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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Later this morning we will hear Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite. Initially titled "Five Pictures of the Grand Canyon," it had its first performance November 22, 1931 at the Studebaker Theatre in Chicago (!) The composer, Ferde Grofe, was a master orchestrator and arranger. It was he who arranged and orchestrated another American classic which had its premiere in February of 1924 in New York. What is the name of that work? Answer >>


      Top Stories

      Tap Dancing Steps into the Future

      The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) is currently presenting its 25th festival celebrating American tap and contemporary percussive arts, Rhythm World. I sat down with Lane Alexander, CHRP’s artistic director and co-founder, as well as several Rhythm World instructors and guest artists, to learn more about this unique festival, which honors tap’s past while helping it step into the future. more...

      Leonard Slatkin’s 10 Forgotten American Masterpieces

      The following is a list of ten pieces, each received well at the time of composition but fortune has not been so kind to over the years. Of course, there are more than 10 and this selection barely scratches the surface. Perhaps it is not just the pieces, but also the composers who seem to more... more...

      Dvořák Symphony No. 6

      Thomas Wilkins conducts the Sunday Symphony by the prolific William Grant Still, the “Dean of all African-American composers.” The evening concludes with Dvořák’s beautiful large-scale work, his Sixth Symphony, which recalls the Czech folksongs of his native Bohemia. Grant Park Orchestra Thomas Wilkins, Guest Conductor Goldsmith: Fireworks Still: Symphony No. 3, Sunday Symphony Dvořák: Symphony more... more...

      Composer-Pianist Plays “Super” Music on Nintendo Themed Piano

      It’s a truth universally acknowledged by music students around the world that at any given moment in any conservatory, there’s at least one person in the practice rooms playing Bach, Beethoven, and the songs from Nintendo’s classic game Super Mario Bros. The video game, released in 1985, has some pretty memorable music: six songs composed by Koji more... more...

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      La Monte Young: 'I'm only interested in putting out masterpieces'

      The godfather of minimal music is still performing at 79, and since few recordings exist of his work, his live performances are more essential than ever

      Like many fans of minimalist-music godfather La Monte Young, I have often wished he’d put out more recordings. Long out-of-print CD copies of his multi-hour masterwork The Well-Tuned Piano occasionally fetch over $1,000 on the secondhand marketplace. A pair of other albums released by the now-defunct Gramavision label are occasionally easier to come by. (All of those albums have been widely bootlegged on the internet, though with unfortunate audio quality – and without Young’s essential essay booklets.)

      Moreover, those releases only represent a small fraction of Young’s compositional and performance-based work over the last 60 years. For a legendary output that has had such an outsized influence on other artists – not just fellow minimalists like Terry Riley, but also performers of the order of Anthony Braxton and the Velvet Underground – this can seem unfortunate. (At least from the acquisitive music nerd’s standpoint.)

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      Why you won’t catch a British politician at the opera | Martin Kettle

      Unlike Angela Merkel, our leaders rarely flaunt their cultural tastes. It’s to the detriment of national life

      Last Saturday I sat in something very close to rapture just a few feet away from Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. But Merkel wasn’t making a speech. She wasn’t giving a press conference. And, although I live in hope, she wasn’t giving me an exclusive interview for the Guardian about Britain and the EU either.

      Merkel was doing the same thing I was doing. She was at the opera house, listening to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. And not just in any old opera house. We were at the Bayreuth festival theatre, the legendary Wagner shrine in Bavaria. It was the opening night of the 2015 festival. Merkel was the guest of honour there, as she often is.

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      Schumann: Piano Concerto, Piano Trio No 2 CD review – Melnikov's steely playing is hard to love

      Melnikov/Faust/Queyras/Heras-Casado/Freiburger Barockorchester
      (Harmonia Mundi)

      This is the second in a three-part series exploring Schumann’s concertos and piano trios on gut strings and a period piano, and as the slightly creepy cover photo spells out – shadows of violinist Isabelle Faust and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras flank Alexander Melnikov like lurking henchmen – it is the pianist’s turn to shine. Melnikov is a steely player with plenty of ideas and charisma, but even in the finessed company of the Freiburg Baroque and conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, his bracing account of the Piano Concerto is hard to love. The first moment opens with a dry punch and hurtles ahead hell-for-leather; the second movement is breezy and borderline trite, and the finale digs in its heels with laboured earthiness and a self-conscious ping at the top of each phrase. All affectations evaporate in the Trio, though, where Faust’s sound is so silvery and expressive, so simultaneously commanding and questioning, that she risks blowing the rest of the disc out of the water.

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      travel feature

      WFMT Santa Fe Opera Tour Join Carl Grapentine as we tour one of our favorite domestic opera destinations.

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      Discover the Best of Scandinavia this August! Join Peter van de Graaff on this exclusive classical music journey.

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      Join Bill McGlaughlin for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Budapest, Vienna and Prague!

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      new releases

      Music of Gaspard Fritz

      Musiques Suisses MGBCD-6283

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      Eschenbach: Romantic Piano Music

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 4624 (6 CDs)

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      Vadym Kholodenko: Concertos

      Harmonia Mundi HMU-907629

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      I have set my hert so hy

      Avie AV-2286

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      Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 5059

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