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      Your High School Musical Memories

      Heading back to school means auditions are coming up, rehearsals will be starting soon, and before you know it, you’ll be practicing music for a holiday concert even though it’s not even officially fall. For many, one of the best parts of heading back to school is performing with school ensembles. We asked four organizations more... more...

      10 Operas About Poisonous and Medicinal Plants

      As everyone is poised for the corpse plant at the Chicago Botanic Garden to bloom, why not enjoy some music about poisonous and medicinal plants? Operas would be a lot less interesting if poison didn’t seep its way into their plots. Check out this list of 10 operas about poisonous and medicinal plants, taken largely from the research more... more...

      5 Women on Being Modern Women in Dance

      The 9th Chicago Dancing Festival presented its first ever Modern Women program, highlighting the important contributions of women in dance both past and present: Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Kate Weare, and Pam Tanowitz, Crystal Pite. I spoke with women from each of the five companies on the program about women’s roles in dance, both as dancers and as choreographers. more...

      Barenboim and Berlin orchestra confirm Tehran concert plan

      Israeli-Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim is hoping to take one of Germany's top orchestras to Iran to perform a concert there, the Berlin State Opera said Thursday, drawing angry protests from Israel. Barenboim, 72, who is general music director of the German capital's flagship opera house, the State Opera, "is in talks with Iran about a possible concert in Tehran by the Staatskapelle Berlin," the house said in an emailed statement. more...

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      Nikolaus Lehnhoff obituary

      Opera director who was best known in Britain for his association with Glyndebourne

      The German opera director Nikolaus Lehnhoff, who has died aged 76, worked as an assistant to Wagner’s grandson, Wieland, in Bayreuth in the mid-1960s, an association that was to nourish his work both aesthetically and intellectually throughout his career. Wieland Wagner’s New Bayreuth style – austerely stylised and subtly lit – clearly made its mark on Lehnhoff’s productions right up to and including his Tristan und Isolde for Glyndebourne in 2003. From Wieland, too, Lehnhoff drew inspiration for a seriousness of purpose expressed often in abstract or symbolic terms.

      Lehnhoff was at the same time conscious of the legacy of Wieland as something he needed to come to terms with. And indeed his approach was by no means rooted in the past: he frequently elected to work, for example, with designers who were prominent painters and sculptors, whose strongly characterised visual aesthetic formed an intrinsic element of the production.

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      OAE/Alsop review – Jamie Barton makes Proms debut with breathtaking Brahms

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      The mezzo-soprano’s Alto Rhapsody was restrained and compelling in the midst of an exuberant programme by Marin Alsop and the OAE

      Marin Alsop’s Brahms concert with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment here formed the Proms debut of the American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, winner of Cardiff Singer of the World in 2013. Her Brahms singing on that occasion marked her out as an important interpreter of his music, an impression confirmed by her Proms performance of the Alto Rhapsody, one of his greatest works, though the unusual forces required – a male chorus in addition to alto and orchestra – have made it something of a rarity.

      Setting a text by Goethe, the rhapsody examines the nature of existential isolation and the potential of music to offer solace. Where some interpreters ramp up the angst, Barton was notably restrained: the only moment of overt passion came, tellingly, in the heft with which she uttered the statement that “human hatred” has forced Brahms’s traveller from his path. Elsewhere, the noble beauty of the sound was breathtaking. The tenors and basses of the Choir of the Enlightenment sang with focused refinement. Alsop conducted with the immediacy that characterises her Brahms as a whole.

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      Why does music give us chills? You asked Google – here’s the answer | David Shariatmadari

      Every day, millions of internet users ask Google life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries

      • Scroll down to find out what gives Little Boots, Holly Johnson, James Rhodes, Sonya Aurora Madan, Fuse ODG, Caroline Sullivan and John Harris the chills

      I was going to start this article with Verdi. Until a week or so ago, my most recent experience of music-induced shivers down my spine, goosebumps, feelings of exhilaration – we’ll call them “the chills” – came during a performance of the Italian composer’s Requiem. It was the Dies Irae, one of the most intense and terrifying pieces of music in the classical canon (and fair enough, it’s meant to represent the Day of Judgment). The crashing of the timpani, the wailing of the choir. This I thought, would be a fitting introduction for an essay on a most mysterious musical phenomenon.

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      Wagner, Liszt & Brahms

      Steinway & Sons 30051

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      Brahms: Piano Concertos

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 4899 (2 CDs)

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      Chant for Peace

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 4709

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      Bach: Goldberg Variations

      Ondine ODE 1273-2

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      The New Goldberg Variations

      Alfi Records 15002

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