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Carl's Morning Quiz
Carl's Morning Quiz: What famous but modest musician once said, "There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Answer >>
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Chicago Classical Calendar
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When Phil Grabsky looks out into the world, he sees stories that need to be told. As an independent filmmaker, he's followed his passion from Brazil to Angola, from Chernobyl to Afghanistan. He also has a fascination for great composers. Phil Grabsky is in Chicago to introduce his new film In Search of Chopin more...
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra makes a joyful noise this weekend, performing to capacity crowds. Riccardo Muti opens the concert season with four sold-out performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and a free Tchaikovsky concert at Millennium Park. With orchestra and chorus declaring Friedrich Schiller's Ode to Joy more...
People who win don't even know they've been considered, but on Wednesday they were identified by international news agencies as "21 extraordinarily creative people who inspire us all." Some are scientists; others are historians, poets, or lawyers. There's an artist, a jazz musician, and a cartoonist. They are the 2014 MacArthur Fellows, recipients of what's often called the genius grant, a $625,000 cash prize – no strings attached more...
This week's Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert welcomes the 2014 Fischoff Competition gold medalists. They had walked away with the silver medal in 2012, before clenching the gold in 2014. In July, the Akropolis Reed Quintet was presented with the 2015 Fischoff Educator Award for their imaginative programming for children more...
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Critics have hailed her alongside operatic legends. As Joyce DiDonato prepares for the Barbican's 'Artist Spotlight' series, she talks to Nicholas Wroe
Earlier this month Joyce DiDonato opened Wigmore Hall's 2014/15 season with a programme that combined familiar, and very much less familiar, Italian and American music. "Don'tworry if you've never heard of Francesco Santoliquido" she told me a few days before the performance, "few people have. In the 30s he was a fascist in Italy, but in the early part of the 20th century he wrote this wonderfully rich and romantic music that reminds you of Puccini." When she introduced the songs on stage DiDonato drew attention to these "glimpses" of Cio-Cio San and Mimi before earning a laugh with her private name for Santoliquido: "Frankie Holywater". Then she brought the house down with her performance.
DiDonato is both "just Joyce from Kansas", the unstuffy natural communicator whose habitual recital encore is "Over the Rainbow", and a proselyting archaeologist of the more obscure byways of music history. These personas share equal billing in the makeup of the most critically acclaimed and popular mezzo soprano of our day. As the Telegraph reviewer said of her performance in Maria Stuarda earlier this year at the Royal Opera House, "bel canto of this quality has not been heard at Covent Garden for more than a generation On the strength of this night alone, her name should rank in the operatic pantheon alongside the greatest legends of the past".Continue reading...
Kings Place, London
Sarah Connolly showed subtly shaded colours in the Wood Doves Song from Gurrelieder, while Nicholas Collon brought out the expressive detail of the First Chamber Symphony
Towards the end of the extended applause that greeted this rare all-Schoenberg concert, the conductor held up his score and pointed to the composers name. Dont forget about the composer, the gesture reminded us. After all, wasnt it Schoenberg we were all here for? Not according to the straw poll I conducted in the interval, which confirmed the hall was packed not for Schoenberg, nor even for his daughter Nuria, sitting among the audience, but for Sarah Connolly, present to sing the Wood Doves Song from Schoenbergs Gurrelieder.
And what a performance she gave. Despite an excellent live recording of Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten some years ago, its still surprising to find Connolly singing this repertoire. But it shouldnt be: her deep and subtly shaded colours are perfectly suited to a composer for whom the idea of expression relies on a constant sense of flux and growth. Connollys deep reserves of power, even so low in her register, kept a sense of the lines endless unfolding so that the interplay with the chamber orchestra (this was Schoenbergs reduced version with harmonium and piano) was spontaneous. Indeed, Nicholas Collons sensitive direction, here and in the First Chamber Symphony which followed, brought a freshness that highlighted the expressive detail without ever losing the sense of flow.Continue reading...
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Having overseen an exceptional account of Beethovens Fourth Symphony, Andris Nelsons infused the Fifth with rare freshness
Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony ended their European tour last week with a residency in Bonn, where their cycle of the Beethoven symphonies was the centrepiece of the Beethovenfest held there every September. Now they are repeating their performances for their home audience in Birmingham, with all nine symphonies played in chronological order and packed into four concerts in just six days.
The second concert consisted of the Fourth and Fifth, given as an afternoon matinee. Both symphonies were electrically charged affairs and, after eight weeks of Proms in the cotton-wool acoustics of the Albert Hall, returning to the immediacy and precision of sound in the crowded Symphony Hall was a delight in itself.Continue reading...
Alex Salmond is to step down as first minister of Scotland and Scottish National Party leader after voters rejected independence in Thursday's referendum.
The Queen says she believes Scotland will unite in a "spirit of mutual respect and support" following the independence referendum.
Joyce Thacker, the director for children's services at Rotherham council, resigns in the wake of the abuse report scandal.
Bears star Brandon Marshall speaks out about Roger Goodell, domestic violence, and his...
Last week Ald. Bob Fioretti announced he will run for mayor of Chicago in the 2015...
Today, Scottish voters will choose whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or...
Igor Kamenz Plays Scarlatti
Lisa Batiashvili Plays Bach
Deutsche Grammophon 479 2479
Daniel Hope: Escape to Paradise
Deutsche Grammophon 479 2954
Ian Maksin: Soul Companion
Blue Griffin Recording BGR-345
Benjamin Grosvenor: Dances
Decca 478 5334