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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Anton Bruckner was born on this date in 1824. Best remembered for his massive symphonies and his masses for choir and orchestra, Bruckner was a gentle and devout man. He was most comfortable living in the St. Florian Abbey where he was the organist and a teacher. But he was a musical disciple of another composer of a much different temperament. Bruckner dedicated his 7th Symphony to this composer upon hearing of his death. Who was Bruckner's idol? Answer >>

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      30 Performances in Chicago You Don’t Want to Miss this Fall

      Though summer is winding down and the colder months are coming, at least we have the beginning of the 2015-16 performing arts season to look forward to! While every season brings great performances, this season is particularly special since several organizations are celebrating milestone anniversaries. The Steppenwolf Theatre turns 40, the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians turns more... more...

      QUIZ: Guess the Composer by Their Facial Hair

      Think you know classical composers? Can you guess them by their facial hair? more...

      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...

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      Alice Coote/English Concert/Bicket – a confused meditation on Handel's sexual ambiguities

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      Despite flashes of Coote’s characteristic brilliance, it wasn’t clear what this one-woman show exploring Handel’s gender-bending arias was trying to say

      Being Both was the title of Alice Coote’s performance at this summer’s Brighton festival, where she explored the gender-bending arias of Handel’s operas and oratorios in a kind of one-woman show, with the help of stage director Susannah Waters, conductor Harry Bicket and the English Concert. It was adapted for this late-night Prom, but the premise remained elusive.

      Related: Alice Coote: My life as a man

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      BBCNOW/Søndergård review – the Albert Hall's great beast is unleashed

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      B Tommy Andersson’s Proms commission Pan, featuring the hall’s ground-shaking organ, had arresting moments, but not enough to say

      The god Pan was not just a little goat-like creature skipping around playing irritating pipe music, but a fearsome force of nature: it’s where the word panic comes from. That was the inspiration for B Tommy Andersson’s new Proms commission for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, where he is composer in association. Pan is written for the venue inasmuch as there is a starring role for the Royal Albert Hall’s great beast of an organ. In this Prom, under conductor Thomas Søndergård, organist David Goode unleashed the full force of the instrument at the beginning and end of the piece – moments that made the seats and the floor shake.

      There are arresting moments in between, when the organ combines with the brass to make sounds that scythe across the orchestra, but the rest is less striking. Faster passages suggest cloven-hoofed pursuit – except that the earliest of these is in waltz time, and sounds more elegant than desperate. There are long solos and duets featuring a flute that seem to have not quite enough to say. At 20 minutes, this is a substantial score, but without the organ, it would seem very slender.

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      Today's top orchestra and conductor? The critics have spoken; here's my list

      Classical music database Bachtrack asked critics to name the greatest orchestras and conductors. Who would make your 10 best?

      Who doesn’t love a list? Above all, one that is subjective, speculative, and ripe for discussion and probable violent disagreement? That’s what Bachtrack.com has just compiled, asking an international panel of critics - including our own Tim Ashley - to name the world’s best orchestra, and the best conductor.

      To no-one’s surprise, the North Lofoten Chamber Players and their chief conductor, Tine Thøresen, took both gongs for their transformative work developing classical music culture north of the Arctic Circle, convening concerts for the gigantic colloquies of sea-birds that gird the Lofoten Island’s sea-stacks.

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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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