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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Yo-Yo Ma was born on this date in Paris in 1955--he is 60 years old today. He is, indeed, a French-born Chinese-American. He has enjoyed a prolific career as a performer and recording artist. In addition to the standard repertoire for cello, he has recorded discs of Bluegrass music, Chinese melodies, tangos, and several discs with his Silk Road Ensemble. He has won the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In addition to his studies at the Juilliard School, he also graduated from what college? Answer >>


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      Thousands Attend Chicago’s 102nd Christmas Tree Lighting

      Thousands gathered on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 to celebrate the 102nd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Previously staged in Daley Plaza, the city’s Christmas tree can now be seen at the west entrance of the park, across from the Michigan Avenue and Madison Street intersection. This year’s tree, a 63-foot Colorado blue more... more...

      Quiz: Match the Composer to His Favorite Food

      Some composers ate to live, others lived to eat. Can you match the composer to his favorite food? more...

      Vote: What’s Your Favorite Piano Concerto?

      WFMT is celebrating great piano concertos, and we need your help! Vote for your favorites. Then middays starting December 7th, Lisa Flynn will play your 10 favorite piano concertos based on your votes, paired with a piano concerto you might not know. more...

      Recipes Composed by Classical Composers

      Did you know that some of your favorite composers composed recipes as well? Here are a few culinary masterpieces composed by Rossini, Verdi, Ned Rorem, Puccini, and Janáček. more...

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      Gounod: La Colombe CD review: a charming rarity well served by Elder


      (Opera Rara, two CDs)

      With Mark Elder installed as artistic director, Opera Rara continues to burrow away in the byways of the 19th-century French and Italian repertoires, and its latest offering is a slight but charming opéra comique by Gounod.

      La Colombe (The Dove) was composed in 1860, a couple of years after Gounod completed his most enduringly popular stage work, Faust. Based on a story by the 17th-century fabulist La Fontaine, which itself can be traced back to a Sanskrit source, it’s a modest four-hander about a wealthy countess, Sylvie, who is desperate to gain possession of a dove belonging to one of her young admirers, the penniless Horace, so that she can compete with one of her rivals, who owns a talking parrot. Horace steadfastly refuses to sell his bird, but eventually he is forced to contemplate killing it to provide dinner for the countess. At the meal the countess is horrified to discover the sacrifice he’s prepared to make for her, but all ends happily when it’s revealed that the bird they have eaten is in fact her rival’s parrot.

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      Elisabeth Leonskaja and Friends – birthday tribute to virtuoso pianist

      Wigmore Hall, London
      A host of friends great and good help the Russian pianist celebrate her 70th, with music that ranged from Widmann to Mozart

      Russian pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja turned 70 this week. This birthday concert included appearances by nine other artists celebrating with her – indeed the focus of the event seemed reluctant to push herself forward, even though she took part in every piece.

      Only one of them, however, was a solo work: the Eleven Humoresques (2007) by the German clarinettist, composer and conductor Jörg Widmann. Schumann is the inspiration behind this substantial collection of miniatures – there’s the odd quotation and several clear references to his highly personalised art.

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      Simon Trpčeski review – intriguing glimpses of Chopin

      Barbican, London
      The pianist moved from subtle to solid textures in his determination to make us look beyond Chopin’s surface glitter

      How to make Chopin your own? That’s a challenge every pianist faces, and those who cheered Simon Trpčeski on to a perhaps excessive five encores at the end of this recital would say their man has met it. While his determination not to take the obvious approach led some of the smaller-scale pieces in intriguing directions, it arguably left the larger-scales ones wanting.

      He opened with the four Op 24 mazurkas. In the first, his left hand was grounded but his right was sometimes skittish and inclined to break away, creating an interesting tension within the piece’s apparent simplicity. These introspective pieces came over well, as did the first of the two Op 26 polonaises, which largely shared their pensive restlessness. But Op 26 No 2 needed brilliance and definition in the upwards reaching run near the start, and instead of that just had bulk and solidity. This became a recurring element: Trpčeski wasn’t going to let us fall into the trap of admiring Chopin’s surface glitter, but in his determination to focus our attention elsewhere he created some thick, cumbersome textures.

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      travel feature

      Tour Vienna next May! Join Carl Grapentine in exploring some of his favorite musical sites, attending performances, and sightseeing. Then on to Salzburg!

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      Discover WFMT's Classical Italy next May! Join Peter van de Graaff on this exclusive twelve-day classical music lover's journey to "Bella Italia" next May. Imagine staying in the heart of Venice in a restored old abbey and experiencing Donizetti' opera La favorite at the historic La Fenice Opera House!

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      Cruise to Alaska and explore the "Frontier State" next July! Join fellow WFMT listeners and discover Alaska's unspoiled beauty and wildlife in its natural habitat on YMT Vacations' 12-day Grand Alaskan Cruise and Tour next July!

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      new releases

      Schubert: String Quintet

      Azica ACD-71304

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      Music of George Bristow

      New World Records 80768-2

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      Music of Stacy Garrop

      Cedille CDR 90000 160

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      Valentina Lisitsa: Nuances

      Decca 478 8435

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      Stephen Hough: Scriabin & Janacek

      Hyperion CDA-67895

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