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      La Marseillaise, The Beatles to the Bastille

      Arrangements and send-ups of "La Marseillaise" range from Stravinsky to Monty Python. Film critic Roger Ebert listed the singing of "La Marseillaise" in "Casablanca" as one of the "100 Great Movie Moments." How many incarnations can you name? more...

      Canadian Pianist/Radio Host, Monday from Ravinia

      You may have caught Alain Lefèvre on WFMT's Impromptu. He's not only a whiz at the keyboard, but on the broadcast board as well. The French-Canadian pianist and composer is passionate about music: playing music, talking about music, and working as an advocate for music with educators, broadcasters more...

      Are Your Ears Thirsty? Q and A with Seth Boustead

      WFMT and Seth Boustead of Relevant Tones present the 2014 Thirsty Ear Festival, Saturday, July 12 at the City Winery. "The name comes from a friend of mine who was talking about an event he went to years ago and he said of the audience, "they were incredible, they had such thirsty ears." I thought it was a funny and imaginative way to describe people open to new sounds" more...

      Haymarket Opera, Monarchy, a Brutal Crime

      [Live broadcast, Tuesday at 5:45 pm] He was a prince. She was the governor's wife. He went to stay at her house. What happened next toppled a monarchy and inspired over two thousand years of stories, art, and music. The king's son Sextus Tarquinius waited until all were asleep before creeping into the bedchamber of the virtuous Lucretia. more...

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      Maria Stuarda; New Music Biennial review

      Royal Opera House; Southbank, London
      Maria Stuarda is a fight to the death between two magnificent queens and an 'eclectic' design

      Composed by an Italian, reworked from a German play based on a nonexistent episode in British history, Maria Stuarda has always suffered an identity crisis. Music aside a rather big aside since Donizetti's score is the reason we care about this opera at all nothing is authentic except on its own terms. Schiller's play about Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I has a large cast and concentrates on religion and politics. Donizetti's opera reduces the cast to six and makes love and female enmity the focus.

      These factors make Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier's eclectic new staging for the Royal Opera understandable if not wholly defensible. For "eclectic" others might prefer potpourri, gallimaufry, dog's dinner or claptrap, to judge from reports of the first night, which was roundly booed (production, not singers). It is hard to see what the fuss was about. On the second night, for the record, there were no boos.

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      Bruckner: Symphony No 7 review Iván Fischer and co pick up the pace

      Budapest Festival Orchestra/Fischer
      (Channel Classics)

      The works "lithe" and "Bruckner" don't tend to go together. Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra force you to break with habit. This account of the expansive Seventh Symphony is at once vigorous and lean. Dedicated to Wagner's patron, Ludwig II of Bavaria, it exists in countless famous recordings, some nearly 10 minutes longer than Fischer's. The Adagio is marked "very solemnly and very slowly". Fischer skims over the "very", increasing the pace and, in this clear, detailed performance, bringing a glowing transparency to the work. The sound quality is superb. It won't be to all tastes. It suits mine.

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      JF Fasch: Quartets and Concertos review spectacularly virtuosic pieces

      Ensemble Marsyas
      (Linn)

      The Edinburgh-based Ensemble Marsyas have made a speciality of the neglected wind music of the 18th century, and here they unearth some spectacularly virtuosic pieces featuring recorder, bassoon and horn by the little-known Johann Friedrich Fasch. This may not be the most startling or inventive music harmonically, but they use the resources of their chosen instruments brilliantly. While Pamela Thorby's recorder is crisp and reliable, the real star is Peter Whelan's bassoon, burbling through its vast range with dancing precision, underpinning the quartets and shining in a C major concerto whose central Largo pits lyrical soloist against slashing string chords.

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      new releases

      Voces8: Eventide

      Decca 478 5703

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      The Glenn Dicterow Collection

      New York Philharmonic

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      Time for Three

      Universal Music Classics B0020744-02

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      Strauss: Wind Sonatinas

      Berlin Classics 0300576-BC

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      Purcell: Sonatas in Four Parts

      Vivat 106

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