Deano Maduramuthu Classical Music Decoded

Classical Music Decoded

If you like - or are curious about - classical music but find it a little perplexing, then this podcast is for you. It's an appreciative journey through popular works of classical music; explaining the context in which the music was composed, the main musical themes and the demands placed on the musicians who play them. Presented by Deano Maduramuthu.
Occasionally English South Africa Music Commentary · Performing Arts Narrated by Zanta hofmeyr, Miro Chakaryan, Bernhard Gueller
17 Episodes

A Brief Introduction to Neoclassicism

The Neoclassical movement sprung up in the early 20th century and was pioneered by Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Satie. But what was it a response to, and what were it's defining features?
5 Apr 3 min

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor

Felix Mendelssohn expected to complete his violin concerto in 6 months, instead it took 6 years. He spent much of that time consulting his friend Ferdinand David, the violinist for whom he wrote the concerto. Noted for its beautiful melodies, its fine balance between orchestra and soloist, and the smooth…
6 Feb 14 min

Conversations: Daniel Boico

Daniel Boico is one of the most prominent conductors in the country and he cuts a warm and charismatic figure on the podium. In this interview, he spoke about his (relatively) late start as a professional musician, his education under the revered Russian teacher Ilya Musin and what he learned…
12 Dec 2023 32 min

Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor

Robert Schumann's wife Clara encouraged him to write for orchestra. The Piano Concerto in A minor was one of the results of her encouragement. It was not well received at first, as it presented a new (or newish) model where the piano and orchestra were given almost equal prominence. But…
22 Oct 2023 11 min

Conversations: Maria du Toit

Internationally acclaimed clarinetist Maria du Toit took some time off from her whistle-stop tour of South Africa and she spoke about what drew her to classical music, the mental health demands of being in the spotlight and why for a musician, being good might not be enough.
28 Aug 2023 36 min

Conversations with Deano Maduramuthu: Richard Cock

Richard Cock is probably the best known conductor in South Africa. In this episode, he talks about his beginnings in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), how the hugely popular RMB Starlight Classics got off the ground and his support for music projects in disadvantaged communities. Richard's cats took exception to being…
28 Jun 2023 32 min

Concerts: May / June 2023

There has been a welcome increase in concert activity in Johannesburg over the past few months. This episode is about a new chamber music forum in the city, as well as what you can expect from the JPO's upcoming Winter Season 2023.
8 May 2023 7 min

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major

Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto was criticised by its dedicatee, poorly performed at its premier and savaged by a leading critic. But still, this child of the composer's imagination became hugely popular and is one of the foremost violin concertos in classical music.
8 Mar 2023 15 min

Fauré: Pélleas et Mélisande

Fauré's Pélleas and Mélisande concert suite was extracted from music he wrote for a performance of Maurice Maeterlinck's play. It showcases Fauré's ear for beautiful melodies and his knack for expressing deeply felt emotions in music that's powerful and yet at the same time, restrained.
11 Jan 2023 11 min

Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor

Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto has been popular ever since it's premier in 1868. Its combination of arresting melodies, warmth and dazzling piano parts has charmed audiences around the world. In this episode Deano Maduramuthu gives background to Grieg's journey into Norwegian nationalism, the encouragement he received from Franz Liszt and…
11 Nov 2022 12 min

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

A public performance of Rhapsody in Blue was advertised before Gershwin had even thought of composing it! This episode explains how the Rhapsody came into being and how Gershwin infused 'jazz vocabulary' into a piece of classical music.
11 Sep 2022 10 min

Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra

South Africa once again has a national orchestra - the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra. It's the first national orchestra since the NSO was disbanded. I attended the launch where orchestra CEO Bongani Tembe spoke about the purpose of the Mzansi NPO and dealt with some of the criticism levelled against…
18 Jul 2022 9 min

Beethoven - Symphony no. 3 in E flat major "Eroica"

Concert goers in Vienna in the early 1800s were unsure about Beethoven's Eroica symphony. It was unlike any other composed before and it broke the mould, eventually changing what they expected a symphony to be. Acclaimed conductor Bernhard Gueller explains what made the Eroica a groundbreaking work, as well as…
5 Jul 2022 29 min

Tchaikovsky - Symphony no. 5 in E minor

Tchaikovsky composed his fifth symphony to prove to others, and to himself, that he wasn't "played out" as a composer. He needn't have worried. It's a fantastic symphony, containing gorgeous melodies and deeply felt emotion - traits that are typical of Tchaikovsky. Rather than the work of someone in decline,…
16 Jun 2022 15 min

Dvorak - Symphony no.9 "From the New World"

Dvorak's Symphony no.9 in E minor was first performed in New York in 1893 and was an immediate hit. But despite Dvorak giving it the subtitle "From the New World", was there anything American about the symphony? That's a question musicologists continue to debate, but what is clear is that…
3 Jun 2022 17 min

Bruch - Violin Concerto no.1 in G minor

Zanta Hofmeyr is one of South Africa's most acclaimed violinists. In this episode she guides us through a work about which she is passionate - Max Bruch's Violin Concerto no.1 in G minor. Zanta identifies some of the themes and key changes, gives insight into the difficulty of the soloist's…
29 May 2022 37 min

Scheherazade Symphonic Suite

Scheherazade was composed by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. It was inspired by One Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights) and like many good stories, is full of colour, adventure and a bit of romance! Miro Chakaryan is the concert master of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He takes us through each movement,…
28 May 2022 42 min