Category Archives: Classical

Our 13th Advent window and Handel’s Messiah ‘Rejoice Greatly’

Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique joins Chineke! to perform ‘Rejoice greatly’ from Messiah by Handel. This was Chineke’s first appearance at the BBC Proms and a fantastic Proms debut for Jeanine.

“What a voice! I got goose bumps right through the rendition because I could not control the emotions that I felt. That emotion is monumentally imbued in her clinical virtuosity”

The beautiful sound of Anuna is behind window 9

Anúna is Ireland’s flagship acappella vocal ensemble representing the beauty of Irish musical heritage and literature all over the world.

In 1987, Irish composer Michael McGlynn founded the choir in an effort to create a physical voice for his compositions, many of which are strongly influenced by the history and mythology of his homeland. Ireland has a long and sophisticated history of traditional singing or sean nós. McGlynn uses this as the basis for much of his arrangement and composition. Within these songs are universal truths told through the landscape, the philosophy and the mythology of Ireland and beyond.

The name Anúna is derived from the Gaelic term An Uaithne, a collective description for the three ancient forms of Irish music –  Goltraí (song of lament), Geantraí  (song of joy) and Suantraí (the lullaby). An Uaithne and subsequently ANÚNA, is a uniquely beautiful instrument. Over the last thirty years its unique status in Irish musical life has allowed it to create and develop an education programme that the group have taken all over the world.

5 Colloquial Hazards for Creative People

Go to the profile of Nicolas Cole

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mozart:

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”

Too often, we try to cram creativity into a box the same way we would a deliverable.

In our project plans and our timelines and spreadsheets, we have given it its own box — “Here is when you’ll be creative.”

But we all know that’s not really how creativity works.

After all, the truly creative would never do any of the following:

1. Say Something Is “Done”

A deadline implies the project is done. Complete. Finished.

Stored away and never touched again.

If you have a creative bone in your body, you know deep down a project is never “done.”

A project or a piece of work is an extension of you, and is constantly a work in progress — just like you, as an individual, are constantly a work in progress.

Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t checkpoints or milestones along the way where you may declare a project as “complete for now,” but being creative means always looking for ways to improve your craft.

Whether that means starting something new or going back and revising something old, it’s all about leaving the door open for adjustment.

That’s where the magic happens.

2. Think You’re “Original”

Nas said it best — “No Idea’s Original.”

Being creative is all about pulling from people who came before you, learning from their strides (and stumbles), and then evolving.

Too often, people “try” to be creative and make something in a vacuum — a dark room with zero inspiration and no outside influences.

While that can be an effective exercise from time to time, what’s much more effective is to study and pull from others’ work. Chances are, someone has already tried what you’re creating, and you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary time by studying their process as you continue to explore your own.

As the cliché goes:

“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”

3. Stay Comfortable

Doing meaningful, creative work, is not easy.

In fact, most people would rather say, “Oh, I’m not very creative,” because they know creativity is hard.


The majority of the time, creativity is the result of leaping and exploring what hides outside your comfort zone.

Whether you are a starving artist or a (true) Creative Director in the corner office, the mindset is the same: push the boundaries, go where others aren’t willing, and embrace the unknown.

Quoting a mentor of mine and Creative Director himself, Ron Gibori always said, “Great ideas don’t happen behind a desk. They happen out in the world.”

Get out of your comfort zone.

4. Accept The Word “No”

Do you know why most people don’t try to be creative?

Because that would mean waking up every single morning and standing in the face of “No.”

When you do go outside your comfort zone and begin to embrace the unknown, the rest of the world, those nuzzled safely in their comfort zones will hold their hands up in the air and tell you not to go that way.

“You’re wrong! You don’t know what’s out there!”

It’s as if they are shouting at a friend on the outskirts of a black forest, just before he or she decides to turn and enter.

To be creative, you have to be willing to give yourself permission before anyone else does.

You have to move forward despite the rest of the world telling you “No.”

You have to not be afraid.

5. Compromise Yourself

Ah, the hardest one of them all.

At some point along the journey, someone will try to tell you how it’s done.He or she might offer you nice rewards for your cooperation, may even plump up your ego and tell you how amazing you could be — if only you changed your vision to be more in line with theirs.

And it will tempt you.

But in the end, you have to decide what is most important to you.

The truly creative are willing to risk it all.

Reputation. Money. Ego.

These come second to the vision, and that’s the difference.

Brilliance doesn’t come from a calculated business plan.

Brilliance doesn’t appear in the form of a perfectly formulated excel spreadsheet, or wake in the morning to a stadium of applause from stakeholders.

Brilliance has to break down wall after wall after wall before anyone takes notice, and what feeds that brilliance in a creative mind is heart.

Compromise yourself and you compromise your heart.

And if you compromise your heart, you have nothing that will truly make a difference.

Trumpet Players! Practice Getting You Down?

Is the tired old practice routine becoming a chore rather than a pleasure? Spice up your life with these fantastic play along videos from fellow sufferer Ashley Buxton. Former Trinity College of Music and Queens Guards trumpet player Ashley has put together a series of brilliant play along videos to help put the buzz back into buzzing.

Check out this sample and subscribe to Ashley’s channel for new, regular videos.

Introducing Our New Feature – Spotlight on a Music Student

At FFM, we want to highlight new and aspiring musical talent wherever we find it and where better than the many Music Colleges, Universities and Schools around the world. Our new feature ‘Spotlight on a Music Student’ is an opportunity for you or someone you know to step into the spotlight and share your talent, dreams and ambitions with the musical world.

All you have to do is send us your information, pictures, videos, sound clips and links  and we will compile your feature.

email direct to

Much love and happy music making,

The FFM team

Win a luxury break in London and tickets to see The Nutcracker

Classic FM have got a pair of tickets to The Nutcracker to give away, along with dinner and an overnight stay in a gorgeous Kensington hotel.

For the first time ever, Birmingham Royal Ballet brings an enchanting production of this Christmas favourite to the Royal Albert Hall. This magical ballet, with its ravishing Tchaikovsky score, is the quintessential Christmas treat for all the family – and you could be enjoying it on us, with a hotel and dinner thrown in!


FFM’s Advent Calendar of the Greatest Christmas Songs of All Time

Every day throughout December, FFM will be opening a virtual advent calendar window featuring a different Christmas song, culminating with our readers’ all-time favourite on Christmas Day. Vote for your favourite by commenting in the box below.

Here is a classic to get you started.

Bach – Christmas Oratorio

Written in 1734, J. S. Bach’s popular Christmas work is one of the choral masterpieces of the Baroque era – but the great composer took all of its tunes from other works.

Towards the end of J. S. Bach‘s career, around 1734 and 1735, the great man composed three large-scale choral works for major feasts – the Christmas Oratorio, the Ascension Oratorio and the Easter Oratorio. The Christmas Oratorio is by far the longest – lasting nearly three hours – and the most complex of the works. It was incorporated within services of the two most important churches in Leipzig, St. Thomas’ and St. Nicholas’.

For the Christmas Oratorio, Bach cleverly used music he had already composed, adapting it for a new purpose. He took the majority of the choruses and arias from earlier secular works and gave them new words.

The Christmas Oratorio is in six parts, each of them being intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The first part – for Christmas Day – describes the Birth of Jesus, the second – for 26 December – the annunciation to the shepherds, the third – 27 December – the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth – New Year’s Day – the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth – for the first Sunday after New Year – the journey of the Magi, and the sixth – for Epiphany – the adoration of the Magi.

Despite being conceived in six parts, the composer clearly envisaged the work to be heard as one united whole. Its unity is apparent within the music itself, through Bach’s use of key signatures. Furthermore, each section combines choruses, chorales and, from the soloists, recitatives, ariosos and arias.

Today’s FFM Stage Belongs to Pianist Anna Nadiryan

Anna Nadiryan is an Armenian-Greek pianist. She began playing the piano at age five, made her public debut at age ten in Tbilisi Concert Hall and performed on national television in Armenia at age twelve.

After having won awards in several piano competitions as a youth, Anna Nadiryan studied at Philippos Nakas Conservatory, took a diploma in classical piano performance and pedagogy in 2003 and completed the conservatory’s soloist programme for classical pianists in 2007. Both educations were completed with excellent grades and special honors.

In the period of 2003-2012, Anna Nadiryan taught at a conservatory in Athens while actively giving concerts as a soloist and chamber musician.

In 2012, Anna Nadiryan moved to Denmark, continuing her work as a musician by performing concerts across the country. She also worked briefly as musical leader on the country’s first performances of the youth musical Terezín’s Fireflies, the performances of which were covered in newspapers, on radio, and national television.

As of 2017, Anna Nadiryan is expanding her musical abilities to the organ, currently studying at Vestervig Kirkemusikskole.

Anna carefully plans the themes of her musical programs, which are based on a large repertoire, and performs them with great musical understanding and an unusually high technical level; things that often bring audiences to the edge of their seats from the very first tone.

Inside A Musical Mind – Part 4

By Roger Moisan


Having decided that becoming one of the Mysterious Case Children by taking up the trumpet and raising my status amongst my peers was the way forward, I set off to school armed with a letter from my mum for the music teacher and an appointment was made with the visiting brass teacher  the very next week. Unfortunately, Terrance Maldoon, a lovely boy from a musical family, had the same idea. There was only one instrument left in Mr Everest’s cupboard so an impromptu ‘play off’ was arranged. Monday morning came and Terrance and I were led off up a spiral staircase in this creaking old Victorian school to the very top of the building to a small creepy room where the instrumental lessons took place. There could only be one!

Waiting to greet us was Peter Whitehead the brass teacher, also Tuba player in the acclaimed Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and the solitary remaining trumpet. Sitting on the table in its moth eaten mouldy wooden case lay the  most exciting object I had ever seen. The musty aroma combined with valve oil and brass polish was intoxicating and is still a smell that excites me to this day. Terrance was up first and he nailed it. A perfect, loud middle G that parted Peter’s hair, bounced around the room and did a little dance before leaving a big smile on Terrance’s face. Wow! I was up next. A big breath… and nothing. Puffing of cheeks, blowing for my life and still nothing. Barring a few pathetic squeaks and pops, absolutely nothing of any substance came out of the end of the trumpet.  Unsurprisingly, Terrance got the gig and I was sent away devastated.

A long forlorn walk home without a mysterious case that evening was followed by cheerful supportive comments from my family. Dad pointed out that nothing worthwhile was ever easy and the mere fact that we couldn’t afford to buy me a trumpet of my own was by no means a bar to my entry into the musical world. Off he went to his shed where he set about making me a trumpet out of an old copper water tank and some off-cuts of copper pipes. Dad was a plumber after all so how hard could it be? Several hours passed with considerable banging, sawing and swearing emanating from the shed before a triumphant dad emerged clutching a Heath Robinson esque contraption vaguely representing a trumpet. There was no mouthpiece and the copper made my lips go green but I loved it. A moment in time where I truly loved my dad and for which I will be forever grateful.  My musical career was born.

Me and my dad, Jersey 1975

Read Parts 1-3

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Much love and happy music making,

Roger Moisan