Hot off the press! The wonders of modern tech allow us to enjoy Katharina Nohl’s rhapsody for piano and orchestra, Spices, before its even been performed by live musicians! And Katharina joins us to talk us through the recipe. (33 mins)… 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
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
Brilliant and meaningful, North by Southwest may have been the initial name for Billy Strayhorn’s Suite for The Duo, a brilliant, late work for horn and piano: it’s a title that suggests confusion and conflicting ideas about the dying composers direction of travel. It’s a great piece: virtuosic but raw and written with a total understanding of both horn and piano and what they can do.
It’s a longer episode than normal because (amazingly) I was able to speak with Willie Ruff, the horn play for whom it was written. Willie, now in his nineties, joined me from his home in Alabama and he talked about his life and career, the Mitchell-Ruff duo, Strayhorn and how Suite for The Duo came to life. (37 mins)
We’ve all got pieces of music that instantly remind us of special times and places in our lives. What are yours I wonder? (Tell me!) We’re in Sri Lanka at the moment and, bizarrely, the piece of music we’ve heard more than any other in the last few months has been Beethoven’s perfect little piano piece, Für Elise, but perhaps not as we’re used to hearing it… Here’s the story of why, and how it’s in the ears of everyone Sri Lanka. (Listening time 8 mins: podcast 5′, music 3′)… Listen