Hear more. Feel more. Be more!
Come with me and dive into some great classical music. For over 1000 years great musicians have explored what it means to live, love, die and everything in between: asking all our deep and universal questions. Escape the cacophony – the noise of your brain and daily life; tune into the music, your feelings and emotions ‘good’ and ‘bad’ … and find the space, stillness and love that underpins everything.
NB: May include loud noise, surprises, challenges, cacophonous racket May cause shock, comfort, discomfort, smiles, tears, peace, transcendence
141. Songs from a disappearing world: Vaughan Williams, Norfolk Rhapsody
Haunting and melancholy music from my hometown, Vaughan Williams’s Norfolk Rhapsody No.1 features the old songs of fisherman and the last days of a way of life. Like the local landscape it’s bleak but beautiful!
Total listening time 18 mins (podcast 7′, music 11′)… Listen
140. Hidden pigeons & dancing farmers: Kaprálová, Rustic Suite
Packed with memorable Czech songs about pigeons, nightingales, love, life and unploughed fields, Vítěslava Kaprálová’s Rustic Suite mixes countryside charm with the confident orchestral swagger of a 23 year old receiving acclaim in Paris and London. Music full of life and good tunes! Listening time 21mins… Listen
139. Escaping to a happier place: Tailleferre, Little Suite
Small but perfectly formed, Germaine Tailleferre’s Little Suite is seven minutes of innocent delight from a composer looking to escape from the trials of a difficult life. It may be short, but it’s packed with memorable tunes and a joyous spirit. Irresistible!
Listening time c14 minutes … Listen
138. Ballet music that packs a punch: Stravinsky, Petrushka
It’s a riot of colour at the carnival in Igor Stravinsky’s wonderful ballet, Petrushka, with dancing (of course), puppets, romance (kind of), fighting, and a wild bear. It’s got everything! Listening time, 48 mins.… Listen
137. I must go down to the sea again: Debussy, La Mer
Who doesn’t love gazing at the sea? It’s something that brings out the meditative in all of us as we stare at it and think deep thoughts. Claude Debussy didn’t want us to think too hard – just to listen. In La Mer, he brings The Sea to us wherever we are, in all its beauty and wonder.
Total listening time 36 mins (podcast 11′, music 25′)… Listen
136. Where the walls of heaven are thin as a curtain: Simon Clark on Talbot, Path of Miracles
An epic and spiritual adventure for choir, Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles captures the hope, the expectation and the moments of overwhelm (both positive and negative) of travellers on the ancient and still popular pilgrimage trail the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James).
Simon Clark, scientist, author and singer joins me to share his passion for the piece and guide us on a journey of musical and maybe spiritual fulfilment! Listening time: podcast 24 mins, music 62’… Listen
135. Uplifting melancholy and passionate languor: Granados Spanish Dances
Music that seems to conjure all the tastes, smells and senses of Spain – or my expectations of them (as someone who’s hardly been there): Spanish dances for piano by Enrique Granados. Perfect music if you just want to feel warmer, but it’s also an opportunity to bask (Basque? [sorry]) in some gloriously wistful melancholy that seems to underpin all six of these pieces. Somehow it’s not a melancholy that makes one feel sad – it seems as uplifting and nourishing as the warm sun on a cold winter’s day. Listening time: podcast 12 mins; music 25′.… Listen
Not the World Cup of (largely) classical music: revisited! Highlights and talking points
Not the World Cup was a “glorious celebration of classical and world music” that ran alongside a small men’s football competition in late 2022.
I got together with my friend the conductor and writer Lev Parikian to pick some highlights and talk about a few of the things we learnt – about music, about how we listen and how it makes us feel. (41 mins.)… Listen
134. The sound of the solar system? Kepler: Harmony of the World
An extraordinary, ambitious, blend of art and science, Johanes Kepler’s Harmony of the World is a 17th century attempt to understand what the then known universe sounded like – on a planetary level! In the 1970s, using the latest technology professors Willie Ruff and John Rodgers were able to make Kepler’s Harmony into music – an extended piece of electronica, hypnotic and thought provoking. (25’+ listening time)… Listen