Liszt : A Critical Discography, part 1 – Piano Collections

Humphrey Searle compiled a catalog of works written by Franz Liszt in 1966.  He numbered over 700 compositions, dividing them into original works (S.1-S.350) and fantasias, transcriptions and other derivative works (S.351-S.768). There are several box sets that attempt to survey Liszt’s solo piano oeuvre, but only three attempt to do this completely. Leslie Howard recorded the complete works … Continue reading Liszt : A Critical Discography, part 1 – Piano Collections

Listening : Marc-André Hamelin

Marc-André Hamelin has made recordings of a wide variety of composers with the Hyperion label. His recording of Leopold Godowsky's complete Studies on Chopin's Études won the 2000 Gramophone Magazine Instrumental Award. He is well known for his attention to lesser-known composers especially of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (Leo Ornstein, Nikolai Roslavets, Georgy Catoire), and for performing works by … Continue reading Listening : Marc-André Hamelin

Franz Liszt : Reconsidered

Franz Liszt’s life is the stuff of movies.  He was arguably the greatest pianist in history, for many years he lived as a virtuoso performing all across Europe and having a few scandalous (for the period) love affairs in the process.  Then at the height of his fame, he retired abruptly from the concert stage … Continue reading Franz Liszt : Reconsidered

Jazz “A.C.” : After Coltrane

The recordings John Coltrane made in the 1960s with his "classic quartet" (Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner and Jimmy Garrison) were a major landmark in the history of jazz.  Jazz was not the same before or after and all jazz players felt an obligation to respond to Coltrane's music.  Some chose to pay homage and created … Continue reading Jazz “A.C.” : After Coltrane

Dennis Johnson’s “November” : minimalism before minimalism was cool

Back in 1960 three friends, all students at UCLA, invented minimalism:  La Monte Young, Terry Jennings and Dennis Johnson (Terry Riley would soon join them but he was not at UCLA).  Of these, Dennis Johnson is credited with writing the very first piece of music that later came to be called Minimalist: his four (to six) hour … Continue reading Dennis Johnson’s “November” : minimalism before minimalism was cool

Listening : Britten Song Cycles for Tenor

Because of Benjamin Britten's long personal and professional partnership with the great tenor Peter Pears, for whom he wrote all his vocal music, Britten wrote three song cycles for the tenor voice: Les Illuminations, op 18; Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, op. 31 (1943); and Nocturne, op. 60 (1958).  These works span much of … Continue reading Listening : Britten Song Cycles for Tenor

Listening : Jocelyn Pook

Contemporary classical composer and violinist Jocelyn Pook followed her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama by touring for three years with the Communards; she further broadened her musical horizons with contributions to Derek Jarman's 1986 film masterpiece Caravaggio, and two years later wrote the score to the DV8 Physical Theatre production My Body, Your Body. Pook continued … Continue reading Listening : Jocelyn Pook