BBC Music Magazine

Music to my ears

What the classical world has been listening to this month


Lucie Horsch Recorder player I listen to a lot of piano music, as I am studying the instrument at my conservato­ire. I absolutely love Bertrand Chamayou’s recording of Saint-saëns’s Piano Concertos

Nos 2 & 5. I particular­ly like the Egyptian influences in the Fifth, which really spark my imaginatio­n. Saint-saëns’s piano writing is great because it has both the late-romantic seriousnes­s of, say, Rachmanino­v, but also has the light-hearted liveliness of a Mendelssoh­n piano concerto.

Bach’s St Matthew Passion may be a very familiar piece but no matter how often I listen to it, it never gets boring as there’s so

No matter how often I listen to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, it never gets boring

much going on, and the way that Bach applies the music to the text and uses various rhetorical devices is always fascinatin­g. Plus there’s that wonderful aria that features two recorders! When I went to a performanc­e of it by the English Baroque Soloists and conductor John Eliot Gardiner at the Amsterdam Concertgeb­ouw, I thought it was amazing.

In the run-up to Christmas, I listen to festive songs by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, but also to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis

Armstrong’s album Can’t we be friends? which for some reason also puts me in the mood – the title seems quite applicable to today, too. Fitzgerald has such a flexible voice, which she uses in lots of different ways from whispering and speaking to singing. ★er collaborat­ion with Armstrong works so well because you can clearly hear the joy they both have simply in making music.

And also… I’m trying to catch up on some literary classics and am enjoying Emma by Jane Austen. It takes a while to get into Austen’s style of humour but when you do, you really feel as though she is speaking to you in a very personal way. Emma is a character who, on an objective level, one might not find very sympatheti­c, but thanks to the way Austen describes her, you understand how she thinks.

Lucie Horsch’s new disc of Baroque recorder works (Decca) will be reviewed in a future issue

Charles Owen Pianist

I’ve been listening to lots of wintry recordings lately. The recording by Brigitte Fassbaende­r and Aribert Reimann of Schubert’s Winterreis­e is one of my all-time favourites. having a woman in the soloist’s role gives a vulnerabil­ity to the narrator, and Fassbaende­r has that shimmering sexuality between male and female. Reimann is a composer-pianist and I love hearing a composer’s voice on the piano playing Schubert – he makes it sound so modern.

Every few years I return to Wagner’s Ring cycle. It’s something I wouldn’t find time to listen to in the summer, and is perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon. My favourite recordings are Herbert von Karajan’s – the depth of sonority of the orchestra is phenomenal, and he captures the intimacy so well. There are performanc­es of Wagner that sag, but Karajan’s never do.

 ??  ?? Horsch play:Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong are a perfect match
Horsch play:Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong are a perfect match
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