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.
Bach-Rheinberger - The Goldberg Variations
Raymond Bisha's latest podcast introduces the world premiere recording of Joseph Rheinberger's arrangement for two pianos of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Composed by Bach in 1741, the work fell into oblivion before re-emerging as part of a movement of discovery generations later. In order to breathe new life into them, such masterpieces might undergo arrangements, transcriptions and other manipulations. In this case, Rheinberger's 1883 version adds new parts to Bach's original score.
Introduction to Peter Boyer's Rhapsody in Red White and Blue
George Gershwin's ever popular Rhapsody in Blue was first performed in February 1924. To mark the centenary of that celebrated event, pianist Jeffrey Biegel commissioned composer Peter Boyer to write a work for piano and orchestra that would be a 21st-century partner to Gershwin's original. Raymond Bisha talks to both composer and soloist about the gestation of this celebratory new work that captures a similar propulsive energy, while interweaving allusions to blues influences and lyrical evocations of American vistas.
Abbey Simon plays Chopin
Raymond Bisha introduces a programme of works for piano and orchestra by Chopin, performed by legendary pianist Abbey Simon. Once hailed by renowned critic Harold C. Schonberg of The New York Times as a “supervirtuoso”, Simon was a great American pianist in the great Romantic tradition, who imbued his effortless virtuoso technique with a uniformly clear sound. Having passed away in 2019 at the age of ninety-nine, most of his recorded output was for the VOX label. This album includes Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, Fantasy on Polish Airs and the Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brillante.
Same River Twice
Raised in Medellín, Colombia, Billy Arcila has lived in the United States for over 40 years, where he teaches and performs as one of California’s foremost guitarists. In this podcast, Raymond Bisha presents the first album to be made of his music. Performed by the composer himself, it contains works written across Ancila's entire compositional life, from his first published work to his most recent. Interspersed with the music of other admired composers, Arcila’s autobiographical guitar music embraces the nostalgic, the verdant and the vibrant. This album also includes music by Fabio Salazar Orozco, Jorge Becerra, Gustavo Gómez Ardila, Sam Bigney and others.
The Valencia Baryton Project plays Haydn
A podcast featuring the Valencia Baryton Project and their new recording of music by Franz Joseph Haydn. Haydn was music director of the Esterházy Court at Eisenstadt for twenty-five years. It was where Prince Nikolaus commissioned him to write trios for the baryton, a bowed, stringed instrument similar to the viol but with extra plucked strings that enabled performers to accompany themselves. Haydn wrote string trios (baryton, viola, cello) of elegance, refinement and poise that encapsulate a rich variety of moods, a selection of which is introduced on this podcast by Raymond Bisha. Seldom performed or recorded, the baryton trios attest to Haydn’s limitless powers of invention in every medium.
Leopold Godowsky Complete Piano Works with Konstantin Scherbakov finally finished!
Raymond Bisha introduces the fifteenth and final volume in Konstantin Scherbakov's recordings of the complete piano works of Leopold Godowsky, on the Marco Polo label, in which the programme comprises a number of the arrangements Godowsky made of Chopin's Études. Reflecting on his mammoth undertaking, the virtuoso pianist notes that “this project to record Leopold Godowsky's complete piano works began in 1997 and has taken me 26 years to complete. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this is one of the largest and most important recording projects of the piano repertoire, through which many works have received their premiere recordings.”
More Women Please!
Please include works by female composers! There are a lot to choose from.