BBC Music Magazine

Our Choices The BBC Music Magazine team’s current favourites


Oliver Condy Editor

Rossini was such an opera powerhouse that we tend to gloss over some of his more intimate works. Very welcome, then, is a new release on Leaf Music of his six delightful Sonate a Quattro, written by the then 12-year-old composer in just three days. Scored for two violins, cello and bass, they’re full of the wit and élan that you’ll find in the operas and, in the Sonata No. 6, a wonderful William Tell-esque storm scene. Freya Parr

Digital editor and staff writer

I recently became ensconced in the world of author Fran Lebowitz, thanks to the Netflix series Pretend It’s a City. I happily entered the New York she inhabited, falling in love – as she did – with Leonard Bernstein at the helm of the New York Phil. This sparked off a Bernstein listening binge, as I revisited his recording of Shostakovi­ch’s Second Piano Concerto. It’s by no means the tidiest interpreta­tion, but it packs such an emotional punch. Alice Pearson Cover CD editor In anticipati­on of a gradual escape from lockdown and the arrival of spring, it’s a pleasure to wrap my ears around Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony. With Strauss using a huge orchestra to depict a day’s climb in the beautiful Bavarian Alps, tracing through sound the full experience from dawn to sunset, there’s much to experience and enjoy, particular­ly in the Berlin Philharmon­ic’s recording under Herbert von Karajan.

Jeremy Pound Deputy editor

Writing the two organ stories found elsewhere in this month’s Full Score had me heading towards the little section devoted to the instrument in my CD collection. A favourite is David Hill’s Organ Spectacula­r, recorded in Westminste­r Cathedral for IMP Classics in the early 1980s. For all the thrills and spills of Hill’s Bach, Liszt and Vierne, it is the weaving chromatici­sm of Franck’s Chorale No. 3 in A minor that above all caught my ear all those years ago, and still does today.

Michael Beek Reviews editor I’ve finally dived into Humphrey Burton’s immense biography of Leonard Bernstein (above) which has been waiting on the shelf for some years. I don’t know why I waited quite so long. It has been fascinatin­g to get under Bernstein’s skin and live just some of that colourful life each night before bed. The read also inspired some tandem listening along the way, like a book soundtrack!

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