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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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      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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      Why Jarvis Cocker is making waves at the Proms

      Following his nocturnal adventures on radio, Jarvis Cocker is to dive into a world of sleep and reverie in an aquatic-themed concert at the Proms. He tells Nicholas Wroe about giant squid, the Beatles and Bach after dark

      If your aim is to broaden the content and appeal of the Proms, then there are few better choices to host a late-night concert than Jarvis Cocker. Not only has he written and performed some of the best-loved songs of the last few decades, but his impressively assured and frictionless move into radio has also rapidly made him one of the country’s most prized broadcasters. But Cocker is not coming to the Proms with his Sony award-winning Sunday Service show on 6 Music. Instead, in tandem with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, he will next week present a special edition of his occasional Radio 4 programme Wireless Nights, the show that makes “nocturnal explorations of the human condition”.

      The first episode, three years ago, imagined itself a transatlantic flight taking off from Las Vegas and travelling through the night. Broadcast around Easter time, it featured a shepherdess staying up delivering lambs, night prayers and a transplant nurse working into the early hours. Nocturnal subjects in subsequent episodes have ranged from shift workers to midnight suns to “a guy who just liked to sit in his shed at the bottom of his allotment looking for badgers,” recalls Cocker. “Really it was an excuse for him to sit in his shed and drink beer. He just talked us through what was on his mind. The programme is not about big incidents: you eavesdrop on what people get up to before the sun rises, and I kind of float around as an invisible narrator. It’s all a little bit impressionistic and the idea is that you might be lying listening in bed and can fall asleep and not know whether or not you are dreaming.”

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      Fenella Humphreys: Bach 2 the Future CD review – companion commissions rise to the challenge

      Fenella Humphreys
      (Champs Hill)


      Look past the cheesy title and you find an intriguing project by violinist Fenella Humphreys, who is commissioning new British companion pieces to Bach’s six iconic sonatas and partitas. Here she performs the first three commissions, alongside a spirited yet unhurried account of Bach’s E major Partita. Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s Suite No 1 is a vibrant response to that work, circling around it and expanding upon some of its gestures with a light yet intense touch, and ending with a jig more rollicking than Bach’s. Gordon Crosse’s Orkney Dreaming, mercurial and ruminative, looks further away from its model and, especially in its finale, towards the islands; Piers Hellawell’s Balcony Scenes creates the illusion that there is more than one instrument in play. Humphreys also includes Biber’s mesmerising Passacaglia, a kind of prototype for Bach’s Chaconne, and Ysaÿe’s Sonata No 2, inspired by the Partita, and she rises emphatically to their challenges.

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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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