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Carl's Morning Quiz
Carl's Morning Quiz: Later this morning we will hear Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite. Initially titled "Five Pictures of the Grand Canyon," it had its first performance November 22, 1931 at the Studebaker Theatre in Chicago (!) The composer, Ferde Grofe, was a master orchestrator and arranger. It was he who arranged and orchestrated another American classic which had its premiere in February of 1924 in New York. What is the name of that work? Answer >>
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...
Vic Firth, the long time principal timpanist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra who revolutionized the manufacture of percussion sticks and mallets, passed away Sunday at age 85. Seiji Ozawa, one of many illustrious conductors with whom Firth worked throughout his career, once said Firth was, “the single greatest percussionist anywhere in the world.” Firth was more... more...
Riccardo Muti, the celebrated conductor from Naples, Italy, came to Chicago in 2010 when he became the 10th music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Since, Chicagoans have enjoyed many magical moments with the maestro both in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center and beyond, as the CSO extends its reach with performances in the community. more... more...
Composer Jimmy López never could have imagined that uploading some of his music on YouTube could have landed him his first opera commission, and at Lyric Opera of Chicago, no less. Read more about the creation of this new opera before it has its world-premiere this fall in a behind-the-scenes interview with the composer during tech rehearsals. more...
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Royal Albert Hall, London
Qigang Chen’s beguiling score was conducted with love and care by Xian Zhang, who also brought grand passion to Rachmaninov’s second symphony
The centrepiece of Xian Zhang’s Prom with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales was the London premiere of Iris Dévoilée, a major work by the Chinese-French composer Qigang Chen. Born in Beijing, Chen studied with Messiaen in Paris before taking French citizenship in 1992. His work constitutes a sustained dialogue between Chinese and western classical and cultural traditions.
Iris Dévoilée is essentially a sensuous love song addressed to the flower-like woman of the title, possibly a courtesan: the elliptical Chinese text repudiates the idea that the beloved is the lover’s wife. Chen trades in perceived archetypes of femaleness, and the work’s nine sections have Baudelairean titles such as Pudique, Libertine, Hystérique and Voluptueuse. The score, though, is utterly beguiling.Continue reading...
Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra/Slowinski
Who holds the deeds to cultural identity? What constitutes a “national school”? Can composers fit these nebulous categories even from afar? That’s the line of inquiry behind EDA’s series on mid-20th century Polish diaspora composers whose music often fell between the gaps. Jerzy Fitelberg fled Warsaw to New York via Berlin, Paris and Buenos Aires; Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern survived the Warsaw Uprising to become a UN cultural attaché, while Michal Spisak moved to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger and never went home.
Despite dating from the 1940s, two of the works on this disc were premieres when recorded live in 2011. And though they aren’t masterpieces, they are worth hearing: the impish neoclassical spark in Kassern’s Concerto for strings, the tuneful urgency in Spisak’s Concertino, the bright-eyed modernity in Fitelberg’s Concerto for trombone and piano — think Prokofiev at his sunniest. The Warsaw orchestra under Christoph Slowinski is spirited, a tad rough-edged and clearly invested in bringing this repertoire back to life.Continue reading...
Stefan Hussong/Wu Wei
Two3 is one of the chance-determined Number Pieces that Cage wrote at the end of his life. It was originally for water-filled conch shells and an ancient Japanese mouth organ called the sho, but Wu Wei and Stefan Hussong have gone a little off script here: Wei substitutes the sho for an even older Chinese mouth organ called the sheng, while Hussong adds accordion to his conch shells, with the idea that its metal reeds make it sonically sympathetic as a younger member of the sho-sheng family. Often it’s hard to tell which instrument is playing what, but it doesn’t particularly matter; the effect of the performance is fluid, airy and virtuosically unhurried. Chords drift in and out as weightless as a Calder mobile, constantly reframing the space around them, and 30 seconds of silence can pass without any sense of alarm. There are tiny storms of tension and release, but the Zen acceptance that underpins Cage’s late works is what really lingers.Continue reading...
Debris found on an Indian Ocean island is being taken to France to determine if it is from the missing airliner MH370, Malaysia's PM says.
British and Tunisian survivors of the Sousse attack in which 38 people died have told the BBC’s Panorama of their narrow escape.
The UK will not become a "safe haven" for migrants in Calais, David Cameron warns, after hundreds continued attempts to reach the country overnight.
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travel with wfmt
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!
Music of Gaspard Fritz
Musiques Suisses MGBCD-6283
Eschenbach: Romantic Piano Music
Deutsche Grammophon 479 4624 (6 CDs)
Vadym Kholodenko: Concertos
Harmonia Mundi HMU-907629
I have set my hert so hy
Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow
Deutsche Grammophon 479 5059