September Song

Not the Weill/Anderson/Sinatra version – fine though it is – but, to end this short concert series, we have a September Song by Richard Strauss that’s nearly (or arguably, just) as famous. It’s preceded by two separate and very different musical days of high Summer, one from America, one from Bohemia; plus – in case […]

Hills (blue remembered and other)

On the idle hill of summer,Sleepy with the flow of streams… Concert: A. E. Housman’s dark rural world in A Shropshire Lad, with its contrasts of pastoral beauty and human tragedy, finds its musical equivalent in the work of George Butterworth; firstly, in Butterworth’s settings of Housman’s verse for voice and piano and then in […]

Reis glorios

Five pieces for the Summer sunrise: Concert: First, Reis glorios (Glorious King), a 12th century alba by Guiraut de Bornelh, who was styled the ‘master of the troubadours’. The alba (Occitan) or alborada (Spanish) or aubade (French) is a dawn song. After the (hopeful, on the part of the singer, anyway) seduction of the evening […]

Duparc

Fauré wasn’t the only gifted composer of mélodies of his generation; Henri Duparc (1848 – 1933) is also (justly) famous for his talents as a song composer. Duparc, like his younger Austrian contemporary, Hugo Wolf, only produced a handful of music before – again like Wolf – he succumbed to a mental illness that forced […]

Mélodie Maker

The English language, famed for the expansiveness of its vocabulary, is rather surprisingly coy when it comes to the idea of song. Sure, you can have all sorts of songs, but you generally need some type of qualifier to tell your listeners or readers whether you’re referring to a pop song, art song, folk song […]

Latin

Latin America’s rich but bewildering cultural mix of native, Spanish, Portuguese, African and a few other traditions has produced an astonishing variety of musics. From the dance rhythms of the Dominican Republic’s Bachata to the aerobics of the Zumba and from the Bach/Brazilian hommages of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras… w …to the Argentinian, Astor Piazzolla’s  Nuevo Tango… […]

Lachrimæ

In a league table of composers who have made a career out of exquisite misery (several names come to mind!), John Dowland must, surely, come somewhere near the top. w Flow, my tears, fall from your springs! Exiled for ever, let me mourn; Where night’s black bird her sad infamy sings, There let me live […]