Naxos Classical Spotlight

Naxos Classical Spotlight

Naxos Classical Spotlight explores the world of classical music. Along the way host Raymond Bisha shares the stories about the music, and the musicians who make it.

Episodes

November 12, 2021 28 min

"A forgotten treasure. Marin Alsop discusses Hindemith.

This podcast features Marin Alsop in conversation with Raymond Bisha following the release of her first album for Naxos as chief conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. She assumed the post in 2019 and the programme reflects that of her first public appearance in the role. Marin's advocacy of Hindemith's music is rooted in her days as a violin student...

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Violinist Tianwa Yang marks her fifteenth year as one of Naxos’ leading artists with a new album featuring Prokofiev’s two violin concertos. The works’ stylistic contrasts reflect the fact that they were written some twenty years apart, but they receive the same scrupulous attention to technical and musical details that hallmark every one of Tianwa’s performances. Little wonder that they consistently attract accolades and awards. F...

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An introduction to the Symphonies and Dances of composer Malcolm Arnold featuring conductor Andrew Penny who recorded all these works for Naxos. Arnolds orchestral works are a study in contrasts, from his optimistic and tuneful dance suites to his deeply personal symphonies.

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Raymond Bisha presents an overview of Boris Giltburg’s project to learn and record all of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, which are now released in a 9-CD box set edition following their inception as critically acclaimed digital releases. The recordings reflect only one facet of Giltburg’s gem of an undertaking, in that performances were also filmed and subsequently fleshed out by his extended and informative notes that accompany the...

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Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was a brilliant swordsman, athlete, violin virtuoso and gifted composer, with a claim to being the most talented figure in an age of remarkable individuals. He was an early and important exponent of the hybrid symphonie concertante, a genre that draws on both the symphony and concerto traditions. In this podcast Raymond Bisha talks with Dr Allan Badley, co-founder of Artaria Editions, th...

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August 27, 2021 20 min

Lithuanian composer Jurgis Karnavičius was born in 1884, and became one of the early classical music leaders in his country. His 3rd and 4th string quartets were composed and first performed in the 1920's, and then ignored for decades. This podcast, and the new recording by the Vilnius String Quartet show why Karnavičius deserves to be remembered.

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Significantly influenced by his experience of playing in some of the earliest Soviet jazz bands, Nikolai Kapustin trained as a pianist at the Moscow Conservatory but subsequently devoted himself to composition. His output includes many works for piano, two of which are featured on this new album — the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, along with his Chamber Symphony, Op. 57. Raymond Bisha intro...

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Raymond Bisha prefaces his latest podcast with this introduction: “Heitor Villa-Lobos, the prolific Brazilian composer of some 2,000 works, conductor, cellist, guitarist and music educationalist, wrote his three violin sonatas between 1912 and 1920. When he wrote the first sonata, he was still a struggling young composer trying to make a name for himself, while playing all kinds of gigs to pay the bills. By the time he wrote the th...

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French composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) is remembered as someone who could spin melodies as easily as he breathed. Naxos is marking the centenary of his death with a 3-CD box set that comprises all his symphonies and a sequence of atmospheric and dramatic symphonic poems, including Phaéton and the ever-popular Danse macabre. Raymond Bisha presents an overview of these recordings by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and conductor...

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July 9, 2021 20 min

With multiple GRAMMY nominations and wide critical acclaim to her credit, Joan Tower’s latest album in the Naxos American Classics series demonstrates why she is so often performed, and why she is such a respected person among American composers. Raymond Bisha presents the programme on her new release that comprises four world premiere recordings. Soloists Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion) and Blair McMillen (piano) feature alongsid...

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Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy ran one of the finest salons in pre-revolution Paris. She was well educated and well connected, with a circle of friends that ran from Luigi Boccherini to Benjamin Franklin. She was also a fine composer. Because of the social norms of the day, however, her role within Parisian culture was restricted, and none of her music was published during her lifetime. Raymond Bisha presents the world premiere record...

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Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871) was one of the most famous composers of the 19th century. Working with his lifelong collaborator, the renowned dramatist and librettist Eugéne Scribe, he gave definitive form to the uniquely French genres of grand historical opera (La Muette de Portici) and opéra-comique (Fra Diavolo). His overtures were famous all over the world, as much for their engaging titles (The Bronze Horse, The Blac...

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Raymond Bisha introduces Spanish guitarist Mabel Millán in her debut album for Naxos. A fast-rising star in the guitar world, she has already appeared at international festivals and prestigious Spanish venues, and gained numerous awards at international competitions. Her combination of nuanced musicality and technical ease illuminate her programme, from the Andalusian rhythms and atmosphere of Turina and Malats and the Romantic exp...

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April 23, 2021 20 min

In this podcast, Raymond Bisha takes us on a journey across South America, making musical stops in the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Colombia. The Inca Trails that connected these lands and their people produced a sharing of ideas and cultures: ancient traditions of indigenous sounds and rhythms fused with cultural influences of European colonisers. The composers of the works on this new album — a number...

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Raymond Bisha’s latest podcast finds him in conversation with world-renowned guitarist and lutenist Richard Savino who introduces his debut recording for Naxos that also features his renowned ensemble El Mundo. The focus of the album is a programme compiled from the remarkably fine music held in the archive of Guatemala City Cathedral, works that reflect the essence of Spanish colonies in Central and South America as wellsprings of...

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Described as having ‘natural genius’, John Abraham Fisher was a significant figure in London during the second half of the 18th century. A virtuoso violinist, he also wrote admired stage works for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. His orchestral works are largely forgotten today, but his symphonies display a surprising awareness of contemporary continental trends in their use of dynamic variations, revealing the influence of the Ma...

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Described as having ‘natural genius’, John Abraham Fisher was a significant figure in London during the second half of the 18th century. A virtuoso violinist, he also wrote admired stage works for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. His orchestral works are largely forgotten today, but his symphonies display a surprising awareness of contemporary continental trends in their use of dynamic variations, revealing the influence of the Ma...

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Aram Il’yich Khachaturian once described how he “grew up in an atmosphere rich in folk music, popular festivals, rites joyous and sad, events in the lives of people always accompanied by music… deeply engraved in my memory, that determined my musical thinking.” He remains the most renowned of 20th-century Armenian composers, whose unmistakable style came with an urge to invent new forms that reconciled Western practice with Eastern...

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Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of choral transcriptions by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) that forms part of Naxos’ Music of Brazil series. The programme represents part of Villa-Lobos’ efforts to create a body of music education resources, following his invitation in 1932 to set up an ambitious programme in the public school system in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The result was an amazing body of music for ...

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Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of orchestral works by Žibouklé Martinaityté (b. 1973). Born in Lithuania and now based in New York City, she was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lithuanian Government Award in 2020. The four works on the programme were written between 2013 and 2019 and employ a fascinating use of orchestral colour, leading New York’s classical music radio station WQXR to describe her as “a textural...

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