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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Later in this hour we will hear pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy play a Beethoven Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A 2-part question today: how many Beethoven piano concertos are there? And what is the nickname of the last one? Answer >>


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      Quiz: How Hipster is Your Taste in Classical Music?

      Admit it, liking classical music is a little bit hipster. But, how hipster is your taste in classical music? Do you love the classics, or prefer more obscure repertoire? Do you like listening to familiar masterworks, or do you constantly crave new sounds? Take this quiz and find out how hipster your tastes are! more...

      Why the American National Anthem isn’t even American

      Yup. You read that correctly. The American National Anthem isn’t American. Well, it has become American. But ironically, the tune to the “Star Spangled Banner” is actually a British pub ballad. How did a drinking song that originated in the country from which America sought its independence travel across the pond and become our National more... more...

      Schumann Rhenish Symphony

      Acclaimed cellist Tanja Tetzlaff returns to perform Lalo’s Cello Concerto. Schumann’s joyful and exuberant Rhenish Symphony and David Diamond’s Rounds for String Orchestra complete the program. more...

      How One Man Built the Great American Orchestra

        The names inscribed on the façade of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner – are familiar to every concertgoer. But another name that is proudly displayed not once, but twice alongside this pantheon of musical masters may be less familiar to you: Theodore Thomas. Theodore Thomas founded what would later more... more...

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      The Monster in the Maze review – Dove’s score is lively and direct

      Barbican, London

      Jonathan Dove and Alasdair Middleton’s community opera was given a confident production by a mainly amateur cast under Simon Rattle and the LSO

      “Smack!” sings the teenage chorus as Theseus attacks the Minotaur. “Ouf! Bang! Thwack!” Whatever that is in German is how the lines were heard when Jonathan Dove’s latest community opera was premiered by several hundred Berlin musicians, amateur and professional, a fortnight ago. And later this week the Minotaur will be getting beaten up in French.

      Alasdair Middleton’s English libretto – often irreverent, sometimes moving – is to be translated into further languages, too. Most community operas can’t aspire to such dissemination, but most don’t have the weight of Simon Rattle and the co-commissioning Berlin Philharmonic, Aix-en-Provence festival and the London Symphony Orchestra behind them.

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      Classic Quadrophenia review – an unnecessary reinvention

      Royal Albert Hall, London

      There is simply too vast a disconnect between the Who’s ode to working-class alienation and rebellion, and Pete Townshend’s plush, lavish reworking

      Having just turned 70, Pete Townshend has evidently been musing on his musical legacy. His current pet project is to create definitive orchestral scores of all of his major works, including Quadrophenia, the sprawling 1973 double-album rock opera by the Who that was to spawn both a feature film and a theatre production.

      Townshend asked his partner, the composer and arranger Rachel Fuller, to compose the score, and the venture quickly snowballed. Released last month, Classic Quadrophenia features the 90-piece Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the 80 members of the London Oriana Choir, as does tonight’s performance.

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      Orpheus in the Underworld review – cast and audience enjoy the romp

      Iford Manor, Bradford-on-Avon

      This is a piece that needs a nicely outrageous take, and in Jeff Clarke’s clever and cheeky production, it gets just that

      Iford is a tiny operatic heaven, so it feels like a contradiction in terms to make it the setting for the hell of Offenbach’s operetta. But Orpheus in the Underworld also embraces the Greek gods’ Olympian heights, so no worries, as the Australian soprano singing Eurydice might have said.

      In second empire France, philandering Napoleon III was the original target, poking fun, too, at Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice. This is a piece that needs a nicely outrageous take and, in Jeff Clarke’s new Opera della Luna production for Iford Arts, it gets it. His translation takes the liberties satire demands: contemporary, clever, cheeky. And for the character who wrongfoots the audience at the outset, introducing herself as “Public Opinion” – David Pountney’s ENO production styled her as Margaret Thatcher, and Scottish Opera had a Melanie Phillips – Clarke is more mischievous again, making her an arts council assessor, box-ticking with a vengeance, dictating that composer Orpheus abandon his violin concerto for opera. John Styx, Savile Row slimeball butler to Pluto, explains that he was consigned to hell for taking Greece into the euro.

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      new releases

      Beck: Symphonies, Op 2

      Naxos 8.573323

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      Abbado Conducts Schubert

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 4652

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      Nordic Affect: Clockworking

      Sono Luminus SLE-70001

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      Music of Orlande de Lassus

      Hyperion CDA-68064

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      Garrick Ohlsson: Etudes

      Hyperion CDA-68080

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