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 began 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!
New to the site are pages for electronic music (Switched On), for dance (Let’s Dance) and for Beethoven (2020 Beethoven). For the rest of this year one of the greatest ever composers will fall under our focus, in the form of an intensive listening project. Meanwhile alongside that we will continue to feature new albums from creative electronica, house and techno types – to take just a few – and DJ mixes. With this we are aiming to remove boundaries between music and celebrate what electronica, dance and classical have in common. Last year’s Ibiza visit showed me that there is quite a bit!
We will continue to cover the BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concerts from the Wigmore Hall – the only website to do so – in the form of listening guides, while we will review specially chosen concerts far and wide, including those that often fall outside the scope of the newspapers. There will be interviews and reviews of new relevant recordings, both pop and classical, with the Under the Surface section looking at under-appreciated composers or works.
What matters most 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 – which is firstname.lastname@example.org
And now – in April 2020 – a disclaimer, to say that Arcana editor Ben Hogwood is now working full time for the Naxos group of labels. Although Ben is not working on the press side it is important to make this transfer clear, and to state that the site intends to continue as before, free of bias and favouritism. Every review of a Naxos product and / or artist will carry a disclaimer too.
For now though, let’s enjoy the music!