Classical Sounds Podcast 16th February 2014


Firstly apologies I somehow have lost the recording of last weeks Classical Sounds programme! But on this weeks show because the weather is better, (slightly!) there is a spring sort of feeling to them. Music by Greig, Mozart, Johann Strauss II, Beethoven and more. Hope you like it  :).

This programme was broadcast on 16th February 2014.

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Classical Sounds Podcast Sunday 2nd February 2014


On this week’s Classical Sounds I feature great recording of the late Claudio Abbado who died on the 20th January.  As I said in a previous post he was on my bucket list of great conductors I always wanted to see.

This programme was broadcast on Claremorris Community Radio Radio on Sunday 2nd February 2014

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An unusual tribute was given last week by  the La Scala  Philharmonic  Orchestra at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where they preformed in an “empty room with open door”   the Funeral March Second mov. Adagio  from the Symphony no. 3  by Beethoven, under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. Watch it below.


Classical Sounds Podcast for Sunday 19th January 2014


On Classical Sounds podcast this week I have featured only women composers from the past and present. Clara Schumann wife of German composer Robert, Fanny Mendelssohn sister of  composer Felix. Lesser known women like Amy Beach, Maria Theresia Paradis and others too. This was broadcast on Claremorris Community Radio on Sunday 19th January.
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In Memory of Claudio Abbado 1933-2014

Abbado per bio sito

Today the world of classical music lost one of its greatest conductors Claudio Abbado. Even though he had many health problems in recent years, it came as a little shock to me when I saw the news flash up on my computer screen! I have a bucket list of great conductors I’ve always wanted to see. They are: Simon Rattle who I’ve seen twice, and will again in May. Valery Gergiev who I’ve seen twice, Riccardo Chailly,  twice, Daniel Barenboim who I saw once with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. But it was Abbado I really wanted to see the most. I almost had the opportunity  a few years ago when I tried to get to see him at the BBC Proms with his Lucerne Festival Orchestra but alas I couldn’t get a ticket…

This post was never meant to be an obituary to Claudio Abbado but you can read a very detailed one from the Guardian newspaper here.

Here is a youtube clip of the end of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.2 one of my favourite video recordings of Claudio Abbado conducting his Lucerne Festival Orchestra showing his unique gentle style.

Also I’ve made a Spotify playlist of my favourite Abbado recordings in no particular order.

Classical Sounds Podcast for Sunday 29th December 2013


Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2014! I’ve been a little lazy with my blog, and haven’t got around to writing anything substantial recently, so I’m making it a new year resolution to be more proactive about it!  But for today though, my podcast is a little different than normal. In 2006 I visited Vienna for the first time and made a documentary while there. We went to various places like the Mozart House MuseumSt. Stephen’s Cathedral and Haus Der Musik and other places besides. Most of this programme was made in the Mozart House where I was given a guided tour.

This programme is, as I said, a little different, more of a documentary than my usual show. I hope you find it interesting.

Click here to download the Vienna Documentary

Classical Sounds Podcast for Sunday 22nd December 2013


I wish all my blog readers a Happy Christmas and New Year! On this week’s show I’ve 11 Xmas related tracks with music from Handel, Bach, Adolphe Adam and music with Turkey in the title!

I use a great podcasting app on my phone and tablet called Pocket Casts you can subscribe to my podcasts by copying and pasting this; into the search bar, once you have downloaded Pocket Casts of course!

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Next week best recording of 2013.


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Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Leif Ove Andsnes NCH, Dublin 24/11/13

Ludwig van Beethoven:
Piano Concerto no. 2 in B flat major op. 19
Piano Concerto no. 4 in G major op. 58
Igor Stravinsky:
Concerto in E flat – Dumbarton Oaks
Septet for clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello and piano

Before I start, this will be a relatively short review for various reasons. Mostly because I unfortunately didn’t have time to write a long one. Here it goes:

I travelled for yet another concert this past Sunday: the last scheduled one of this year. As you can see from the above, the concert programme had music from Stravinsky and Beethoven. One of which I am not so familiar with, the other I am.

The music of Stravinsky started the concert with music I admit I’ve known about for years but never really wanted to listen to. The Concerto in E flat ‘Dumbarton Oaks’ is named after a house where the first performance was held in 1938. You can read about the music and also follow the link to an article to the house here.

When asked about the concerto by his publisher he said “A little concerto in the style of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos“. Stravinsky was expert in eluding to other composers music but still sounding as his own. Try his earlier ballet Pulcinella.

In the first movement violas have a Bach reference, but throughout the movement each of the players have their own solos which showcased the wonderful sound this orchestra can make. Short motifs develop into complicated counterpoint. There are also frequent rhythmic changes as well as constant syncopation. The rest of the work was along these lines with references to music of Boccherini, Haydn and Mozart as well of Bach of course. I noticed that the string players didn’t use any vibrato which is common now-a-days in period instrument performances but not for the music of Stravinsky. I think Bach would have approved!

You can listen to it here in a recording from the 1970′s:

Leif Ove Andsnes made his first concerto appearance at the NCH. He is in the process of recording all the Beethoven piano concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. He made his recording debut with Sony Classical, with the concertos no. 1 and 3 last year, and I presume is recording the two that were played that evening soon. He played, as well as conducted the orchestra, the piano facing them, so from my angle I couldn’t see much of what he was playing. I said he conducted the orchestra – he waved his hands a little when not playing but I think the orchestra were on autopilot most of the time. Normally with a conductor-less orchestra the first violin moves around (in this case) her chair a lot directing each player but not that night. He played both concertos with great clarity and poise, I’ll certainly find the recordings of these when they’re released.  The orchestra had a fabulous sound particularly the woodwind and brass. Top class!

Have a listen to the concertos 1 &3 below:

The other Stravinsky music was his septet which I found quite boring and mathematical. Written in 1953, it’s from his third compositional phase. Thankfully it was short. As the composer, writing to his wife Vera, said of its first performance: ‘Septet, received indifferently well by a young audience’. It was the same in the NCH…

Have a listen to it below:

All in all an entertaining and interesting concert. I heard music I knew quite well (Beethoven), music I avoided before and appreciated it now (Stravinsky Dumbarton) and others I didn’t (Septet) but a good night out all the same!