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Carl's Morning Quiz
Carl's Morning Quiz: American composer Bernard Herrmann was born in NY on this date in 1911. Earlier this morning we heard Bernard Herrmann's score for Orson Welles' classic film, Citizen Kane. But he wrote many film scores for another prominent director, including Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo. Name the director. Answer >>
Younger generations of Americans take it for granted that the United States has been legally desegregated. But, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, segregation was the norm, including in concert halls across America. Contralto Marian Anderson (1897 – 1993) broke many boundaries for more... more...
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. We celebrate the music of LGBTQ composers all year long since it’s hard to escape a concert season without hearing works by Handel, Tchaikovsky, Britten, and others. But we wanted to recognize a few notable figures, past and present, who do did not or do not identify as heterosexual. Some more... more...
The Juilliard String Quartet plays Haydn’s Quartet in G (H III:41); Berg’s Quartet Op 3; Schubert’s Quartet #14 in D Minor, D 810, “Death and the Maiden.” more...
African-American spirituals are not just a cornerstone of the American choral tradition, they have impacted countless genres of music heard everywhere from saloons to symphony halls. Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World," borrows heavily from African-American musical traditions, and spirituals in particular. more...
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He is a visceral and wildly idealistic composer – but even Simpson was surprised by the scale of his new work about the afterlife, premiered at the Manchester international festival on 4 July
Mark Simpson is showing me the score of his new piece, The Immortal. “I felt like I was in a trance when I was writing it,” says the 26-year-old composer, clarinettist, and Liverpudlian musical polymath. “There was a period when I didn’t leave the house for 10 days. When I finished it, after seven solid months – and even now when I look at it – I just thought, ‘What the fuck’s that? It’s so big!’ This scale and scope, it’s on a different level from anything I’ve done before.”
Related: Q&A: composer Mark SimpsonContinue reading...
Wigmore Hall, London
The Borodins can take Shostakovich’s notes and make them sound more right than almost any other ensemble
There is a story that when the Borodin Quartet was formed, in 1945, its original members signed an oath of allegiance in their own blood. The lineup has undergone many changes in the 70 years since, but the current quartet still plays as if the same stuff is running through all their veins. There is next to no visible communication between players – something that can reinforce the impression of a certain coolness in the performance. But generally, no sooner is that impression formed than it is blown apart: the Borodins can be fiery even while looking efficient.
Each concert in this anniversary series is devoted to Beethoven and Shostakovich. Here they opened with Beethoven’s “Harp” Quartet, Op 74, and after a tender start brought out a dense, rich tone that flourished in the inner lines in the slow movement, and that made the middle section of the third movement, a Bach-like fugue, sound as if it were being played on a huge, clangorous organ. They finished with Op 18, No 1: crisp and springy in the fast movements, and with an old-school weightiness in the slow movement, and lots of variety of colour, even if they almost never play truly softly.Continue reading...
Oliver Knussen gave a persuasive reading of Britten’s only ballet music
This year’s Aldeburgh festival ended on a high, with Oliver Knussen conducting the excellent Britten-Pears Orchestra in a rare concert performance of Benjamin Britten’s only ballet music, The Prince of the Pagodas. It was the only work still unpublished at the time of his death and, as such, is not generally regarded as top-drawer Britten. Knussen has nevertheless always been a strong advocate.
This was a persuasive reading, brilliantly articulated, and the extended solos were delivered by the orchestra’s young principals with considerable accomplishment. Already something of an occasion, it was given an even more dynamic context by being prefaced by a Balinese gamelan-inspired piece written by Colin McPhee, the American composer/musicologist responsible for introducing Britten to this exotic soundworld. Tabuh-Tabuhan, subtitled Toccata for Orchestra and Two Pianos, dates from 1936: McPhee’s faithful reproduction of the gamelan sound in his core concertino lineup of two pianos, celeste, xylophone, marimba and glockenspiel felt radical; their timbres exotic, the pounding ostinati astonishingly vibrant and modern. Inevitably, it drew attention to the moments when the Pagodas score sounded a bit English: the brass and string writing sometimes typically Britten, and the alto saxophone sounding as if it had crept in from somewhere else again. Yet the theatricality of his intentions was finely realised.
A minute's silence will be held in the UK at 12:00 BST on Friday to remember the victims of the Tunisian beach attack, David Cameron announces.
EU leaders warn Greeks that rejecting creditors' proposals in a referendum on Sunday would mean leaving the euro, as fears of a default grow.
Hundreds of schools are being told to raise their exam results, under plans announced by the education secretary.
The Illinois State Board of Education has identified $450 million to fund CPS' pension...
Former Chicago Public Schools chiefs Paul Vallas and Terry Mazany will talk with us as...
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled states cannot prevent same-sex couples from marrying....
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WFMT Santa Fe Opera Tour Join Carl Grapentine and other fellow opera lovers this August as we tour one of our favorite domestic opera destinations in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Discover the Best of Scandinavia this August! Join Peter van de Graaff on this exclusive classical music journey to Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
Discover the incomparable beauty of Italy's history, culture and art! Join Suzanne Nance for an incredible journey to Italy.
Join Bill McGlaughlin for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Budapest, Vienna and Prague!
New Orleans and Western Caribbean Your vacation begins in fabulous New Orleans!