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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Soprano Licia Albanese was born on this date in 1913--she is 101 years old today! She was a leading star at the Met from 1940-1966. She sang Butterfly more than 300 times in her career and she sang more Violettas at the Met than any other artist. In 1946 she sang Mimi in the famous NBC/Toscanini broadcast of Puccini's La Boheme, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first performance of Boheme, ALSO conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Who was her Rodolfo in that broadcast? Answer >>

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      Chicago’s Joan Harris to Receive National Medal of Arts

      On Monday, July 28th, the President and First Lady will recognize Joan Harris for her tireless support of the arts. It was announced on Tuesday that she would be a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. The visage of Joan Harris is a familiar one around the lobbies of the Civic Opera House and Symphony more...

      From Soviet Refugee to iTunes Favorite

      When Yevgeny Kutik was a boy, his mother declared, "Enough." She packed up her family and left the Soviet Union. There wasn't any one reason. It was a series of reasons: Yevgeny was bullied in Kindergarten; she was laid off because her employers exceeded their "quota of Jews"; her older son had picked up racial slurs at school more...

      Zukerman Chamber Players Recorded Live at Ravinia

      Monday at 8:00 pm South African-born cellist Amanda Forsyth grew up in Canada. Together with her husband, Pinchas Zukerman, Forsyth co-founded the Zukerman Chamber Players. They played the popular Archduke Trio and the Dumky Trio at Ravinia’s Martin Theatre in June. That recital airs on Monday evening at 8:00 pm on WFMT. Beethoven and Dvořák more... more...

      Lyric’s New Opera (Just a Peek)

      Getting beyond “The book was better” - Last week, when Lyric Opera presented a sneak peek at the opera based on Ann Patchett’s bestselling novel "Bel Canto," general director Anthony Freud quickly closed the door on comparisons to the book. Addressing a gathering of patrons and members of the media, Mr. Freud shared some of more...

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      Peter Donohoe review a wonderfully direct guide to rarely heard first works

      Wigmore Hall, London
      Donohoe played a fascinating selection of rarely heard Opus 1s

      Designating a work as "Opus 1" meant something special to many 19th- and early 20th-century composers; it was a public statement, a manifesto signalling a coming-of-age musically. Beethoven's Op 1 was a set of piano trios, Rachmaninov's his First Piano Concerto, Stravinsky's a Symphony in E flat. Others did not choose quite so well an all-but-forgotten Rondo in C Minor for piano in Chopin's case but there are still plenty of worthwhile piano works that serve as significant landmarks, and Peter Donohoe selected six of them for his Wigmore recital.

      Whether by accident or design, the two halves of this recital left very different impressions. While the music that Donohoe played before the interval, by Tchaikovsky (two flashy salon pieces), Prokofiev (his Rachmaninov-like First Sonata) and Bartók (a Lisztian rhapsody), hardly hinted at what those composers would write for piano later in life, the three in the second half all seemed to emerge fully formed in their Op 1s.

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      Prom 5: Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich review sadness and celebration

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      David Zinman's final concert as chief conductor of the Zürich Tonhalle was a superb example of his intelligent musicianship

      This beautiful Prom marked the end of an era. It was David Zinman's last concert as chief conductor of the Zürich Tonhalle, and it brought to a close a 20-year partnership that has ranked among the most distinguished and consistently successful of recent years. The bittersweet feel of the occasion was captured in a programme in which sadness and celebration went side by side: Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel and Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony flanked Dvoák's Violin Concerto, with Julia Fischer as soloist. All three works were performed with the intelligence and emotional refinement that are integral to Zinman's style.

      Till Eulenspiegel was all elegance, wit and disarming grace, a portrait of a roguish charmer, rather than a prankster. Zinman's understanding of Strauss's need to balance narrative and sentiment with classical structure was exceptional, and the logic of the underlying rondo was delineated with considerable clarity.

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      Symphony guide: Beethoven's Sixth ('Pastoral')

      Beethoven's Pastoral is no musical cul-de-sac, writes Tom Service. It's a radical work, and in its final movement is music more purely spine-tingling and life-enhancingly joyful than almost anywhere else in his output

      This week, Beethovens Pastoral Symphony, his Sixth. Well, it does what it says on the tin, doesnt it? A sentimental romp through the Viennese countryside, a programmatic sideline to the central sweep of Beethovens development, a gentle counterpart to the fire and brimstone of the Fifth Symphony and the bacchanal of the Seventh.

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      new releases

      Brahms Beloved II

      Telarc TEL-34659-02 (2 CDs)

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      Schumann: Piano Music

      Naïve V-5364

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      Per Monsieur Pisendel 2

      Avie AV-2308

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      Music for Heart and Breath

      Deutsche Grammophon B0021058-02

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      Robert Kyr: Choral Music

      Harmonia Mundi HMU-807577

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