony, the programme comprises ten works that define the last ten years of Beethoven’s creative life, exemplifying his ever more technically challenging pieces, their novel st…
 
Join Raymond Bisha in a podcast of artistic discovery as he unveils yet another American classic—Randall Thompson’s Requiem. Reckoned by many to be his most ambitious work, the composer himself considered it to be his masterpiece, yet it has languished for decades on the periphery of the choral performance repertoire. This world premiere recording …
 
Beethoven’s concertos enjoy the spotlight in this podcast from Raymond Bisha. It serves as a companion resource to the latest digital album in our series marking the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The technical and musical demands Beethoven makes of his concerto soloists shine centre-stage in this compilation of wonderful performances o…
 
Raymond Bisha introduces Richard Danielpour’s oratorio The Passion of Yeshua, a 105-minute work for large chorus, six soloists and orchestra that takes the listener back to Jesus’ final day on earth, removing as much as possible the accretions of history since that moment in an attempt to provide a fuller understanding of the connection of Jesus of…
 
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, Co…
 
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 colorful program that includes …
 
Beethoven certainly has the wind in his sails with this tremendous release of music for wind ensemble, a genre that formed a regular part of entertainment in the composer’s day. Included on the recording, for example, is his Sextet for winds in E flat major that was well received by a critic at the time for its “splendid melodies, leisurely harmoni…
 
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