Classical Music

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  • An absurd complex of inferiority to the symphony orchestra

    On An Overgrown Path
    24 Apr 2014 | 12:34 am
    Much trumpeting from Sony about a Billboard classical chart number one for Iranian composer Hafez Nazeri's Rumi Symphony which "crosses cultural boundaries through a new universal blending of Eastern and Western classical music". That PR speak sets the alarm bells ringing, because as one of the leading exponents of traditional Middle Eastern music, Julien Jaleddin Weiss, explains:"European stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello, double bass) were integrated relatively recently into oriental ensembles, to the point where they have acquired a dominant, indeed overwhelming position. I have…
  • "If life were just, I would become a great conductor"

    On An Overgrown Path
    21 Apr 2014 | 1:20 am
    One of my earliest and fondest memories is of standing in the center of our kitchen at about age four, stick baton in hand, "conducting" symphonies by Dvořák and Rimsky-Korsakov*. My mother had given in to my pleas for the 78 rpm records. She thought the music completely unappealing and constantly yelled at me for turning the volume up, but I loved her without bounds for buying me the ninety-eight cent record.For days and weeks, I was completely lost in the roaring sonorities of Scheherazade and in the somber strains of the New World Symphony. My head and arms sunk and rose in waves and…
  • To cat, or not to cat: that is the question

    On An Overgrown Path
    18 Apr 2014 | 12:46 am
    There was an overwhelming response on Facebook to yesterday's feline photo. It was taken at Sidi Ifni in southern Morocco, as are the two photos in this post. Fishing is the main industry of the town, and the daily fish market is home to many contented moggies as Muslims are taught that cats should be cherished and loved. These images are certainly heartwarming, but I am also aware that cats are a very powerful social media clickbait. However there are strong links between cats and art music; this is almost certainly because the condition of synaesthesia - experiencing one sensation…
  • Zen and the art of walking away

    On An Overgrown Path
    16 Apr 2014 | 11:16 pm
    'A cat sits until it is done sitting, then gets up, stretches, and walks away' - Alan WattsPhoto taken at Sidi Ifni, Morocco; another cat plays a cameo role in On the road with a Sufi saint. Photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2014. Any other copyrighted material is included as "fair use", for critical analysis only. Also on Facebook and Twitter.
  • You can do better than that

    On An Overgrown Path
    23 Apr 2014 | 12:31 am
    "Do you remember the first time you heard classical music" asks a tweet from the Bienen Music School linked to my recent post about Jan Willis. Some years ago I recounted how my parents took me in the early 1960s to hear Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony played by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the young Singaporean maestro Choo Hoey. That was one of my music epiphanies, and another is also worth recounting. Sometime in the late 1950s I borrowed a record by Tommy 'Mister Twist' Steele from a schoolfriend to play on our home radiogram. My mother, who was an accomplished pianist, said just…
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  • Adriana Lecouvreur Synopsis

    13 Apr 2014 | 7:49 am
    It may not be the most popular opera, but Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur has enjoyed a steady rate of success.  Some of the most famous Adriana's include Renata Tibaldi, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballé, and Renata Scotto.  Learn the synopsis of this great opera, Adriana Lecouvreur.
  • Die tote Stadt Synopsis

    5 Apr 2014 | 3:34 pm
    In the years leading to the creation of Erich Korngold's opera, Die tote Stadt, two of his short one-act operas were so well liked that it created a "contest" between several German theater companies wanting to present the world premier of his first full opera.  In the end, Korngold allowed two theaters to simultaneously perform the opera - one company in Cologne and the other in Hamburg.  I haven't seen a performance of Die tote Stadt, so I was pleasantly surprised by its ending - it's unlike any of the operas I've written about.  Learn the synopsis of Die tote Stadt.
  • Mozart Profile

    29 Mar 2014 | 8:49 am
    It's crazy to think that a man who was born 258 years ago and composed a bunch of music, is still very much celebrated and adored today.  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a musical genius - he wrote his first symphony when he was eight years old.   Today's composers aspire to write as well as him, and performers aspire to execute his music flawlessly.  I wonder if 500 years from now, his music will still be performed.  Do you think Mozart's music possesses such longevity?
  • Fedora Synopsis

    23 Mar 2014 | 10:00 am
    Umberto Giordano's three act opera, Fedora, premiered in 1898.  At the time it was hugely successful.  Sadly, some operas do not enjoy continued success like Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, or Puccini's Tosca. Giordano's Fedora fell out of favor during the mid 20th century and was rarely performed.  However, it has experienced a resurgence of sort in the last decade as it has been performed by a handful of renowned opera companies.  Learn the synopsis of Giordano's opera, Fedora.
  • La Finta Giardiniera Synopsis

    16 Mar 2014 | 8:29 am
    At just eighteen years old, the young Mozart composed and premiered his opera, La Finta Giardiniera, in January, 1775.   It's a tale of two crazed past lovers who cross each others' paths, and after much confusion and madness, fall in love with one another again.  Learn the synopsis of La Finta Giardiniera.
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  • Pet Sounds: The NPR Music Critter Quiz

    22 Apr 2014 | 5:03 am
    Know your bird calls from barnyard bellowing? For Earth Day, test your ear at recognizing the animal sounds songwriters and composers work into their music, from funk classics to classical sonatas.» E-Mail This
  • Honey, Blood And Harmony: Jordi Savall's Balkan Journey

    20 Apr 2014 | 2:00 pm
    Early music specialist Jordi Savall explores different periods and cultures, mashing them together for surprising results. His new project finds fruitful varieties all in one spot: the Balkans.» E-Mail This
  • Classical Quartet Gets All Twisted

    17 Apr 2014 | 11:31 am
    We're guessing some yoga and Pilates classes preceded a round of musical and physical one-upwomanship that's gone viral.» E-Mail This
  • A Visitor's Guide To Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion'

    17 Apr 2014 | 5:03 am
    Join tenor Ian Bostridge, conductor Ton Koopman and other singers, conductors and scholars for a guided tour of Bach's sacred masterpiece, first heard on Good Friday in Leipzig in 1727.» E-Mail This
  • Alaskan Composer Wins Pulitzer For 'Become Ocean'

    14 Apr 2014 | 3:43 pm
    Alaska-based composer John Luther Adams, whose music is rich with references to and concern about nature, won for his orchestral Become Ocean. The judges said it "suggests a relentless tidal surge."» E-Mail This
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    Slipped Disc

  • Spot yourself in this youth orchestra film?

    Norman Lebrecht
    24 Apr 2014 | 4:34 am
    Or this one?   Same orchestra, 52 years later.
  • The other shoe drops: Berlin Philharmonic starts own label

    Norman Lebrecht
    24 Apr 2014 | 4:16 am
    Instead of sitting around wondering why the phone doesn’t ring from major labels any more, the Berlin Phil are shooting a selfie. If ever there was an end of an era, this is it. Twenty years ago, Berlin players were making a third as much again on top of their salaries in record royalties. With […]
  • Jonas Kaufmann backs La Scala’s storm-tossed chief

    Norman Lebrecht
    24 Apr 2014 | 3:32 am
    The tenor told Corriere: ‘I think (Alexander Pereira) is the right man for La Scala.’ He added: ‘He loves tra­di­tion. In Ger­many, where the most extreme pro­duc­tions are to be found, he is con­sidered a con­ser­vat­ive.’ The endorsement could not be more timely. The Mayor of Milan has all but accused Pereira of leaving a […]
  • Oslo Phil goes into deficit

    Norman Lebrecht
    24 Apr 2014 | 2:58 am
    Spiralling pension costs, rising by $1 million a year ahead of forecast, has forced the Oslo Philharmonic to present a deficit budget. Oslo is one of Europe’s most expensive cities and the excellent orch, under Vasily Petrenko, is its principal music ambassador. There is no immediate risk to its future but chief exec Ingrid Røynesdal […]
  • LA’s other conductor gives up

    Norman Lebrecht
    24 Apr 2014 | 2:44 am
    Jeffrey Kahane, 57, is stepping down after 20 years as chief of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble originally modelled on London’s Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Jeffrey wants to spend more time with his piano, resuming a solo career.  
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  • Guest Post: Musician Travel Problem Solving

    Maura Lafferty
    24 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    Although titled as a problem solving exercise for musicians, today’s guest author post is equally valuable to arts administrators, especially those burdened with the corporate torture of making travel arrangements for instrumentalists. So when Maura reached out to see if I’d be interested in helping spread the word about her project, I went one better and let her author a guest post to explain what she’s up to and hopes to accomplish. ~ Drew McManus When I first started using Twitter, I was drawn to musicians. I didn’t understand this new platform, but I had learned from…
  • The Slippery Slope

    Drew McManus
    23 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    In the post economic downturn environment, it is all too easy to become the victim of detrimental group-think; musicians are overpaid, board members don’t donate enough, managers should work harder etc. Even though most of us who make a living in the arts know better, it is good to see traditional media sources picking up on the dangers associated with letting this sort of detrimental thinking go unchecked. Case in point, the recent article by Rachel L. Swarns in the 4/20/14 edition of the New York Times that examines the notion of assigning value to artists. Swarns profiles a current…
  • There’s a Downside To Success

    Drew McManus
    22 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    Simply put, business is booming. Back in January I published an article about the growth going on within The Venture Platform segment of my business and since then, the rate of increase has only picked up; moreover, a similar uptick in non-tech related consulting work kicked in shortly after the New Year. The only downside to this is a reduced amount of time to dedicate toward some of the long standing annual segments here at Adaptistration. Consequently, I’m going to have to officially let the fields go fallow for 2014 on the annual orchestra website reviews as well as the Take A…
  • SDO Mass Board Exodus But Controversial Exec Remains

    Drew McManus
    21 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    Following last week’s board meeting at the San Diego Opera (SDO), several key board members responsible for the initial decision to shut down the company resigned, including SDO Board President Karen Cohn. This doesn’t come as an unexpected surprise but the real curiosity here is the retention of the company’s general and artistic director, Ian Campbell; a figure many believe is the source of this quake. The remaining board members announced that they have decided to back a plan that will investigate options for continuing operations but if there was any request for a…
  • Finding The Perfect Non-Monetary Workplace Perk

    Drew McManus
    18 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    One of the mainstays of my traditional consulting work is negotiating individual work agreements; for managers, this usually focuses on executive employment agreements and for musicians, individual overscale agreements and one of the first aspects of that work is to identify non-monetary perks that have variable degrees of value for the client. More often than not, they tend to overlook a number of items simply because it never occurred to them that it was something you could ask for. In ideal situations, the perk is win-win in that it will cost the employer little to nothing yet will…
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  • Lapsed Composer and Curmudgeonly Critic Reveals All About the Reviewing Racket!

    Grant Chu Covell
    23 Apr 2014 | 7:22 am
    There will always be some new music I will never cover and sometimes I feel conflicted about this but there is only so much time. And even if I were able to produce words for everything that passes my way, there would then be a fair amount of neutral or negative criticism, which I think would do a disservice.
  • Doris Duke Artist and First-Ever Impact Awards Announced

    NewMusicBox Staff
    22 Apr 2014 | 9:23 am
    Doris Duke Artist Award recipients receive $275,000, and Doris Duke Impact Award recipients receive $80,000. Since commencing in April 2012, the program has awarded a total of $18.1 million to artists in the fields of jazz, dance, and theater.
  • Sounds Heard: 17 More Takes on those 88 Keys

    Frank J. Oteri
    22 Apr 2014 | 8:22 am
    Two pianists who recently caught my attention with new releases devoted exclusively to American music composed within the last quarter century are Nicholas Phillips and Mary Kathleen Ernst. All in all, 17 composers are represented on these discs, showing that the instrument that once was a mainstay in households all across the land still has a home in the 21st century.
  • Performing Quality

    Marek Poliks
    21 Apr 2014 | 7:14 am
    To me, the weird division of labor between composing works and playing concerts puts musicians in a difficult position. Performers have become new music’s coerced mouthpiece of accountability. The student summer festival provides the clearest case study for this skewed power dynamic.
  • Austin: Fast Fo(u)rward

    Andrew Sigler
    18 Apr 2014 | 7:40 am
    Fast Forward Austin is run by three Austin ex-pats who know what the town is all about and who keep that in mind when putting this annual circus together.
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    Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

  • The Age of Steve, part 2

    Alex Ross
    22 Apr 2014 | 7:00 pm
    A denial-of-service attack on the good people of Typepad knocked my blog out of circulation for a few days, and so I have been unable to celebrate publicly the news that Steve Smith has been hired by the Boston Globe as an assistant arts editor, overseeing music and visual-arts coverage. It's a huge loss for the New York music world, not to mention the New York Times, but I'm tremendously happy for Steve. His successor at Time Out New York will be the excellent Seth Colter Walls.
  • Liza Lim

    Alex Ross
    20 Apr 2014 | 9:09 pm
    Singing in Tongues. The New Yorker, April 28, 2014.
  • Langfest

    Alex Ross
    19 Apr 2014 | 6:38 am
    In the Goings On About Town section of next week's New Yorker, I look ahead to David Lang's week-long festival collected stories. It's a feast of inventive programming that includes everything from Beowulf to Cage's 27'10.554"—or, at least, quite a few things between those far-flung stations. In the video above, Lang explains a program juxtaposing Arvo Pärt's Passio with Tuvan throat-singing. In another, he talks about Beowulf and Harry Partch. Other videos can be found here.
  • An Ibert moment

    Alex Ross
    18 Apr 2014 | 5:09 pm
  • Hilda Paredes

    Alex Ross
    15 Apr 2014 | 6:00 pm
    The Mexican-English composer has a website here. She is well served by a 2005 Mode disc, which features superb performances by the Arditti Quartet, Ian Pace, Ensemble Modern, and Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart. In 2012 she appeared in Miller Theatre's enduringly vital Composer Portraits series; needless to say, Steve Smith was there.
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  • Washington Square Winds presents They’re Alive

    Elliot Cole
    22 Apr 2014 | 3:24 am
    On Friday the Washington Square Winds present their third annual THEY’RE ALIVE! concert, which focuses exclusively on work by living composers. This year, they are unveiling two new works, Whirlwind, by Nicholas Hall & The People’s Park by Rex Isenberg, commissioned by WSW. Also on the program are composers Brooks Frederickson and William Wheeler. Stay for the reception to meet the composers and performers. Friday, April 25 Church St. School for Music and Art 74 Warren St. Frnt A, NYC
  • American Minimalists Concert at Cal Lutheran

    Paul Muller
    20 Apr 2014 | 2:25 pm
    The Minimalist Jukebox set up shop at Cal Lutheran on Sunday, April 13, 2014 for a concert titled ‘American Minimalists’, featuring Gloria Cheng and the Areté Vocal Ensemble. The Samuelson Chapel was comfortably filled for this event, which is connected with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella concert series. This performance was also designated the CLU Suzanne Freeman Memorial New Music Concert. The concert opened with Knee Play I (1976) by Philip Glass from his iconic opera Einstein on the Beach. The Knee Plays are short interludes devised to cover scenery and costume…
  • Ursula Oppens – Thinking of the next note

    Ilona Oltuski
    16 Apr 2014 | 5:59 am
    Upon entering Ursula Oppens’ modestly furnished, yet comfortable Upper West Side apartment with a view of the pedigreed patina of the historistic cupola belonging to Columbia University’s campus building, one is immediately taken by the vibrant aura that surrounds the eminent musician. The personable pianist speaks softly, yet animatedly, in a welcoming way; her reputation is linked to an astonishingly vast array of distinguished contemporary composers, some of whose prominent works were dedicated to Oppens. Unsurprisingly, Oppens has in turn become one of their most incisive promoters.
  • Maximum Minimalism at Disney Hall

    Paul Muller
    12 Apr 2014 | 6:02 pm
    On Tuesday April 9, 2014 downtown Los Angeles was the scene of the centerpiece concert for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Minimalism Jukebox series. Over four hours of music was presented from eight composers, including ten different works, two world premiers and dozens of top area musicians. Wild Up, International Contemporary Ensemble, the LA Philharmonic New Music Group and the Calder Quartet all made appearances. The Green Umbrella event was curated by John C. Adams and Disney Hall filled with a mostly young audience. The evening began with a pre-concert panel discussion moderated by Chad…
  • Houston Composers Salon’s Spring Concert

    Chris Becker
    12 Apr 2014 | 5:42 pm
    (Composer Hsiao-Lan Wang) (Houston, TX) On Sunday, April 27, 2014 the Houston Composers Salon presents its Spring Concert, featuring works by Houston-based composers Hsaio-Lan Wang, Stephen Yip, Ryan Gagnon, and Eric Fegan. All four composers will be in attendance to introduce their compositions and answer questions from the audience. The concert takes place at 6:00 PM at 14 Pews, a popular venue for independent film screenings, visual art, and experimental and contemporary music performances. The eclectic and provocative program includes Wang’s Houston Duet, a collaboration with video…
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    Classical Performance Podcast

  • Hamelin Plays Liszt

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    5 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    Marc-André Hamelin plays Franz Liszt’s Sonata in B minor in WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio. *** Franz Liszt: Sonata in B minor Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio on April 14, 2010 © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation e-mail: (photo of Marc-André Hamelin by Fran Kaufman)
  • Beethoven's Pastoral for Spring

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    19 Mar 2014 | 10:00 pm
    Courtney Lewis conducts Discovery Ensemble, in excerpts from Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, the "Pastoral" *** Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68: III. Merry Gathering of the country folk. Allegro sempre più stretto – in tempo d’allegro – Tempo I - Presto IV. Thunder and storm. Allegro V. Shepherds’ song: Beneficent feelings with thanks to the Godhead after the storm. Allegretto Discovery Ensemble; Courtney Lewis, conductor +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio on May 1st, 2009 © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation…
  • Xuefei Yang Plays Bach

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    13 Mar 2014 | 10:00 pm
    Guitarist Xuefei Yang plays Johann Sebastian Bach *** J.S. Bach: "Bist du bei mir" from The Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, BWV 508 J.S. Bach: Violin Sonata in G minor, BWV 1001 J.S. Bach: Air ("Air on the G string") from Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068 Xuefei Yang, guitar +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio on March 8, 2012 © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation e-mail:
  • Beethoven's Eighth with Discovery Ensemble

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    27 Feb 2014 | 9:00 pm
    Courtney Lewis conducts Discovery Ensemble, in Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony *** Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93 Discovery Ensemble; Courtney Lewis, conductor +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio on May 1st, 2009 © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation e-mail:
  • Pianist Judith Lynn Stillman with Vento Chiaro

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    20 Feb 2014 | 9:00 pm
    Pianist Judith Lynn Stillman and members of the wind quintet Vento Chiaro play Beethoven’s Quintet for Piano and Winds. *** Ludwig van Beethoven: Quintet in E-flat for Piano and Winds, Op. 16. Judith Lynn Stillman, piano with members of Vento Chiaro: Ana-Sofia Campesino, oboe; Chi-Ju Juliet Lai, clarinet; Samuel Childers, bassoon; Anne Howarth, horn +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio on November 15, 2013. © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation. e-mail: (photo: Vento Chiaro)
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  • The New Girl

    15 Apr 2014 | 3:00 pm
    Olga Peretyatko makes her Met debut this month as Elvira in Bellini’s I Puritani (with none other than her husband, conductor Michele Mariotti, on the podium).
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  • Ten more ways NOT to get coverage

    24 Apr 2014 | 12:35 am
    Every now and then I realise if I had back the hours I've spent answering messages from publicists that should never have been sent to me, I could probably have written a whole new book instead. At this point, I usually produce a blogpost about how NOT to get coverage for your concert. Here is another one.1. Person Gives Concert! What an exciting topic!2. You promise a really good story to one newspaper. Then another wants it. You take it away from the first and give it to the second instead. Then they let you down. You try the first one again.3. You fail to read anything published in your…
  • The secret world of Federico Colli

    23 Apr 2014 | 1:05 am
    You know exactly why budding great pianists in their early to mid twenties are like London buses, don't you? That's right - you wait for a decade or so and then along comes a whole bunch at the same time. So please welcome yet another: to add to the roster of Trifonov, Grosvenor, Levit and Avdeeva, please welcome, from Brescia......Federico Colli, winner of the latest Leeds International Piano Competition, who made his London debut last night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in a stunning recital of Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann. Pictured, right, with a very happy Dame Fanny Waterman, founder of…
  • Government backs more cuts to music education funding

    21 Apr 2014 | 8:05 am
    While we ate chocolate, they were busy with the axe.It has not been a happy Easter for anyone who cares about music education in the UK. And, you know, many of us do - not that you'd ever guess that from the actions of a government that first commissioned a report broadly welcomed for its positive recommendations on the topic - - yet now is apparently telling local authorities that they should have no money to fund…
  • Bechstein bunnies, dressing for Easterjet and a recipe for Scriabanoffiev Pie

    20 Apr 2014 | 3:17 am
    In an increasingly off-the-wall Easter, we have here a fantastic greeting from Bechstein Pianos:Meanwhile stunning soprano Sarah Gabriel - who was our premiere production Vicky in my Wagner play Sins of the Fathers - found her concert dress falling foul of Easyjet's carry-on baggage regulations the other day and in the resulting carry on, worthy of the eponymous films, she came up with a fine sartorial solution, which made it into the national papers.Don't miss Sarah at the Purcell Room on 29 April, when she will be singing KORNGOLD - a special new arrangement of the Shakespeare Songs, by…
  • A great playwright's daughter speaks

    19 Apr 2014 | 2:52 am
    The Silver Tassie, Sean O'Casey's great anti-war drama of 1928, is about to open at the National Theatre and I was delighted to have the chance to talk to the playwright's daughter, Shivaun O'Casey, about life with her father. The piece is in the Observations section of today's Independent, and here is the director's cut, so to speak. (I don't often do theatre features, but adore it.)Dear mother, this helpless thing is still your son. Harry Heegan, me, who, on the football field, could crash a twelve-stone flyer off his feet.Sean O’Casey’s anti-war drama The Silver Tassie, which is about…
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    Classical Music Features from Minnesota Public Radio

  • Top Score: PAX East 2014 Recap

    23 Apr 2014 | 10:01 pm
    Emily Reese, host of Top Score, recently spent a weekend in Boston with 70,000 video game enthusiasts at the PAX East Conference. In this week's episode of Top Score, Emily Reese shares some of her experiences and fun finds from PAX East.
  • Interview: Lauren Stringer, 'When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky'

    23 Apr 2014 | 9:50 am
    Children's author Lauren Stringer loves the explosive charge in the arts at the beginning of the 20th century. She captures one of those moments in her book, <em>When Stravinsky met Njinsky</em>. The book provides the framework for a special Friends and Family concert with the Minnesota Orchestra on Sunday, April 27. Stringer talks to Classical MPR's Alison Young.
  • A performer's perspective: Skip the standing o, send me an e-mail

    23 Apr 2014 | 8:15 am
    Standing ovations are a popular topic to gripe about in the classical music world. How do performers themselves feel about this issue?
  • New Classical Tracks: Because he loves to 'Play'

    22 Apr 2014 | 10:01 pm
    Jason Vieaux has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music for the past 18 years. Vieaux teaches and performs because he loves to play guitar. That passion is front and center in the title of Vieaux's newest solo recording, 'Play'.
  • Choral Hero: Dale Warland's Minnesota Voices

    22 Apr 2014 | 4:00 pm
    On Tuesday, April 22, at 8 p.m., Classical MPR presents a special program featuring the archival recordings by the Dale Warland Singers in a cappella performances of works by Minnesota composers.
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  • Briefly Noted: Marie et Marion

    Charles T. Downey
    23 Apr 2014 | 6:48 am
    Marie et Marion, Anonymous 4 (released on April 8, 2014) HMU 807524 | 56'02" Although the voices of the once-sublime quartet Anonymous 4 may not be what they were, when the group focuses on the medieval polyphony that made their name, they can still hit it out of the park. David Lang perhaps not so much, but 15th-century carols and polyphony, yes. For their new disc, the group has returned to
  • À mon chevet: 'Pedro Páramo'

    Charles T. Downey
    22 Apr 2014 | 6:57 am
    À mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment. "This town is filled with echoes. It's like they were trapped behind the walls, or beneath the cobblestones. When you walk you feel like someone's behind you, stepping in your footsteps. You hear rustlings. And people laughing. Laughter that sounds used up. And voices worn away by the years
  • Kaufmann Takes Winter Walk

    Charles T. Downey
    21 Apr 2014 | 9:51 am
    Schubert, Winterreise, J. Kaufmann, H. Deutsch (released on April 1, 2014) Sony 8883795652 | 70'01" Schubert's Winterreise is a baritone's song cycle, at least to my ears, just as Die schöne Müllerin will always be tenor territory. Schubert actually conceived both of these masterpieces in higher keys suited to a treble voice, but while a tenor's ethereal high range is perfectly suited to the
  • In Brief: Resurrection Edition

    Charles T. Downey
    20 Apr 2014 | 8:15 pm
    Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio, online video, and other good things in Blogville and Beyond. (After clicking to an audio or video stream, press the "Play" button to start the broadcast.) Some of these streams become unavailable after a few days. Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting Concentus Musicus Wien, the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and
  • Lugansky in Blistering Prokofiev 3

    Charles T. Downey
    19 Apr 2014 | 1:10 pm
    Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No. 3 (and Grieg Concerto), N. Lugansky, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, K. Nagano (Naïve, 2013) Nikolai Lugansky is an exceptionally accomplished pianist, someone with technique to burn but who plays with consummate restraint. The combination leads some, who judge principally with their eyes, to find him cool or distant, but to those who listen, he consistently
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    The Rambler

  • LCMF 2014: programme announced

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    23 Apr 2014 | 8:41 am
    The news is out that the London Contemporary Music Festival is back. Six nights, from 26 May to 1 June, at Second Home in Shoreditch. Full programme is here. Once again imaginative programming (for once, ‘curation’ really does seem appropriate) is the marker. So we have shows themed around neglected British composers, deconstructions of the popular song, Italian … Continue reading →
  • Thinking about 9/11 music

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    22 Apr 2014 | 11:57 am
      Just so much 9/11 music. Is it something to do with new music’s need to be connected, to justify and assert its relation to society? There has always been an economy of commemoration in which music has a place, but as music has been perceived to grow apart from the wider world, that economy … Continue reading →
  • Spotify just got a whole lot easier for classical listeners

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    17 Apr 2014 | 9:41 am
    One year ago, practically to the day, I posted this picture of what it looks like to search the complete Haydn symphonies on Spotify and lamented “Please: we’ve had digital music for nearly two decades now. Can we start to get our act together on this?” I mean, that list of results is basically useless. The legacy … Continue reading →
  • CD re-review: Lars Petter Hagen: Orchestral Music

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    16 Apr 2014 | 1:07 am
    Lars Petter Hagen: Orchestral Music | Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Rolf Gupta. Gjermund Larsen, Hardanger fiddle | Aurora I reviewed this disc not that long ago for Nutida Musik, but I feel like it deserves a second pass here. Mostly that is because of its first piece, Norwegian Archives, which I’ve listened to several times now … Continue reading →
  • Secret Music: April

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    31 Mar 2014 | 8:25 am
    (Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.) Again, some horrible clashes here. Also, if anyone knows of anything happening in the second half of the month, feel free to add to the comments. Until Saturday 5 April, and Monday 2 – Sunday 8 June: Frontiers Festival, Birmingham | venues, prices, times vary Birmingham Conservatoire’s annual contemporary music … Continue reading →
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    Opera Today

  • La Bohème, Manitoba
    23 Apr 2014 | 12:29 pm
    Manitoba Opera’s first production in nine years of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème still stirs the heart and inspires tears with its tragic tale of bohemian artists living — and loving — in 1840s Paris.
  • Arizona Opera Presents Don Pasquale in Tucson
    23 Apr 2014 | 11:27 am
    On April 12, 2014, Arizona Opera opened its series of performances of Donizetti's Don Pasquale in Tucson. Chuck Hudson’s production of this opera combined Commedia dell’arte with Hollywood movie history.
  • Will Don Quichotte Be the Last Production at San Diego Opera?
    15 Apr 2014 | 12:51 pm
    This quotation from Cervantes was displayed before the opening of the opera’s final scene:“The greatest madness a man can commit in this life is to let himself die, just like that, without anybody killing him or any other hands ending his life except those of melancholy.”
  • Gound Faust - Calleja and Terfel, Royal Opera House London
    13 Apr 2014 | 7:02 am
    Gounod's Faust makes a much welcomed return to the Royal Opera House. With each new cast, the dynamic changes as the balance between singers shifts and brings out new insights. In that sense, every revival is an opportunity to revisit from new perspectives. This time Bryn Terfel sang Méphistophélès, with Joseph Calleja as Faust - stars whose allure certainly helped fill the hall to capacity. And the audience enjoyed a very good show.
  • Syracuse Opera’s Porgy and BessGot Plenty O’ Plenty
    10 Apr 2014 | 4:02 pm
    The company ends its 2013-14 season on a high note with a staged performance of Gershwin’s theatrical masterpiece
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    Opera Today News Headlines

  • Five Young Singers Named Winners in the Final Round of the 2014 Met National Council Auditions

    30 Mar 2014 | 4:49 pm
    The Metropolitan Opera [30 March 2014] After a months-long series of competitions at the district, regional, and national levels, a panel of judges has named five young singers the winners of the 2014 National Council Auditions, the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition. Each winner, who performed two arias onstage at the Metropolitan Opera this afternoon with conductor Marco Armiliato and the Met’s orchestra, will receive a $15,000 cash prize and the prestige and exposure that come with winning a competition that has launched the careers of many of opera’s biggest…
  • San Diego Opera Will Shut its Doors

    20 Mar 2014 | 5:29 pm
    By Maria Nockin [Opera Today, 20 March 2014] After forty-nine years of delivering fine performances, usually with outstanding casts, San Diego Opera will shut down permanently on June 30, 2014. The population of the city has changed markedly and the opera has had increasingly greater difficulty attracting donations. As with most opera companies, ticket sales for the company’s performances could only cover half the cost of its productions. The rest of the money had to be made up by donations and they simply were not forthcoming. The opera’s board of directors, many of them large…
  • Century-old music mystery solved: Long-lost opera by Spanish composer Enrique Granados located

    7 Mar 2014 | 11:30 am
    [3 March 2014, Science Daily] Walter Clark was a graduate student researching his dissertation when he stumbled upon a mystery that would haunt him for more than two decades: What happened to an unpublished opera written by Enrique Granados, one of Spain's greatest composers, at the turn of the 20th century? [More....]
  • North Star

    4 Mar 2014 | 7:54 pm
    By Kristine Opolais [Classical Singer, March 2014] It sounds like a fairy tale. A beautiful young girl sings a song, a handsome listener falls in love with her, and in a blink of an eye she becomes a star. Now they travel the world, making music together. [More........................]
  • Reports of the Death of Opera Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    4 Mar 2014 | 7:28 pm
    By Georgeanne [Opera Vivra, 5 March 2014] “Yeah, but isn’t opera a dying art form?” You can’t browse any classical music blog or arts news section without encountering a thinkpiece on the slow, painful death of opera. These (typically) well-written articles cite sagging ticket sales, shorter seasons, fewer opera companies. They ask readers if an art form with its roots in the late 16th century has any relevance to today’s audiences. [More...........................]
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    aworks :: "new" american classical music

  • aworks listening log :: arlene sierra @asie #ex-pat #rasputin #legacymedia

    12 Apr 2014 | 7:35 pm
    Ok, I'm back... I bought a CD today of American-born, UK-residing Arlene Sierra's music at the Campbell, CA Rasputin Music. Via rdio, this led me to a recent release on Bridge Records of her music. This is notated, acoustic music but her electronic background gives it a different feel:  "Electronic music was a way of getting ideas down, manipulating musical materials without having to worry about notation,” she says. ” For someone who studied piano, and didn’t study composition, that was really a relief and a wonderful opening to ways of manipulating sound and making new things without…
  • aworks listening log :: hot air festival

    3 Mar 2014 | 5:41 pm
    I attended four hours of yesterday's Hot Air Festival, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Things didn't go exactly according to schedule but it was an enjoyable burst of contemporary music. SFCV review here. And I found that I may like guitar trios. Here's what I caught: Edges. Belinda Reynolds - Mobius Trio (Robert Nance, Mason Fish, Matthew Holmes-Linder). YouTube Unmanned. Ian Dicke - Friction Quartet (Kevin Rogers, Otis Harriel, Taija Warbelow, Doug Machiz). "Unmanned explores the ways in which recent developments of technology have enabled soldiers to distance themselves from…
  • Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording (2014). David Grubbs #book

    22 Feb 2014 | 2:11 pm
    A new book by David Grubbs coming out next month. "In Records Ruin the Landscape, David Grubbs argues that, following Cage, new genres in experimental and avant-garde music in the 1960s were particularly ill suited to be represented in the form of a recording." Duke University Press "David Grubbs is Associate Professor in the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where he also teaches in the M.F.A. programs in Performance and Interactive Media Arts and Creative Writing." Amazon Related. Google Books " Yet a number of basic facts about his career would seem…
  • aworks listening log :: composers of the month

    4 Feb 2014 | 9:06 pm
    By January listening time: John Cage Arnold Dreyblatt Morton Feldman Philip Glass Hyo-shin Na Frederic Rzewski Daniel Wohl Dennis Johnson John Cage/Lou Harrison Christian Wolff Others: "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Aaron Oppenheim, Armando Bayolo, Augusta Read Thomas, Benjamin Broening, Bernard Herrmann, Bertram Turetzky, Caroline Shaw, Charles Ives, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Chris Arell, Christian Ryan, Cliff Caruthers, Conlon Nancarrow, David Dramm, David M. Gordon, Dennis Johnson, Duane Pitre, Ethan Wickman, George Crumb, George Perle, George Walker, Halim El-Dabh, Harold Budd, Jacob Felix Heule,…
  • Proverb (1995). Steve Reich #orfeo #richardpowers

    4 Feb 2014 | 7:55 pm
    Nathaniel Rich reviews Richard Powers' novel Orfeo, about a fictionbal composer, Peter Els: Orfeo begins in “the tenth year of the altered world,” or 2011, when Els is seventy. This makes him a few years younger than the so-called minimalists La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass, and six years older than John Adams. Els admires all of these composers—the novel even includes an extended appreciation of Reich’s Proverb. As a character he seems modeled after them, at least in part. Like them, Els becomes a “Minimalist, with maximal yearnings,” who layers…
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    Sounds & Fury

  • The Right Way To Do Operatic Konzept Regietheater

    A.C. Douglas
    11 Apr 2014 | 2:31 pm
    Here's the honest way to do operatic Konzept Regietheater while saving it harmless from being, ipso facto, unmitigated Eurotrash. “Life is a bitter, painful fight”...
  • About That "Shabby Little Shocker"

    A.C. Douglas
    23 Mar 2014 | 10:15 pm
    As if in response to the announced death of Joseph Kerman the notable classical music critic and scholar who in his brilliant and seminal 1956...
  • Ave Atque Vale, Joseph

    A.C. Douglas
    19 Mar 2014 | 10:24 pm
    Musicologist, author, critic, essayist, and emeritus professor of musicology at University of California, Berkeley Joseph Kerman is dead at 89 after a long illness reports...
  • Separated At Birth?

    A.C. Douglas
    18 Mar 2014 | 7:49 am
    (Left: Actor Steven Boyer / Right: Conductor Christian Thielemann)
  • A Perfect Time And Opportunity For A Restoration

    A.C. Douglas
    21 Feb 2014 | 12:16 pm
    Her co-directorship contract set to expire in September 2015 along with that of her half-sister and co-director Katharina Wagner, the 68-year-old Eva Wagner-Pasquier has asked...
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    Deceptively Simple Life Strategies

  • Shadow Architecture

    13 Apr 2014 | 3:00 am
    As David Bowie once sang, “Run for the Shadows!”. The image above is from Jacob Glines Intimations. I think it’s a superb example of what is currently known as ‘Shadow Architecture’ wherein we build environments, artistic and real around the concept of shadows. I think this may be the way the great cathedrals of Europe were designed, albeit in a semi-conscious, subliminal way, to enhance the secrecy of God, and the holy spirit. there’s something about shadows and the idea of living in a shadow-land that appears to my soul, – it’s an idea…
  • The Deceptive Simplicity of the Eye

    12 Apr 2014 | 2:43 am
    Parts of the Eye The Cornea The cornea is the transparent skin covering the front of the eye. It is like a window and has no blood vessels at all. The Sclera The sclera is the tough skin covering over the the eyeball and covers the whole eye except for the transparent. It is usually known as the ‘white’ of the eye. The Iris The iris controls the amount of light that enters the eye. It is the colored part of the eye. The Pupil The pupil is the hole in the colored iris. It lets light into the eye. In response to light the pupil contracts, and when in dim light or darkness is…
  • Deceptively Simple

    9 Apr 2014 | 9:19 pm
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    The Collaborative Piano Blog

  • Free CD Giveaway: Schubert's Winterreise with Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch

    Chris Foley
    22 Apr 2014 | 5:17 pm
    Of all the great song cycles, Schubert’s Winterreise is the one that has the greatest capacity for repeated listenings, with its bittersweet emotions, unanswered questions, and downward trajectory of the protagonist. There is no doubt that something unimaginably profound happens in the final song, but as to what that might be and where it leads after the end of the cycle is left up to the listener. Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch’s new recording on Sony Classical is sure to fascinate for a long time to come. Helmut Deutsch’s pianistic colors are bolder in scope than what you’ll…
  • Job Opening for Music Instructor, Hutchinson Community College

    Chris Foley
    21 Apr 2014 | 2:25 pm
    Northwest of Wichita, Kansas lies the city of Hutchinson, whose community college has an opening in piano. Here are the duties:Essential Functions1. Teach music related courses including class piano, individual piano lessons (for music majors), recreational piano, aural skills, music appreciation, etc.2. Assignments may include occasional evening courses and teaching via alternative delivery systems, such as online, and/or ITV.3. Provide piano accompaniment for student recitals, faculty recitals, and vocal ensembles including vocal jazz.4. Coordinate student recitals and other activities such…
  • Job Opening: Associate or Professor of Music in Piano, Chowan University

    Chris Foley
    21 Apr 2014 | 12:36 pm
    Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina is looking for a new piano faculty member. Here's what the job entails:The Department of Music of Chowan University, a member of NASM, seeks candidates for an appointment at the Associate Professor or Professor level beginning August 2014. The successful candidate must have an earned doctorate in music and be eligible for a tenure-track appointment. The exceptional candidate may also be considered for department Chair. Responsibilities include teaching applied piano, piano pedagogy, class piano, music history, music appreciation and/or music…
  • 4 Things To Know Before Buying a Used Steinway

    Chris Foley
    21 Apr 2014 | 11:59 am
    Just over a year ago, I made a huge decision and bought a 1928 Steinway M. Finding the right combination of model, vintage, and quality was a huge challenge for me, and I was fortunate to have bought a first-rate instrument. Today's guest post is written by the folks over at Park Avenue Pianos, a specialty seller of high-quality Steinway grands in New York, who talk about what you should be looking for before buying a Steinway grand. You can find Park Avenue Pianos at 230 Central Park South in New York City, just a short walk from Lincoln Center. Buying a used Steinway piano is…
  • Photo of the Day: Another Piano Cat

    Chris Foley
    21 Apr 2014 | 4:56 am
    What is it about musical cats that makes them so cute? This photo's original title on Imgur is "I WILL learn to piano. I WILL".
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    parterre box

  • The man on the wedding cake

    La Cieca
    23 Apr 2014 | 2:28 pm
    Though at the moment we have no indication that there will be a cast change for the final three performances of La Cenerentola at tha Met, La Cieca does think the group mind should apply itself to the pressing question of exactly wbich tenor will appear in the HD telecast on May 10. Take Our Poll Image based on a photo by Ken Howard.
  • Call me Madame

    22 Apr 2014 | 7:29 pm
    “To play La Pompadour—what a delightful task! To be La Pompadour—what a gruesome fate!” Thus spoke operetta superstar Fritzi Massary after researching her role as Louis XV’s official mistress in the Leo Fall operetta Madame Pompadour, which was written as a star vehicle for “die Massary” and had its first, hugely successful, performance in Berlin in 1922, followed by runs in Vienna and London. Fall wrote a series of operettas in the later Viennese style, following the pattern of Die lustige Witwe. Madame Pompadour was his last, he died shortly afterwards; in…
  • Goodness had everything to do with it

    22 Apr 2014 | 6:53 am
    Although Rossini and his librettist Ferretti endeavored to cleanse their Cinderella of all things supernatural—no fairy godmother, no pumpkin transformed into a coach, no glass slipper, the Met stage was still filled with considerable magic Monday night when its dizzily effervescent revival of La Cenerentola starring Joyce DiDonato and Javier Camarena stirred a bewitched audience to some of the most ecstatic ovations heard this season.   After her controversial Maria Stuarda and an appearance at last fall’s Richard Tucker Foundation gala where she plowed her way through alarmingly…
  • Mary Garden to go Salome three better

    La Cieca
    22 Apr 2014 | 6:31 am
    “They now say if they can prevent it, Mary will not dance in Minneapolis, even in seven veils, to make no mention of four.”
  • Regna tristezza sul destino mio

    La Cieca
    21 Apr 2014 | 5:00 am
    Our dear and invaluable Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin offers us a new classic this week, a live recording of Anna Netrebko‘s collaboration with Riccardo Muti on Manon Lescaut. Giacomo Puccini: Manon Lescaut Opera di Roma Riccardo Muti, conductor 02 March 2014 Manon Lescaut – Anna Netrebko Des Grieux – Yusif Eyvazov Lescaut – Giorgio Caoduro Geronte – Carlo Lepore Edmondo – Alessandro Liberatore Oste – Stefano Meo Maestro di ballo – Andrea Giovannini Una musico – Roxana Constantinescu Sergente – Gianfranco Montresor Lampionaio – Giorgio Trucco Comandante – Paolo…
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    The Wagnerian

  • Megadeth's Dave Mustaine 10, Wagner 0

    16 Apr 2014 | 11:07 am
    Don't tell anyone but we like a bit of Megadeth - honest. However, we do feel that no matter how much Wagner/Mahler/Strauss influenced a fair bit of "heavy metal" when the genre attempts to interpret its "classical" German sources directly there is only ever one winner and in that fight to the death it is rarely Wagner. And as if to prove it you can hear a snip-it of Mustaine - along with the San DiegoSymphony - slaughtering Wagner below.All part of a "Symphony Interrupted", which saw Mustaine perform Richard Wagner's "Ride Of The Valkyries" with the orchestra, as well as solos of Vivaldi's…
  • New Book: Absolute Music: The History of an Idea - Mark Evan Bonds

    15 Apr 2014 | 3:08 pm
    Extensive Preview BelowWhat is music, and why does it move us? From Pythagoras to the present, writers have struggled to isolate the essence of "pure" or "absolute" music in ways that also account for its profound effect. In Absolute Music: The History of an Idea, Mark Evan Bonds traces the history of these efforts across more than two millennia, paying special attention to the relationship between music's essence and its qualities of form, expression, beauty, autonomy, as well as its perceived capacity to disclose philosophical truths. The core of this book focuses on the period between 1850…
  • New Translation Of Richard Wagner's "Beethoven" - Roger Allen

    15 Apr 2014 | 2:55 pm
    Available October 2014.Despite the enormous and accelerating worldwide interest in Wagner leading to the bicentenary of his birth in 2013, his prose writings have received scant scholarly attention. Wagner's book-length essay on Beethoven, written to celebrate the centenary of Beethoven's birth in 1870, is really about Wagner himself rather than Beethoven.It is generally regarded as the principal aesthetic statement of the composer's later years, representing a reassessment of the ideas of the earlier Zurich writings, especially Oper und Drama, in the light of the experience gained through…
  • Alex Ross On Interpreting Wagner

    15 Apr 2014 | 2:39 pm
    The always worth reading Alex Ross in discussion with Todd Morman at the Indy Week.Ross has been exploring Wagner's deep, broad cultural influence—he pays close attention, for instance, to what he calls "Black Wagnerism," the affinity felt by people like W.E.B. Du Bois for Wagner's work. The INDY spoke with Ross about Wagner, race and modern opera; an edited transcript is below.TODD MORMAN: Let’s start with this: What exactly is Wagnerian about W.E.B. Du Bois? ALEX ROSS: Well, Du Bois was fascinated by Wagner, going back to his period when he was studying in Berlin in the 1890s ...
  • New Issue Of The Wagner Journal Now Available

    15 Apr 2014 | 1:48 pm
    Current issueThe March 2014 issue (vol.8, no.1), now available, contains the following feature articles: • 'Transformation at Tribschen: How a French Literary Trio Became a Wagnerian Musical Trio' by Heath Lees, describing the visits of Judith Gautier and friends to the Wagners in 1869/70• 'Tracking Träume: The Sources and Sounds of Wagner's Wesendonck Lied' by Peter Bloom on the interlocking of the Wesendonck Lieder and Tristan und Isolde• 'Wagner Tenors and the Quest for the "Ideal" ' by David Breckbill• 'Strange and Forbidden Fruits: A report on the conference at Leeds University'…
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    Naxos AudioBooks New Releases

  • FLAUBERT, G.: Madame Bovary (Unabridged) (NA0177)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    In Madame Bovary, one of the great novels of nineteenth-century France, Flaubert draws a deeply felt and sympathetic portrait of a woman who, having married a country doctor and found herself unhappy with a rural, genteel existence, longs for love and excitement. However, her aspirations and her desires to escape only bring her further disappointment and eventually lead to unexpected, painful consequences. Flaubert’s critical portrait of bourgeois provincial life remains as powerful as ever.
  • ELIOT, G.: Silas Marner (Unabridged) (NA0167)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Here is a tale straight from the fireside. We are compelled to follow the humble and mysterious figure of the linen weaver Silas Marner on his journey from solitude and exile to the warmth and joy of family life. His path is a strange one; when he loses his hoard of hard-earned coins all seems to be lost, but in place of the golden guineas come the golden curls of a child—and from desolate misery comes triumphant joy.
  • GIBBON, E.: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 4 (The) (Unabridged) (NA0128)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has always maintained its initial appeal to both the general public and scholars alike. Its sheer scale is daunting, encompassing over a millennium of history, covering not merely the Western Empire from the days of the early emperors to its extinction in AD 476, but also the Eastern Empire, which lasted for another thousand years until the Turks vanquished it in 1453. But Gibbon’s style, part historical fact and part literature, is enticing, and the sheer honesty of the man, who endeavours to be scrupulously impartial in his presentation,…
  • GIBBON, E.: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 5 (The) (Unabridged) (NA0129)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has always maintained its initial appeal to both the general public and scholars alike. Its sheer scale is daunting, encompassing over a millennium of history, covering not merely the Western Empire from the days of the early emperors to its extinction in AD 476, but also the Eastern Empire, which lasted for another thousand years until the Turks vanquished it in 1453. But Gibbon’s style, part historical fact and part literature, is enticing, and the sheer honesty of the man, who endeavours to be scrupulously impartial in his presentation,…
  • HARDY, T.: Woodlanders (The) (Unabridged) (NA0169)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Set in the tiny hamlet of Little Hintock, The Woodlanders tells of love, deception, ambition and tragedy, all unfolding themselves against the background of the majestic forest where the simple inhabitants live in harmony with nature. Two sets of characters, the woodlanders and the sophisticated outsiders, meet and interact, and learn too late to distinguish emotional truth from falsehood. Filled with his familiar themes and characters, this is a classic Hardy novel in which human care and striving are overshadowed by the eternal rhythms of nature.
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    Kenneth Woods- conductor

  • A future for music- talking our way to transformation

    Kenneth Woods
    16 Apr 2014 | 6:24 am
    This week I will be conducting some of the incidental music composed by Edvard Grieg to accompany Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. I haven’t conducted any of Grieg’s Peer Gynt music in over ten years, and I’m very, very excited to be doing  it again. There was a time when I didn’t know enough about music or life to know how wonderful this music is. I remember attending the Round Top Festival many, many years ago as a student, and being slightly put off to see the Second Suite from Peer Gynt on the rep list. Round Top is a conservatory-level summer program for instrumentalists who aspire to play…
  • CD Review- John Puccio/Classical Candor on Gál and Schumann First Symphonies

    Kenneth Woods
    14 Apr 2014 | 2:42 pm
    A review from the popular “Classical Candor” blog of volume four in the Orchestra of the Swan’s survey of the complete symphonies of Robert Schumann and Hans Gál. Read the original here.  “Gal’s First Symphony is relatively brief, about thirty minutes, and more outgoing than the other symphonies I’ve heard from him. Maestro Woods takes advantage of these characteristics to provide a lively and colorful rendering of things. The symphony is clearly Romantic in nature yet with strong hints of the coming modernism of the twentieth century. Woods emphasizes…
  • CD Review- Words and Music on Bobby and Hans vol 4

    Kenneth Woods
    14 Apr 2014 | 2:01 pm
    Critic Rick Jones (longtime critic for the London Evening Standard) compares the new Orchestra of the Swan recording of Schumann 1 with that of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Yannick Nezet-Seguin on Deutsche Grammophon. Read the original here. It’s Bobby and Hans for the win. Disc of the Day: One hears the first cuckoo… Not one but two Schumann Spring Symphonies hove into earshot. Kenneth Woods and the Orchestra of the Swan versus Yannick Nezet-Seguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Woods wins it. One needs express no surprise when the committed outfit with its own…
  • The Official, Definitive, Ultimate, Real Top Ten Sexiest Moments in the Music of Gustav Mahler

    Kenneth Woods
    9 Apr 2014 | 5:54 am
    Julian Johnson’s excellent book  “Mahler’s Voices” has been languishing on various bookshelves at Vftp Int’l Headquarters in an embarrassingly half-read state for a few years. As last week’s Mahler 5 performance approached, I was inspired to open the book and dip in to a random chapter while waiting for a repairman to come to the house. Almost immediately, I spied something a bit provocative on the subject of Mahler and sex. “Nothing marks this difference more acutely than the absence of an erotic dimension in Mahler’s work. The preoccupation  of Viennese modernism with a…
  • Explore the Score- Bach “Keyboard exercise, consisting of an ARIA with diverse variations for harpsichord with two manuals” (The Goldberg Variations)

    Kenneth Woods
    19 Mar 2014 | 9:44 am
    This weekend, I’ll be playing the marvelous transcription of the Goldberg Variations made for string trio by Dmitri Sitkovetsky at the Harborough Music Collective with violinist David Le Page and violist Carmen Flores. Coffee Concerts take place at 3pm on Sundays at The Congregational Church, Market Harborough LE167JD. Tickets are £11 (concessions £9, under 18s free) and can be reserved in advanced by calling07903020101 or are available at the door. Ticket price includes coffee, tea and biscuits. I was reminded that I recently wrote an essay on the Goldberg Variations as…
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    Iron Tongue of Midnight

  • Congrats to Steve Smith!

    22 Apr 2014 | 5:59 pm
    Steve Smith, who left Time Out NY only weeks ago, has been offered, and has accepted, a position as Assistant Arts Editor of the Boston Globe. It's a loss for NYC and for the NY Times, for which he has been freelancing, but a big gain for Boston!As I told him on Facebook, not much opera in Boston, but the new music and early music scenes are matchless. Oh, and I hear they have an orchestra, too.
  • Music for Earth Day

    22 Apr 2014 | 2:11 pm
    All on YouTube:Harrison Birtwistle, Earth Dances (Boulez)Igor Stravinsky, "Adoration of the Earth," first section of The Rite of Spring (Take your pick)Claude Debussy, La Mer  (Karajan/Philharmonia)Edgard Varese, Deserts (Boulez)Charles Ives, From the Steeples to the Mountains (MTT/SFS)Richard Strauss, Alpine Symphony (Haitink/VPO)Olivier Messiaen, Des canyons aux etoiles (Salonen/Crossley/London Sinfonietta)H/T Thomas May for the idea!
  • Safe Rolling & Fall Class, Berkeley Dan Zan Ryu

    17 Apr 2014 | 10:06 am
    I will, in fact, be teaching a ten-week class in safe rolling & falling this year. It's intended for adults who aren't studying a martial art on a long-term basis, but who would like a basic grounding in protecting themselves if they happen to fall.It's a ten-session class, starting in July. Here are the details:Start date: Saturday, July 12, 2014Time: 1:30 - 3 p.m. (90 minutes)Location: Studio 12, Sawtooth Building, Berkeley, CA, on Eighth Street near Dwight WayCost: $200 + AJJF membership ($35 for age 16-64, $10 for age 65+). No one turned away for lack of funds.Class size is limited to…
  • Encounters with Britten

    15 Apr 2014 | 12:48 pm
    Over at ArtsJournal, Terry Teachout has a posting up about his first encounter with Britten's music, which happened to have been the great Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings. I am reasonably certain my own first Britten was the Variations on a Theme of Henry Purcell, better known as the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.But the second was very likely the broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera performances of Death in Venice, the composer's last opera, which also marked one of the few Met appearances of the tenor Peter Pears, Britten's partner in life and music, for whom so much of…
  • Compare & Contrast 25

    15 Apr 2014 | 10:02 am
    I have deep respect for Finn Pollard, of Where's Runnicles, and for Mark Berry, of Boulezian. They're both thoughtful, passionate, and intelligent reviewers whose comments illuminate whatever performance they're discussing. So it's with great interest and curiosity that I link to their very different conclusions about Claus Guth's recent production of Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Royal Opera.Finn Pollard. "Guth's more significant, and problematic decision, is the dramatic framing. We open and close on the Empress in a hospital bed, and the clear implication is that everything else that…
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    Musical Assumptions

  • Some Very Special Community Recognition

    22 Apr 2014 | 9:36 am
    There's something special about getting recognition for what I do in the place where I live. Here's the article in the local paper about it.
  • Revisiting Old Things

    20 Apr 2014 | 7:31 pm
    I used to sew. I started doing it in earnest when Michael and I moved to Illinois in 1985. I found it very relaxing. I sewed dresses using Laura Ashley patterns, and I sewed maternity clothes. I sewed curtains for our house. I sewed things for Michael (he still uses one of the three robes I made for him), and I sewed baby and toddler clothes for our children. My sewing machine broke around the time I started playing violin, and I forgot about sewing. The red-checkered kitchen curtains I made back in 1992 became so faded that we decided to replace them (with new red-checkered curtains, of…
  • Orfeo by Richard Powers

    18 Apr 2014 | 6:30 am
    I am not generally a reader of best-selling fiction, but I devoured Orfeo and savored every bit. It is a novel about music: the protagonist is a composer of avant-garde music who came of age in the 1960s. The novel is set in places I know very well (including Urbana, Illinois and Brookline, Massachusetts), and Powers describes them succinctly and accurately; even the small places and fleeting moments (including stops en route from Urbana, Illinois to St. Louis along I-70). He also describes places he hasn't been with great artistry, like the camp where Messiaen wrote and performed the Quartet…
  • Franz Liszt was a Freemason!

    15 Apr 2014 | 8:21 pm
    From James Huneker's 1911 book about Franz Liszt:On the 31st of July last one of the greatest artists and men departed at Bayreuth for the eternal east, who had proved himself a worthy member of our brotherhood by his deeds through his whole eventful life. It is Brother Franz Liszt, on whose grave we deposit an acacia branch. Millions of florins Franz Liszt had earned on his triumphal career—for others. His art, his time, his life, were given to those who claimed it. Thus he journeyed, a living embodiment of the St. Simonism to which he once belonged, through his earthly pilgrimage. Brother…
  • Joan Manen's "Garbo"

    15 Apr 2014 | 9:46 am
    I just discovered the music of Joan Manen and thought I'd share this delightful tidbit:and this one for guitar:
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    eighth blackbird » Blog

  • neverending tour

    9 Apr 2014 | 3:58 pm
    onstage at Royce Hall at UCLA. View of LA from the Hotel Palomar in Westwood, CA. Yvonne photo-bombing the house she grew up in. Nick with eighth blackbird's founding flutist Molly Barth. Michael and Molly's son, Antonio. Michael rehearsing with UR Symphony. It is week 4 of our 5-week tour and we are in Richmond for our last visit of this semester. We’ve been to LA, Spokane, Moscow, Ashland, and Eugene in the past two weeks. We head to SUNY Purchase this weekend for a quick concert and end the tour with our last week in Philadelphia with Curtis. LA was fantastic. It’s my hometown,…
  • The Unexpected: 2014

    9 Apr 2014 | 1:26 pm
    THE UNEXPECTED: 2014 a collaborative performance featuring  Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions ______________________ For the second consecutive year, Creative Partners will present THE UNEXPECTED, an evening of performances featuring its partner companies: Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions. On Wednesday, May 21st, these three companies will share the Dance Center of Columbia College stage to showcase their current projects through an interwoven evening of music, dance and puppetry. DATE: Wednesday,…
  • CSO and MusicNOW

    28 Mar 2014 | 8:22 am
    Playing Murder Ballades in Cincinnati Music Hall Photo by David Sorcher Onstage at Cincinnati Music Hall Photo by David Sorcher Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Louis Langrée Photo by David Sorcher David Lang Photo by David Sorcher Olga Bell Photo by David Sorcher Bonnie "Prince" Billy Photo by David Sorcher Lisa smooching Nico Muhly Michael and Nick with Wantana Lindquist of Thai Express Sandwich board billing at The Listing Loon We had a wonderful weekend in Cincinnati as Artist in Residence with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra during their inaugural collaboration with Bryce Dessner’s…
  • CH Distillery benefit

    13 Mar 2014 | 3:30 pm
    CH Distillery Mixologists at work behind the bar at CH Distillery Distillery equipment Distillery equipment Guests at the bar CH Distillery seen from the distillery Sarah Solotaroff Mirkin, Tim Munro, Angela Trabert Our wonderful interns Izzy Olive and Abby Resek Loren Mach and Doug Perkins Kyle Vegter, Gabriella Smith, Deidre Huckabay, Izzy Olive Nell Stanton, Nari Savavi Chris Joyce, Mary Joyce, Lisa Kaplan, Yvonne Lam Ken Kaplan, David Lee Csiscko, Mischa Zupko Mary Joyce, Chris Joyce, Sarah Soloratoff Mirkin Loren Mach, Yvonne Lam, Doug Perkins, Angela Trabert Michael Maccaferri, Mark…
  • Make it red

    10 Mar 2014 | 7:13 am
    We spent this past week in the pit and onstage with the UR dance department, collaborating on two works. One was choreographed by faculty member Anne Van Gelder, and the other by guest choreographer Stefanie Batten-Bland. Anne chose faculty member Benjamin Broening’s piece like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment for her work entitled Like Dreams, which we played in the pit while the whole complement of dancers took the stage. Stefanie chose Missy Mazzoli’s Still Life with Avalanche for her work entitled Reduce, which we played onstage in addition to moving…
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    an unamplified voice

  • Two-word Arabella review while I write the longer one

    11 Apr 2014 | 1:51 pm
    See it.
  • Soldier and servant

    8 Apr 2014 | 4:00 am
    Wozzeck - Metropolitan Opera, 3/17/2014Hampson, Voigt, O'Neill, Hoare, Bayley / LevineWhile writing my account of Matthias Goerne's first and only Met Wozzeck, I did wonder several times whether the novel perspective I was crediting to his particular interpretation was not perhaps something that had been present in the other Wozzecks I'd seen, just in a form that I'd had no eye for then. Seeing Thomas Hampson sing the part soon after, however, cured that nagging doubt. For here was that familiar downtrodden Wozzeck again in life, and with him the terrible airless version of the tale familiar…
  • Met Council Finals 2014

    31 Mar 2014 | 8:41 am
    The program is above. I'll discuss the singers in order.Christopher Lowrey (countertenor, 29)The Brown- and British-trained Lowrey made a decidedly flat impression in the Partenope selection. Despite the acoustically friendly wood backing behind the singers and what seemed like particular efforts by Armiliato to keep the orchestra down, Lowrey's voice just didn't sound out well over the orchestra. Divisions, phrase, and the rest were unobjectionable but also undistinguished. Lowrey did much better in the slow Rodelinda bit, though the sound was still a bit cloudy. Sort of a trill.Rexford…
  • The forgotten Romantic

    17 Mar 2014 | 1:56 pm
    Die schöne Müllerin - Carnegie Hall, 3/5/2014Goerne / EschenbachWozzeck - Metropolitan Opera, 3/6/2014Goerne, Voigt, O'Neill, Hoare, Bayley / LevineThomas Hampson's illness (which continued through the following performance) brought together this strange but fruitful sequence of two evening performances at the start of the month.Matthias Goerne gave his recital five days after a concert Wozzeck on the same Carnegie Hall stage, but neither he nor his audience knew, at the time of this Schubert performance, that the next day would bring him to a reprise of Berg's opera in a full Met staging.
  • Renewal

    10 Mar 2014 | 3:30 pm
    Salome - Vienna Philharmonic, 3/1/2014Barkmin, Konieczny, Henschel, Osuna, Siegel / NelsonsThe Richard Strauss revivals leading up to his 150th birthday this June have brought real success at the Met, which perhaps will continue through Arabella in the spring. But if no other tribute had been offered, this Carnegie Hall concert of Salome would have more than sufficed.It was, as much as anything, a demonstration of the art of conducting Strauss. Andris Nelsons has done some good at the Met -- most recently a the pit portion of a magnificent Queen of Spades -- but in neither that nor the…
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    On An Overgrown Path

  • An absurd complex of inferiority to the symphony orchestra

    24 Apr 2014 | 12:34 am
    Much trumpeting from Sony about a Billboard classical chart number one for Iranian composer Hafez Nazeri's Rumi Symphony which "crosses cultural boundaries through a new universal blending of Eastern and Western classical music". That PR speak sets the alarm bells ringing, because as one of the leading exponents of traditional Middle Eastern music, Julien Jaleddin Weiss, explains:"European stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello, double bass) were integrated relatively recently into oriental ensembles, to the point where they have acquired a dominant, indeed overwhelming position. I have…
  • You can do better than that

    23 Apr 2014 | 12:31 am
    "Do you remember the first time you heard classical music" asks a tweet from the Bienen Music School linked to my recent post about Jan Willis. Some years ago I recounted how my parents took me in the early 1960s to hear Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony played by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the young Singaporean maestro Choo Hoey. That was one of my music epiphanies, and another is also worth recounting. Sometime in the late 1950s I borrowed a record by Tommy 'Mister Twist' Steele from a schoolfriend to play on our home radiogram. My mother, who was an accomplished pianist, said just…
  • "If life were just, I would become a great conductor"

    21 Apr 2014 | 1:20 am
    One of my earliest and fondest memories is of standing in the center of our kitchen at about age four, stick baton in hand, "conducting" symphonies by Dvořák and Rimsky-Korsakov*. My mother had given in to my pleas for the 78 rpm records. She thought the music completely unappealing and constantly yelled at me for turning the volume up, but I loved her without bounds for buying me the ninety-eight cent record.For days and weeks, I was completely lost in the roaring sonorities of Scheherazade and in the somber strains of the New World Symphony. My head and arms sunk and rose in waves and…
  • To cat, or not to cat: that is the question

    18 Apr 2014 | 12:46 am
    There was an overwhelming response on Facebook to yesterday's feline photo. It was taken at Sidi Ifni in southern Morocco, as are the two photos in this post. Fishing is the main industry of the town, and the daily fish market is home to many contented moggies as Muslims are taught that cats should be cherished and loved. These images are certainly heartwarming, but I am also aware that cats are a very powerful social media clickbait. However there are strong links between cats and art music; this is almost certainly because the condition of synaesthesia - experiencing one sensation…
  • Zen and the art of walking away

    16 Apr 2014 | 11:16 pm
    'A cat sits until it is done sitting, then gets up, stretches, and walks away' - Alan WattsPhoto taken at Sidi Ifni, Morocco; another cat plays a cameo role in On the road with a Sufi saint. Photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2014. Any other copyrighted material is included as "fair use", for critical analysis only. Also on Facebook and Twitter.
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    Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog

  • Contrabass Conversations site fixed–all episodes now accessible again

    Jason Heath
    24 Apr 2014 | 3:45 am
    The Chicago Bass Ensemble, one of the CBC podcast’s featured guests I fixed the issue with the Contrabass Conversations site, so all 159 episodes are now accessible again.  You can now listen to all of these old episodes without trouble. Contrabass Conversations classics: Ed Barker interview The State of the Orchestra Differences in Opera and Orchestra Playing Opera Excerpt Breakdown Orchestral Excerpt Breakdown Owen Lee interview Max Dimoff interview Dan Krekeler interview Ranaan Meyer interview Lawrence Hurst interview Jack Budrow interview Barrie Kolstein interview John Grillo…
  • Twin Cities Bass Camp 2014

    Jason Heath
    24 Apr 2014 | 3:27 am
    Twin Cities Bass Camp featuring Francois Rabbath, July 7-11 2014, St. Paul, MN Featuring a diverse group of faculty from a variety of backgrounds, the Twin Cities Bass Camp (July 7-11, 2014) looks like a really good summer option for the student bassist.  Featuring Francois Rabbath (a former Contrabass Conversations guest), this five day camp costs $500.  More details available at the Twin Cities Bass Camp website.
  • Any new bass blogs, sites, links, etc?

    Jason Heath
    23 Apr 2014 | 4:57 pm
    After five years (!) of low activity on the blog, I decided to crank it back into action.  After much cleaning up of code, old ads, etc., and redesigning the site so it didn’t look so mid-2000s, I’m back in the blogging arena. I’m now working on updating my links page and blogroll.  There’s a lot of excellent content on both of these pages, but also a lot of out-of-date material and a lot of new stuff that I’ve missed during my dormant period. If you have as link suggestion, bass blog/site suggestion, etc., leave a comment or drop me a message and let me know.
  • Classic post – how equal temperament ruined harmony

    Jason Heath
    19 Apr 2014 | 1:50 pm
    Here’s a great post from Jeff Weisner from 2009–worth a read or a revisit for sure:
  • Michael Cameron recital tomorrow

    Jason Heath
    16 Apr 2014 | 3:42 pm
    faculty recital Michael Cameron double bass with Henry Chen double bass Han-Ah Choi piano Bach/Busoni/Chen* Bottesini Cameron Saylor Newell* Stallcop Proto Morley Thursday April 17 7:30 Music Building Auditorium
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    Naxos New Releases

  • RICHARDSON, F.: Keyboard Works (Complete) (G. Wilson) (8.572997)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Ferdinando Richardson was a remarkable figure in the history of English music. As Groom of the Privy Chamber he held one of the most prestigious political offices at the court of Elizabeth I and is thought to have overseen the compilation of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. The outstanding virtuosity of his few surviving works suggests not only that he himself was a supremely accomplished performer but that his music embodies the best qualities of his probable teachers, Thomas Tallis and John Bull. This recording concludes with a fascinating selection of rare works by his contemporaries.
  • ANIMALS IN MUSIC (8.578281-82)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Through the centuries composers have brought colour and panache to bear in their depictions of animals in music. For some, such as Sibelius, animals become the central focus in their tone poems, whilst for others a symphonic unity is sought, as Beethoven showed in his ‘Pastoral’ Symphony. Poetic imagery, through song, offers another avenue. The rich variety of the animal kingdom—from bees to birds, from fleas to fish (and much else)—offers memorable opportunities for sonic richness.
  • LÉVY, F.E.: Trios for Clarinet, Viola and Piano Nos. 1 and 2 / Clarinet Sonata / Mythic Transformations (Halcyon Trio) (9.70194)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Frank Ezra Lévy, son of the legendary Swiss pianist and composer Ernst Lévy, can look back on a distinguished career as a cellist as well as a prolific catalogue of 177 published and widely admired compositions which include orchestral works recorded for Naxos (8.559234). Both of the trios on this recording were written for the Halcyon Trio: the first moving from a lyrical initial movement through a variety of moods to a jagged and contrapuntal finale, the second a single continuous movement. These trios explore the signature intensity of thematic transformation and development…
  • BARTÓK, B.: Piano Music, Vol. 7 (Jandó) - 14 Bagatelles / 9 Little Piano Pieces (8.573224)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    From the misery of a failed love affair came a work that Ferruccio Busoni hailed with the words: ‘At last, something really new’. This was Bartók’s 1908 Fourteen Bagatelles, unashamedly experimental, decidedly forward-looking and displaying, in embryonic form, many of the qualities associated with his mature style. Buoyed by the success of his Dance Suite at a concert in Budapest in 1925, Bartók felt inspired to compose major works for himself to play as a concert pianist. These include the neo-classical Nine Little Piano Pieces (1926) which owe something to…
  • TOGNI, C.: Piano Music (Complete), Vol. 2 (Orvieto) (8.572991)

    31 Mar 2014 | 5:00 pm
    The Italian composer and teacher Camillo Togni forged a creative musical path that was given decisive impetus through his exposure to the Second Viennese School, a process reflected in the youthful Serenade No. 1. This second of four volumes devoted to his complete piano music also shows how, in the Prima Partita Corale, Togni successfully absorbed Busoni’s ideas of Bach transcription. The result is a striking ‘free re-elaboration’. The Capriccios, meanwhile, explore the exciting and dramatic elements in Togni’s music. Volume 1 is available on Naxos 8.572990.
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    The Naxos Blog

  • Easter extensions

    17 Apr 2014 | 9:00 am
    The account of the birth of Christianity as depicted through the life of Jesus some 2,000 years ago has been celebrated for centuries through masterpieces of the Western European classical music tradition. Formats include the Passion, the Stabat Mater and the Requiem Mass. Music-lovers will have their own favourites and, no doubt, the CDs to go with them: Mozart‘s Requiem (8.557728), J. S. Bach‘s St Matthew Passion (8.557617-19) and Pergolesi‘s Stabat Mater (8.550766) will surely figure high on people’s lists. But this whole notion of pain, separation and spiritual…
  • Capital!

    10 Apr 2014 | 9:00 am
    In his celebrated novel, Jules Verne took his readers Around the World in Eighty Days. Today, I wondered if we could perform a similar feat with a handful of classical compositions, namely those that feature a country’s capital city in the title, and maybe discover some interesting tidbits along the way. We start with a bit of a wobble in Washington, in the United States, by citing a couple of pieces that are associated with the city in a tangential way. Sousa‘s The Washington Post March (8.559248) brought the composer fame and popularity, while helping to make the newspaper more…
  • Podcast: Poetry for the departed

    3 Apr 2014 | 9:00 am
    At its première in June 1969 Shostakovich described his Symphony No. 14, in effect a symphonic song cycle, as ‘a fight for the liberation of humanity… a great protest against death, a reminder to live one’s life honestly, decently, nobly…’ Originally intending to write an oratorio, Shostakovich set eleven poems on the theme of mortality, and in particular early or unjust death, for two solo singers accompanied by strings and percussion. In this podcast, conductor Vasily Petrenko talks with Edward Seckerson about the penultimate release in his Shostakovich symphony cycle.
  • Who’s afraid of new music…?

    27 Mar 2014 | 9:00 am
    Think about the last time you went into an art gallery. It’s pretty certain you won’t have liked all of the modern paintings, but I would be prepared to bet there was at least one which impressed and stuck in your mind. It’s easy to claim an experience of contemporary music is similar, but while you can walk on from a painting you don’t fancy within seconds, taking in any piece of music is a commitment in terms of time, and – when it comes to new music – a ‘risk’ in terms of comprehension and aesthetic. It’s worth bearing in mind that composers such as Debussy and Satie were…
  • Up for review

    20 Mar 2014 | 9:00 am
    Pity the poor reviewer who has to attend performances of contemporary music and make instant judgements on the works’ artistic merits. It’s not an easy task, which has occasionally been recognised by concert promoters who will immediately follow the première of a new work by a second performance in the same concert. In musical circles, familiarity tends not to breed contempt; rather, the opposite. Now that we have the benefit of hindsight with many of today’s recognised masterpieces, we thought we would set you a little quiz. You will find below a selection of discs,…
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    Spotify Classical Playlists

  • More than 40,000 classical albums from Naxos now have composers displayed for every track

    2 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    Philip Lane – English String Miniatures, Vol. 6Lincoln Trio – Notable WomenVarious Artists – Music for the Zombie ApocalypseRichard Craig – inwardBarokksolistene – London CallingThis also applies to Pentatone, Ondine, New Amsterdam, and all labels distributed by Naxos. Check out the list here.
  • Help testing the new classical radio

    22 Mar 2014 | 9:19 am
    A small percentage of users now get revamped classical radio. Try it here: Use the skip button to flip through a few tracks.If you only see soundtracks and greatest hits from not-so-great compilations and less than 10 composers, you are still on the old radio. Please ignore it like you did in the past few years.If you see a wide range of selections from respectable labels, then play on. The more you listen, the more users will get the new version.Your feedback will be much appreciated. Thanks.
  • Composers are now displayed for the Harmonia Mundi catalog

    12 Mar 2014 | 1:14 am
    For those of you who already followed my Harmonia Mundi - hmGold Series playlist, it might take a while before the composers appear in the desktop client. In web player everyone should see the composers now.
  • 2014 New Classical Releases Index (Collaborative Playlist)

    10 Jan 2014 | 11:19 pm
    Thanks everyone for updating the 2011, 2012 and 2013 New Classical Releases Indices. Let's do it again in 2014 and hopefully next year you won't have to use a playlist to browse the newly recorded/released classical albums of the year.Same rules as before:1. One track per album. You can click album titles and browse full albums.2. Add new tracks at the top of the playlist, so the new additions can be found easily.3. Please avoid duplicated entries. Use the filter bar to check before adding. For example: before you add Daniel Barenboim – New Year's Concert 2014 / Neujahrskonzert…
  • Guest Playlist: Frank Zappa's Musical Evolution

    10 Jan 2014 | 4:17 am
    Guest post from Kris Herbst:I assembled this playlist of 401 Zappa tracks that, for me, represent his best and most accessible musical compositions (omitting tracks where I find the musical quality is secondary to comedy bits or commentary):  Frank Zappa's Musical Evolution (401 tracks, 19 hours). To provide a sense of the progression of Zappa’s musical ideas and development, I have arranged the tracks in chronological order, based on when they were first recorded or performed, rather than by release date, with help from the discography and timelines in this site:…
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  • App Review: John Cage’s 4’ 33″ App for iOS

    Nick Arner
    24 Apr 2014 | 3:00 am
    Developed for the John Cage Trust, the 4’ 33″ App for iOS enables users to create their own version of Cage’s iconic piece. The app includes a recording of ambient sound from Cage’s last apartment in New York City, which according the John Cage Trust, he found to be a “source of constant surprise, inspiration, and delight”.Users are also able to upload their own performance to the “World of 4′ 33″”, an interactive map that features performances from around the world.User Interface/ExperienceOnce the user hits the record button, the app records sound for exactly…
  • Exclusive David Lang interview in Issue 6 of our Magazine!

    Thomas Deneuville
    23 Apr 2014 | 4:00 am
    If you are a subscriber of I CARE IF YOU LISTEN Magazine, you’ve already gotten an alert on your iOS device. If you are not, you’ll be glad to hear that the Issue 6 has been out for a week now… What’s in it?Well, the big news is that David Lang gave us an exclusive interview as collected stories is currently running at Carnegie Hall, and he is our cover story for this issue (stunning photography by Axel Dupeux).Issue 6 Cover – Photo by Axel DupeuxWhat else can you read?The Bad Plus Re-envisions The Rite of Spring by Daniel J. Kushner W4′s Moby Dick at Issue…
  • A more personal side of Andriessen at Shenandoah Conservatory

    Matt Mendez
    22 Apr 2014 | 4:00 am
    The weeklong Andriessen 75 festival moved down the road to Armstrong Concert Hall, Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia, on April 12, 2014, with three Andriessen pieces accompanied by music from Florent Schmitt, Derek Bermel, and Ruby Fulton. Most composers dread writing fanfares, flourishes, curtain-raisers, occasional works, homages, tributes, anniversary pieces… A few defy the odds, distilling something of their physiognomy, their way of being into the buttoned-down, throwaway miniature. And then there was the one and only Stravinsky: only in the unloved, unremembered Pour…
  • This week: concerts in New York (April 21 – April 27, 2014)

    Sam Reising
    21 Apr 2014 | 4:00 am
    The Business of Being a Composer Part 2 | MATA FestivalMATA FestivalThe legendary Ralph N. Jackson will host a workshop on the business of being a composer. The second of two such workshops during this year’s festival, this one will focus on how to present yourself and interact with existing classical music institutions. Guests will include BMI’s VP of Classical Music Deirdre Chadwick who will discuss licensing your music, and others. Monday, April 21 at 11 AM RSVP to BMI, 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY ..:: WebsiteMusic in the Afternoon | MATA FestivalTwo snare…
  • 5 questions to Yotam Haber (composer, exiting artistic director MATA Festival)

    David Dies
    18 Apr 2014 | 12:00 pm
    The 2014 edition of the MATA Festival is in full swing. Yotam Haber, the exiting artistic director, kindly took a few minutes to answer our 5 questions…You are ending your tenure as artistic director of the MATA Festival after this year. How would you characterize the approach to programming during your time at MATA?I firmly believe in MATA’s mission of finding and promoting the most vital young voices in today’s musical landscape. Several years ago, we were hailed by the press as “dogmatically undogmatic” and I would say that this description encapsulates my…
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  • What to charge for (a bit of) your time

    Grace Miles
    15 Apr 2014 | 8:30 am
    I’m not a coffee addict, but I learned some important insights about earning your worth, from a coffee shop. Namely, how much to charge for a bit of service. My design teams met at one coffee shop (let’s call this Coffee Shop #1), so it’s my go-to. The baked goods are familiar and I think […]
  • What Every Musician Should Know About Performing Under Pressure

    Grace Miles
    29 Mar 2014 | 8:49 am
    Last summer, my sister had a vision of joining a hip hop dance crew and competing around the world. We visited hip hop dance studios around town, eventually coming to a street dance studio. A sign behind the glass proclaimed a 30-minute wait, beyond that, worn carpeted stairs. To give a little context, street dance is ultra-free, making up […]
  • Figure Skating Music to Love & Play

    Grace Miles
    22 Feb 2014 | 12:19 pm
    Ah, the Olympics! I follow figure skating because I love the beauty of the skaters’ physical and psychological journey. Skaters are learning even as they step on the Olympic ice; we never know if they’ll nail the jumps, but we’re coming along for the journey. Plus, who doesn’t like a mash of music, passion, and […]
  • Why You are Important Today

    Grace Miles
    11 Feb 2014 | 5:00 am
    I’m writing this first thing after breakfast with strands of my hair still painted in purple Greek yogurt: We act based on what we see in ourselves. Maybe you’re nervous about performing piano or teaching your talent to others. Ann Makosinski told me she used to speak quickly because “people didn’t care” what she had to […]
  • The Right KPIs Make a Piano Career

    Grace Miles
    3 Feb 2014 | 5:00 am
    I met a blogger for coffee and discovered my bubble! The bubble is where you’re so different that no one can give good advice. Like being the solo pianist amongst the orchestra’s strings. When I get an email from Satya Khan, I’m reminded that her breath-taking moments are in a bubble as well. Except, her bubble […]
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    Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, pianist

  • The Last One

    14 Apr 2014 | 4:54 am
    This morning I was trying to remember my first post ever. Even before I had WordPress installed, which has been my CMS for many years now. It was on January 24th, 2007 something about SACEM (The French ASCAP), the complexity of its royalties system and how it was making it difficult for us to play contemporary music. The blog was then bilingual (French and.. Frenglish?). I was so proud of publishing something for the first time! 7 years and several hundreds posts later, here I am; a completely different musician and man in a completely different place. In a way, blogging saved me: it forced…
  • Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont Announces New Album Release Date

    2 Apr 2014 | 4:26 am
    Pierre-Arnaud will unveil his Beethoven album on July 1st through Resonus Classics. This second album comes two years after his acclaimed debut album Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, which featured Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit and Janacek’s On an overgrown path and In the mists. The album will be available exclusively through digital media from your usual music sources and in high resolution audio 24-bit/96kHz (FLAC, ALAC, WMA or WAV depending on the site) through Resonus’s site and the following partnering sites:,,…
  • Ravel – L’enfant et les sortilèges: Fantaisie lyrique en deux parties

    27 Mar 2014 | 5:58 am
    You already know I’m a fan of Ravel’s work and it’s more than time to feature him in this Listen To This! series. Time to discover THE piece I was singing at the top of my lungs when I was a child. I now thank my parents for their patience: I’ve never been a good singer and my intonation is quite approximate, especially when it comes to singing some very challenging airs from this little gem… L’enfant et les sortilèges: Fantaisie lyrique en deux parties (The Child and the Spells: A Lyric Fantasy in Two Parts) is an opera in one act, with music from Maurice Ravel and libretto…
  • Quick tips to be a better piano player

    25 Mar 2014 | 5:56 am
    All students are often asking the same thing: quick fixes to play a certain piece flawlessly. I wasn’t an exception: I wanted from my professors fingerings, exercises that could help me feel absolutely comfortable in certain difficult sections. Today, I’m so glad my teachers never quite responded to my requests: it pushed me to be creative in my daily practice and I was forced to learn to solve all kinds of technical problems myself. Of course, when I was hitting the wall, they always had a solution to make me shift perspective and get out of trouble. If I had to teach piano again to long…
  • Dealing With Stage Fright and Nerves, my 2 essential tips.

    18 Mar 2014 | 5:59 am
    It has been somehow difficult to write lately. I’ve been staring at a blinking cursor for the past two weeks. It reminded me that when I was a little boy, stage fright looked like this kind of writer’s block. It was very similar to a CPU overload: everything froze, and while staring at the piano without any good reason, a lot of interesting and useful thoughts came through my mind but I was truly unable to take action, and resume playing. As if my brain shut down. Not that I made a mistake or something, it just happened. Probably something triggered that “freeze” but I never found…
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  • Free treble clef note reading worksheet

    31 Mar 2014 | 8:07 pm
    I’ve added a new worksheet that you can download for free. In order to get it, you’ll need to like my Facebook page. Once you’ve done that, find the tab that says Fan Freebies and follow the links.  You can see a preview of the worksheet below.  Let me know if you have any trouble downloading it. The worksheet itself is a treble clef note ID worksheet.  It uses C position, Middle C position, and G position notes (or C4 through D5).  As a little lagniappe, there are some vocabulary questions at the end. PS.  This worksheet was created using the VexTab Music Notation…
  • File fixed! Iko Iko sheet music should work now

    16 Mar 2014 | 8:43 pm
    Hi everyone.  A couple of commenters have pointed out to me that the file I shared awhile back for the Carnival classic “Iko Iko” was corrupt, so I’m going to re-upload it.  Let me know if this one doesn’t work. Link follows the gratuitous puppy pic: Just for fun. My pup Petunia dressed up for Mardi Gras Get the music.
  • New Google Doc Add-on Vex-Tab Music Notation + Free Worksheet

    11 Mar 2014 | 2:39 pm
    I was browsing on reddit as I am sometimes wont to do, and I learned about the new and exciting music notation tool for Google Docs.  For those of you not familiar with Google Docs, think of it as basically a free version of Microsoft Office provided by Google.  One significant difference between Google Docs and Office though is that Docs automatically backs up your documents online (not saved on your computer). Anyway, enough about Docs.  The important news is that you can now use an add-on with Docs to notate music (for free!)  VexTab enables you to code music into your document and…
  • It’s Mardi Gras! Check out this awesome free sheet music for a New Orleans piano classic..

    23 Feb 2014 | 9:52 am
    I’ve been obsessed with Allen Toussaint’s version of Tipitina and Me off of the post-Katrina compilation Our New Orleans It’s a really refreshingly different version of the piece.  For reference, I’m going to link to a few famous versions first: Professor Longhair: Dr. John James Booker (Randomly, Hugh Laurie) So, here’s the Allen Toussaint version that just blew me away for being such a refreshingly different take on this New Orleans classic: And, here’s what you really came for, the sheet music.  This version has been, thankfully, transcribed (for…
  • Happy Valentine’s Day! Free Practice Chart

    14 Feb 2014 | 4:12 pm
    For Valentine’s day, spread a little love using a practice chart with hearts. Available on my website, here.
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    Classical Music Headphones

  • Chord and Major Classical Earphones Review

    22 Apr 2014 | 12:03 pm
    Chord and Major Classical Earphones Review A Brief Introduction: We here at Classical Music Headphones love the fact that headphones makers are starting to pay attention to genres other than dubstep. Not that I we have anything against that genre, but the ‘bass arms race’ to compete with Beats Audio, while not over, appears to … Continue reading →The post Chord and Major Classical Earphones Review appeared first on Classical Music Headphones.
  • Headphones Deals

    28 Nov 2013 | 12:48 am
    Black Friday Deals on Headphones Featured Here! Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals are here! We’ll keep posting all headphones and audio-gear related deals as they come. Deals from Audio Technica ATH-M50 Monitor Headphones: $199.99 $108.84 Ranked #2 on our list of the Top Ten Headphones, these headphones are priced as low as they’ve ever been. … Continue reading →The post Headphones Deals appeared first on Classical Music Headphones.
  • Best Headphones under $200

    28 Jul 2013 | 12:57 am
    Best Headphones under $200 We’ve had a round up of the best headphones under $100, and the best headphones under $300, so it’s ridiculous that we haven’t had a round-up of headphones in the $200 price range. When you invest $100-$200 on a pair of headphones, you expect great sound and great build quality. All … Continue reading →The post Best Headphones under $200 appeared first on Classical Music Headphones.
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    Classical Commentary: Barry Lenson's Classical Music Blog

  • Magical Things Happened at Paul Lewis’s Philharmonic Debut

    Barry Lenson
    15 Apr 2014 | 7:52 am
    I don’t usually write reviews of performances on this blog. I’m not a music critic, and there are lots of other bloggers who have that ground covered.But I feel compelled to write about the astonishing debut that the British pianist Paul Lewis made with the New York Philharmonic last week when he played Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1. To be accurate, I would like to comment on his performance in an open rehearsal that I heard on April 10th, the morning of his official Philharmonic debut. It was beyond wonderful.On very rare occasions – and I’ll tell you about some of them – you…
  • Are Operas Really Longer than Movies?

    Barry Lenson
    30 Mar 2014 | 7:41 am
    “Mary Poppins” – Would you rather spend two hours and 20 minutes watching this, or the same amount of time seeing Aida? Your choice. When you invite your friends to go to see an opera with you, do they whine “Okay, but how LONG will it be?” I’ve had that happen. I usually answer, “It won’t be any longer than that idiotic movie you saw last week, the one with all the Hobbits.” Okay, I say that. But am I lying or not?  Today, I am going to list some statistics for you to keep on hand so that when people complain that operas are too long, you have some ammunition to reply…
  • A Flawed but Interesting Way to Compare Musical Genres

    Barry Lenson
    26 Mar 2014 | 6:44 am
    Is opera better than chamber music? Is choral music better than piano music?Those are fairly ridiculous questions, of course, but kind of interesting anyway. Much to my discredit, I’ve been thinking about them lately. And even though nobody asked me to, I came up with a way to answer them. I’m calling it the Repertoire Quality Percentage. To apply it, you look at the music that is performed most often in different performance genres (chamber music, choral music, see below) and estimate the percentage of it that is good and the percentage that is bad. I’ll start with the genres that…
  • Buy Your Tickets and Mark Your Calendar . . . Do Not Miss this Performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Chicago on April 11th

    Barry Lenson
    7 Mar 2014 | 3:28 am
    Every so often a leading musician comes along who has lavished so much love, time, and study in the work of one composer – or even in one work of music – that historic performances result. I’ve only attended a handful of performances that belong in that category. No wonder, they don’t come along very often. I saw an elderly Karl Böhm conduct Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Metropolitan Opera – a performance that embodied a lifetime of experience and inquiry into that work. I also attended a recital of Schumann Lieder given by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau at the Salzburg…
  • Enter Chopin and Alkan, Dueling with Cellos

    Barry Lenson
    26 Feb 2014 | 12:59 pm
    Frédéric Chopin Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) and Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) were two romantic composers who wrote extensively for the piano - so much so that they are often regarded as "piano composers." Today, I’d like to examine and compare the sonatas that they each wrote for cello and piano. Why? It might seem like a pretty dopey idea to compare two works that piano composers wrote that featured the cello, right? And maybe it is. But bear with me a minute. Suppose you took Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal off the tennis court and made them play ice hockey or basketball or…
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    Stars & Catz » Classical Music & Opera Buzz

  • Zubin Mehta brings Kunde, Cedolins, Ferri and Kunde to open the new Florence Opera House + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    12 Apr 2014 | 4:29 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   Eric Conway: Opera at Morgan Presents Puccini’s ‘Suor and Angelica’ & Moore’s ‘Devil & Daniel Webster’ 8 PM Friday, April 11 & 2 PM Saturday, April 12 – Eric Conway, D.M.A.Fine and Performing Arts Department, ChairMorgan State UniversityHello everyone,Today, Opera at Morgan presented their matinee performance of their […]
  • Ballopalooza! + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    11 Apr 2014 | 3:59 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   Regional Spotlight: Rose Ensemble – The Rose Ensemble presents several works honoring the personality and legacy of St Francis of Assisi. Continue Reading On » Sean Hickey’s Cursive: another rewarding release on Delos – Michigan born and educated both there and in New York, Hickey divides […]
  • Horacio Fabiano: European Young Talents at Carnegie Hall + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    10 Apr 2014 | 3:30 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   R.I.P. John Shirley-Quirk, 1931-2014 – This is, quite simply, one of the greatest recordings of a Bach cantata I have ever heard – and doubtless ever will. Continue Reading On » Elliott Carter's Symphonia: bubbles, colours, and life-enhancing energy – Not only is Carter’s Symphonia the […]
  • BBCSO/Davis: The Dream of Gerontius review 'Splendour and clarity' + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    9 Apr 2014 | 2:55 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   Symphonies at their Half-Century 1964 – Arthur Butterworth: Symphony No 2 (First Performance 1965) No recording availableBenjamin Frankel: Symphony No 3, Op 40  CPO 9994212Alan Rawsthorne: Symphony No 3  Two versions availableHumphrey Searle: Symphony No 5, Op 43Daniel Jones: Symphony No 5 No recording availableDaniel Jones: Symphony No […]
  • Hubris Meets Humility as Duo Deftly Clown Around Korngold’s Songs. + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    8 Apr 2014 | 2:24 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   Voces8: A Purcell Collection – Purcell airs, choruses and anthems; Voces8, Les Inventions: Signum Classics Reviewed by Robert Hugillon Apr 8 2014 Star rating: 4.0Voces8 bring their distinctive musicianship to bear on a selection of Purcell’s major worksFor this new disc from vocal ensemble Voces8 on the Signum […]
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