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      12 Polish Composers You Should Know (Who Aren’t Chopin)

      Everyone loves the music of Fryderyk Chopin, Poland’s most well-known composer. But, how many other Polish composers do you know? Learn more about Poland’s best composers from one of Poland’s best composers: Marta Ptaszyńska more...

      QUIZ: Match the Film to the Score

      How well do you know movie music? Listen to the excerpts from the following famous film scores, and see if you can match the music to the correct movie. more...

      Classical Music’s Most Memorable Moments on Sesame Street

      Whether teaching the ABCs or addressing decidedly more grown-up topics, Sesame Street has expanded children's minds and hearts since its debut nearly fifty years ago. Many musicians have visited Sesame Street, introducing people of all ages to great music. There have been many inspiring musical moments on Sesame Street, but here are some of WFMT's favorites! more...

      These Photoshopped Pictures of Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde Will Make You Literally LOL

      Christine Goerke has set the world on fire with what the Wall Street Journal described as her “big, blazing soprano.” Recently she’s set the internet ablaze not with her voice, but with her sense of humor. When Goerke posted a production photo from the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Siegfried, in which she plays the role more... more...

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      Marie Jaëll: Symphonic and Piano Music CD review – a neglected Romantic composer

      Soloists, Brussels Philharmonic/Niquet, Orchestre national de Lille/Swensen
      (Palazzetto Bru Zane) (3 CDs)

      This set, which comes with a short book, introduces the French-born Marie Jaëll (1846-1925), now being rediscovered as a composer of late Romantic music. Given early support by Liszt, Jaëll faced many struggles as a female composer-pianist and ended her days a recluse and pedagogue. The kinds of terms used to describe her have included “barbaric”, ”headstrong”, “excessive” and “with a tendency towards mysticism”. These three discs sample her attractive, virtuosic concertos and piano works, performed by various artists. The Douze Valses et Finale for four hands are charming and quirky. The Ce qu’on entend series, progressing from hell to purgatory and paradise, for solo piano (David Bismuth), have far more individuality.

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      Figaro at the cutting edge: the Barber through the ages

      Beaumarchais’ wily Barber of Seville is one of literature’s greatest creations, and it’s not only Mozart and Rossini who brought him to musical life. Ahead of Welsh National Opera’s trilogy, director Sam Brown ponders Figaro’s backstory

      The Barber of Seville – Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera masterpiece – opens in Cardiff on Saturday, nearly 200 years to the day since its premiere in Rome on 20 February 1816. Its first night was marred by a catalogue of fiascos which led to some of the loudest booing the 23-year-old Rossini had ever heard: Don Basilio tripped and broke his nose just before singing his aria, and a cat wandered onstage during the act one finale, refused to leave and was hurled into the wings by an irate singer. Despite a triumphant second performance, Rossini’s pride was too badly wounded to take a curtain call. Claiming sickness, he broke his contract with the theatre and refused to conduct any subsequent performances.

      Although, during his lifetime, Rossini’s Barber was considered inferior to Giovanni Paisiello’s earlier opera of the same name, it has since become one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire, and is today the eighth most played opera worldwide.

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      Philharmonia/Hruša review – ravishing textures and self-conscious languor

      Royal Festival Hall, London
      Mahler’s metaphysical Third Symphony is arguably his most ambitious and Jakub Hrůša’s reading was remarkable

      Jakub Hrůša’s considerable reputation rests primarily on his interpretations of Mozart and of his native Czech repertory. He has now turned to Mahler for a performance of the Third Symphony with the Philharmonia that began with moments of uncertainty but grew in stature and force as it progressed.

      Attempting a comprehensive depiction of the cosmos as a metaphysical chain of being that progresses from raw matter to the purity of spiritual love, this is arguably the most ambitious of the composer’s symphonies and the most difficult to realise. The immense first movement pushes at the boundaries of coherence, and Hrůša revealed that as yet, he has not quite mastered it. The opening was superbly done, the sullen brass and rumbling low woodwind eerily suggesting some primal force in the process of germination. Thereafter, as life heaves into being, things felt a bit over-controlled: speeds were at times exaggerated; the music’s grandeur was occasionally emphasised at the expense of its Dionysiac fire.

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      new releases

      Brahms: Piano Trio & Quartet

      Harmonia Mundi HMC-902222

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      Beethoven: Overtures & Triple Concerto

      Sony Classical 88883763622

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      Images from the South

      Naxos 8.573442

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      John Rutter: The Gift of Life

      Collegium COLCD-138

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      Downton Abbey: The Ultimate Collection

      Decca B0024411-02

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