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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: What famous but modest musician once said, "There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Answer >>

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      CSO Will Roll Out with a Bang

      The Chicago Symphony Orchestra makes a joyful noise this weekend, performing to capacity crowds. Riccardo Muti opens the concert season with four sold-out performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and a free Tchaikovsky concert at Millennium Park. With orchestra and chorus declaring Friedrich Schiller's Ode to Joy more...

      Winners of Genius Grants “Inspire us all”

      People who win don't even know they've been considered, but on Wednesday they were identified by international news agencies as "21 extraordinarily creative people who inspire us all." Some are scientists; others are historians, poets, or lawyers. There's an artist, a jazz musician, and a cartoonist. They are the 2014 MacArthur Fellows, recipients of what's often called the genius grant, a $625,000 cash prize – no strings attached more...

      Fisching for Excellence in Chamber Music

      This week's Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert welcomes the 2014 Fischoff Competition gold medalists. They had walked away with the silver medal in 2012, before clenching the gold in 2014. In July, the Akropolis Reed Quintet was presented with the 2015 Fischoff Educator Award for their imaginative programming for children more...

      The Devil Gets a Second Act

      "L'histoire du soldat" ("The Soldier's Tale") is a curiosity. It's theater. It's a musical composition. It's a work rich in orchestral color, but has only six players. With a unique ensemble of actors, dancers and instruments, it's been a one-of-a-kind for nearly 100 years – until now. more...

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      CBSO/Nelsons review an electric and thrilling programme of Beethoven

      Symphony Hall, Birmingham
      Having overseen an exceptional account of Beethovens Fourth Symphony, Andris Nelsons infused the Fifth with rare freshness

      Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony ended their European tour last week with a residency in Bonn, where their cycle of the Beethoven symphonies was the centrepiece of the Beethovenfest held there every September. Now they are repeating their performances for their home audience in Birmingham, with all nine symphonies played in chronological order and packed into four concerts in just six days.

      The second concert consisted of the Fourth and Fifth, given as an afternoon matinee. Both symphonies were electrically charged affairs and, after eight weeks of Proms in the cotton-wool acoustics of the Albert Hall, returning to the immediacy and precision of sound in the crowded Symphony Hall was a delight in itself.

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      Readers recommend: songs about reversing | Peter Kimpton

      Music played backwards to U-turns in perception or action, this weeks songs are all about moving in the opposite direction

      ?ew tnod ,sdrawrof og ot kcab og evah ew semitemoS ?egnahc a rof kcab gniog tuoba woH .sdrawrof gniog htiw noissesbo tnatsnoc a evah eW !sdrawroF !sdrawroF

      Forwards! Forwards! We have a constant obsession with going forwards. How about going back for a change? Sometimes we have go back to go forwards, dont we?

      This week its time to mess about with perspective a little. As Scotland votes over independence, will the result be a reversal or an advance in fortunes? Aye. Naw. Mibbe. Another important question is: was it a car or a cat I saw? Say this backwards and you come out with exactly the same phrase. Or - Mr Owl ate my metal worm. Or if youre name is Anna, Hannah, Bob, or Abba, or you use a minim (half note) in music, then reversing is a comfortable way to go.

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      Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2 CD review very fine but too short

      Trpeski/Royal Liverpool PO/Petrenko

      For many years, when it was heard at all, Tchaikovskys Second Piano Concerto was played in the edition by Alexander Siloti that was published after the composers death. He had made a small cut to the first movement and a much more substantial one to the central andante. In recent years, most pianists have gone back to the original, uncut version of the score, but Simon Trpeski opts for Silotis abbreviated version of the slow movement, even though in a foreword to the sleeve notes he confesses there was no special musical reason for his decision. So where, in his recent recording with Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev takes more than 14 minutes for that movement, Trpeski dispatches it in just eight, losing a lot of very beautiful music, with its violin and cello solos, as a result. Its an enormous pity, for Trpeskis light, silvery touch lightens up so much of a work which, as Matsuev revealed, can become bombastic, and Vasily Petrenko and the Liverpool orchestra accompany him so attentively. Their account of the First Concerto is very fine without sweeping all before it; its the Second that should have been the highpoint, and there is not enough of it.

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