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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: The story line of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro is a sequel to Rossini's opera The Barber of Seville, with most of the characters appearing in both operas. Who wrote the plays on which those operas are based? Answer >>

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      Winners of Genius Grants “Inspire us all”

      People who win don't even know they've been considered, but on Wednesday they were identified by international news agencies as "21 extraordinarily creative people who inspire us all." Some are scientists; others are historians, poets, or lawyers. There's an artist, a jazz musician, and a cartoonist. They are the 2014 MacArthur Fellows, recipients of what's often called the genius grants, a $625,000 cash prize – no strings attached more...

      Fisching for Excellence in Chamber Music

      This week's Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert welcomes the 2014 Fischoff Competition gold medalists. They had walked away with the silver medal in 2012, before clenching the gold in 2014. In July, the Akropolis Reed Quintet was presented with the 2015 Fischoff Educator Award for their imaginative programming for children more...

      The Devil Gets a Second Act

      "L'histoire du soldat" ("The Soldier's Tale") is a curiosity. It's theater. It's a musical composition. It's a work rich in orchestral color, but has only six players. With a unique ensemble of actors, dancers and instruments, it's been a one-of-a-kind for nearly 100 years – until now. more...

      A British Import: the BBC Proms

      They gave the world Monty Python and the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Leave it to the British to organize something as inexplicable and wonderful as the BBC Proms, with a subculture of devoted attendants, some of whom line up hours before a concert for a £5.00, standing-room-only ticket more...

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      James Galway and Riccardo Chailly win at Gramophone classical awards

      Flautist honoured alongside Neville Marriner, with the evenings top honour going to Riccardo Chaillys recording of Brahms with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

      Tonights Gramophone classical music awards have handed out their top prize to Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig for their Brahms Symphony Cycle, released on Decca.

      Chailly and his orchestra were in London last autumn to perform the cycle at the Barbican, where the conductors fresh approach to Brahms was hailed by the Guardians Andrew Clements as both mindful of the performing traditions and critical of them in the best, most constructive way.

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      Schumann: Symphonies Nos 14 CD review Robin Ticciati delivers an irresistible performance

      Scottish CO/Ticciati
      (Linn, 2 CDs)

      Robin Ticciatis Schumann cycle is the third complete set to appear in the last six months, following Yannick Nézet-Séguins version with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for Deutsche Grammophon and Simon Rattles with the Berlin Philharmoniker on the orchestras own label. Its also by a considerable margin the best of them, in fact the finest set on disc since David Zinmans on Arte Nova a decade ago, and perhaps the most impressive thing that Ticciati has done on disc so far.

      Every bar in these urgent performances with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra seems alive and full of interest. Ticciati uses an orchestra with 32 strings, almost exactly the same size as those used for the first performances, and while none of the climaxes is ever lacking in weight or grandeur the opening of the Third Symphony, the Rhenish, has a terrific sweep to it the textures are joyously buoyant. The conductor and his orchestra toured all four works in concert before recording them in the Perth Concert Hall, and in each symphony there is the sense of careful consideration and total absorption in the music so that not a detail of Schumanns scoring goes missing. Everything flows with total naturalness, yet tiny contrapuntal phrases that are often hardly noticeable are allowed to make their points here without a trace of mannered emphasis.

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      Michael Gordon: Timber review bewildering yet comforting

      Kings Place, London
      UK premiere of this minimalist cult classic was gripping and different, not least because of the Ikea-style programme and white-suited musicians

      Even before it started, this concert promised something different. First, the programme note looked like an Ikea booklet, showing the means of construction of the piece and its components (six lengths of 2x4, 12 percussion mallets, six pairs of hands, one composer, etc). Second, the players, led by the Aurora Orchestras principal percussionist Henry Baldwin, and featuring the outstanding talents of Serge Vuille and Scott Lumsdaine alongside three talented Royal College students, wore white musicians always wear black.

      As promised, the music was indeed different. Composed in 2011 by the American minimalist composer Michael Gordon, one of the founders of the Bang on a Can ensemble, Timber has become something of a cult classic, although its taken until now to receive its UK premiere.

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