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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: An early Italian composer was also the organist at San Marcos (St. Mark's) Cathedral in Venice from 1566 until his death in 1585. He was succeeded by his nephew who served as organist and chief composer until 1612. What was the family name and what were their first names? 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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      Three Choirs festival: Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie review – scintillating, extreme physicality

      Hereford Cathedral
      The Philharmonia’s Turangalîla under Jac van Steen, with Steven Osborne’s piano, had extraordinary impact: a tumult of sounds bouncing off stone pillars

      Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie is not so obviously imbued with the Christianity of his later compositions, yet the composer saw the human love he celebrated within it as a reflection of divine love.

      Related: Rufus Wainwright: Why I love composer Olivier Messiaen

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      Prom 14: LSO/Gergiev review – Prokofiev piano concertos score mixed results

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      Daniil Trifonov, Sergei Babayan and Alexei Volodin’s treatments of all five works were fine individual achievements that made a less than ideal evening

      Following immediately on from Leif Ove Andsnes’s remarkable Beethoven cycle, the Proms turned its attention to Prokofiev’s piano concertos, albeit according them very different treatment. Shared between three pianists, and with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, all five were performed in chronological order in a single concert, which proved less than ideal, despite fine individual achievements.

      The concertos are variable in quality. Except for the Fourth – for the left hand only, and commissioned in 1931 by the pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm as the result of a wartime injury – Prokofiev wrote them for himself as flamboyant showpieces. The atrociously difficult Second is arguably the greatest, the Third the most popular. The chronological approach meant that the introverted Fourth and flashy, aphoristic Fifth seemed anticlimactic. Many in the audience, drawn by the prospect of Daniil Trifonov playing the First and Third, left after the latter.

      Continue reading...

      Yo-Yo Ma: Bach, Big Bird and me

      He has played for eight presidents and jammed on Sesame Street. But Yo-Yo Ma is now facing his biggest challenge yet – a Bach marathon at the Proms

      Something weird happens in Bach’s fifth suite for unaccompanied cello. The soloist, who has been bowing away for the past hour and 25 minutes on the previous four suites, tackling some of the most soulful and demanding music in the western classical canon, is suddenly confronted with a new challenge. And it’s still a good 40 minutes before he or she can get a well-deserved cup of tea.

      “Bach decides he’s going to enrich the sound of the instrument by tuning it down, taking the A string down to a G,” explains cellist Yo-Yo Ma. “He’s saying, ‘If I do that, I can get more overtone, I can make the chords richer, make it more polyphonic.’ He’s trying to make a single-line instrument give the illusion of several voices.”

      Continue reading...

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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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