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Five years into the celebrated Naxos Music of Brazil series, we reach Vol. 21 and the music of Oscar Lorenzo Fernández (1897-1948), who was a key figure in the cultural life of Rio de Janeiro. Lorenzo Fernández’s two symphonies suffered neglect after the composer’s untimely death at the age of fifty. Raymond Bisha introduces the world premiere reco…
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Smetana's Má vlast is an unprecedented cycle of six related symphonic poems that evoke Czech legends and celebrate the beauty of the country’s landscapes. Received with “unending storms of applause” at its 1882 premiere, Má vlast reflects the unique characteristics that form the heart and soul of the Czech nation. Raymond Bisha introduces an acclai…
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Pianist Quynh Nguyen discusses her recording of the complete piano works of Paul Chihara, the distinguished American composer whose output includes the scores for over 100 motion pictures and television series. Past exchanges between performer and composer about the items on the programme reflect an intensely deep and detailed collaboration, with A…
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During his lifetime, Charles Martin Loeffler was one of the most performed American composers. His octet was completed in 1896, played twice the following year and then forgotten. Clarnetist Graeme Steele Johnson rediscovered the manuscript in the Library of Congress, took a year to create a performing edition from the score, and recorded the work …
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JoAnn Falletta, conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, discusses a programme of orchestral works by composer/conductor Lukas Foss, who was both a predecessor of hers in Buffalo and a mentor to her. Highlighting his eclecticism as a composer, who went wherever his mind took him, Raymond Bisha discusses the performers' latest album, which f…
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This podcast spotlights Israeli mandolinist Alon Sariel, who provides an entree into the engaging world of the mandolin, an instrument that perhaps enjoys a relatively low profile but commands a fascinating global reach. Alon Sariel's second album of transcriptions of works by J. S. Bach for mandolin blends technical precision with nuanced artistry…
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Louis Wayne Ballard (1931-2007) – also known as 'Honganozhe', which means 'Stands with Eagles' in the Quapaw language – was the first indigenous North American composer of art music, and his extensive knowledge of the music, dance and mythology of this culture informed his compositions. This podcast reviews a new album of his works that are eclecti…
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In January 2024, Finnish accordionist/conductor Janne Valkeajoki released a captivating album of music by French Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau, which Valkeajoki himself arranged for his instrument. Raymond Bisha's conversation with the performer delves into the various musical transformations and performance mechanics that were involved in …
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Orfeo Vecchi was held in high regard by his contemporaries for the sacred music he produced towards the end of the 16th century. Raymond Bisha introduces a new recording of the twenty pieces that comprise his third book of Motets for Six Voices. The works form a rich, eclectic programme, and the performances by Cappella Musicale Eusebiana directed …
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Raymond Bisha introduces a new album of works for string quartet by Florence Price and Leo Sowerby, who were both prominent members of the Chicago music community in the 1930s and 1940s. Most of Florence Price’s compositions remained unpublished at her death, and her String Quartet in A minor was not performed in her lifetime. Her Five Folksongs in…
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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 underg…
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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…
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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 …
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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…
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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 th…
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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 t…
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Conductor Stanisław Skrowaczewski spent 19 years as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, from 1960 to 1979, during which time he developed it into one of the finest orchestras in North America. They made many recordings together, mostly for the VOX and Mercury labels, from which Raymond Bisha has selected two remastered albums from the VOX ca…
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Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos was also an accomplished guitarist and cellist, and his wonderful music for the latter instrument takes full advantage of the lyrical and dramatic capabilities of the instrument. In this episode of Naxos Classical Spotlight, Raymond Bisha explores a new recording of his two Cello Concertos, together with his Fa…
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As the record label Delos Productions turns 50, we celebrate with an interview with pianist Carol Rosenberger who, with her friend Amelia Haygood, helped create the Delos label for which Carol also did many recordings. As a concert pianist, record executive and also as polio survivor, Carol's story is one of courage, determination and grace.…
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This podcast features Raymond Bisha in conversation with conductor Kenneth Kiesler about the rediscovery, rescue and reconstruction of two operas by James P. Johnson (1894–1955), De Organizer with a libretto by Langston Hughes, and The Dreamy Kid, with words by Eugene O'Neill. JP Johnson was renowned as an influential jazz pianist but was largely u…
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Another podcast featuring historic recordings on the VOX label, this one explores the recordings of Tchaikovsky’s music by the Utah Symphony Orchestra under Maurice Abravanel, who was the ensemble’s music director for more than 30 years. From the performances, to the production team of Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz, the liner notes by Richard Fre…
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This podcast features American composer Jennifer Higdon in a wide-ranging conversation with Raymond Bisha, during which she describes the long swathe of influences on her composing career. The musical spotlights comprise extracts from her latest recording for Naxos of two powerfully engaging works: the Concerto for Orchestra, written in 2002 and de…
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