Welcome to Team Arcana!


Welcome to Arcana.fm! It’s great to see you here.

Arcana has been set up to give you the chance to step into classical music with no fear or pressure – just the chance to enjoy and read about good music!

The name Arcana comes from a forward-looking orchestral piece written by the French composer Edgard Varèse in the 1920s. Varèse was a visionary, an early sign of the direction electronic music was to take some fifty years later – and I want to capture something of that sense of discovery and originality in a number of ways through the site.

To do this I am treating all musical styles as equals, enjoying what they take from each other – pop drawing from classical, as in The Borrowers series that will begin with Manfred Mann‘s Joybringer, and vice versa – an example for starters being Philip Glass and his symphonies from the work of David Bowie. If Taylor Swift or Muse suddenly go classical, you’ll be the first to read about it!

There will be an extended look at classical music as used for TV and film in Screen Grab, beginning with the score for the Russell Crowe-led seafaring epic, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and looking at TV adds and promos, too. What’s the music Channel 4 are using to promote The Jump? You’ll find out here (it’s the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin‘s opera Prince Igor!)

There will be a series of guides for online concerts, which in the case of the BBC iPlayer will then be available for 30 days’ enjoyment. There will be interviews – a couple of whom are tenatively lined up for the next week or two in the shape of Emika and John Tejada. There will be reviews of new relevant recordings, both pop and classical. We will go on a Richard Strauss Odyssey, inspired by the composer’s centenary last year – and fellow centurion Sibelius will follow! Later, in a more ambitious series, we will take music year-by-year from 1700, so we can start with the very best the Baroque period had to offer. There is also Under the Surface, a look at underappreciated composers or works.

What matters most at this or any stage is your feedback and suggestions. Arcana is not just for my enjoyment – I want everyone to get as much as possible out of it. So tell me what you would like to see more / less of on this site, what music you like and dislike, or anything else – through Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.

Let’s enjoy the music!

-Ben Hogwood

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