Ethel_Smyth

Ethel Smith | CBW 27

Trio for piano, violin and cello in D minor by Ethel Smith

What do you do when your work is characterized as lacking feminine charm if it is too powerful and energetic, but less than the artistic standard of your male colleagues if it’s delicate and melodious? You get involved in the suffrage movement, you compose its anthem and even spend two months in jail for the cause (albeit, after doing some private property damage).… Read more

Brass Instruments

Fanfare on the Danube | CBW26

2. “Song of June” by Jonathan Harvey

A short and beautiful chorus work by Jonathan Harvey.

IDAGIO and Amazon for: Nigel Short, Tenebrae

“Song of June” by Jonathan Harvey || Nigel Short, Tenebrae

1. “Sinfonietta” by Leoš Janáček

I adore fanfare music. It’s a soft spot of mine since I was a child and I would go and listen to the marching band on the bank of the Danube on Navy Day.… Read more

viola da gamba

Unexciting June | CBW25

This June has not been a stimulating month in terms of musical discoveries and by the looks of next week, it doesn’t seem to improve much. This week was just a bundle of generic background classical music. The only piece that raised my curiosity a bit was the prelude from 27 Pieces for Viola da Gamba by Carl Friedrich Abel, a close friend of J.… Read more

Skylark

The Simple Things in Life | CBW24

2. The Frog Galliard by John Dowland

Choreographed steps, a cadence (a large jump landing with one leg ahead of the other) and a lavolta (a controversial intimate move, in which the man picks up the woman and spins her in the air, considered inappropriate by some). All these are part of the most popular Renaissance dance throughout Europe in the 16th century: the galliard.… Read more

Spartacus & Phrygia

Tragic Love and Nordic folklore | CBW23

2. Ribers no. 8 – traditional danish

Three children went on a music summer camp. They played football. They played the violin. They became friends. Fast forward into the present, Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (violin), Frederik Øland (violin) and Asbjørn Nørgaard (viola) are now the funding members of the Danish String Quartet, alongside the cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.… Read more

rite-of-spring

A fest of claviers and pagan rituals | CBW22

3. French Suite no. 5 in G major, BWV 816 by Johann Sebastian Bach

This is the fifth French suite written by Bach for harpsichord in the 1720s’. Their purpose was for teaching, being practice pieces which have some complexity without being over demanding at the same time. This is most likely the reason why they were never published by Bach, keeping them for his private use as they weren’t particularly intricate or meaningful enough to present them at court.… Read more

Roberto Alagna - Pagliacci

Tragedy, Beethoven and a Guitar | CBW21

3. Milonga by Jorge Cardoso

On third place we have the most famous work of the Argentinian guitarist and composer Jorge Cardoso, namely Milonga. Akin to its composer, who is also a teacher, a medical doctor and a researcher, Milonga stands for several things: it is a musical genre from Argentina and Uruguay, a dance similar to the tango, but faster and more relaxed in movements and a weekly event where people play and dance Argentinian tango, along with valses and milongas.… Read more

Theorbo

Lute trumps piano | CBW20

4. Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) by Gustav Mahler
 The song of sorrow shall ring laughingly in your soul.
When the sorrow comes, blasted lie the gardens of the soul,
wither and perish joy and singing.
Dark is life, dark is death!
[…]
The heavens are ever blue and the Earth
shall stand sure, and blossom in the spring.
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Jussi Bjorling

War and Love | CBW 19

3. “Spitfire Prelude & Fugue” by William Walton

We start the week with a man that left no important legacy, being considered more often than not as old-fashioned in his style: Sir William Turner Walton. Why are we doing this? Because I have a soft spot for wartime music, which is precisely what Spitfire Prelude & Fugue is: the score of the film The First of the Few, directed by Lesley Howard.… Read more

One violin show | CBW 18

1. “Violin Concerto in E minor, op. 64” by Felix Mendelssohn

For the second week in a row, we have some pretty weak musical choices. I’m not sure whether it’s solely the music or my mood, but this week felt like it was dedicated to boredom. There were no interesting works in it except for this Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn, and we’re talking about skipping compositions by Mozart, Debussy and Schubert.… Read more