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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Another "who am I?" I was born 67 years ago today. At age 11 I began studying at the Curtis Institute where my father was one of my teachers. My concert career began in 1959 when I was 13! I played at the Marlboro Festival--the festival founded by my father, my grandfather, and my great-uncle. Who am I? 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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      Readers recommend: songs about prostitution | Peter Kimpton

      Strumpets to courtesans, molls to midnight gigolos, escorts to extras, suggest your song pleasures for this week's potent topic

      "Suppress prostitution, and capricious lusts will overthrow society," remarked St Augustine, eyeing a flagon of mead, and somewhat surprising the merry company with his fifth-century mixed morality. But then, with a Martini in her elegant hand, a distinctly less saintly Marlene Dietrich added: "Indeed darling, a country without bordellos is like a house without bathrooms." Playwright Brendan Behan chipped in with an toothy Irish grin, having dished out a big round of whiskies: "Well, y'see, the big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less." Fellow author Angela Carter wasn't going to be left out. "What is marriage but prostitution to one man instead of many?" she asked, sipping a sherry. "The whore is despised by the hypocritical world because she has made a realistic assessment of her assets and does not have to rely on fraud to make a living."

      Such is the lively debate we can have here at the Readers Recommend tavern, as the four then broke out into laughter and song around the table. And this week can all do the same with nominations on what is indeed a potent subject. For, on this oldest of professions, much has been expressed in music and other genres. The sex worker must have a multitude of skills, many of which must come into play before, after, above and beyond the act itself, especially in dealing with difficult customers. The tough, complex and clever of the profession are, for example, portrayed with particular brilliance in the HBO goldrush-era series Deadwood. But, in reality, the law, and those who use and abuse it, can also be a capricious dominatrix, interpreted with as much flux as any carnal desires.

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      From Spain to Eternity review El Greco's world resurrected with care

      Ensemble Plus Ultra
      (Archiv)

      Though he was born in Crete, Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco settled in Spain and spent the second half of his life in Toledo, awaiting a summons to work at the court of Philip II that never came. He died in 1614, and Ensemble Plus Ultra's programme of works from the Spanish golden age particularly associated with the great cathedral of Toledo commemorates the 400th anniversary of the artist's death. The music of Alonso Lobo, who was maestro di cappella in Toledo from 1594 to 1604, is the focus of it all, and his Missa Prudentes Virgines is the the most substantial work included. The mass is preceded on the disc by the motet by Francisco Guerrero on which it is based, and surrounded by works by Alonso de Tejeda, who succeeded Lobo in Toledo, and Cristóbal de Morales, who had been Lobo's mentor there. It's a nicely conceived sequence, even if the connections with El Greco sometimes seem a bit contrived, and is performed by the seven members of Ensemble Plus Ultra with great care and refinement, though sometimes with a bit too much English reserve for my taste.

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      Crane: Chamber Works 1992-2009 review compellingly beautiful

      Apartment House
      (Another Timbre, two CDs)

      Laurence Crane's music is quietly unassuming and perhaps gently subversive. It deals in the common currency of tonal harmony and scale patterns, yet does so in ways that never seem cliched, arch or predictable. It's possible to guess at the composers who have influenced his style Satie and Feldman historically speaking, Howard Skempton more immediately. Like Skempton, Crane seems to possess the ability to make the simplest musical idea into something compellingly beautiful. Fourteen of his chamber works are included in this collection; none are very substantial and most of them are less than 10 minutes long. They include three versions of the same 1992 piece, Sparling, composed for Apartment House's clarinettist, Andrew Sparling. The spare, chordal accompaniment is given to different instruments guitar, piano, string quartet in each realisation, and its quietly nagging lyricism haunts the first of the two discs like a benign ghost, while other pieces around it, such as Riis from 1996, often conjure up memories of the English experimental composers of the 1960s and 70s.

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