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  • 15 unusual uses for Mozart | Wed, 23 Jan 2019 11:32:13 +0000


    As he sat down to put pen to score, what did ’s opera over 56 speakers in one of his Brunello vineyards – the grapes ripen in 14 days as opposed to the normal 20 which, we learn, in turn increases the wine’s alcoholic content.

    ‘From this vineyard,’ says Cignozzi, ‘a special Brunello is born: “Flauto Magico”, the first wine in the world ever to have been grown completely in tune with


6. Calmer dogs

In 2006, an


12. …and quicker growing fish

Sadly for gilthead seabream, they also appear to grow more rapidly when serenaded by a little


14. More breakdownable sewage

What is it about The Magic Flute? Not only does it help grapes ripen quicker (see No. 1), it also makes faeces decompose faster. Or so says Anton Stucki, chief operator of the sewage centre in Treuenbrietzen near Berlin.

Earlier this year, we reported how Stucki has recorded a noticeable speeding up in the breakdown of biomass since he started playing Mozart’s opera throughout the plant – so much so that the centre is expecting to save around 1,000 euros a month.

‘We think the secret is in the vibrations of the music, which penetrate everything,’ Stucki explained. ‘It creates a certain resonance that stimulates the microbes and helps them to work better. But of course you need the right frequencies and the right music, and Mozart hits the spot.’



15. Gigglier biologists

Finally, the most remarkable Mozart effect of all. In 2001, researchers at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas showed how plants exposed to the sound of the Concerto in G photosynthesise more quickly than if left in silence or, amazingly, than if they ‘listen’ to Bach. Or did they?

While the research paper comes complete with tables of figures and long words than non-biologists don’t understand, the citing of that nebulous ‘Concerto in G’ raises suspicions of inauthenticity – which are confirmed when the likes of B Spears, J Brahms and WJ Clinton appear in the list of sources at the end. Ho ho. Those wacky lab researchers.


  • The best recordings of Beethoven's Symphonies | Wed, 23 Jan 2019 10:00:00 +0000


    No composer changed the symphony more radically than Beethoven. Whilst his First (1801) pays its respects to the 18th-century classical tradition of Haydn and Mozart, each of the eight successive symphonies follows a unique trajectory heralding a new era: composers were no longer subservient to their court patrons and could assert their right to individual expression.

    So it’s little wonder that Beethoven’s colossal symphonic legacy both inspired and intimidated later 19th-century composers. From the moment these works entered the repertory, conductors viewed the performance of a Beethoven cycle as a litmus test of their achievements.

    Battle lines as to the ‘ideal’ interpretation of the symphonies were established at an early stage between Mendelssohn, whose performances were mercurial and precise, and Wagner’s more fluid and nuanced approaches.

    This dichotomy is mirrored in current approaches with opposed views of the music emanating from Riccardo Chailly on one hand and Christian Thielemann on the other.



    The best recording

    Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly (2011)
    Decca 478 3492

    With works of such contrasting character and such an extended recording history, suggesting a cycle that is recommendable on all accounts becomes almost impossible.

    Any serious collector will not only want to own several versions, but also savour some inspired recordings of individual symphonies – for example, Carlos Kleiber’s legendary account of the Fifth.

    At the same time, in comparing currently available cycles on a symphony-by-symphony basis and in a highly competitive market, it becomes evident that some cycles achieve a greater level of consistency than others.

    While certainly not subscribing to the notion that the most recent recordings must of necessity be the best, I found myself most completely captivated by Riccardo Chailly’s 2011 cycle with the Gewandhaus Orchestra.

    Captured in superb sound by Decca, these are highly-charged volatile performances, owing much of their clarity and precision to recent approaches by period instrument ensembles and played here with breathtaking brilliance by one of the finest orchestras in the world.

    Chailly can be too impetuous for his own good in some of the faster movements, where an occasional bit of poise might provide necessary emotional relief, and it’s unfortunate that the bass soloist in his opening entry to the Finale of the Ninth momentarily loses his bearings. But these seem minor flaws given the engrossing nature of the set as whole.



    Three more great recordings

    Vienna Philharmonic and Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestras/Wilhelm Furtwängler (1948-54)
    EMI 567 4962

    It’s a testament to Furtwängler’s genius that recordings made over 60 years ago and in sometimes recessed mono sound remain mainstays of the catalogue. The qualities that the conductor brings to Beethoven are legion, not least a wonderful fluidity in the shaping of the melodic line which takes full account of the tonal conflicts that lie at the heart of Beethoven’s thinking.

    In terms of tempo fluctuation, Furtwängler might seem much more wilful than many other interpreters, but the musical insights can be visionary. No interpreter, even modern-day admirers such as Daniel Barenboim and Thielemann, come close to projecting the transformation from minor to major at the outset of the Finale of the Fifth with the same awesome impact.



    Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique/Sir John Eliot Gardiner (1994)
    DG 477 8643

    From the 1970s onwards, historically informed performances on period instruments have stimulated listeners to hear different things in Beethoven’s music. Leaner textures serve to intensify Beethoven’s orchestration, bringing new and vivid colours to familiar works.

    Any suggestion, however, that a resort to earlier notions of performance practice results in interpretations that are dry and inflexible is way off the mark, for the approaches are just as varied as on modern instruments.

    For example, those who prefer a more fluid subtly nuanced view of Beethoven will warm to Frans Brüggen’s recent set on Glossa which offers some wonderful insights. Nonetheless, there’s a palpable sense of commitment and imagination in John Eliot Gardiner’s invigorating 1990s recordings that has you at the edge of your seat.



    Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä (2004-8)
    BIS SACD 1825/6

    There are two particular strengths in Osmo Vänskä’s beautifully engineered SACD recordings made between 2004 and 2008. First, the Finnish conductor manages to capture the essence of Beethoven’s thinking through his painstaking attention to inner details.

    Second, he has established a sense of partnership with a first-rate orchestra and secures urgent and incisive playing. In general, Vänskä has more interesting things to say about the earlier symphonies, where the performances are strongly characterised and fleet of foot.

    But the set is a superb achievement, illustrating the point that great Beethoven performances are not the exclusive province of the central European orchestral tradition.



    And one to avoid…

    Although Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra gave compelling performances at the 2012 Proms, this set does not quite ignite the same spark as those concerts. Despite the orchestra’s energy and enthusiasm, it doesn’t possess the subtlety of timbre and precision of ensemble one finds in other versions.

    Another issue is Barenboim’s propensity towards heaviness which can make some
    of the interpretations sound stolid. 

  • Free Download: Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake under Vladimir Jurowski | Tue, 22 Jan 2019 10:00:00 +0000

    'This recording conjures up a compelling emotional narrative'

    This week's free download is part of the Pas de deux in Act 1 of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, performed by the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation 'Evgeny Svetlanov' under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski.


    If you'd like to enjoy our free weekly download simply log in or sign up to our website.

    Once you've done that, return to this page and you'll be able to see a 'Download Now' button on the picture above – simply click on it to download your free track.

    If you experience any technical problems please email Please reference 'Classical Music Free Download', and include details of the system you are using and your location. If you are unsure of what details to include please take a screenshot of this page.

    read more

  • The BBC Music Magazine Playlist | Mon, 21 Jan 2019 17:37:47 +0000


    Every Monday, the BBC Music Magazine team choose their favourite new recordings of the past week. The tracks are compiled into The Playlist, which can be accessed via the BBC Music Magazine's Apple Music page


    This week's playlist:


    The listings for previous playlists are featured below.


    Vol. 7

    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)


    Vol. 6

    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)


    Vol. 5

    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


    Vol. 4

    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. 73 Elan 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



    Vol. 3

    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)


    Vol. 2

    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


    Vol. 1

    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)

  • What is the greatest film theme of all time? | Mon, 21 Jan 2019 15:09:05 +0000


    With the Oscars and BAFTAs just around the corner, film fever is well and truly in the air, so we've teamed up with to discover the greatest film theme of all time. 

    Check out our shortlist of film themes below and vote for your favourite.



    The list includes films from across the decades, with some of the most iconic melodies to grace the silver screen.

    Some will have a fantastic score throughout the film, while others just have a killer tune that sticks in your head or weeks. What will you choose?



    Click here to vote for your choice.


    1) Jurassic Park - John Williams (1993)

    2) Vertigo - Bernard Herrmann (1958)

    3) Chariots of Fire - Vangelis (1982)

    4) Back to the Future - Alan Silvestri (1985)

    5) The Godfather - Nino Rota (1972) 

    6) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Howard Shore (2001)

    7) The Dam Busters - Eric Coates (1955)

    8) Up - Michael Giacchino (2009)

    9) Lawrence of Arabia - Maurice Jarre (1962)

    10) E.T. - the Extra Terrestrial - John Williams (1982)

    11) Superman: The Movie - John Williams (1978)

    12) Doctor Zhivago - Maurice Jarre (1965)

    13) Halloween - John Carpenter (1978)

    14) Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Jerry Goldsmith (1979) 

    15) The Mission - Ennio Morricone (1986)

    16) Edward Scissorhands - Danny Elfman (1990)

    17) The Pink Panther - Henry Mancini (1963)

    18) Inception (i.e. 'Time') Hans Zimmer (2010) 

    19) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (i.e. 'Hedwig's Theme') - John Williams (2001)

    20) Pirates of the Caribbean - Klaus Badelt (2003)

    21) The Terminator – Brad Fiedel (1984)

    22) Jaws – John Williams (1975)

    23) The Dark Knight - Hans Zimmer (2008)

    24) The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Ennio Morricone (1966)

    25) Gone With The Wind – Max Steiner (1939)

    26) The Great Escape – Elmer Bernstein (1963)

    27) Raiders of the Lost Ark – John Williams (1981)

    28) Brokeback Mountain – Gustavo Santaolalla (2005)

    29) Titanic – James Horner (1997)

    30) Gladiator – Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard (2000)

    31) Braveheart – James Horner (1995)

    32) Rocky – Bill Conti (1976)

    33) Dr. No (aka ‘The James Bond Theme’) – Monty Norman (1962)

    34) American Beauty – Thomas Newman (1999)

    35) The Grand Budapest Hotel – Alexandre Desplat (2014)

    36) Out of Africa – John Barry (1985)

    37) The Life of Pi – Mychael Danna (2012)

    38) 633 Squadron – Ron Goodwin (1963)

    39) La La Land – Justin Hurwitz (2016)

    40) Atonement – Dario Marianelli (2007)

    41) Star Wars: A New Hope – John Williams (1977)

    42) Forrest Gump – Alan Silvestri (1994)

    43) The Magnificent Seven – Elmer Bernstein (1960)


    Listen to our playlist of all the 43 nominations here:

  • The greatest piano concertos of all time | Mon, 21 Jan 2019 10:00:48 +0000


    Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 

    The ultimate technical challenge and test of stamina for any pianist, Prokofiev 2 drives forward like a freight train, pulling out of the station gracefully, tentatively, before hammering on its way.

    The opening movement’s cadenza, so densely written it’s scored on three staves, is a white-knuckle test for any pianist, while the final movement is an unstoppable force of pure energy.

    It’s also incredibly beautiful, the composer perfectly balancing virtuosity and aesthetics.

    Chosen by editor Oliver Condy



    Khachaturian Piano Concerto 

    In the creepily sinuous Andante con anima second movement of Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto, a distinctly eerie sound – like something from a horror movie – emerges from the back of the orchestra.

    While this appearance of the musical saw (or, alternatively, the flexatone) gives the Armenian composer’s 1936 work a uniqueness within the concerto repertoire, there is a lot more to his Concerto than just that.

    The opening movement is a riot of oriental colour and chromaticism, while the Allegro brillante finale hurls the soloist, orchestra and listeners towards a thrilling finish.

    Chosen by deputy editor Jeremy Pound



    Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 

    Beethoven’s fifth and final piano concerto blazes with majesty and energy, its three movements ranging from transcendence to triumph.

    Cast in the heroic key of E flat major, this 1811 concerto is full of confidence and joy – listening to it can’t fail to lift one’s spirits.

    The piece is at its most magical in the Adagio un poco mosso, a hymn-like movement in B major that seems to take us to another realm.

    Chosen by managing editor Rebecca Franks



    Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2

    Is there a more romantic concerto? Okay, the work is now imbued with the heady emotion of David Lean’s classic film Brief Encounter (1945) and it’s easy to see why it was chosen as the soundtrack.

    It’s a musical rollercoaster of contemplation and elation–which it ably added to what might have otherwise been a bit of a staid drama.

    Written while Rachmaninov was coming through a deep depression, the music does appear to render, in vivid hues, the complexities of human emotion – from the darkness of self-doubt to the intoxicating release that comes when the light is finally allowed in.

    Chosen by reviews editor Michael Beek



    Ravel Piano Concerto 

    A whip crack. Jazz-infused melodies. A soundworld taking inspiration from Basque and Spanish music. What’s not to enjoy? Ravel’s concerto manages to achieve real emotional depth while also giving us the perfect party piece.

    After the first movement, which is full of fire and fun, the second movement takes a step back and explores a much more serene landscape.

    The piece ends with a final movement travelling through a series of unexpected key signatures to revisit the initial feisty atmosphere. It’s got everything you could wish for in a piano concerto. 

    Chosen by editorial assistant Freya Parr


  • Five essential works by Benjamin Britten | Sun, 20 Jan 2019 10:20:05 +0000


    Ceremony of Carols

    Composed in 1942 while Britten was crossing the Atlantic from America, its unusual scoring of treble voices and harp present a range of serene, exhilarating and ecstatic settings of medieval carols.

    Recommended recording:
    Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/David Willcocks
    Classics for Pleasure 968 9492



    Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings

    This was Britten’s first major work on returning to England. The calm pastoral of its opening song revealed a new vein in his music.

    Recommended recording:
    Peter Pears (tenor), Barry Tuckwell (horn); English Chamber Orchestra/Benjamin Britten
    Decca 436 3952



    Peter Grimes

    The première secured Britten’s international fame and the opera testifies to Britten’s masterful sense of drama.

    Recommended recording:
    Peter Pears; Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra/Benjamin Britten
    Decca 467 6822



    War Requiem

    Written for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral, Britten juxtaposed the Requiem Mass with poems by Wilfred Owen.

    Recommended recording:
    Peter Pears, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau; Bach Choir; LSO/Benjamin Britten
    Decca 475 7511



    Suite on English Folk Tunes

    Britten admired Grainger more than Vaughan Williams, and this is evident in his by turns quirky and brooding suite.

    Recommended recording:
    Bournemouth SO/Richard Hickox
    Chandos CHAN 9221

  • Join us at the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards | Fri, 18 Jan 2019 10:00:00 +0000


    The BBC Music Magazine Awards are the biggest annual celebration of the best recordings from the world of classical music, and you can join us on the evening for only £20 a ticket.

    The evening takes place at London’s Kings Place on Wednesday 10 April 2019 and begins with a champagne reception, where you’ll have the chance to meet the magazine’s editorial team, music industry professionals, artists and celebrities.

    You’ll then move into Kings Place’s main hall for the awards ceremony, which will feature performances by award-winning artists from across the world. The Awards will be hosted by editor Oliver Condy, with a star-studded line-up of guest presenters. Previous guests have included Simon Callow, Gok Wan, Ed Balls and Anneka Rice.


    To buy tickets, click here.

    To vote in the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards, click here.


  • BBC Music Magazine reveals nominees for 2019 Awards | Thu, 17 Jan 2019 00:30:17 +0000


    The nominations for the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards have now been revealed, with 21 of the best classical recordings from over the past year chosen by an expert jury.

    The discs were selected from the 200 recordings awarded five stars by our critics in the last 12 months. Voting is now open to the public, so you can choose your favourite recordings from seven categories: Orchestral, Instrumental, Chamber, Choral, Vocal, Opera and Concerto.

    There were a huge number of Debussy recordings released in 2018 in celebration of the composer’s centenary, and the best of these are reflected in this year’s Awards shortlist. In the Instrumental category, Alexander Melnikov is nominated with his recordings of Book 2 of Debussy’s Préludes and the much-loved La Mer, in which Melnikov is joined by Olga Pashchenko. Melnikov appears again playing Debussy in the Chamber category, alongside other leading musicians including Isabelle Faust and Jean-Guihen Queyras in a selection of late works by the French composer.



    Contemporary composer John Adams also appears in two categories in this year’s Awards: he conducts his thrilling Doctor Atomic in the Opera category, and his Naïve and Sentimental Music and Absolute Jest are performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Peter Oundjian in the Orchestral category.

    Old classics have been given new life in several of this year’s Awards nominations, including new recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony by MusicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis, and Mahler’s First Symphony by the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra under Adám Fischer.

    New discoveries include Michael Collins’s recordings of Crusell’s fabulous clarinet concertos and a set of recordings of ‘Moralizing Songs in the Middle Ages’ from the Sollazzo ensemble in the Choral category.



    Rising stars of the classical music world are heralded in this year’s Awards, with 25-year-old composer Owain Park’s choral works performed by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge in the Choral category and 26-year-old guitarist Sean Shibe’s disc SoftLOUD nominated in the Instrumental category, following his entry in the same category last year with his debut album. 

    Familiar faces in the BBC Music Magazine Awards this year include previous winners Mark Elder, who conducts Rossini’s Semiramide in the Opera category, and the Gabrieli Consort under Paul McCreesh, who are nominated in the Choral category with their A Rose Magnificat album.

    'Drawing up our shortlist has been, like every year, a huge challenge', says BBC Music Magazine editor Oliver Condy. 'The quality of recordings in all genres throughout 2018 was remarkable. But now the power is in the hands of the music-loving public, and I'm excited to find out who they choose as the ultimate winners!'

    In addition to the shortlisted recordings, there are four jury awards – Premiere Recording, Newcomer of the Year, DVD of the Year and Recording of the Year – all of which will be announced at the awards ceremony on 10 April.

    The full list of nominees can be seen below, and the public vote is now open at You can also listen to audio clips from all the nominated discs here.

    Voting closes on Tuesday 19 February 2019, and the winners will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Kings Place on Wednesday 10 April. For full details of the nominees and how to vote, go to our Awards page here.




    Symphony No. 6
    MusicAeterna/Teodor Currentzis
    Sony 88985404352

    John Adams
    Naïve and Sentimental Music; Absolute Jest
    Doric String Quartet; Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Peter Oundjian
    Chandos CHSA 5199 (hybrid CD/SACD)

    Symphony No. 1
    Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra/Adám Fischer
    Avi AVI8553390



    Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2
    Christian Tetzlaff (violin); Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu
    Ondine ODE13172

    Piano Concertos Nos 2 and 4; excerpts from JS Bach’s Partita in E for solo violin, arr. Rachmaninov
    Daniil Trifonov (piano); Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Deutsche Grammophon 483 5335

    Clarinet Concertos, Op. 1 and Op. 11, Grand Concerto, Op. 5, Introduction et air suédois, Op. 12
    Michael Collins (clarinet/conductor); Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    Chandos CHSA 5187 (hybrid CD/SACD)



    Acis and Galatea
    Soloists; Early Opera Company/Christian Curnyn
    Chandos CHSA 0404(2) (hybrid CD/SACD)

    John Adams
    Doctor Atomic
    Soloists; BBC Singers; BBC Symphony Orchestra/John Adams
    Nonesuch 7559793107

    Soloists; Opera Rara Chorus, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Sir Mark Elder
    Opera Rara 9293800572



    A Rose Magnificat
    Works by Leighton, Tallis, Warlock, White, MacMillan, Sheppard, Park, Wylkynson, Howells, Lane and Martin
    Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh
    Signum SIGCD 536

    Parle Qui Veut
    Moralizing Songs of the Middle Ages
    Sollazzo Ensemble
    Linn CKD 529

    Owain Park
    Choral works
    The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton
    Hyperion CDA 68191



    Works by Messager, Debussy, Delibes, Delage, Stravinsky, Thomas, Berlioz, Massenet and Koechlin
    Sabine Devieilhe (soprano); Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth et al
    Erato 9029576772

    Schumann • Mahler
    Schumann: Liederkreis, Op. 39; Lieder und Gesänge aus Wilhelm Meister; Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
    Florian Boesch (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
    Linn CKD 511

    Works by Rameau, Rebel and Gluck
    Stéphane Degout (bass-baritone); Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon
    Harmonia Mundi HMM 902288



    Piano Quintets Nos 1 & 2; Quartets for Four Violins & Four Cellos
    Silesian Quartet et al
    Chandos CHAN 10976

    Deux Works by Bartók, Poulenc, Ravel and Dohnányi
    Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), Polina Leschenko (piano)
    Alpha ALPHA 387

    Debussy The Late Works
    Isabelle Faust (violin), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello), Xavier de Maistre (harp), Antoine Tamestit (viola), Magali Mosnier (flute), Alexander Melnikov, Javier Perianes, Tanguy De Williencourt (piano)
    Harmonia Mundi HMM 902303



    JS Bach
    Works and transcriptions
    Vikingur Ólafsson (piano)
    Deutsche Grammophon 483 5022

    Works by Oswald, MacMillan, Reich, Wolfe, Lang; 17th-century Scottish lute pieces
    Sean Shibe (guitar)
    Delphian DCD 34213

    Préludes, Book 2; La mer (transcr. Debussy)
    Alexander Melnikov (piano), Olga Pashchenko (piano)
    Harmonia Mundi HMM 902302

  • The BBC Music Magazine Awards 2019 | Thu, 17 Jan 2019 00:00:53 +0000


    Welcome to the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards. This is your chance to vote for the best classical recordings from the past year.

    Our expert jury has selected 21 of the finest recordings from a longlist of nearly 200 discs that our critics had awarded five stars in the last 12 months.

    Now it's your turn to vote for the best in each category.


    Click on the categories below to see the nominated discs and cast your vote.









    How to vote:

    Once you have entered the Awards site, you can move between the categories using the toolbar on the left.

    Click on the disc you would like to vote for. You will then be asked to log in or create an account. A confirmation email will then be sent to you, on which you will need to click the link.

    You can vote for one disc per category, and you cannot change or revoke your votes.

    Your votes will be saved automatically, so once you have voted all you need to do is log out.

    Voting for the BBC Music Magazine Awards opens on Thursday 17 January and will close on Tuesday 19 February at 11.59pm.



    To view previous winners of the BBC Music Magazine Awards, click here


    Terms and Conditions

    Voting for the BBC Music Awards 2019 is open until 11.59pm on Tuesday 19 February.

    One vote per person, per category. Bulk voting will not be permitted.

    The winners of the BBC Music Awards 2019 will be announced on 10 April.


  • Comments:
        • Quest: Josué
        • Buenas noches, me gustaría saber si me pueden enviar la dirección de URL para poder escuchar la estación en línea! Por favor! Gracias!
        • Reply 09:42 <> 02.13.2013 -1
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