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      15 Summer Music Festivals You Should Visit

      Though the ‘regular’ performance season has ended, you don’t have to stop enjoying live performances. Summer festivals across the globe allow you to experience great performances with the artists you love all year long. Here are 15 festivals you should check out this summer. Can’t hop on a plane to Provence? Don’t worry. WFMT is taking you to more... more...

      6 Unforgettable Composer Friendships

      Today is International Friendship Day! Click to read more about some of the most famous friendships among composers in music history. Whether bosom buddies like Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams, or something more complicated like Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler, there’s no doubt that these composers enjoyed genuine friendships that would influence their personal and professional lives. more...

      Music for a Blue Moon

      Tonight, July 31, is the second full moon of the month, or what we call a blue moon. Of course, a blue moon doesn’t really appear blue; rather, it’s their rarity that makes them special. According to numbers crunched by Western Michigan University, blue moons happen about 8 months out of 228, meaning there’s a 3.5% more... more...

      Tap Dancing Steps into the Future

      The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) is currently presenting its 25th festival celebrating American tap and contemporary percussive arts, Rhythm World. I sat down with Lane Alexander, CHRP’s artistic director and co-founder, as well as several Rhythm World instructors and guest artists, to learn more about this unique festival, which honors tap’s past while helping it step into the future. more...

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      Monterverdi's Orfeo: 'a brilliant and compelling fable to the inalienable power of music'

      Monteverdi might be surprised to find himself hailed as the inventor of the opera, and he disclaimed the role of revolutionary, but his Orfeo is a radical, innovative and extraordinary work

      The Orpheus legend is utterly central to how opera emerged at the close of the Italian Renaissance and to the way its first pioneers tried to justify its existence as a revival of ancient Greek sung drama (a slightly spurious claim). Orpheus, its first definitive hero, is present at every intersection in opera’s 400-year story as it continued to evolve and then, after a few wrong turnings, attempted to reform itself thanks largely to Gluck.

      When Claudio Monteverdi came to compose L’Orfeo in 1607 he seems to have had a particular empathy with Orpheus. As a court musician working in claustrophobic, mosquito-ridden Mantua, Monteverdi was in effect a feudal vassal of the Gonzaga dukes. There his moods seesawed between elation and dejection: intense bouts of audacious creativity were followed by moments of self-doubt - very much like the Orpheus of Greek mythology (as transmitted by Ovid and Virgil), who suffers, loves, exults, mourns, goes on a heroic rescue mission, stumbles at the last hurdle and finally reaches a new and deeper understanding of himself.

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      BBCSSO/Runnicles review – sheer and impressive

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      Donald Runnicles, conducting the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s chorus and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, brought precision and drama to Verdi’s Requiem

      When the conductor Hans von Bülow sneeringly dubbed Verdi’s Requiem “an opera in ecclesiastical costume”, Brahms severely reprimanded him. Bülow would later retract his remark and Verdi apparently forgave him.

      Yet Bülow had some sort of point. One entire section of the Requiem (the Lacrimosa) began as a scene in Don Carlos that was eventually dropped during rehearsals, while the inherently dramatic quality of Verdi’s Mass for the Dead is apparent throughout; nor would he have seen any contradiction in it being so.

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      BBC Philharmonic/Mena review – a palpable sense of commitment

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      A Luke Bedford premiere had strong ideas but lacked coherence, while Bruckner’s Third Mass was measured and spacious

      The centrepiece of this Prom given by the BBC Philharmonic under the orchestra’s chief conductor, Juanjo Mena, was a substantial new piece by Luke Bedford, scored for large orchestra and lasting some 23 minutes. Its title is Instability.

      Bedford has described how his original plan was to write a set of five or six movements, but the final version turned out quite differently: the eventually continuous result now cuts suddenly between strikingly contrasting ideas – not, Bedford hopes, in a random fashion, though certainly in an unexpected way.

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      new releases

      Shen Lu: Watercolor

      Steinway & Sons 30039

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      Italian Opera for Winds

      Naxos 8.573259

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      Paolo Bordogna: Tutto Buffo

      Decca 481 1685

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      Bach for Mandolins

      Adventure Music AM1094-2

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      Music of John Adams

      SFS Media 0063

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