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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) had its infamous premiere on this date in 1913—102 years ago today. The performance took place in a concert hall that had just opened a few weeks before. What is the hall and in what city is it located? Answer >>

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      Your Top 10 Favorite Symphonies

      You voted, and we listened! For the last two weeks on Midday with Lisa Flynn, we have been counting down your Top 10 Favorite Symphonies that were paired with 10 Symphonic Discoveries – great symphonic masterpieces that may be new to you. Below is a list of your Top 10 Symphonies and the 10 Symphonic Discoveries we’ve more... more...

      MusicNOW Series Serves Up Pizza, Beer, and Contemporary Music

      Is there a better way to start your week than with cold beer, hot pizza, and awesome music? On Monday, June 1, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s final MusicNOW concert of the 2014-15 season presents contemporary music by some of today’s most exciting living composers: Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marc Mellits, John Zorn, and Myra Melford. The audience more... more...

      Lock of Mozart’s hair going under the hammer at Sotheby’s

      Gallery assistant Sandra Handley poses for photographs with a lock of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s hair, contained in a 19th-century gilt locket at the Sotheby’s auction house in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) LONDON (AP) — Music lovers have the chance to own a strand of history. Auctioneer Sotheby’s is selling a lock of hair from the more... more...

      Producer, Host Jim Unrath Dies at 78

      Jim Unrath,  a longtime WFMT program host and producer, died this past Sunday in Stockton, California of heart failure. He was 78 years old. Jim served at various times as operations manager, music director, and morning program host. He was the first host of the station’s overnight show when WFMT went to 24-hour broadcasting in more... more...

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      Llŷr Williams review – Beethoven from a pianist of probing intellect

      Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff
      The pianist has the rare ability to shed new light on familiar music, and discovered new relationships between the sonatas of Op 31 and Op 101

      Llŷr Williams is a natural Beethovenian. It’s three years since he won a South Bank Sky award for his sonata cycle at the Edinburgh festival, but the present series, running concurrently at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and at the Wigmore Hall, suggests that an already astonishing interpretation continues to evolve and deepen.

      Williams has that precious ability to shed new light on the most familiar music, and a nonchalant technical mastery and singing tone that transform the simplest of melodies into something exceptional. His adoption of a partly chronological sequence – here the three sonatas of Op 31 were balanced by the late sonata in A major, Op 101 – offers different perspectives and connections, notably in the matter of tonal relationships. In particular, the bright sunshine of the F major march, Op 101, seemed to tug the ear back to its relative, D minor, Op 31 No 2 – an emotional landscape clouded in mist.

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      Readers recommend: songs that build | Peter Kimpton

      ... up momentum, energy, intensity, layers, volume or sheer emotion. From a whisper to a scream, suggest music that grows in unusual or powerful ways

      What a song.* It begins with nothing more than a hint of stillness, a tiny flick of wind through grass, a gnat’s heartbeat, a cricket’s wink, a cat hair’s whisper in the imagination. Then, emerging from beyond the frequency at which human biology can detect sound, an indeterminate buzzing, perhaps of an insect, a rhythmic crunching, and a rustling like the uncurling of forest foliage. Next, the low thrum of a distant double bass, a rumble of timpany, a bass drum thud, then a snare, repeating and rising like the approach of a far-off army. Is that an oboe or a clarinet through the trees? Joining out of nowhere, the sounds are reminiscent of industry, the pushing of pistons, the hiss of steam, the banging of hammers. These instruments quickly and indiscernibly align into the rhythm of a human heartbeat.

      Suddenly, cracking like jagged sunlight across the sky, a guitar riff breaks out, and throws strange shadows. It does it again. Then cutting across, a piano plays a rhythmic counterpoint. The sounds intertwine. A string section joins. The energy rises, the pace quickens, and building, all the instruments quickly take a second’s breath, until a voice, at first soft but distinct in the verse, lets out a low howl, rising to a scream as it drives into the big corner of the chorus, joined by more voices and doubled guitars. The pattern repeats itself, each cycle building in intensity, the lyrics alternating between absolutely heart-wrenching and utterly joyous. Vocal phrases are echoed first with organ, then brass, then bells, until all hell breaks loose in a middle-eight section with the sound of a chainsaw. Somehow it cuts back to the verse, then into a chaotic final chorus where emotions are unleashed into a hurricane of the unspeakable, all instruments straining in anarchic energy at the edge of each register, out of which we hear, to an uproar and climax, a herd of elephants – trumpeting, thudding, tramping, triumphant.

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      Sibelius: King Christian II CD review – poignant understatement

      Turku Philharmonic/Segerstam/Pajala/Torikka/Kuolema
      (Naxos)

      Naxos’s six-disc survey of Sibelius’s less familiar orchestral works is in the safe hands of Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam. Judging by this first volume, it will be of interest to more than just Sibelius trainspotters. The two sets of incidental music recorded here, full of memorable melodies, raise the tantalising question of what the composer might have achieved in opera had he applied himself to it with more enthusiasm; at time they also sound like test runs for the symphonies. Segerstam has his Turku Philharmonic playing with both idiomatic, long-focused energy and poignant understatement; the first movement of the music for Järnefelt’s play Kuolema, later published separately as the Valse Triste, has rarely waltzed as sadly or as profoundly as this. The music for Adolf Paul’s play King Christian II centres on an expansive and genial Nocturne that sounds almost cinematic. There are also the rare Overture in A minor and two songs from Twelfth Night, resonantly delivered by baritone Waltteri Torikka.

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      Azica ACD-71300

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      Invitation to the Dance

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      Zofo Plays Terry Riley

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