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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: The English pianist Gerald Moore was born on this date in 1899. He was best known as an accompanist for some of the world's finest musician--especially singers such as Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Victoria de los Angeles, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He wrote two memoir--name either one. Answer >>

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      Top Stories

      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...

      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...

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      Richter Plays Schubert Live review genius on small and grand scale

      Sviatoslav Richter
      (Melodiya, four CDs)

      The centenary of the birth of Sviatoslav Richter, the supreme pianist of the second half of the 20th century, falls next March. His legacy on disc is already prodigious though Richter became increasingly reluctant to perform in a studio, a high proportion of his recitals in his last three decades were recorded, and many of those have been already been released and rereleased on a wide variety of labels. But Melodiya begins what promises to be a lavish birthday celebration with a collection of Schubert performances three discs devoted to sonatas, one to smaller pieces, all of which have not apparently appeared before taken from recitals in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in 1971, 1978 and 1979.

      Though not all of the material is quite as new to disc as claimed the 1978 account of the G major Sonata D894, for instance, was issued as part of a Brilliant Classics compilation it is still a wonderful, sometimes magical set, with very decent analogue sound and only occasional audience noise. Schubert was always a central part of Richter's repertory, and where with other composers he was sometimes curiously partial he avoided Beethoven's Waldstein and Moonlight sonatas, as well as Chopin's Second sonata with Schubert he was much more inclusive; the late, great A major sonata, was the only significant work he didn't play. There are seven of the sonatas here, including two versions of the E minor D566, one with three movements, one with four. The emphasis is on those early sonatas; as well as the composite E minor work, we get the B major D575, F minor D625 and A major D664, together with two of the later ones: the G major and the C minor D958.

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      Three Choirs festival: Dvoák's Stabat Mater surging crescendoes resonated through the cathedral

      Worcester Cathedral
      Geraint Bowen handled the tricky pacing of Dvoák's sombre, yet hopeful masterpiece with discipline and grace

      The Three Choirs festival had already been going strong for almost a century and three quarters when Dvoák came to Worcester Cathedral in 1884 to conduct his choral work, the Stabat Mater. A mere 130 years on, Hereford's artistic director, Geraint Bowen, conducted the present Festival Chorus in a performance commemorating Dvoák's visit.

      A substantial work, the Stabat Mater contains wonderfully expressive music that is too rarely performed. The text of Jacopone da Todi's Latin sequence, telling of Mary at her son's crucifixion, is sombre yet ultimately full of hope, and it was for consolation that Dvoák grieving for an infant daughter began to set the words. He would return to the sketch when two more children also died, less than a month apart.

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      Prom 15 BBCSO/Pons review harmonic and orchestral sophistication

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      The BBC Symphony Orchestra perform Jonathan Dove's new work confidently, but it often comes across as background music needing a voiceover

      Jonathan Dove's new work takes on the daunting challenge of celebrating the ideas of scientist James Lovelock within a 20-minute orchestral piece. The three movements of Gaia Theory - marked "lively", "very spacious" and "dancing" attempt to convey some of Lovelock's highly influential concepts in purely musical form. "Evolution," the scientist is quoted as saying in Dove's own programme note, "is a tightly coupled dance, with life and the material environment as partners. From the dance emerges the entity Gaia".

      Appropriately, the resulting score possesses considerable ongoing rhythmic vitality as well as a good deal of harmonic and orchestral sophistication. A plentiful use of tuned percussion brings splashes of vital colour to music that has a consistently high energy level in the outer movements.

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      Beethoven: Missa Solemnis

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