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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Today is the anniversary of the first performance of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute. The premiere took place six weeks before Mozart's death in 1791. What Mozart opera just opened Lyric Opera of Chicago's 60th anniversary season? Answer >>

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      A Grande Dame, Dame Kiri at Ravinia

      When she made an appearance on Downton Abbey as the turn of the century opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, producer Gareth Neame told "The Telegraph" the whole crew rushed to hear her sing, "It was the sight of all these tough electricians and grips and all the people you see on a film set with tears more...

      Lyric Opera Opening Night

      The 60th season at Lyric Opera of Chicago begins on Saturday with a bit of nostalgia: Mozart's Don Giovanni, the same opera that launched the company 60 years ago. Lyric Opera's new production won't look much like the original, however. It is directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls, who is putting a more modern spin on the classic tale. more...

      Channeling Johnny Cash on The Midnight Special

      October marks the 50th anniversary of the Johnny Cash concept album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, a collection of songs intended to raise awareness of the plight of the native American. In typical "Man in Black" fashion, Cash eschewed the musical trends of the day – and even the societal trends – to identify a minority who needed a voice in the American Civil Rights more...

      Early Music Specialist Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014)

      Conductor and early music specialist Christopher Hogwood died on Wednesday at the age of 73. As one of the original proponents of what came to be called "historically informed performances," he helped reshape the way musicians around the world approach Baroque music. After studying at Cambridge in the early 60s, Christopher Hogwood became the keyboard more...

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      Delia Ruhm obituary

      My mother, Delia Ruhm, who has died at the age of 89, was a flautist with a number of leading British orchestras and chamber music ensembles.

      She was born in Berlin to Jewish parents. Her father, Ernst Ruhm, was a lawyer and her mother, Hilde Isaac, was a well-known soprano in Germany who, when the family moved to Britain, regularly broadcast and gave recitals.

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      Mozart's A major piano sonata K331: the manuscript is discovered!

      A chance finding in Budapest has brought a fascinating Mozart manuscript to light. But why cant we look at it properly?

      News has just come to light of a major Mozart discovery, of a priceless manuscript that had lain in the musty depths of Budapests National Szechenyi Library for who knows how many decades, only to be rediscovered by a Haydn scholar making one of the most fortuitous Mozartian tangents of all time.

      Instead of a fragment of a letter, a half-forgotten dance, or a torn-off corner of a scrawled sketch, what musicologist Balazs Mikusi found was the substantive part of one of Mozarts most famous instrumental pieces, the A major piano sonata K331, composed in 1783, whose Turkish March finale is one of Wolfgangs most instantly recognisable tunes, and whose opening movement, a set of brilliantly beguiling variations on one of the most satisfyingly simple melodies he ever composed, is a staple of piano lessons the world over. The final page of the original manuscript has long been known to Mozart scholars, and is part of the legacy in Mozarts hometown, Salzburg, but no original manuscript of the rest of the piece had ever been seen in modern times.

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      Flood of Beauty review posthumous Tavener premiere is lost in translation

      Barbican, London
      Martyn Brabbins and the Britten Sinfonia do their best to bring this ambitious work to life, but the venue doesnt do its spatial effects and subtleties any favours

      There have been a number of posthumous premieres since John Tavener died last November, but nothing on the scale of Flood of Beauty. A 100-minute setting of the 100 stanzas of the Sanskrit Saundarya Lahari, introduced to the Tavener faithful at the Barbican by the Britten Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia Voices, New London Choir and assorted soloists, valiantly conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

      Strictly speaking, Flood of Beauty isnt a late work Tavener completed it without a commission in 2007, and the Barbican stepped in much more recently to mount the premiere. But the Barbican Hall is not the right place to hear a work in which the singers and orchestral players are meant to be dispersed to all points of the compass, with the conductor and the soloists soprano (Allison Bell here), baritone (Marcus Farnsworth) and cello (Natalie Clein) at its centre and a group on Indian instruments, sitar (Sheema Mukherjee), tanpura (Omar Shahryar) and tabla (Kuljit Bhamra) off to one side, acting like a continuo group in a baroque opera. Three of the groups were stationed in the balcony and were mostly inaudible from a seat in the stalls, so the spatial effects that are clearly a major part of Taveners concept went for nothing.

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