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Carl's Morning Quiz
Carl's Morning Quiz: Today is Riccardo Muti's 73rd birthda--born in Naples in 1941. Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and one of the most honored and respected conductors in the world, Maestro Muti is considered one of the leading interpreters of the music of Giuseppe Verdi. How did Maestro Muti celebrate Verdi's 200th birthday last October? Answer >>
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Chicago Classical Calendar
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On Monday evening, David Robertson returns to the Chicago stage, this time with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. It's worth acknowledging: there is the notion that some conductors work with youth orchestras while hoping to move on to professional orchestras – not so with David Robertson. He has the big career more...
If you've ever seen a nature documentary about the Serengeti, you might have some sense of the migratory patterns of classical musicians. There are music centers, like watering holes, to which players journey in order to refresh, commune with others, and nurture the young. The Aspen Music Festival is one of those places. One only has to read the biographies of Chicago's top musicians more...
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...
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...
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It's usual to interpret Mahler's last completed symphony as a prefiguring of his death. But different conductors make the work mean very different things
Lets begin at the end. The final page of the last, cataclysmically slow movement of Mahlers Ninth Symphony is one of the most famously death-haunted places in orchestral music, a moment in which the music slowly, achingly, bridges the existential gap between sound and silence, presence and absence, life and death. The very last bar is even marked, pianississimo, with a long pause ersterbend (dying), as if its message wasnt already clear enough.
As musical ideas that have dominated this movement, the whole symphony, and even other works by Mahler, dissolve into the ether becoming slower, quieter, emptier, and more stunningly, breathtakingly etiolated and gossamer-thin in sound and substance it all amounts to convincing evidence to support Leonard Bernsteins view, shared by many of his conductor colleagues and listeners, too, that this music stands for a whole suite of deaths. There's Mahlers own, since this is his last completed symphony, after he had witnessed the death of his daughter and when he knew that his life would be cut short by his heart condition. There's the death of tonality, which in the musical context of 1910, this piece emblematically signals. It even heralds the death throes of the figure of the artist as hero in European culture.Continue reading...
Astonishing flautist Emmanuel Pahud performs in premiere of Simon Holt's concerto, Morpheus Wakes
Royal Albert Hall, London
Simon Holt's collaboration with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, since he became its composer-in-association in 2008, has resulted in some of his most striking recent scores. The latest of them to be premiered is a concerto, Morpheus Wakes, which Holt composed in 2011 for the principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic, Emmanuel Pahud.
This 15-minute portrait of the shape-shifting Greek god of sleep, first "thawing out of a slow, dark-hued and quite sparse permafrost-covered landscape" and later "hankering for release", according to Holt, pushes even Pahud's astonishing virtuosity to the limit. In the first of the two movements, he plays an alto flute, often at the very top of its range, before taking up the standard instrument for the second, while the two flutes in the orchestra (which lacks violins) extend that sound world with piccolo and bass flute.Continue reading...
Iford Manor, Bradford-on-Avon
Audiences are transported back in time for Monteverdi's opera, performed with breathtaking musical intensity
Experiencing opera at Iford is always an intimately involving affair, but early Italian opera suits the cloistered space so well that the audience feels transported back through the centuries.
Just as effortlessly, director Justin Way and his designer Kimm Kovac achieve a timeless quality for their vision of Monteverdi's opera, setting it a century ago with the connotations of all-out war, and invoking both the sense of Penelope's despair at the loss of her Ulysses, and the hope implicit in her rock-like constancy. Rowan Hellier's fine mezzo embodies the dignity of this suffering in a tightly focused performance, while Jonathan McGovern's burnished baritone embraces both the heroism of Ulysses and the emotional torture of this culminating episode of his odyssey.Continue reading...
The UK is to cut from six to three months the amount of time out-of-work EU migrants can claim benefits without realistic job prospects.
Gaza sees one of its heaviest nights of bombardment, by air, sea and land, after Israel's prime minister warns of a long conflict ahead.
The European Union is set to back new sanctions against Russia, targeting its finance, energy and defence sectors over the conflict in Ukraine.