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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Another "who am I?" I was born 67 years ago today. At age 11 I began studying at the Curtis Institute where my father was one of my teachers. My concert career began in 1959 when I was 13! I played at the Marlboro Festival--the festival founded by my father, my grandfather, and my great-uncle. Who am I? Answer >>

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      Chicago’s Joan Harris to Receive National Medal of Arts

      On Monday, July 28th, the President and First Lady will recognize Joan Harris for her tireless support of the arts. It was announced on Tuesday that she would be a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. The visage of Joan Harris is a familiar one around the lobbies of the Civic Opera House and Symphony more...

      From Soviet Refugee to iTunes Favorite

      When Yevgeny Kutik was a boy, his mother declared, "Enough." She packed up her family and left the Soviet Union. There wasn't any one reason. It was a series of reasons: Yevgeny was bullied in Kindergarten; she was laid off because her employers exceeded their "quota of Jews"; her older son had picked up racial slurs at school more...

      Zukerman Chamber Players Recorded Live at Ravinia

      Monday at 8:00 pm South African-born cellist Amanda Forsyth grew up in Canada. Together with her husband, Pinchas Zukerman, Forsyth co-founded the Zukerman Chamber Players. They played the popular Archduke Trio and the Dumky Trio at Ravinia’s Martin Theatre in June. That recital airs on Monday evening at 8:00 pm on WFMT. Beethoven and Dvořák more... more...

      Lyric’s New Opera (Just a Peek)

      Getting beyond “The book was better” - Last week, when Lyric Opera presented a sneak peek at the opera based on Ann Patchett’s bestselling novel "Bel Canto," general director Anthony Freud quickly closed the door on comparisons to the book. Addressing a gathering of patrons and members of the media, Mr. Freud shared some of more...

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      Prom 7: BBCSO/Blohlávek review Tavener, Shostakovich and Bartók

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      Isabelle Faust's passionate Bartók and Bach reached an even higher spiritual plane than Tavener's meditation

      When he died last November, John Tavener had already completed a number of pieces that would have served to celebrate his 70th birthday this year. Two of them were destined for the Proms, with the 12-minute Gnosis opening this BBC Symphony Orchestra concert under the ensemble's former chief conductor, Jií Blohlávek.

      Scored for mezzo, alto flute, strings and percussion, in many ways the still, static Gnosis covers familiar Tavener territory. The title refers to spiritual knowledge, and sets a handful of words variously representing the Christian, Hindu and Islamic traditions, evoking being, consciousness, bliss, Jesus, plus the larger phrase "there is no God but Allah". The mode is simple, the solo mezzo lines carefully shaped here by Sarah Connolly drawing on oriental scales, while Michael Cox's flute delicately shadowed and encircled them.

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      Pet Shop Boys review Alan Turing Prom curiously lacking in modernity

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      A Prom dedicated to a 'man from the future' was stirring, but cried out for more input from Chris Lowe

      Nomenclature can get tricky when you think outside the box. What are we to call A Man From the Future, the Pet Shop Boys' tribute to mathematician Alan Turing, elegantly premiered last Wednesday at the Proms? A pop oratorio? A classical audiobiography?

      It is narrated by Juliet Stevenson, unkindly housed in a shonky-looking plywood box behind the orchestra. Her steely, authoritative tones remain purposely impassive, a judge passing harsh sentence on an era, even when they describe the death of the Bletchley Park code-breaker's first love from tuberculosis. A lonely bell clangs for this boy called Chris. Later, it clangs for Turing himself, as the piece in eight movements draws to an intense close. We pop heathens do know not to clap in between them.

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      Bernard Cribbins: 'I made Noël Coward's favourite record'

      No one tells a story like Bernard Cribbins. Simon Hattenstone settles down to listen to the former paratrooper, pop star and Womble talk about his epic career and never having children of his own

      Bernard Cribbins is completing the Telegraph crossword when I arrive. He looks up. "What bloody time d'you call this?" I apologise. He grins. He knows the trains have been delayed at Waterloo. "Six down, enzyme, must be. Bobobobobom, bobobobobom," he sings, to no recognisable tune. It's a brute of a summer's day, and Cribbins' pink shirt is sweat-patched, and there's a rivulet dripping from his forehead. He has a full head of white hair, a beard like brambles and a crippling handshake.

      He is 85 now and industrious as ever. This week, appropriately enough, he stars in the first CBeebies Prom as Old Jack, eponymous hero of the BBC show Old Jack's Boat. Appropriate because no actor has done more for children's drama than Cribbins. His CV of grownup work is formidable: the horrific Mr Hutchinson in Fawlty Towers; the belligerent barman in Hitchcock's Frenzy; a starring role as Nathan Detroit in Richard Eyre's Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre; camping it up with Kenneth Williams in the Carry On films; crooking it up alongside Peter Sellers in Two-Way Stretch. Then there are the hit singles he had in the early 1960s. But it is his work for children that most of us remember: voicing every character in the Wombles; a record number of Jackanory appearances; station porter Albert Perks in the enduring Railway Children; two stints in Doctor Who almost 50 years apart; and now Old Jack's Boat in which he sits with Salty, his gorgeous Hungarian wire-haired vizsla, and tells stories.

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      Schumann: Piano Music

      Naïve V-5364

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      Per Monsieur Pisendel 2

      Avie AV-2308

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      Deutsche Grammophon B0021058-02

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