The Cathy List 10: James MacMillan’s Choral Music

Posted by on Apr 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments
The Cathy List 10: James MacMillan’s Choral Music

I’ve been meaning to post this list for quite a while, ever since I did a talk on James MacMillan, one of the UK’s leading composers.  I love his choral work and think it has an immediate appeal.  He has a very distinct creative voice which draws on certain key ingredients, the most prominent of […]

The Cathy List 9: Beethoven Quartets

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments
The Cathy List 9: Beethoven Quartets

Beethoven was brilliant at writing for this combination of two violins, a viola and cello, and this week’s Cathy List gives you a quick survey of his early, middle and late styles in this medium: I love the carefree tune of the A major quartet, something to whistle as you go to a meeting to […]

The Cathy List 8: Beethoven and his piano

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments
The Cathy List 8: Beethoven and his piano

‘Der Große Mogul’: ‘Big shot’, that’s what Haydn called Beethoven, not entirely as a compliment. Beethoven had conquered the musical scene in Vienna in the 1790s, thanks in large part to his jaw-dropping abilities as an improviser on the piano, as well as his bold new composing style. Listening to other people play his own […]

The Cathy List 7: Thinking Baroque

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments
The Cathy List 7:  Thinking Baroque

1600-1750: The Baroque era comprises 150 years of astonishing revolution in the world of music, with the birth of so many important forms (opera, sonata, concerto etc.), a whole new menagerie of exotic instruments and flamboyant music-making.   Italy was the tinderbox for the early part of this revolution.  The first track is by the […]

The Cathy List 6: Marvelling at Mozart

Posted by on Jan 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments
The Cathy List 6: Marvelling at Mozart

I gave a talk recently on Mozart’s final three symphonies, nos 39-41.  They’re formidable works and belong to any classical listener’s library, so I thought they’d be great for this week’s Cathy list. The first piece isn’t by Mozart, as you’ve probably spotted.  It’s a zesty piece by the composer Gustav Holst for string orchestra. […]

The Cathy List 5

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments
The Cathy List 5

Half an hour of classical listening a week, how does that sound as a new year’s resolution? I hope these Cathy Lists will help. Do follow them on the Spotify page for regular updates. I wanted to launch the list with something hectic and busy, to capture that sense of back-to-work bustle. And what better […]

The Cathy List 4

Posted by on Dec 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | No Comments
The Cathy List 4

Happy Christmas! Here’s a short playlist for a quieter moment (if you have one). I’ve always loved ‘Adam lay y bounden’, a minstrel song from the 1400s often sung during advent. It has a beautiful shape to it, and it’s had many settings over the years. The one by Boris Ord (great, earthy name) is […]

Vasily Petrenko talks about Shostakovich

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | No Comments
Vasily Petrenko talks about Shostakovich

Here’s a short podcast of a conversation with Russian maestro Petrenko telling me about one of his favourite composers as he prepares to tour the fifth symphony with the Oslo Phil.

The Cathy List 3

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Time to get Christmassy, starting with some Baroque classics (1600s): What better way to fling open the curtains on an oratorio than with a salvo on the drums and fanfares on trumpets? Bach in party mode here, with conductor JEG giving it plenty of ‘Schwung’. He’s good at that. Corelli’s Christmas concerto has a special […]

The Cathy List 2

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | No Comments

This week I’m starting with a choral classic by Gregorio Allegri from the 1630s (so late Renaissance). The ‘Miserere’ text is about pleading God for mercy. A recurring feature is the monastic plainchant (single line, chanting text) sung by the men responded to by the most beautiful angelic-sounding choir in the distance, with ecstatic high […]

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