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

131. Into the woods: Weber, Der Freishütz overture

Terror, excitement and delight – all there in handfuls as Carl Maria von Weber takes us into the depths of the forest for a folk tale of magic, sorcery,  love, good and evil. One of my long time favourites and a brave new world for German opera in Der Fresichütz (“The Free-shooter”). Are you brave enough to go down to the woods today? Listening time, 20mins… Listen

130. Talking about a revolution: Webern, Six Pieces for orchestra

At a time when everything seemed on the brink and the old ways no longer looked fit for purpose, Anton Webern was part of a musical revolution – giving us new ways of hearing music and seeing the world. His six pieces for large orchestra are. Whole worlds compressed into a few minutes of bleak beauty, terrifying dissonance and even more disturbing silence. It’s compelling. Listening time 22mins… Listen

126. Into a black hole… and out the other side? Thovaldsdottir, Metacosmos

Carrying a fragile flower whilst walking a tightrope. Finding the balance between beauty and chaos. Being pulled along by forces outside of our control. On Cacophony we talk about ‘diving into great music’: Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos might be the biggest dive yet – into a black hole! Universal and yet personal, her music is distinctive, compelling, moving and profound. [23mins]… Listen

116. Uneasy listening. Scary music for modern times: Bartók, Music for strings, percussion and celesta

I’m no fan of horror films – too scary for me – but, in any case, nothing really scares us more than the thoughts in our heads! I do love scary music though and Béla Bartók wrote the best. Music for strings, percussion and celesta is unusual, gripping, terrifying and thrilling. It’s also brilliant at clearing my mind of any ‘unneccessary’ thinking. Listening time, 40 mins.… Listen