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      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: It was on this date--February 9--that the Beatles (John, Paul, George, and Ringo) first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. What year did that occur? Answer >>

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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...

      12 Polish Composers You Should Know (Who Aren’t Chopin)

      Everyone loves the music of Fryderyk Chopin, Poland’s most well-known composer. But, how many other Polish composers do you know? Learn more about Poland’s best composers from one of Poland’s best composers: Marta Ptaszyńska more...

      QUIZ: Can you tell the difference between Chinese foods and instruments?

      Can you tell the difference between traditional Chinese instruments and food based upon their names? Take this quiz and find out. 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...

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      Karg/Gerhaher/Huber review – compelling vocal interplay

      Wigmore Hall, London
      Soprano Christiane Karg and baritone Christian Gerhaher brought directness and depth of feeling to an all-Schumann recital

      Christian Gerhaher, the Wigmore Hall’s current singer-in-residence, was joined by Christiane Karg and pianist Gerold Huber for the latest concert in his recital series, a programme of Schumann song collections for soprano and baritone, frequently excerpted but rarely performed complete. It was a compelling evening, for the most part revealing a strong sense of dramatic interplay between the pair, but just occasionally exposing disparities in approach that generated underlying tensions.

      They opened with the stark Lieder aus Wilhelm Meister. Karg sounded edgy in Kennst du das Land, and we had to wait a few minutes to hear the warm tone that makes her singing so special. Gerhaher’s Ballade des Harfners was a thing of tremendous effects, the dynamic range carefully calibrated, the text fastidiously pointed. Thereafter, Karg’s lyricism threw Gerhaher’s declamation into sharp relief, making him sound momentarily calculating, though at the same time one wished she would do more with the words. The Op 64 Romanzen und Balladen, which followed, brought them into greater accord: Gerhaher’s Tragödie II, all veiled pianissimos, startled with its grieving eloquence, their voices blended beautifully in the final duet.

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      Sofia Coppola's La Traviata to set Opera of Rome back on song

      In a major coup for the venue, the American film director, along with costumes by Valentino will add allegria to a new production of Verdi’s classic

      The American film director Sofia Coppola is to make her opera debut this year with a production of La Traviata, at the Opera of Rome – a star-studded coup for the beleaguered venue, which has long been overshadowed by La Scala in Milan.

      Coppola, the director of Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides, will team up with the fashion designer Valentino for the production of Verdi’s masterpiece. He asked Coppola to join the project after he watched her 2006 film Marie Antoinette.

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      Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Pappano – Russian rarities, irresistibly delivered

      Royal Opera House, London
      Antonio Pappano introduced a dramatic programme by Russia’s ‘mighty handful’ of composers for this annual showcase of his orchestral players’ talents

      London is not exactly short of symphony orchestra concerts. So Antonio Pappano’s ongoing project to get his Royal Opera House orchestra up from the pit and on to the Covent Garden stage relies heavily on rarity value – they give just one concert a year – and on some thoughtfully niche programming. This year’s focused on Russia’s mid-19th-century “mighty handful”, serving also as a musical taster for the opera house’s new production of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, which Pappano will conduct in March.

      Pappano’s charisma is a huge part of the draw at these events. He turned on the charm in short and informative speeches at the start of both halves of the evening, but it was his musical grasp and attack that made the concert special. Working with an orchestra whose day job gives it an inbuilt sense of the dramatic, the combination soon overcame any doubts about the suitability of the opera house acoustics for such a venture.

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      travel feature

      Tour Vienna next May! Join Carl Grapentine in exploring some of his favorite musical sites, attending performances, and sightseeing. Then on to Salzburg!

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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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