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Hear These Uncovered Piano Masterworks from Haiti

By Angelica Lasala |

Haitian composer Ludovic Lamothe has been nicknamed the “Black Chopin” because of his virtuosic writing for the piano. Lamothe is scarcely the only composer from Haiti to compose incredible keyboard works. For centuries, Haitian composers have brought African, French, and Spanish influences together to create pieces – particularly for piano – that reflect the island nation’s cultural identity. Many of …

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Hear Astor Piazzolla’s tango take on Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”

By Angelica Lasala |

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons have delighted listeners for centuries. The collection of four concertos was part of a larger group of works he published called The Contest Between Harmony and Invention. Each of the concertos in The Four Seasons, or Le quattro stagioni in the original Italian, corresponds to a different season of the year, and are accompanied by poems that reflect upon spring (Concerto No. 1 in …

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The Petrushka Chords

By Cydne Gillard |

Composers can use chords to create a variety of effects, and Igor Stravinsky is famous for his use of chords to conjure up entire worlds of magic and mystery, including works he composed for the Ballets Russes: The Firebird, The Rite of Spring, and Petrushka. In Petrushka, a tragic love story of three puppets, Stravinsky’s chords bring the puppets and …

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After gathering dust for 200 years, how Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 was rediscovered

By Hannah Edgar |

Franz Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 collected dust for nearly 200 years in the National Museum in Prague before it became a staple of the cello repertoire. Music historians had always known of the concerto’s existence, thanks to Haydn’s diligent records: the work is included in both of his personal catalogues, dating it circa 1765.  Beyond those brief mentions, …

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Check out the sights and sounds of Chicago’s only classical music street fest

By WFMT |

In the summer, Chicago is teeming with block parties and street fests. Over the weekend, the Thirsty Ears Classical Music Street Festival filled the block of Wilson Avenue between Ravenswood and Hermitage with music you won’t likely hear at other Chicago street fests – or at least, not in this format. Thirsty Ears, a two-year old project of the Chicago …

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Hear the mass some believe “saved” church music

By Angelica Lasala |

Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina might not be the first person that comes to mind at mention of the word “savior.” Still, some refer to him as the “Savior of Church Music,” due in large part to his most famous work, Missa Papae Marcelli. And while calling Palestrina a savior seems like a stretch, it may hold some …

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The Secrets to Heavenly Singing from Peter Phillips, Conductor and Founder of the Tallis Scholars

By Stephen Raskauskas |

The Tallis Scholars is one of the most widely recognized vocal ensembles in the world with an unmistakable sound. A reviewer of their performance at the 2013 BBC Proms said, “The sound coming from the Tallis Scholars almost surpassed the humanly possible.” Since conductor Peter Phillips founded the Tallis Scholars in 1973, the group has both unearthed neglected Renaissance masterpieces, championed new …

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Help us decide if Chopin’s “Marche funèbre” played backwards is more morose than the original

By Angelica Lasala |

The third movement of Frédéric Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 35 – better known as his “Marche funèbre,” or funeral march – is one of the most iconic pieces of music ever written about death. Historians believe this somber movement was inspired, at least in part, by the November Uprising, a Polish rebellion against the Russian …