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      Music for Memorial Day: WWI Poets and Composers

      Tonight at 9:30 pm, WFMT salutes those who serve our country by broadcasting a special concert: Shropshire Lads: World War I Poets and Composers of Great Britain. The broadcast features baritone John Brancy, pianist Peter Dugan, and poet John Wilkinson in a unique program that combines music and poetry by Thomas Hardy, A.E. Housman, George Butterworth, Ivor Gurney, and others. This more... more...

      QUIZ: Name That Symphonic Tune

      Think you know the great symphonies? How about a round of Name That Tune, symphony style? See if you can guess each symphony by their famous themes or other special moments in their scores. Click one of the four multiple choice options below for each of the 10 questions to see if you're a Symphonic Master or a Symphonic Slacker. more...

      6 Sidesplitting Caricatures of Mahler Conducting

      Gustav Mahler, like many composers, wore many hats in order to make a living. Conducting was one of Mahler’s primary sources of income early in his career, and he quickly became known for his autocratic and often idiosyncratic style. For anyone who has performed Mahler’s music, his close attention to detail is apparent in the more... more...

      Florasonic in Bloom at Lincoln Park Conservatory

      An audio sample of Round the creep of the wave line, by composers and musicians Boris Hauf and Keefe Jackson, the current Florasonic installation at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Anyone who has visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory has probably noticed there’s a lot to be seen and heard. Since 2002, the Experimental Sound Studio has more... more...

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      Les Arts Florissants/Agnew review – striking accounts of 400-year-old Monteverdi madrigals

      Milton Court, London
      The Eighth Book of Monteverdi’s madrigals, first published in 1638, was the basis for this highly articulate and well focused concert

      Since 2011, the French Baroque specialist group Les Arts Florissants has been working with its associate musical director, Paul Agnew, on a project to perform all of Monteverdi’s madrigals. Its two Milton Court concerts comprised the most substantial and arguably greatest of the composer’s collections: the Eighth Book, published in 1638, when he turned 71 (a ninth volume appeared posthumously).

      In fact, the book covers a period of 30 years. One of the pieces – the Ballo Delle Ingrate, which is not a madrigal, but rather a short opera-ballet – was first performed in Mantua as far back as 1608. The result often feels like a summation of Monteverdi’s achievements in the genre, with a couple of other substantial items thrown in.

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      David Pickard likely to bring evolution not revolution to the Proms

      The new director of the world’s biggest classical music festival has a track record for broadening audience appeal during his time at Glyndebourne – but he’ll face plenty of challenges from his BBC bosses

      So the BBC Proms has a new director in David Pickard – the down-to-earth, enthusiastic, deeply musical man who since 2001 has been general director of Glyndebourne. In fact, the journey from the herbaceous borders and evening gowns of Glyndebourne to the egalitarian-minded Proms will be less tortuous than one might imagine: Pickard’s instincts are for opening up classical music, and he has done much to loosen Glyndebourne’s stays – strengthening its education programme, commissioning works for younger people, streaming operas digitally and introducing cheap tickets for the under-30s.

      Related: ​Glyndebourne chief David Pickard to head BBC Proms

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      LSO/Harding/Tetzlaff review – an unforgettable performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto

      Barbican, London
      Christian Tetzlaff has played Beethoven’s Violin Concerto hundreds of times, but still found a way to take it to another level with the LSO and Daniel Harding

      “It’s a big part of me,” Christian Tetzlaff says of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, a work he has now played around 280 times. Faced with that fact on its own, one could be forgiven for wondering if the 49-year-old German might have nothing more to say with it. But listening to his staggering performance with the London Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding, you realise that his statement is almost literally true.

      He seemed so completely immersed in the concerto that the overall impression was not so much of his playing it as living it. Any performance has to transcend concepts of virtuosity if it is to have its full impact. Technically, Tetzlaff is flawless, and the sound he makes with his modern Greiner violin – he doesn’t play a Strad – is effortlessly beautiful. But it’s the way the shape and meaning of every phrase is joyously integrated into a seamless whole that is so utterly beguiling. This is true even in the vast cadenzas, which Tetzlaff based on those Beethoven added to a later piano transcription of the work, having left his original violinist to improvise his own. Harding, meanwhile, conducted like one possessed. Unforgettable: the greatest performance of the work I’ve ever heard.

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