Top Ear


Featured Musician: A Maazel Celebration


The discs under consideration here.

Jeremy Lee writes

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Bicentenary Tribute: Charles-Valentin Alkan

Jeremy Lee writes

Top Ear’s advocacy of the composer Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) is no secret.  After all, we’ve reviewed a few albums of his works and even created a bicentenary box just for him (here).  But who exactly was this composer, this elusive figure who spent most of his life in Continue reading

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Musician of the Week: Percy Grainger

This week’s musician occupies a curious position in the repertoire of Western music, and coupled with his prolific output of miniatures, he seems to be among Western composers such as Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Copland what Satie is among Debussy and Ravel. An Australian fascinated with British folk tunes, a virtuoso pianist who reportedly hated the piano, and a practitioner of sadomasochism, here is the very-hard-to-pigeonhole Percy Grainger.

File:Percy Aldridge Grainger.jpg

His name seems to be new to many people, but as a matter of fact many of his arrangements are extremely popular, if only because the tunes he based them on are instantly recognizable. Ever heard Continue reading

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Musician of the Week: Francis Poulenc

This week, Top Ear presents its featured composer who is best known as “half monk, half thug”, wrote both French art songs and sacred works, and was the youngest in the infamous Les Six in the early 20th century.

The very debonair Francis Poulenc (1899-1963).

Poulenc was born in Paris at the turn of the century – 7th January, 1899. The fin de siècle Paris was a city of immense cultural and artistic complication: Richard Wagner’s chromaticism took over Europe Continue reading

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Musician of the week: Gyorgy Ligeti

Top Ear proudly introduces its FIRST Musician of the Week, and he is……

Yes, Hungarian composer György Ligeti is this week’s musician. A happy 89th birthday to him!

A short biography on him: Ligeti was born on 28th May, 1923. Having studied under Ferenc Farkas and Zoltan Kodaly among others, he graduated from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 1949. In 1957 he moved to Cologne and met with Karlheinz Stockhausen, who was working on Continue reading