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      QUIZ: Match the Film to the Score

      How well do you know movie music? Listen to the excerpts from the following famous film scores, and see if you can match the music to the correct movie. more...

      Classical Music’s Most Memorable Moments on Sesame Street

      Whether teaching the ABCs or addressing decidedly more grown-up topics, Sesame Street has expanded children's minds and hearts since its debut nearly fifty years ago. Many musicians have visited Sesame Street, introducing people of all ages to great music. There have been many inspiring musical moments on Sesame Street, but here are some of WFMT's favorites! more...

      These Photoshopped Pictures of Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde Will Make You Literally LOL

      Christine Goerke has set the world on fire with what the Wall Street Journal described as her “big, blazing soprano.” Recently she’s set the internet ablaze not with her voice, but with her sense of humor. When Goerke posted a production photo from the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Siegfried, in which she plays the role more... more...

      New Opera Exposes Horrors of My Lai Massacre

      “The story of Hugh Thompson in My Lai and the opposition of the Vietnam War is what led me from high school into adulthood,” said Jonathan Berger, composer and professor at Stanford University. Over forty years later, Berger composed an operatic monodrama, "My Lai," that follows Hugh Thompson’s story in various snapshots, from the horrific day in My Lai to reflective moments throughout his life. more...

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      L’Etoile review – where opera meets panto

      Royal Opera House, London
      A decisive performance of Chabrier’s decorous score is at odds with the lumbering absurdity of the plot of L’Etoile

      In director Mariame Clément’s production of Emmanuel Chabrier’s L’Etoile (1877), receiving its Covent Garden premiere, we get off to a lively start – the overture is accompanied by mime. Against an oriental screen, on opposite sides of the stage, are a leather Chesterfield and an armchair occupied by two preening gents, as if to evoke a London club in an Edwardian moment. Smith (splendid comedian and actor Chris Addison) vanishes behind his newspaper and pops back into view for each fresh swig of tea. His opposite number, Dupont, is the excellent French actor Jean-Luc Vincent, and in tandem they jolly the evening along.

      To the sound of yearning strings, they tuck into breakfast, fidget with sugar tongs and get dressed (Dupont twirls to the music while forcing his foot into a boot). But what they are preparing to face is not the day but the opera itself. This is Clément’s postmodern initiative: they are the critics who will apologise for – or intervene to clarify – a potentially confounding plot. At one point Addison even has an amusing altercation with conductor Mark Elder (celebrating 40 years at Covent Garden), addressing him in the pit, urging him not to repeat a tune (although, actually, it is the orchestra’s decisive performance that glues the evening together).

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      Rachmaninov: Symphony No 3, 10 Songs CD review – delightfully seductive

      London Philharmonic Orchestra/Jurowski
      (LPO)

      Related: Symphony guide: Rachmaninov's 3rd

      The quintessentially Russian melancholy of Rachmaninov’s third symphony was first heard in Britain in November 1937 when Sir Thomas Beecham conducted it with his new London Philharmonic. Today’s LPO plays the exiled composer’s 1939 revision in this live recording made at the Royal Festival Hall last year, Vladimir Jurowski drawing some delightfully seductive playing from the strings and woodwind. He adds an intriguing, though occasionally cloying, curio: his grandfather’s orchestral arrangement of 10 Rachmaninov songs, sung with crystal clarity by Vsevolod Grivnov, a comrade of Jurowski’s from the days of the conductor’s debut at Wexford in 1995.

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      Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 20 & 21 CD review – strangely disappointing

      Rudolf Buchbinder (piano), Staatskapelle Dresden
      (Sony)

      Two of Mozart’s great mature piano concertos, a veteran pianist of the classical repertory, and a skilled German orchestra – what could go wrong? Rudolf Buchbinder offers dynamic and powerful playing, sometimes a bit aggressive, plus some good insights in the booklet: “D minor is the key with which Mozart wanted to revolutionise the world.” But although this seems to be a studio recording rather than a live performance, there are just too many flaws: a piano note that doesn’t sound in the first statement of the No K.466 Romanza, an inaudible end to the piano line of the sublime Andante in K.467, and smudged cadences in the orchestra. Strangely disappointing.

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      new releases

      Brahms: Piano Trio & Quartet

      Harmonia Mundi HMC-902222

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      Beethoven: Overtures & Triple Concerto

      Sony Classical 88883763622

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      Images from the South

      Naxos 8.573442

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      John Rutter: The Gift of Life

      Collegium COLCD-138

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      Downton Abbey: The Ultimate Collection

      Decca B0024411-02

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