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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Composer/conductor John Williams was born on this date in 1932--he's 84 today. John Williams composed many of the most popular film scores in film history: Jaws, the Star Wars series, the Indiana Jones series, E.T., and the first three Harry Potter films, to name just a few. He has won 5 Oscars, 4 Golden Globes, and 22 Grammys. He has been nominated for 50 Academy Awards. Who conducted the opening and closing titles for John Williams' newest Star Wars film--The Force Awakens? Answer >>


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      QUIZ: Match the Film to the Score

      How well do you know movie music? Listen to the excerpts from the following famous film scores, and see if you can match the music to the correct movie. more...

      QUIZ: Can you tell the difference between Chinese foods and instruments?

      Can you tell the difference between traditional Chinese instruments and food based upon their names? Take this quiz and find out. more...

      Classical Music’s Most Memorable Moments on Sesame Street

      Whether teaching the ABCs or addressing decidedly more grown-up topics, Sesame Street has expanded children's minds and hearts since its debut nearly fifty years ago. Many musicians have visited Sesame Street, introducing people of all ages to great music. There have been many inspiring musical moments on Sesame Street, but here are some of WFMT's favorites! more...

      These Photoshopped Pictures of Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde Will Make You Literally LOL

      Christine Goerke has set the world on fire with what the Wall Street Journal described as her “big, blazing soprano.” Recently she’s set the internet ablaze not with her voice, but with her sense of humor. When Goerke posted a production photo from the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Siegfried, in which she plays the role more... more...

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      Sofia Coppola's La Traviata to set Rome Opera back on song

      In coup for venue, American film director and costumes by Valentino will add allegria to new production of Verdi’s classic

      The American film director Sofia Coppola is to make her opera debut this year with a production of La Traviata at Rome opera house – a star-studded coup for the beleaguered venue that has long been overshadowed by La Scala in Milan.

      Coppola, the director of Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides, will team up with the fashion designer Valentino for the production of Verdi’s masterpiece. He asked Coppola to join the project after he watched her 2006 film Marie Antoinette.

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      Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Pappano – Russian rarities, irresistibly delivered

      Royal Opera House, London
      Antonio Pappano introduced a dramatic programme by Russia’s ‘mighty handful’ of composers for this annual showcase of his orchestral players’ talents

      London is not exactly short of symphony orchestra concerts. So Antonio Pappano’s ongoing project to get his Royal Opera House orchestra up from the pit and on to the Covent Garden stage relies heavily on rarity value – they give just one concert a year – and on some thoughtfully niche programming. This year’s focused on Russia’s mid-19th-century “mighty handful”, serving also as a musical taster for the opera house’s new production of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, which Pappano will conduct in March.

      Pappano’s charisma is a huge part of the draw at these events. He turned on the charm in short and informative speeches at the start of both halves of the evening, but it was his musical grasp and attack that made the concert special. Working with an orchestra whose day job gives it an inbuilt sense of the dramatic, the combination soon overcame any doubts about the suitability of the opera house acoustics for such a venture.

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      From the classical archive Kathleen Ferrier reviewed by Neville Cardus November 1952

      From the archive/6 November 1952: Neville Cardus reviews Kathleen Ferrier’s Schumann recital at the Royal Festival Hall

      It is scarcely necessary to report that there was much beautiful singing and playing by Kathleen Ferrier and Gerald Moore at the recital given in the Royal Festival Hall last night. Not immediately did Miss Ferrier find her own effortless warmth of tone in the air “Prepare thyself Zion” from the “Christmas” Oratorio of Bach. At any time her voice is not of the Bach quality or flexibility and has no need to possess these characteristics; her style and world are different. Lightness of touch in Handel’s “Like the lovelorn turtle” from “Atalanta” was accompanied by gesture dangerously near to coyness. There was actually a motion of curving fluttering hands at the words “Cupids clap their wings” in Purcell’s “Hark the echoing air,” and in “Mad Bess” of Purcell the interest of the performance was as much a matter of recitation of histrionics, not of a very subtle kind, as of fine vocalism.

      It was during the “Frauenliebe and Leben” cycle of Schumann that Miss Ferrier allowed distracting extra vocal appeals to interfere with our absorption in an art of song which had no need of anything so likely to breed mannerisms as what is known as “expression.” Poetry is at once dispersed if the singer even unself-consciously takes an audience into her confidence: and it came as almost a personal shock to me when this beloved artist, after a devout prelude with “Seit ich ihn gesehen” and an ardent if too familiar “Er, der Herrlichste, began “Ich kann’s nicht fassen” in a toneless breath-snatching way obviously directed at our sense of the dramatic but at the expense of true song. Miss Ferrier’s precious endowment of voice and her natural musical feeling are of themselves and usually have been so far capable of transmitting all that a composer has put into his notes. Smiles and movements of the hands and swayings of the head should never become habitual with any platform singer: they suggest so many underlinings or points made.

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      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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      new releases

      Brahms: Piano Trio & Quartet

      Harmonia Mundi HMC-902222

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      Beethoven: Overtures & Triple Concerto

      Sony Classical 88883763622

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      Images from the South

      Naxos 8.573442

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      John Rutter: The Gift of Life

      Collegium COLCD-138

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      Downton Abbey: The Ultimate Collection

      Decca B0024411-02

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