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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: "Play, you gypsy fiddler!" Gypsy music shows up quite often in classical music. Songs, operatic choruses, and instrumental musi--many composers have written music with a gypsy flavor. Who wrote a composition for violin and orchestra titled "Gypsy Airs" or "Zigeunerweisen?" Answer >>

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      Chicago Classical Calendar

      Use the calendar below to browse upcoming
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      Top Stories

      Spanish Fever at Grant Park

      February-March 1875, Paris – Within the span of one month, the Parisians saw the premieres of Lalo's Symphonie espagnole and Bizet's Carmen. For the audience, there was something different, something exotic about those pieces – eventually people would be whistling them in the streets. more...

      Ongoing Debate: Does Music Have Meaning or Not?

      Do you think music has meaning? Music can move you; music can make you want to move. For most listeners, it's a simple transaction. There are those who look deeper into our relationship to music, however, and wonder why it affects us so. Igor Stravinsky was one of them. Not always inclined to subtlety more...

      David Robertson Puts Youth in Spotlight

      On Monday evening, David Robertson returns to the Chicago stage, this time with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. There is the notion that some conductors work with youth orchestras while hoping to move on to professional orchestras – not so with David Robertson. He has the big career more...

      Summer Migration, Payoff for Chicago

      If you've ever seen a nature documentary about the Serengeti, you might have some sense of the migratory patterns of classical musicians. There are music centers, like watering holes, to which players journey in order to refresh, commune with others, and nurture the young. The Aspen Music Festival is one of those places. One only has to read the biographies of Chicago's top musicians more...

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      Eilene Hannan obituary

      Soprano who was one of the key singers with English National Opera in the 1970s and 80s

      The Australian soprano Eilene Hannan, who has died of cervical cancer aged 67, is remembered by audiences and colleagues alike as one of the key singing-actresses associated with English National Opera in the late 1970s and 80s, and emblematic of the intense communication and psychological truth sought in the productions of the so-called Powerhouse regime. Having sung the role of Natasha in Prokofiev's War and Peace at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973 a performance that launched her international career she became associated with ENO within a few years, earning effusive approbation in roles such as Mimì, Susanna, Pamina, Rusalka and Mélisande between 1978 and 1987.

      The youngest of four children born to George Hannan, a Liberal party senator in the Australian parliament, and Eileen, his wife, she was educated at the Sacré Coeur school in Melbourne and made her debut with Australian Opera as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro (1971). The quality of her "fresh young soprano" was noted at the Sydney Opera House opening, as was her striking stage appearance: "all tossing black curls and delectable pink and white muslin dresses, [she] looked just right as the wide-eyed, life-hungry heroine Natasha". When she appeared as Salome in Massenet's Hérodiade (Wexford, 1977), Rodney Milnes noted that "her slightly grainy, very true soprano is most attractive", while being similarly enchanted by her appearance: "she looked simply gorgeous". Her appearance at Glyndebourne as a highly praised Vixen in Janáek's rustic tale The Cunning Little Vixen earlier that year had marked her British debut.

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      Scandal and outrage at Germany's Bayreuth opera festival

      Festival is becoming more notorious for its scandals than its music after second year of boos, jeers and insults

      Long considered the embodiment of German high culture, Bayreuth's opera festival is becoming more notorious for its scandals than its music after one performer this week complained he had never come across "an audience with so much hatred".

      When the chancellor, Angela Merkel, paid her annual visit with her husband, Joachim Sauer, she must have felt safe in the knowledge that her presence in the audience would be unlikely to overshadow events on the stage.

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      Prom 18: BBCPhil/Tharaud/Mena review Birtwistle, Ravel and Mahler

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      Mena's Mahler was unindulgent but still gorgeous

      Night's Black Bird is the first of seven works by Harrison Birtwistle coming up at the Proms in the composer's 80th birthday year, and it's a dark-hued, opaque gem. Inspired by a lute song by the arch-melancholic English Renaissance composer John Dowland, and written in 2004, it is a pungent depiction of night in which the comforting, enveloping aspects of darkness are somehow evoked in the same sinking, sliding music as its potential terror.

      Much of it involves the kind of low, textured sounds whose nuances should by rights get flattened in this huge space. But Birtwistle's layered writing sounded silky and vital here as played by the BBC Philharmonic under Juanjo Mena, and the woodwind pealed out their bird calls spikily, as though they were the only elements of this piece not half hidden.

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      Join Peter Van De Graaff for a trip to Montreal & Quebec City this September!

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      Join Peter Van De Graaff this October for the treasures of Cuba's rich culture of music, dance, art, and history!

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      new releases

      Godard: Piano Concertos

      Hyperion CDA-68043

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      Prokofiev: Violin Music

      Hyperion CDA-67514

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      Beethoven: Missa Solemnis

      LPO 0077

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      Beethoven: Symphony No 9

      Deutsche Grammophon 481 0591

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      Myung-Whun Chung: Piano Encores

      ECM New Series 2342

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