A mix of grit, swagger and persistence help us to make it through in the big city. Shirley Thompson’s Urban Living gives us all this plus, perhaps, a tinge of fear and some pheonmenal piano sounds in 7 minutes of [mainly] self-assured city beats. Listening time 12 mins (podcast 5′, music 7′)… Listen
Comfortably crossing cultural boundaries, Reena Esmail draws on both western and Indian , composer Reena Esmail draws on both western and Indian traditions to write distinctive music that is at home in both. Darshan is a terrific solo violin piece which transports us to a timeless state ad may even offer a glimps of the divine! Listening time 21mins… Listen
Individual, passionate, soulful music rooted in the southern states, Florence Price’s Symphony No.1 was the first by a black woman composer to be played by a major US orchestra back in the 1930s. A Moment of History, but those ‘twin handicaps’ [her words] meant that her music has hardly been played since and we’ve been missing out on great music from a distinctive voice – it’s time to put that right! (Listening time 47 mins: podcast 8′, music 39′)… Listen
Powerful and moving, Lili Boulanger’s cry From the Bottom of the Abyss (Psalm No.130) shows her deep commitment to her faith, and to her music-writing, in the face of illness. Diana Ambache, long-time champion of women composers, joins me to talk about Boulanger’s short life, major talent and this subtle masterpiece for huge choir and orchestra.… Listen
Democracy and our rights, that earlier generations fought and went to prison to obtain, are fragile and always need to be looked after closely. Ethel Smyth’s life and terrific music serve as a good reminder to us all that we need to be ready to stand up and make our voices heard in order to make change happen. (19mins)… Listen
American composer Amy Beach was so popular that her followers held ‘Beach Clubs’ to play and listen to her music!
Her Quartet for strings is lean and powerful, as well as being a great jump-off to the world of string quartets: a place fraught with danger for the players, where composers go to bare their souls. Take a listen and join the Beach Club! (21 mins)… Listen