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 it’s 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
Lost for 150 years and then, because it was so good, presumed to have been written by her brother, Fanny Mendelssohn’s Easter Sonata for piano is passionate, intense, lyrical and dramatic… and the story of its rediscovery is no less compelling. Listening time c36 mins… Listen
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
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
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
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