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1) Bill Clinton US President
Music’s loss was politics’ gain in 1962, when the first tenor saxophone in the Arkansas state band decided he’d gone as far as he could with the instrument. ‘I loved music and thought I could be very good,’ wrote Bill Clinton many years later, ‘but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz.’
2) Alastair Cook Cricketer
A chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral as a youngster, England’s cricket captain went on to take up the saxophone at school. He still plays today and, in 2008, gamely put his skills to the test by agreeing to record a solo for the soundtrack of the BBC’s animated TV series Freefonix.
3) Ronald McNair Astronaut
In January 1986, Ronald McNair, a very accomplished saxophonist, was planning to make musical history by being the first person to record a piece of new music up in space – the work in question was by composer Jean Michel Jarre, with whom he had been collaborating. Tragically, the mission it was intended for ended in catastrophe, when the Challenger space shuttle exploded soon after take-off, killing all seven crew.
4) Lisa Simpson Cartoon schoolgirl
Simpsons fans have become familiar with the baritone saxophone. In each episode’s opening sequence, Lisa, Bart Simpson’s younger sister, plays an impromptu solo in her school band before heading with her sax down the corridor. Don’t pretend you haven’t seen it.
5) Jude Law Actor
Jude Law prepared for the part of Dickie Greenleaf in the 1999 film The Talented Mr Ripley by learning the saxophone, an instrument he’s shown playing during a night out at a jazz club. That’s ‘playing’ in the loosest sense – Law puts lips to sax in ‘Tu vuò fà l’americano’ and ‘My funny Valentine’, but his fingers don’t move a great deal…
This year's First Night of the Proms is at 7.30pm on Friday 19 July 2019 and takes place at the Royal Albert Hall. It is estimated to finish at 9.45pm. You can find more about the process of how to buy tickets here.
The Prom will be broadcast live on BBC TV: the first half on BBC Two, before moving to BBC Four. As with all the Proms, it will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and available to stream on the BBC Proms website and BBC Sounds.
The yearlong BBC Our Classical Century series concludes at the First Night with a new work by Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's moon landings.
Zosha Di Castri Long is the Journey - Short is the Memory (BBC commission, world premiere)
Dvořák The Golden Spinning Wheel
Janáček Glagolitic Mass (Final version 1928, Henry Wood Novelties: UK premiere 1930)
Asmik Grigorian (soprano)
Jennifer Johnston (mezzo-soprano)
Ladislav Elgr (tenor)
Eric Owens (bass-baritone)
Peter Holder (organ)
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Karina Canellakis
In February this year, André Previn, best known for his role as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (1968-1979), sadly died aged 89. Throughout his musical career, Previn flourished as a conductor, composer and performer, winning four Academy Awards and eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
From his great accolades, we have reviewed and chosen the five best recordings of Previn's work:
Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2
LSO/ André Previn
Warner Classics 0852892
Recorded in 1973 at Kingsway Hall, London, Previn put the original, uncut version of this then-neglected symphony firmly back on the map
André Previn conducts Vaughan Williams
Soloists, LSO/André Previn
RCA 88875126952 (download)
Previn recorded this CD with the London Symphony Orchestra in the 1960s, creating one of the greatest recordings of the highly acclaimed Vaughan Williams symphonies. The interpretations here cast refreshing new light on this great cycle.
Previn Violin Concerto ‘Anne-Sophie’
Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Boston Symphony Orchestra/André Previn
Previn dedicated this violin concerto to his future wife, Anne-Sophie, and it was first performed in 2002 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The violin part was written for his fiancée and seen as a musical love letter from Previn. This work is a major statement from the composer-conductor’s later years, performed with warmth and firepower by its dedicatee
Walton Symphony No. 1
Sony G010004009424W (download only)
This four movement Symphony composed between 1931-35 was one of Walton's two symphonies. Previn’s first recording of this symphony remains remarkable for its crackling rhythmic energy and drive
Gershwin Rhapsody In Blue ; Piano Concerto
André Previn (piano), LSO
Warner Classics 2435668912
Previn performed these two well-known works by Gershwin, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra. The close bond with his orchestra can be heard, alongside a definitive display of Previn’s keyboard skills, deftly catching the music’s lyrical inventiveness and improvisatory streak
The BBC Philharmonic has launched a new service for its concert goers. The web app called Notessends information about the works being performed and the composers and performers involved live to audience members’ smart phones in the concert hall.
Users can connect via Wi-Fi or 3G to open a web browser on their phones, receiving these live updates as they correspond with specific moments in the music or events happening on stage. These notes are triggered by a member of the BBC Philharmonic team at the back of the hall, who follows a score and changes the information onscreen accordingly. All the programme notes are tweet length (around 140-200 characters), and have been road-tested for the last few months in a handful of concerts.
Those utilising this new service will be positioned in a particular area of the hall away from other audience members, so as not to disturb those around them.
The programme will fully launch in September, with Notesavailable for all concerts in the BBC Philharmonic’s main Bridgewater Hall season. Tickets for concerts with use of the Notes function cost £12.50 (£5.50 online or £3 in person to students and under 26s) and are available now here. When booking online, look for Notestickets in the Side Circle Left and Right.
Look out for our feature on Notes in an upcoming issue of BBC Music Magazine.
Ian Bostridge etc; Le Concert d’Astrée/Emmanuelle Haïm
Virgin 948 2532
Characterful instrumental playing, with Bostridge as close as anyone to the ‘speaking in song’ of the time.
Taverner Consort & Players/Andrew Parrott
Virgin 561 6622
A classic recording, with full liturgical reconstruction and phenomenally good choral and consort tuning.
Fourth Book of Madrigals
Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini
A virtuosic account of this great a capellabook.
Flaming Heart – secular choral works
I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingworth
An excellent introduction, with madrigals drawn from several books.
Every Monday, the BBC Music Magazine team choose their favourite new recordings of the past week. The tracks are compiled intoThe Playlist, which can be accessed via theBBC Music Magazine's Apple Music page.
The listings for previous playlists are featured below.
Gesualdo O vos omnes(Monteverdi Choir/John Eliot Gardiner)
William Alwyn 3 Winter Poems: No. 1, Winter Landscape(Tippett Quartet)
JS Bach Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008 (Transcribed by Rachel Podger for violin)(Rachel Podger)
Prokofiev Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat: I. Allegro inquieto – Andantino(Martin James Bartlett)
Shostakovich Symphony No. 7 ‘Leningrad’: II. Moderato (poco allegretto) (Live at Symphony Hall, Boston)(Boston Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons)
John Sheppard Missa Cantate: Gloria(The Sixteen/Harry Christophers)
Busoni Piano Concerto: II. Pezzo giocoso (Live)(Kirill Gerstein, Boston Smphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo)
JS Bach The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Fugue No. 15 in G(Steven Devine)
Kaija Saariaho Petals(Wilhemina Smith, Kaija Saariaho)
Mozart Piano Sonata No. 13 in B-flat ‘Linz’: I. Allegro(Lars Vogt)
James MacMillan Saxophone Concerto: III. Jigs(Amy Dickson, Adelaide Symphony Orchetra/Nicholas Carter)
Steve Reich Clapping Music (Live(Colin Currie, Steve Reich)
Stravinsky Three Movements from Petrushka: II. Petrushka’s Room(Alexander Ullman)
Raaf Hekkema Dido’s Lament(Eric Vloeimans, Calefax Reed Quintet, Jasper van Hulten, Gulli Gudmundsson)
Gabriel Jackson The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ: II. Anointing at Bethany(Emma Tring, Choir of Merton College, Oxford, Oxford Contemporary Sinfonia/Benjamin Nicholas)
Poulenc Flute Sonata (arr. for flute and organ): I. Allegretto malincolico(Erica Nygård, Niels Burgmann)
Roxanna Panufnik Love Abide – I. Love is the Master(Colla Voce Singers, London Mozart Players)
Niels Rosing-Schow #ViolaSounds(Rafael Altino)
Eric Whitacre Sainte-Chapelle(The Sixteen/Harry Christophers)
Couperin Pièces de viole, deuxième Suite: III. La Pompoe funèbre(Christophe Rousset, Atsushi Sakaï, Marion Martineau)
Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 2: III. Finale. Presto scherzando(Kristian Bezuidenhout, Freiburger Braockorchester/Pablo Heras-Casado
Mahler Symphony No. 3: Part II, No. 5. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck(Sara Mingardo, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln/François-Xavier Roth)
Bach BWV 974 – II Adagio (Rework)(Víkingur Ólafsson, Ryuichi Sakatmoto)
Bach Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052R: III. Allegro(Isabelle Faust, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Bernhard Forck)
Bruckner Locus iste(Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha)
Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G minor: I. Molto allegro (Live)(NDR Radiophilharmonie/Andrew Manze)
Myaskovsky Cello Sonata No. 1 in D, Op. 12: I. Adagio – Andante(Bruno Philippe, Jérôme Ducros)
Falla La vida breve, Act 1: Ah, ande la tarea, que hay que trabajar!(Gustavo Pena, Cristina Faus, Spanish Radio and Television Chorus, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Juanjo Mena)
Victoria Alma redemptoris mater(I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingworth)
John Harle RANT!(Jess Gillam, BBC Concert Orchestra/Jessica Cottis)
John Williams The Raiders March (from ‘Raiders of The Lost Ark’)(Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel)
Robert Schumann Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70(Richard Watkins, Julius Drake)
Edmund Finnis The Air, Turning(BBS Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ilan Volkov
Will Todd Songs of Renewal: I. Me renovare(Bath Camerata, Benjamin Goodson
Rachmaninov String Quratet No. 1: I. Romance(Orava Quartet)
Richard Barbieri Vibra(Richard Barbieri)
Offenbach Les Bavards, Acte I Scène 3: Air d’Inès ‘Ce sont d’étranges personnages’(Jodie Devos, Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Laurent Campellone)
Caroline Shaw Plan & Elevation: IV. The Orangery(Attacca Quartet)
JS Bach Oboe Concerto in D minor (Performed on Recorder): I. Allegro(Lucie Horsch, The Academy of Ancient Music/Bojan Cicic)
Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ, Pt. 3 ‘L’arrivée à Saïs’: Trio des Ismaélites(Prudence Davis, Sarah Beggs, Yinuo Mu, Andrew Davis)
Henry Cowell Banshee(Wilhem Latchoumia)
SibeliusSymphony No. 1: III. Scherzo(Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Santtu-Matias Rouvali)
Brahms Die schöne Magelone: Traun! Bogen und Pfeil sind gut für den Feind(John Chest, Marcelo Amaral)
Danny Elfman Violin Concerto ‘Eleven Eleven’: III. Fantasma(John Mauceri, Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Sandy Cameron)
Verdi Macbeth: Patria oppressa! (Live)(Chicago Symphony Chorus, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Riccardo Muti)
Camus Airs, à deux et trois parties: Laissez durer la nuit, impatiente Aurore(Anna Reinhold, Les Arts Florissants/William Christie)
Schubert Piano Sonata in B, III. Scherzo Allegretto(Paul Lewis)
Britten Five Flower Songs: IV. The Evening Primrose(RIAS Kammerchor/Justin Doyle)
Schumann Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor ‘Concerto Without Orchestra’: IV. Prestissimo possibilie(Jean-Efflam Bavouzet)
Rameau Hippolyte et Aricie: ‘Espoir, unique bien…’(Karine Deshayes, Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet)
Janáček String Quartet No. 2 ‘Intimate Letters’: I. Andante(Wihan Quartet)
Lutosławski Partita: V. Presto(Maksim Štšura, Michael Foyle)
Handel Concerto Grosso for Oboe and Strings in D minor: V. Allegro(Le Consort, Marta Paramo, Emilia Gliozzi, Johanne Maitre)
Michael Nyman The Diary of Anne Frank (arr. Richard Boothby): If(Iestyn Davies, Fretwork)
Reger Piano Concerto, Op. 114: III. Allegretto con spirito(Markus Becker, NDR Radiophilharmonie/ Joshua Weilerstein)
Gabriel Jackson The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ: VI. Crucifixion(Emma Tring, Guy Cutting, Choir of Merton College, Oxford)
Karl Jenkins The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace: XII. Benedictus(Karl Jenkins)
Liszt Sardanapalo: Sotto il tuo sguardo(Joyce El-Khoury, Airam Hernández, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits)
Musorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 10, The Great Gate of Kiev(London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda)
Bruno Sanfilippo Doll(Bruno Sanfilippo)
Liszt Ständchen (transc. From Schubert’s Schwanengesang No. 4)(Khatia Buniatishvili)
John Williams The Imperial March (from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back)(Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel)
Florence Price Symphony No. 1: IV. Finale(Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter)
Chopin Mazurka in B, Op. 56 No. 1(Maurizio Pollini)
Berlioz Le Carnaval Romain: Overture(Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Paul Paray)
Reinecke Cello Sonata No. 1: III. Finale. Allegro molto ed appassionato(Martin Rummel, Roland Kruger)
Mozart Piano Sonata No. 2: III. Presto(Peter Donohoe)
Nils Frahm Sweet Little Lie(Nils Frahm)
JS Bach Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor: I. Allegro(Isabelle Faust, Xenia Löffler, Bernhard Forck, Academy for Ancient Music)
Zemlinsky Clarinet Trio in D minor (Version for Violin Cello & Piano): III. Allegro(Stefan Zweig Trio)
Jean Français Imromptu for Flute and Strings: III. Scherzando(Ransom Wilson, BBC Concert Orchestra/Perry So)
Robert Schumann Phantasiestücke, Op. 88: II. Humoreske. Lebhaft (Live)(Gautier Capuçon, Martha Argerich, Renaud Capuçon)
Max Bruch Die Loreley, Op. 16, Act I: Ave Maria!(Michaela Kaune, Philharmonischer Chor Prag, Müncher Rundfunkorchester/Stefan Blunier)
Anon Ther is No Rose of Swych Virtu(The Telling)
Mozart Symphony No. 13: I. Allegro(Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen/Johannes Klumpp)
Roxanna Panufnik The Sweet Spring(Blossom Street, Annabel Thwaite, Hilary Campbell)
Robert Schumann Cello Concerto: III. Sehr lebhaft (Live)(Gautier Capuçon, Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Bernard Haitink)
Weber Piano Sonata No. 2 in A-flat: II. Andante. Ben tenuto(Paul Lewis)
Janáček String Quartet No. 2 ‘Intimate Letters’: II. Adagio – Vivace(Wihan Quartet)
Sibelius Symphony No. 3: III. Moderato – Allegro (ma non tanto)(Orchestre de Paris/Paavo Järvi)
André Campra Achille et Déidamie: ‘Timbales et trompettes’(Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet)
Corelli Concerto grosso in F: IV. Allegro(Marco Scorticati, Estro cromatico/Sara Campobasso)
Trio Tapestry Sparkle Lights(Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell, Carmen Castaldi)
Berlioz Symphonie fantastique: II. Un Bal (Transcribed for piano duet)(Jean-François Heisser, Marie-Josèphe Jude)
Schubert Octet in F, III. Allegro vivace – Trio(OSM Chamber Soloists)
Schumann Three Romances: I. Nicht Schnell(Stephen Waarts, Gabriele Carcano)
Bernstein Mass: No. 2, Hymn & Psalm. A Simple Song (Arr. for voice, flute, electric guitar, harp and organ)(Anne Sofie von Otter, Sharon Bezaly, Fabian Fredriksson, Margareta Nilsson, Bengt Forsberg)
Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga Médée: Hymen, viens dissiper une vaine frayeur(Berit Norbakken Solset, BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena)
Rzewski Four North American Ballads: No. 1, Dreadful Memories (After Aunt Molly Jackson)(Adam Swayne)
Johannes Ciconia O rosa bella, o dolce anima mia(The Telling)
Liszt Sardanapalo: Vieni! Risplendono festive faci(Damen des Opernchores des Deutschen Nationaltheaters Weimar, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits)
Florence Price Symphony No. 4: IV. Scherzo(Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter)
Hoffmeister Double Bass Quartet No. 3 in D: I. Moderato(Niek De Groot, Minna Pensola, Antti Tikkanen, Tuomas Lehto)
Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 2: III. Finale. Presto scherzando(Ronald Brautigam, Die Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens)
Haydn Concerto per il Corno da caccia in D: I. Allegro(Premysl Vojta, Martin Petrák, Haydn Ensemble Prague)
Dvořák Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World’: III. Molto vivace(Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hrusa)
Vivaldi Tito Manlio: ‘Combatta un gentil cor’ (Cecilia Bartoli, Serge Tizac, Ensemble Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi)
Giuseppe Sammartini Recorder Concerto in F: II. Siciliano(Lucie Horsch, The Academy of Ancient Music/Bojan Cicic)
CPE Bach Solo in G: II. Allegro(Anaïs Gaudemard)
Robert O’Dwyer Act I Scene I: An tráth a mbíonn an spéir fá scáil(Imelda Drumm, Irish National Opera Chorus, RTE National Symphony Orchestra/Fergus Sheil)
Ami Maayani Toccata(Elisa Netzer)
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake: Act III. No. 17 Scène: Entrée des invites (Fanfares) et la valse (Allegro)(London Symphony Orchestra/Anatole Fistoulari)
Piazzolla Tango para una ciudad(Quinteto Astor Piazzolla)
Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor: II. Langsam(Sol Gabetta, Kammerorcheser Basel/Giovanni Antonini)
Schumann Zwölf Gedichte, Op. 35 No. 5, Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend(Christian Gerhaher, Gerold Huber)
Bruch Concerto for Clarinet and Viola in E minor: III. Allegro molto(Dimitri Ashkenazy, Anton Kholodenko, Royal Baltic Festival Orchestra/Mats Liljefors)
Schoenberg Drei Klavierstücke Op. 11 No. 1: ‘Mässige Virtel’(Jeremy Denk)
Verdi et al. Messa per Rossini: 11. Agnus Dei(Veronica Simeoni, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano/Riccardo Chailly)
Ethel Smyth Violin Sonata in A minor: IV. Finale. Allegro vivace(Tasmin Little, John Lenehan)
Berlioz Harold en Italie: 3. Sérénade d’un montagnard des Abbruzes à sa maîtresse(Tabea Zimmermann, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth)
Xenakis Pléïades: IV. Mélanges(DeciBells, Domenico Melchiorre)
Schubert Symphony No. 3: IV. Presto vivace(City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner)
Vivaldi Il Giustino, Act II: Scene 1. Sento in seno ch’in pioggia di lagrime (Anastasio)(Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone, Silke Gäng)
Gulda Concerto for Cello, Wind Orchestra and Band: I. Overture(Edgar Moreau, Raphaël Merlin, Les Forces Majeures)
Roxanna Panufnik Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis: I. Magnificat(Richard Johnson, Exultate Singers/David Ogden)
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4: IV. Finale(London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda)
Weber Piano Sonata No. 2: III. Menuetto capriccioso. Presto assai(Paul Lewis)
Francis Lai Love Story – Theme (Arr. Campbell)(Jess Gillam, BBC Concert Orchestra/Ben Dawson)
Berlioz Harold in Italy: II. Marche de pèlerins chantant la prière du soir(Tabea Zimmermann, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth)
Arthur Lourié A Phoenix Park Nocturne(Vladimir Feltsman)
Ramin Djawadi The Rains of Castamere (Arr. Lawson)(VOCES8)
Philip Glass Etude No. 2(Jeremy Denk)
Tallis Suscipe quaeso Domine (prima pars)(The Gentlemen of HM Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace/Carl Jackson)
Debussy Livre I: II. Pour les tierces(Roger Muraro)
Rachmaninov Prelude in G minor, Op. 23 No. 5 (Live at Philharmonie, Berlin)(Yuja Wang)
Stravinsky The Firebird: Tableau II, XIX: Disparition du palais et des sortilèges de Kastchei, animation des chevaliers petrifies. Allegresse génerale(Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
Amy Beach Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 34: II. Scherzo. Molto vivace(Tasmin Little, John Lenehan)
Hauscha Dew and Spiderwebs(Hauschka)
Frank Horvat The Thailand HRDs: No. 5, Boonsom Nimnoi(Mivos Quartet)
Trad. Deep River (Arr. Coleridge-Taylor, Kanneh-Mason)(Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Braimah Kanneh-Mason)
Mendelssohn Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 19: No. 6 in G minor (Andante sostenuto) ‘Venetian Gondola Song’(Jan Lisiecki)
Wim Henderickx Nostalgia(Boho Strings)
Mozart Così fan tutte, Act 1: Aria ‘Come scoglio’(Héloise Mas, Alexander Sprague, Nazan Fikret, Francesco Vultaggio, European Opera Centre, Biagio Pizzuti, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Laurent Pillot)
Philip Glass Melodies for Saxophone (arr. for trumpet): No. 3(Craig Morris)
Giovanni Paisiello Partimento in F minor(Nicoleta Paraschievescu)
Ramin Djawadi The Rains of Castamere(VOCES8)
Triumphal Parade(Scottish National Jazz Orchestra/Tommy Smith)
Josquin Des Prez Miserere mei, Deus, IJ. 50: I. Miserere mei, Deus(Cappella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss)
Scriabin Sonata N. 10, Op. 70(James Kreiling)
Kaija Saariaho Cloud Trio: I. Calmo, meditato(Jennifer Koh, Hsin Yun Huang, Wilhelmina Smith)
Dowland Flow, my tears(Stile Antico)
JS Bach Keyboard Partita in D, BWV 828: VII. Gigue(Federico Colli)
Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, III. Allegro ben marcato(Joseph Swensen, Scottish Chamber Orchestra)
Bellini Norma: Casta Diva… Fine al rito(Orchestra E Coro Del Teatro Massimo Di Palermo, Jader Bignamini, Marina Rebeka)
Lyatoshinsky Symphony No. 3 ‘To the 25th Anniversary of the October Revolution’: III. Allegro feroce(Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Kirill Karabits)
Handel Armida abbandonata, HWV 105: ‘Ah crudele! E pur ten’ vai’(Emmanuelle Haïm, Le Concert d’Astrée, Sabine Devieilhe
David Lang Mystery Sonatas: No. 1, Joy(Augustin Hadelich)
Antheil Archipelago ‘Rhumba’(BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/John Storgards)
Thea Musgrave Loch Ness(Daniel Trodden, BBC National Orchestra of Wales/William Boughton)
Cheryl Frances-Hoad Love Bytes(Verity Wingate, Philip Smith, Beth Higham-Edwards, Anna Menzies, George Jackson)
Lutosławski Symphony No. 1: III. Allegretto misterioso(Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu)
Purcell King Arthur, Z628, Act 1: ‘I Call, I Call’(Stefanie True, Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier)
Finzi Violin Concerto: I. Allegro(Ning Feng, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Carlos Miguel Prieto)
Brahms Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79 No. 2 in G minor – Molto passionato, ma non troppo allegro(Charles Owen)
Copland Letters from Home (Version for Chamber Orchestra)(BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/John Wilson
Szymanowski Nocturne and Tarantella in E minor, Op. 28: I. Nocturne(Jennifer Pike, Petr Limonov)
Beethoven Fidelio, Op. 72: O welche Lust(James Gaffigan, Zürcher Sing-Akademie, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester)
Liszt Études d’exécution transcendante d’après Paganini: No. 1 in G minor(Elisa Tomellini)
Corelli Violin Sonata in C Op. 5 No. 3 (transcribed for viola da gamba): III. Adagio(Lucile Boulanger)
Mozart String Quintet No. 5: IV. Allegro(Klenke Quartett, Harald Schoneweg)
Saint-Saëns Ascanio, Acte I, Tableau 1: Scène 1 ‘Très bien!’(Jean-François Lapointe, Joé Bertili, Chœrs de la Haute École de Musique de Genève/Guillaume Tourniaire
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 III. Allegro con fuoco(Xiayin Wang, Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Peter Oundjian
Purcell Come Ye Sons of Art (Birthday Ode for Queen Mary): ‘Strike the Viol, Touch the Lute’(Tim Mead, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien/François Lazarevitch)
Aleksander Sedlar Savcho 3(Nemanja Radulovic, Double Sense, Stéphanie Fontanarosa/Aleksander Sedlar)
Barbara Strozzi Arie, Op. 8 No. 2: ‘Che si può fare’(Emoke Baräth, Il Pomo d’Oro/Francesco Corti)
Josef Suk 6 Piano Pieces, Op. 7: No. 1, Liebeslied (arr. for violin and orchestra)(Eldbjørg Hemsing, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra/Alan Buribayev)
Scheidemann Pavana Lachrymae in D minor(Yoann Moulin)
Beethoven String Quartet in E minor ‘Razumovsky’: III. Allegretto(Elias String Quartet)
Mozart Violin Sonata in D Major, K306: III. Allegretto(Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov)
Moteverdi Vespro della Beata Vergine: VIII. Paslmus 126. Nisi Dominus a dieci voci(Bruno Boterf, Ludus Modalis)
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake, Act 1 (1877 Version): No. 8, Danse des coupes. Tempo di polacca(State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’/Vladimir Jurowski
John Harbison Requim, Pt. 1: II. Sequence I. Dies irae(Nashville Chorus, Nashville Symphony/Giancarlo Guerrero)
Richard Strauss 5 Lieder, Op. 41: No. 1, Wiegenlied(Arabella Steinbacher, WDR Symphony Orchestra/Lawrence Foster)
Parry English Lyrics, Set 12: No. 7, The Sound of Hidden Music(Sarah Fox, Andrew West)
Andrzej Panufnik I Kwartet smyczkowy: III. Postlude(Apollon Musagete Quartett)
Chopin Piano Sonata No. 2: II. Scherzo (Live)(Eric Lu)
Szymanowski Nocturne & Tarantella in E minor, Op. 28: II. Tarantella(Jennifer Pike, Peter Limonov)
Einaudi Life (Live)(Angèle Dubeau, La Pietà)
Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli 6 Sonatas for Violin and Continuo, Op. 3: Sonata No. 2 ‘La Cesta’(Elicia Silverstein, Mauro Valli)
Dvořák Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor: II. Poco adagio (Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt)
Florence Price Symphony No. 4: III. Juba Dance(Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter)
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 16: III. Allegro di molto(Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Manchester Camerata, Gábor Takács-Nagy
Haydn Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 30 No. 5: I. Allegro con brio(Roman Rabinovich)
Johann Strauss I Radetzky-Marsch, Op. 228(Christian Theilemann, Vienna Philharmonic
Arvo Pärt Passacaglia (Victoria Mullova, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi)
Michael Higgins The Angel Gabriel(Sonoro/Neil Ferris)
Debussy Cello Sonata in D minor: I. Prologue. Lent. Sostenuto e molto risoluto(Jean-Guiden Queyras, Javier Perianes)
Massanet Hérodiade, Act 1: ‘Celiu dont la parole efface… Il est doux, il est bon’ (Salomé)(Elsa Dreisig, Orchestre national Montpellier Occitanie/Michael Schonwandt
Poulenc Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani in G minor: I. Andante (Live)(James O’Donnell, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin)
Schumann Fantasiestücke Op. 72: I. Zart und mit Ausdruck(Sol Gabetta, Bertrand Chamayou)
Gurney Since I Believe in God the Father Almighty(Teberae/Nigel Short)
Peter Gregson Bach: The Cello Suites: Recomposed by Peter Gregson – Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007: I. Prelude(Peter Gregson, Richard Harwood, Reinoud Ford, Tim Lowe, Ben Chappell, Katherine Jenkinson)
JS Bach Concerto in D minor, BWV 974: III. Presto(Víkingur Ólafsson)
Purcell King Arthur, Act 1: ‘Come If You Dare’(Robert Buckland, Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier)
Messiaen La Nativité du Seigneur: V. Les enfants de Dieu(Richard Gowers)
George Onslow String Quartet No. 29 in E-flat, Op. 73Elan Quintet)
Cécile Chaminade Arabesque No. 1, Op. 61(Mark Viner)
Enescu Strigoii, Pt. 3:Bătrânu-și pleacă geana și iar rămâne orb(Alin Anca, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Gabriel Bebeșelea)
Max Richter Mary Queen of Scots: The Shores of Scotland
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake, Act II (1877 version): No. 13a, Danses des cygnes I. Tempo di valse
Emilie Mayer Symphony No. 4: IV. Presto (Neubrandenburg Philharmonie/Stefan Malzew)
Weber Clarinet Quintet in B-flat Major: IV. Rondo - Allegro giocoso (Julian Bliss & Carducci String Quartet)
John Hess Vous, qui passez sans me voir (Julien Behr, Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon/Pierre Bleuse)
John Francis Wade Adeste fideles (arr. M Suzuki for Choir and Organ) (Bach Collegium Japan Chorus/Masato Suzuki & Masaaki Suzuki)
Schumann Fantasiestücke: I. Zart und mit Ausdruck (Sol Gabetta, Bertrand Chamayou)
Domenico Sarro Messa a 5 voci: 'Laudamus te' (Maxim Emelyanychev, Jakub Józef Orliński, Il Pomo d'Oro)
Holst Invocation Op. 19 No. 2 (Guy Johnston, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Davis)
Dowland Come, Heavy Sleep (Grace Davidson, David Miller)
Schumann Humoreske Op. 20: II. Hastig (William Youn)
RO Morris Love Came Down at Christmas (arr. Stephen Cleobury) (Stephen Cleobury, Henry Websdale, Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
Tchaikovsky The Seasons Op. 37a: XII. December. Christmas (Barry Douglas)
Berlioz Roméo et Juliette: Pt. 3, Finale - Oath of Reconciliation (San Francisco Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Michael Tilson Thomas)
Elgar Chanson de nuit (Hallé Orchestra/Mark Elder)
James Burton Tomorrow Shalle Be My Dancing Day (Jack Hawkins, Michael Bell, James Adams, Joseph Wicks, Choir of St John's College, Cambridge)
Julian Anderson Heaven is Shy of Earth: III. Gloria (With Bird) (Susan Bickley, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Oliver Knussen)
Richard Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1: III. Rondo. Allegro (Live) (William Caballero, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck)
Derek Bermel Murmurations: I. Gathering at Gretna Green (ROCO)
Frank Martin Ballade for Flute & Piano (Bridget Bolliger, Andrew West)
Debussy Violin Sonata in G minor: III. Finale. Très animé (Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov)
Anonymous Now May We Singen (ORA Singers/Suzi Didby)
Rachmaninov Prelude in G minor Op. 23 No. 5 (Live at Philharmonie, Berlin/2018) (Yuja Wang)
James Newton Howard Violin Concerto: II. Andante semplice (James Ehnes, Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Cristian Măcelaru)
Sally Beamish In the Stillness (Sonoro/Neil Ferris)
Parry Suite moderne (arr. J Dibble for Orchestra): III. Romanza. Lento (BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Rumon Gamba)
Jonathan Dove A Brief History of Creation: X. Whales Return to the Sea (Hallé Children's Choir, Hallé Orchestra/Mark Elder)
Purcell King Arthur, Act 1: 'Come if You Dare' (Robert Buckland, Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier)
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 4 (Live at Kimmel Center, Philadelphia) (Daniil Trifonov, The Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin)
Fagerlund Höstsonaten, Act 1: charlotte Andergast! Vilken konstnär! (Krista Kujala, Mari Sares, Jere Martikainen, Jarmo Ojala, Finnish National Opera Chorus, Finnish National Opera Orchestra/John Storgards
Julian Anderson Heaven is Shy of Earth: III. Gloria (With Bird) (Susan Bickley, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Oliver Knussen)
Zemlinsky Albumblatt (Erinnerung aus Wien) (William Youn)
Schreker The Birthday of the Infanta: Suite I. Reigen (Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta)
Mozart Violin Concerto No. 1 K.207: III. Presto (Nikolaj Znaider, London Symphony Orchestra)
Tchaikovsky The Seasons, Op. 37a, TH 135: XII. December. Christmas (Barry Douglas)
Holst In the Bleak Midwinter (Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Isata Kanneh-Mason)
Glazunov The Seasons ‘L’été: No. 9, Scène de l’été (Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Kitayenko
JS Bach Prelude & Fugue BVW 855a: Prelude No. 10 in B minor (Vikingur Ólafsson)
Magnus Lindberg Tempus fugit Pt. 1 (Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu)
Gurney Since I Believe in God the Father Almighty (Tenebrae/Nigel Short)
Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker Act 1: No. 6 Clara and the Nutcracker (Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel)
Ravel Ma mère l’Oye Suite, M. 60: V. Le jardin féerique (Prague Philharmonia/Emmanuel Villaume)
Eric Whitacre Deep Field: Earth Choir (Eric Whitacre Singers, Virtual Choir 5, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Eric Whitacre)
'Performed with great eloquence'
This week's free download is Parry's Elegy for Brahms, performed by the Gävle Symphony Orchestra under Jaime Martín and recorded on the Ondine label. The recording was awarded four stars for performance and five for recording in the May issue of BBC Music Magazine.
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Vaughan Williams discovers Walt Whitman and studies withMaurice Ravel, who both influence his first great orchestral works. This continuously choral symphony sets words from Walt Whitman’sSea Drift andPassage to India, abridged by the composer. The four movements relate to an expanded classical symphonic design of opening Allegro, slow movement, Scherzo, and Finale. Their titles are: ‘A Song for All Seas, All Ships’, ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’, ‘The Waves’, and ‘The Explorers’.
Premiere: October 1910
Leeds Town Hall
Leeds Festival Chorus/Orchestra
On 12 October 1910, his 38th birthday, RalphVaughan Williams (VW) stepped onto the podium in Leeds Town Hall to conduct the Leeds Festival Chorus and Orchestra in the first performance of his Sea Symphony. The journey towards the self-knowledge to achieve this epic masterwork had been long and unpredictable. VW had been no prodigy, and his childhood musical progress seems to have owed as much to application as to natural facility.
At Trinity College, Cambridge, he read history while also studying at the Royal College of Music in London – first with Charles Wood, then with Charles Stanford. ‘Stanford was a great teacher,’ he later wrote. ‘But I believe I was unteachable.’
Marriage to the reserved and beautiful Adeline Fisher was followed by many years of musical apprenticeship in London where, despite a family allowance that meant he did not need to earn a living, VW worked conscientiously as a church organist and choral conductor.
Much energy was also going into collecting English folksongs. He was beginning to sense how the melodic qualities of this treasure house of material could generate the possibility of larger orchestral forms, and a musical voice of uncanny vividness began to emerge in In the Fen Country (1904) and the fetchingly beautiful Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1 (1906). Other factors were coming together, too. Toward the Unknown Region (1907) was the first product of a life-changing encounter with the verse of Walt Whitman and its tone of aspirational, mind-expanding spiritual adventure. Meanwhile, the wistful regretfulness of Whitman’s polar opposite among poets, AE Housman, inspired another major achievement: the chamber song-cycle On Wenlock Edge (1909).
By now the 30-something composer, still sensing a need to learn, had taken himself to Berlin to study with Max Bruch, then to Paris. There, Maurice Ravel gave his English pupil’s music what Vaughan Williams later liked to describe as some ‘French polish’. Ravel’s teaching amounted to a lot more than ‘polish’: it was the decisive element that finally set VW’s imagination free to roam on the largest scale. He recalled how the French master-composer showed him ‘how to orchestrate in points of colour rather than in lines’.
A Sea Symphony had begun life as The Ocean in 1903. So the six years of its creation charted the composer’s parallel journey of self-discovery – by way of the first movement’s broad choral and orchestral strokes (a sturdy tribute to Stanford and Parry), and towards the spiritual immensities searched out with shimmering, Ravel-inspired mastery in the symphony’s finale, ‘The Explorers’. The unforgettable setting of Whitman’s invocation to ‘Steer for the deep waters only’ made its own point: here was a composer now fully equipped to do so.
Isobel Bailie (soprano), John Cameron (baritone)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Adrian Boult
Decca 473 2412 (5 discs)
‘I love all films that start with rain…’ writes the poet Don Paterson. But how has rain been rendered in music? Is the mood of a rainy day necessarily melancholic and disappointing or can the rhythm of a good downpour suggest something joyful or cathartic? We have chosen six of the best examples of how rain has been made in music.
‘Still Falls the Rain’ is the refrain that we hear throughout Britten’s setting of Edith Sitwell’s anti-war poem about the Blitz in London, ‘The Raids, 1940. Night and Dawn.’ It is set for horn, piano and tenor.
The refrain plays an instrumental role: the changing quality and dynamic of this repetition helps the listener to hear and feel the anger, despair and elegiac lament of the poem, as well as what Heather Wiebe describes as its ‘bleak fixity.’ This sense of stasis conveys the horror and sacrifice of war.
A sudden rain shower can create both distance and intimacy. It can often induce a meditative or dream-like mood in the adult, or for the child who cannot go out to play. It is thought Chopin’s ‘Raindrop Prelude’ was indeed inspired by a dream, according to his partner George Sand’s account of the moment of composition.
In her autobiography, Sand writes that: ‘He saw himself drowned in a lake – heavy, icy drops of water falling rhythmically on his chest - and when I had him listen to the drops of water falling rhythmically on the roof, he denied having heard it. He was even angry at what I translated by the expression ‘imitative harmony.’’
This story is part of the mythology that surrounds the magic of this intimate, introspective piece.
Britten’s opera for children, Noye’s Fludde, depicts the dramatic story of Noah’s Ark. The sound of the first drops of this epic deluge is actually made and inspired by domestic objects: the china mug and the wooden spoon.
Britten’s assistant, Imogen Holst, recalls her own involvement in this moment of experimental composition shared with Britten: ‘I had once to teach Women’s Institute percussion groups during a wartime ‘social half hour’, so I was able to take him into my kitchen and show him how a row of china mugs hanging on a length of string could be hit with a large wooden spoon.’
‘Jardins sous la pluie’ or ‘Gardens in the Rain’ is from Debussy’s Estampes for solo piano. It evokes the light and colour of a spring shower through its trembling, fluid and slightly frenetic sound. It also seems to capture the delicate quality of each raindrop through this rapidity of notes.
Pianist Stephen Hough writes that ‘Debussy’s discovery of new sounds at the piano is directly related to the physiology of hands on keyboard.’ As we are transported by the intense mood of rain communicated in this piece, we are also experiencing the physicality of the piano and the movement of fingers in a new way.
Rain in this piece is a response to the monsoon rains returning in India, and is inspired by an extract of verse from the Hindu text, Bhagavata Purana. The piece captures the sense of sudden rain, its syncopating rhythmic energy, and the change, renewal and growth it brings.
It also becomes a metaphor for the process of creativity itself, as Weir describes: ‘Whilst I composed it, as the notes and the pages multiplied, I began to think of a comparison with the arrival of the monsoon in India, when aridity is pierced by life-giving rain; and humans, animals and vegetation revel in sudden activity and fertility.’
How does rain sound? In the Rain investigates and experiments with how we hear its changing rhythms. Adams encourages us to attend to the sonic expression of the natural world, as well how the rain encounters and catches on objects and surfaces. There is a numinous, otherworldly quality to this work.
Words by Laura Helyer
The historical journey of choral music is a fascinating one. It’s journeyed from plainchant, sung in a strict liturgical settings by monks underneath the spires of great churches and cathedrals across Europe; meandered through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries with newfound polyphonic and harmonic purpose thanks to the pioneering compositions of Byrd, Bach and Beethoven; and evolved further and dissected by early 20th century composers such as Mahler, Schoenberg and Britten.
Fast-forward to today and choral music is thriving. Communal singing is more alive than ever in local choirs, choral societies and churches, and new works are being churned out year on year. So to help freshen up your listening sessions and unearth some more hidden gems from the present day, we’ve decided to share five contemporary choral works that deserve your attention.
Judith Bingham – First Light
Written in 2001 by British composer Judith Bingham for the Winchester-based Waynflete singers, First Light is set to a poem by Mark Shaw about the Incarnation - the religious belief that God became man through Jesus Christ. Bingham plunges listeners into atmospheric uncertainty from the offset of this piece, thanks to her macabre harmonic language and dynamic writing for brass ensemble and choir. The singing itself is epic, fluctuating between delicately sung passages and moments of thunder.
John Adams – Harmonium
John Adams’s Harmonium is a wondrous, sonic treat for the ears. Composed between 1980 and 1981, the piece pulses with layers of minimalist textures similar to those heard in the works of other composers of this era including Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Adams uses these layers of sound to drive the music forward in its most epic moments, and provide an ethereal backdrop in others.
Magnus Lindberg – Graffiti
The clash of old and new comes to a head in this 2009 work by Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg. The piece's sung text directly derives from vandalism found in Ancient Roman cities, using the Latin language to bring to life the scribbles in and around Pompeii and Herculaneum. The choral writing itself ventures through dramatic, eerie and chaotic soundworlds, reaching an exhilirating climax when the choir’s complex polyrhythmic patterns unite in force. It’s a distorted ode to a world once dominated by the Roman Empire that feels further away than ever.
Meredith Monk – Panda Chant II
Now for something a little different - a work written by avant-garde composer and vocal improviser Meredith Monk. 'Panda Chant II' is taken from Monk's 1983 science-fiction opera The Games, written for 16 voices, synthesizer, keyboards, Flemish bagpipes, Chinese horn and rauschpfeife. The Games is set in a post-nuclear future, where citizens take part in ritualistic games in order to save themselves and the remainder of civilisation. 'Panda Chant II' highlights the flexibility of the human voice as it morphs into the sound of our furry friends.There’s no denying the barminess on show in this minute-and-a-half musical thrill ride of overlapping rhythms, but it’s an incredibly fun piece of music – especially when you add in body percussion of rhythmic stamps and claps.
Eric Whitacre - Lux Aurumque
A translation of the poem Light and Gold by Edward Esch, Lux Aurumque was originally a piece for wind ensemble before being fully introduced to the world as a choral work by composer Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir in 2009. It’s a stunning piece of contemporary choral music, in which Whitacre keeps listeners guessing with every chord, while, at the same time, dazzling with transcendent textures. The final chord is one of pure bliss, and is the cherry on top of an arguably perfect piece of choral music.
This article was written by Alex Weston, a baritone in the London Contemporary Voices.
The London Contemporary Voices will be performing at the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall on Saturday 18 May in a concert exploring the themes of order, disorder and chaos alongside Elena Tonra from the band Daughter, Faroese artist Eivør, folk musician Rachel Sermanni, Indian singer Deepa Nair Rasiya and more.