Meeting his boss’s insatiable desire for new content ‘forced’ [his word] Joseph Haydn to write original, inventive music that sounds as fresh and full of life today as when it was written. And he wrote so much great music that I only heard this piano trio for the first time this week – and its wonderful stuff. Listening time 19 mins.… Listen
Another great, short piece, here’s the first of Joan Tower’s Fanfares celebrating risk-taking and adventurous women. This is both celebratory and substantial, plus a workout for brass and percussion. Listening time 8 mins (podcast 5.5′, music 2.5′)… Listen
A short podcast about the shortest of pieces, yet Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man still packs a punch and seems to point to big issues.
‘No taxation without representation’? Perhaps today’s call should be ‘No representatives (from the Head of State down) who don’t pay their taxes!’
Listening time c10 minutes (podcast 6′, music 3′)… Listen
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
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
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
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