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Nobody has done more in recent years to promote the music of Ralph Vaughan-Williams in recent years than Albion Records, the record label of the Ralph Vaughan-Williams Society. So to celebrate the English composer's 150th birthday this year I asked John Francis, Vice-Chairman of the Ralph Vaughan-Williams Society to guide me through his life and music through recordings of lesser-known Vaughan-Willams works on the Albion Records label.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
Celebrating his 150th anniversary this year is the Russian composer, poet and visionary Alexander Scriabin who, in his short life undertook a compositional journey that took him from a frustrated piano virtuoso who idolized Chopin to a radical modernist who prophesized that a concert of his mystical music in Tibet would bring about the end of the world. Helping me explore the life and work of this unique figure I'm delighted to be rejoined on the show by Cambridge Russian music Professor Marina Frolova-Walker.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
Undoubtedly one of the great orchestral success stories in recent years has been that of Sinfonia of London, formed by conductor John Wilson in 2019. Their albums have consistently received a whole host of awards, demonstrating the orchestra’s great virtuosity and versatility.Their latest recording sees them delving into one of my favourite genres, with a selection of music from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to chat to John not only about the album itself, but also about the history of Sinfonia of London, his thoughts on some favourite recordings with the orchestra so far, plus a look ahead to future releases, including an exclusive preview of their forthcoming album of music by Rachmaninoff.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
As both a world-class performer and an advocate for her instrument, Sarah Willis is an inspiration to a generation of horn players, so I was somewhat star-struck to talk to her for this week's episode. Despite the unceasing travel difficulties and upheaval of the past two years, Sarah has been continuing to spend time in Cuba working with Cuban instrumentalists and composers. The fruits of this can be heard on her two *Mozart y Mambo* albums from July 2020 and September 2022, where she sets Mozart's magnificent horn concertos alongside traditional and contemporary Cuban dances. We dig into what makes this music tick, and how a cross-cultural collaboration can combine faithfulness to its ingredients with a knowing and sometimes irreverent angle on the canon.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
The relationship between musicians' lives and the music they create is one the most discussed and debated aspects of music, and examinations of the lives of great musicians is almost as old as their music itself.  Three authors who produced highly praised music biographies in 2020 were Philip Clark, on the Jazz great Dave Brubeck, Oliver Craske on the Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar and Oliver Soden on the British composer Michael Tippett, and on this week's show I was delighted to welcome all three for a round table discussion on the art of music biography.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
One of the most outstanding releases so far this year has been a remarkable collection of live recordings by the great Czech conductor Karel Ančerl, and I was delighted to be joined not only by regular guest Rob Cowan to discuss the set, but also by Matouš Vlčinský, who produced the set for Supraphon Records. The recordings, made between 1950 and 1968 show Ančerl's mastery in a wide variety of repertoire, and the numerous recordings of Czech music also gave us the opportunity to explore Bohemian musical culture.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
For this episode, we turn our attention to the violin, and the changing styles of playing that have been documented over the past hundred years since the advent of sound recording. I was delighted to be joined by Charlotte Gardner, a freelance writer, journalist, and critic who specialises in string playing for The Gramophone and The Strad magazines, as well as contributing programme notes for the BBC orchestras and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. By focussing on a handful of hardy perennials like Bach's Sonatas and Partitas, and violin concertos by Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, we take a deep dive into some of the most characterful players down the years.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
As you may well have seen on our site and social media channels lately, Presto Music is currently celebrating a double anniversary, as 2021 marks not only the  20th anniversary of the website launching, but also 35 years since the first Presto shop opened in Leamington Spa. So it seemed fitting that we invite the boss, Chris O'Reilly,  onto the show to tell us how he came to find himself working for Presto Music in 2001, how he helped it  develop into one of the leading indepenent music specialists, and explain the ethos of the business.  Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
My guests this week are the members of The Hermes Experiment, a contemporary music quartet made up of Heloise Werner (soprano and co-director), Oliver Pashley (clarinet), Anne Denholm (harp),  Marianne Schofield (doube bass), and the group's co-director Hanna Grzeskiewicz. Having just releases their second album,*Song*, for Delphian Records, the group tell me about the rewards and challenges of running an ensemble with such an idiosyncratic combination of instruments, and have already notched up over 60 commissions from a wide variety of composers. Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954) was one of the towering musical giants of the 20th century, a man whose near mythical reputation is arguably better known than his actual recordings. This year has seen a number of reissues of his recordings, the most signifcant of which is Warner Classics's 55 disc boxset featuring many previously unpublished recordings. For this special episode of the podcast we invited critics Rob Cowan and David Hurwitz to discuss the relative merits of Furtwängler's art, and how these legendary recording hold up in the cold light of 2021.Rob Cowan is one of the UKs best loved authorities on classical music, having written for Gramophone managazine for many years, and also hosted long-running radio shows on Classic FM and BBC radio 3. Based in New York, David Hurwitz is the co-founder and executive editor of ClassicsToday.com, and in 2020 launched his very popular YouTube channel on which he regularly posts video reviews and discographical surveys. Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
This week's topic concerns musicology and musicologists... what is it, who are they, and what exactly do they get paid to do? So who better to ask than one of them, Daniel Elphick, a musicologist and researcher who has recently started his own YouTube which sets out to demistify things for the layman.  Daniel is currently working as a Teaching Fellow in Music at Royal Holloway, University of London (having also taught at Manchester, Goldsmiths, and Buckinghamshire New University), his research focusing on the history and analysis of Russian and East-European music since the 19th century, as well as music and politics more broadly. Dan’s first book, Music Behind the Iron Curtain was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019, and he is currently preparing a volume on socialist realism and music. If you are enjoying the Presto Music Podcast please like and subscribe to it on your preferred platform, and maybe even give us a short review.  And we would love to hear your feedback and suggestions for future topics, and also guests who you would like us to talk to. Please email us at info@prestomusic.comPresto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
The fascinating life and music of Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) is the topic of this week's show, and we are delighted to welcome back Andrew Mellor to the Presto Music Podcast to take us through his humble childhood on the island of Funen through to the international acclaim he received as one of the most modernistic symphonic composers of his generation. Andrew has established himself as something of a British cultural attaché to Scandinavia since moving to Copenhagen in 2015, and is well known for his contributions to BBC Radio 3's Record Review and Gramophone Magazine, and currently finishing his first book about Nordic identity in music.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
This week's guest is one Britain's most talented young organists Anna Lapwood. Anna joins me to chat about two great organ traditions, the music of J.S. Bach and the world of French Symphonic Organ and also about how she's reinventing the Organ with both the repertoire she's chosen for her new CD and her projects in the Organ community.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
Rainer Hersch is a comedian and musician who has performed on every major comedy stage in Britain and abroad.  He has appeared thirteen times at the Edinburgh Festival, had numerous comedy-concert series at the South Bank in London, featured in comedy clubs all across Europe and in TV shows around the world. Rainer and his classical ‘Orkestra’ communicates, connects and corrupts some of the great works of classical music. A popular highlight is when Rainer invites members of the audience to participate in a conducting competition with hilarious results! It was a delight to get the opportunity to talk with Rainer, and chat about some of his great forebears, such as Victor Borge, Anna Russell, Dudley Moore and PDQ Bach.You can listen to the podcast right here on this page, or click on the links in the player (via the symbol of the box with the arrow coming out of the top) to find it in Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and other popular podcast apps, where you will be able to subscribe and receive notifications when new episodes become available in the future.If you are enjoying the Presto Music Podcast please like and subscribe to it on your preferred platform, and maybe even give us a short review.  And we would love to hear your feedback and suggestions for future topics, and also guests who you would like us to talk to. Please email us at info@prestomusic.comPresto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
It's always a pleasure to catch up with friend-of-the-show Rob Cowan, especially when he comes armed with chunky historic boxsets from the golden age of conducting. This time we were listening to recently released collections of recordings by Artur Rodzinski in New York, Rafael Kubelik in Chicago, and Eugene Ormandy in Philadelphia. As ever it was a delight to share in Rob's vast knowledge of recordings and pick out highlights from the sets.If you are enjoying the Presto Music Podcast please like and subscribe to it on your preferred platform, and maybe even give us a short review.  And we would love to hear your feedback and suggestions for future topics, and also guests who you would like us to talk to. Please email us at info@prestomusic.comPresto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
This week in a special bonus episode of the Presto Music Podcast, Patricia Kopatchinskaja took time out from her busy schedule to record answers to some questions I had about her new Alpha recording of Schoenberg's *Pierrot Lunaire*,  which finds the acclaimed violinist singing, or rather Sprechstimming, the titular role. Patricia tells us why the piece holds such an important place in her heart, and how she approaches this demanding modernist statement.You can listen to the podcast right here on this page, or click on the links in the player (via the symbol of the box with the arrow coming out of the top) to find it in Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and other popular podcast apps, where you will be able to subscribe and receive notifications when new episodes become available in the future.If you are enjoying the Presto Music Podcast please like and subscribe to it on your preferred platform, and maybe even give us a short review.  And we would love to hear your feedback and suggestions for future topics, and also guests who you would like us to talk to. Please email us at info@prestomusic.comPresto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
This week I am joined by Professor Suzanne Aspden, an expert on both Handel, and the construction of identity through music, to trace the composer's journey from his youthful Italian Cantatas & Operas to his later English Oratorios, and the impact that his compositions have had on British culture and musical life from the Georgian era all the way to the present day.You can listen to the podcast right here on this page, or click on the links in the player (via the symbol of the box with the arrow coming out of the top) to find it in Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and other popular podcast apps, where you will be able to subscribe and receive notifications when new episodes become available in the future.If you are enjoying the Presto Music Podcast please like and subscribe to it on your preferred platform, and maybe even give us a short review.  And we would love to hear your feedback and suggestions for future topics, and also guests who you would like us to talk to. Please email us at info@prestomusic.comPresto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
This week Paul is joined by British clarinettist Julian Bliss for a brief history of the the instrument, touching upon its earliest appearances in Mozart, through Krommer and Brahms, and its important role in the development of jazz in the first half of the 20th century. The episode includes not one but two "sneak peeks" of forthcoming recordings from Julian, one of which was recorded in Julian's home studio during lockdown.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
We are delighted to be joined by Piers Burton-Page, author of Philharmonic Concerto: Life and Music of Malcolm Arnold, the first published biography of this complex character, and president of the Malcolm Arnold Society, to celebrate the life and work of one of the most distinctive British composers of the 20th century. Well-known for his Oscar winning score to David Lean's Bridge on the River Kwai, Piers has picked 9 nine pieces by Arnold to give an overview of a diverse compositional career that included symphonies, orchestral dances, concertos and chamber music, as well as film scores.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
Bruckner and Mahler, those behemoths of the romantic symphony, have recently enjoyed lavish boxsets of their complete cycles, with the Münchner Philharmoniker and Valery Gergiev tackling Bruckner, and eight conductors with the Berliner Philharmoniker for Mahler. Peter Quantrill, who reviewed both of these sets in latest edition of Gramophone joins me this week to assess the relationship between these composers, as well as bringing his perspective on how performance practices, and his own personal relationship to these composers have changed over the years.Harriet Smith returns to the show to discuss some of her favourite pianists, drawing upon 85 years of piano recordings from the earliest recorded ivory tinklers to the most recent trailblazers. Harriet is well know to readers of Gramophone Magazine and BBC Radio 3's Record Review, and her deep knowledge and passion for piano music brings insights into the world of piano playing and pianists themselves to this weeks show.Presto MusicAll things musical... on your doorstep!Visit our website: www.prestomusic.comFollow us on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramLove us? Review us on Trustpilot, Facebook or Google
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