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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Pianist Leon Fleisher is 86 years old today, born in 1928 in San Francisco where he began studying piano at the age of 4. Despite losing a portion of his career to focal dystonia, Mr. Fleisher has had one of the longest careers of any instrumentalists. More than 50 years ago he made a series of recordings for Columbia including all the piano concertos of Beethoven and Brahms. With what orchestra and conductor did Mr. Fleisher make those recordings? Answer >>

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      Chicago’s Joan Harris to Receive National Medal of Arts

      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...

      From Soviet Refugee to iTunes Favorite

      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...

      Zukerman Chamber Players Recorded Live at Ravinia

      Monday at 8:00 pm South African-born cellist Amanda Forsyth grew up in Canada. Together with her husband, Pinchas Zukerman, Forsyth co-founded the Zukerman Chamber Players. They played the popular Archduke Trio and the Dumky Trio at Ravinia’s Martin Theatre in June. That recital airs on Monday evening at 8:00 pm on WFMT. Beethoven and Dvořák more... more...

      Lyric’s New Opera (Just a Peek)

      Getting beyond “The book was better” - Last week, when Lyric Opera presented a sneak peek at the opera based on Ann Patchett’s bestselling novel "Bel Canto," general director Anthony Freud quickly closed the door on comparisons to the book. Addressing a gathering of patrons and members of the media, Mr. Freud shared some of more...

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      Prom 6: Der Rosenkavalier review scaled back but still a treat

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      The Proms' first complete Rosenkavalier featured vivid orchestral colours and memorable performances from the principal singers

      In May, reviews of Glyndebourne's new production of Der Rosenkavalier triggered a media storm about sexism. But the reviews also discerned a musical coolness in the production. Now, two months later, in this semi-staged rendering for Glyndebourne's annual Prom visit, many of those reservations can be set aside.

      That may be because Richard Jones's iconoclastic production had to be severely scaled back for the Albert Hall. But the principal reason is musical. Robin Ticciati conducted with a sure feel for the ebb and flow of Strauss's score, and with the London Philharmonic rearranged in front of the staging, orchestral colours were vividly pointed. The offstage band at the start of act three, often muddily distant in the theatre, has rarely sounded so interesting.

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      David Brown

      Leading authority on Russian music

      The musicologist David Brown, who has died aged 84 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease, was a leading authority on Russian music whose four-volume study of the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was acclaimed as the definitive work on the subject.

      He also produced other books on Tchaikovsky and on the composers Modest Mussorgsky and Mikhail Glinka, was editor of the New Grove Russian Masters series of composer biographies, and served on the editorial committee of Musica Britannica, the national collection of British music.

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      Mozart: The Last Symphonies review a thrilling journey through a tantalising new theory

      Concentus Musicus Wien/Harnoncourt
      (Sony Classical, two CDs)

      Since Charles Mackerras's superb recordings with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra appeared in 2008, we have been quite spoiled by new accounts of Mozart's last three symphonies, most recently from Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century (Glossa). Nikolaus Harnoncourt's versions, the first time he's recorded these works with Concentus Musicus Wien, the orchestra he founded in 1953, is the latest of the sets, but typically for Harnoncourt there is much more to it than just fine period-instrument performances of three of the most familiar works in the symphonic repertoire.

      After 60 years of studying and conducting these works, Harnoncourt is convinced that Mozart intended the three symphonies, famously composed in just two months in the summer of 1788, as a unity the parts of a gigantic instrumental oratorio, which was perhaps inspired by a choral work of CPE Bach's, Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, that he had conducted earlier the same year. That, Harnoncourt's reasoning goes, would explain the thematic connections between the three works, and also why the opening to the E-flat Symphony K543 is conceived like an overture, and why neither that work nor the G minor Symphony K550 has what he calls a "proper" finale, unlike the C major Jupiter Symphony K551, whose last movement seems intended to sum up everything that has come before.

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      new releases

      Brahms Beloved II

      Telarc TEL-34659-02 (2 CDs)

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      Schumann: Piano Music

      Naïve V-5364

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      Per Monsieur Pisendel 2

      Avie AV-2308

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      Music for Heart and Breath

      Deutsche Grammophon B0021058-02

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      Robert Kyr: Choral Music

      Harmonia Mundi HMU-807577

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