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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      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 >>


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      Composer-Pianist Plays “Super” Music on Nintendo Themed Piano

      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, Who Revolutionized Drumstick Manufacture, Dies at 85

      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...

      6 of Muti’s Most Memorable Moments in Chicago

      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...

      From YouTube to Lyric: Composer Jimmy López on his Operatic Debut

      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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      Classical music completists, unite! What mighty cycles shall we stage at the Proms?

      Many stamina-testing, technically demanding musical marathons could really work at the Royal Albert Hall. Here are five contenders – what would you choose?

      Tuesday’s mammoth Proms concert saw all five of Prokofiev’s performed in a single night. The London Symphony Orchestra’s three-soloist, five-work, single-evening marathon has made me wonder about the other stamina-testing and virtuosity-pushing live box-sets we could dream up and put on at the Royal Albert Hall. The obvious ones are Beethoven’s nine symphonies in a single day, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle in 24 hours, but those have both been done (although never at the Proms in such a short space of time) and are mere foothills compared to the mountain ranges of potential musical cycles out there. Classical music completists of the world, unite!

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      Everybody's Gone to the Rapture: writing a score for the end of the world

      How this very English view of the apocalypse communicates to the player through music, sound and song

      Silence is rare in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture – which is strange because everybody is dead.

      This elegiac adventure game, set in a rural area of Shropshire, imagines the end of humanity coming, not as a nuclear bang, but as a soft, almost seductive whimper. The player finds themselves in an abandoned village shortly after a devastating event of some kind, and by exploring the buildings, pathways and woodlands, must try to piece together what has happened.

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      Adams: Absolute Jest; Grand Pianola Music CD review – musically serious but still enormous fun

      John Adams’s Grand Pianola Music succeeds in its referencing of Beethoven’s cascading arpeggios, but the Absolute Jest is limited by the shards of scherzos

      It was moving out west in the early 1970s, swapping what he saw as the buttoned-up musical culture of Boston and New York for the much more open-minded artistic atmosphere of California, that liberated John Adams as a composer. It meant exchanging academic serialism for the freewheeling approach of John Cage and his followers, and set him on the musical path that he has followed ever since. The orchestra of what became Adams’ home town played a hugely important part in the early stages of that journey; between 1978 and 1985 Adams was respectively the San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) new-music adviser and then its composer in residence, and his earliest orchestral works were all introduced and first recorded by them.

      So there’s a nice symmetry in pairing one of those pieces with Adams’s most recent commission from the SFS. The orchestra gave the first performance of Grand Pianola Music in 1982, and of Absolute Jest 30 years later. What also links the two works is Beethoven. But where Grand Pianola Music’s references to the Emperor Concerto and its cascading arpeggios and celebrations of B flat and E flat major are only a starting point, the use of Beethoven’s music in Absolute Jest – the scherzos of the Op 131 and 135 quartets, Grosse Fuge, Ninth Symphony and Waldstein Sonata – seems both the raison d’etre and the limiting factor of the whole work.

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      WFMT Santa Fe Opera Tour Join Carl Grapentine as we tour one of our favorite domestic opera destinations.

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      new releases

      Music of Gaspard Fritz

      Musiques Suisses MGBCD-6283

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      Eschenbach: Romantic Piano Music

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 4624 (6 CDs)

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      Vadym Kholodenko: Concertos

      Harmonia Mundi HMU-907629

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      I have set my hert so hy

      Avie AV-2286

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      Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 5059

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