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      La Marseillaise, The Beatles to the Bastille

      Arrangements and send-ups of "La Marseillaise" range from Stravinsky to Monty Python. Film critic Roger Ebert listed the singing of "La Marseillaise" in "Casablanca" as one of the "100 Great Movie Moments." How many incarnations can you name? more...

      Canadian Pianist/Radio Host, Monday from Ravinia

      You may have caught Alain Lefèvre on WFMT's Impromptu. He's not only a whiz at the keyboard, but on the broadcast board as well. The French-Canadian pianist and composer is passionate about music: playing music, talking about music, and working as an advocate for music with educators, broadcasters more...

      Are Your Ears Thirsty? Q and A with Seth Boustead

      WFMT and Seth Boustead of Relevant Tones present the 2014 Thirsty Ear Festival, Saturday, July 12 at the City Winery. "The name comes from a friend of mine who was talking about an event he went to years ago and he said of the audience, "they were incredible, they had such thirsty ears." I thought it was a funny and imaginative way to describe people open to new sounds" more...

      Haymarket Opera, Monarchy, a Brutal Crime

      [Live broadcast, Tuesday at 5:45 pm] He was a prince. She was the governor's wife. He went to stay at her house. What happened next toppled a monarchy and inspired over two thousand years of stories, art, and music. The king's son Sextus Tarquinius waited until all were asleep before creeping into the bedchamber of the virtuous Lucretia. more...

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      The Jacobin review rare and delightful revival of Dvoák's comedy

      Opera House, Buxton
      Dvoák's tale of family reconciliation during the French revolution is moved to the 1930s with compelling results

      The first of Buxton's full-scale festival stagings, Dvoák's comedy has not been regularly performed in the UK though some may recall productions by Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera in 1980 and 1995 respectively. This month's revival, however, shows it to be an eminently viable piece, made more immediately attractive through the use of Rodney Blumer's excellent translation.

      The setting is Bohemia at the time of the French revolution, when the elderly Count Harasova is about to hand over his power and dominions to his wicked nephew, Adolf. The nephew has convinced Harasova that his son, Bohu, sympathetic to progressive social policies, is in effect a dangerous revolutionary, aided and abetted by his suspiciously French wife, Julie. How the count is disabused of this false notion and reconciled with his offspring forms the main thrust of the action.

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      Cheltenham premieres review planets, poems and pioneers

      A vibrant weekend offered the arresting wildlife calls of Richard Blackford's 'bio-symphony', Huw Watkinks's Britten-influenced sonnet settings and a late work by John Tavener

      First performances of new pieces were greeted by highly enthusiastic, full houses in the vibrant last weekend of Cheltenham's music festival. Drawing from the remarkable wildlife and soundscape recordings of environmentalist Bernie Krause, Richard Blackford's The Great Animal Orchestra, a five-movement "bio-symphony" for orchestra, was premiered at the Town Hall by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Martyn Brabbins. The sounds of the creatures from a pack of wolves howling to insects to the musician wren were arresting, galvanising us into listening anew to living soundscapes from around the world. Blackford's own music, for all its energy, could not compete. Yet, in the evocative central Elegy, where the anguished cry of a lone beaver whose dam and family had been dynamited is taken up by the mournful bassoon, the message was clear: this is a world that man is doing its best to obliterate; if we don't recognise or celebrate it, it will die.

      After that consciousness-raising experience of planet Earth, Brabbins's uncompromising delivery of Holst's symphonic suite The Planets, which the Cheltenham-born composer wrote exactly a century ago, underlined its pioneering spirit.

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      How best to rip 1,500 music CDs? Your tech questions answered

      They take more storage space, but lossless formats preserve the music's original quality

      Q My large (1,500-strong) CD collection consists of classical music and jazz. If I were to rip the collection as a backup to an external drive and/or place the files in the cloud, I would want to retain the quality with Aiff/Wav or compression to Apple Lossless (m4a) with the idea of being able to convert back to the uncompressed original in due course. Do you think this is practicable? Also, would Apple Lossless be the best format to choose to temporarily compress Aiff or Wav files for storage, in order to uncompress them for playback later? Also, to stream music to hi-fi etc, are these files the best formats to use, or are they problematical? Michael, via email

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      new releases

      Tchaikovsky & Grieg Concertos

      Steinway & Sons 30035

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      East of Melancholy

      Delos DE-3471

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      Spanish Dances

      Delos DE-3466

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      Orchestral Dances

      Pentatone PTC 5186 518

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      Gluck: Opera Arias

      Decca 478 6758

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