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Carl's Morning Quiz
Carl's Morning Quiz: Check back next week for another round of quiz questions.
Today is International Friendship Day! Click to read more about some of the most famous friendships among composers in music history. Whether bosom buddies like Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams, or something more complicated like Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler, there’s no doubt that these composers enjoyed genuine friendships that would influence their personal and professional lives. more...
Tonight, July 31, is the second full moon of the month, or what we call a blue moon. Of course, a blue moon doesn’t really appear blue; rather, it’s their rarity that makes them special. According to numbers crunched by Western Michigan University, blue moons happen about 8 months out of 228, meaning there’s a 3.5% more... more...
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...
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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Royal Albert Hall, London
The BBCSO were on peak form in Bychkov’s formidable working of Shostakovich’s defining score, while the Labèques’ Mozart was lucid
“A cry of the heart against death,” is how Semyon Bychkov once described Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony, an iconic work of wartime defiance and solidarity that remains one of the defining scores of the 20th century. Bychkov’s mother endured the siege to which the symphony bears witness. His father was a nurse during the war. Bychkov has said the piece is in his system, and in January last year conducted an unforgettable performance with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican. He’s now returned to the work at the Proms with the same orchestra.
The Prom performance, though magnificent, didn’t always quite scale the heights of its predecessor. In some respects it was marginally more reflective, less immediately ferocious. The Adagio, in particular, seemed more reined in, its grief and formal ritual shaded towards elegy, its anger less overtly marked. Bychkov’s control of the outer movements remains formidable, however. The so-called “invasion theme” emerged almost imperceptibly from an eerie silence after the gradually fading certainties of the exposition, while the wrenching key change that eventually stops its juggernaut course has rarely sounded so emotive. The finale’s steady progress towards assertion and integrity was nobly done. You couldn’t fault the playing: the BBCSO were on peak form.Continue reading...
Anna Vinnitskaya, Ivan Rudin (pianos), Tobias Willner (trumpet), Kremerata Baltica, Winds of Staatskapelle Dresden/Wellber
The fun pieces here are the neglected two-piano works: the rip-roaring Concertino written in 1953 by Shostakovich for his son Maxim, and the frantic Tarantella, an adaptation from his film score for The Gadfly, which was the last piano piece he wrote. Both of these are closely recorded, dispatched with total unanimity and bite by Anna Vinnitskaya and Ivan Rudin, bringing Shostakovich’s sense of irony to the fore. It’s difficult to avoid the slight feeling of cynicism in Piano Concerto No 2, where the dreamy slow movement tries to out-Rachmaninov that composer (or is it too a satire?), and because both piano and orchestra are set far back in the sound picture and Vinnitskaya does not project strongly. But the trumpet in the racy finale of the First Concerto sparkles.Continue reading...
Various venues, Hereford; Glyndebourne, East Sussex
Love and sex are in the air at the 300-year-old Three Choirs festival, while the chorus is the star performer in Glyndebourne’s hugely inventive Saul
The visceral power of voices united has been a feature of this changeable, disagreeable English summer. A super-charged chorus generated its own solar energy to match idyllic sunshine at Glyndebourne for the opening of Handel’s Saul, while our longest-established celebration of singing, the Three Choirs festival, defied more typical gales and biting rain to emerge triumphant into its fourth century.
We hear so much of the Proms and Edinburgh that Britain’s oldest musical gathering, which set the pattern for all those that came later, has often been overshadowed. It’s time we honoured it. Established 300 years ago this year, it has seen the genesis of some of the nation’s favourite works and serves as an annual reminder that our cathedrals are a continually renewing source of musical excellence.Continue reading...
Singer and TV star Cilla Black, who enjoyed a 50-year showbusiness career, dies aged 72, police in Spain say.
More debris washed up on Reunion island is investigated after a wing part - possibly from missing flight MH370 - was found last week.
The Swedish justice and migration minister accuses David Cameron of "playing politics" with the migrant crisis in Calais.
On this edition of Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review with Joel Weisman, a top...
Joel Weisman and his panel of journalists debate the merits of Lollapalooza, and the...
Watch the video: A group of aldermen is telling the Mayor they believe the city can get...
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WFMT Santa Fe Opera Tour Join Carl Grapentine as we tour one of our favorite domestic opera destinations.
Discover the Best of Scandinavia this August! Join Peter van de Graaff on this exclusive classical music journey.
Join Bill McGlaughlin for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Budapest, Vienna and Prague!