Exploring Music

Archive for August, 2010

Exploring Music: Piano Concerti

Bill introduces us to this week’s theme with a bit of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

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Bill defines concerto grosso form using an example from Vivaldi, and discusses the Red Priest’s influence on Bach’s concerti.

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Beethoven bucks 18th-century concerto conventions by beginning his Piano Concerto No. 4 with the soloist.

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Bill explains how Franz Liszt helped to usher in the Romantic Era piano concerto.

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The popularity of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto opened up new opportunities for the composer abroad.

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Exploring Music: Sweet Home Chicago

This week we go to Chicago and visit the Grant Park Orchestra as Bill introduces us to conductor Carlos Kalmar.

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Bill discusses James Caesar Petrillo–a musicians labor leader and founder of the Grant Park Festival–as well as composer Robert Kurka.

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Conductor Carlos Kalmar details the incorporation of young musicians into a professional orchestra, then Bill introduces us to Chicago-based composer Stacy Garrop.

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“Classic living composer” John Corigliano’s L’ Invitation au Voyage, a choral work, is introduced by Bill and performed by the Grant Park Chorus.

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Bill recalls past conductors of the Grant Park Festival while Artistic Director (1995-2009) James W Palermo speaks about the scope of programmed works.

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Exploring Music: Magnificent Magyars

Bill opens this week’s program with an explanation of what makes a Magyar.

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During the 16th century, the constant Ottoman Wars gave pause to Hungary’s cultural influence.

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Bill gives us a short lesson on the unique characteristics of the Hungarian language.

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Franz Joseph Haydn’s influence on the Hungarian people was so rich, that many young fiddlers around the country learned the string quartets of Haydn before they practiced any other compositions.

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Hungarian composer Franz Liszt might have practiced his craft and been influenced by certain styles west of his homeland, but Liszt considered himself Hungarian to the bone.

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Casey at the Bat

Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1863-1940)

                               Casey at the Bat

        A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888

    The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
    The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
    And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
    A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

    A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
    Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
    They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that–
    We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

(more…)

Exploring Music: William Schuman

This week’s program on William Schuman, is based off Joseph Polisi’s book about the composer. If you wanted to purchase the book, check out our link here: http://www.amazon.com/American-Muse-William-Schuman-Amadeus/dp/1574671731/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279857314&sr=8-3

Bill guides us through the early life of William Schuman, from his typical baseball childhood at The Polo Grounds to his discovery of classical music through the New York Philharmonic

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Early on, Roy Harris provided a major influence on much of Schuman’s early work, but in order to grow as a composer he needed to hate Harris  

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Bill reads us some of the best reviews on William Schuman’s 6th Symphony

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As great of a composer as William Schuman was, he also gave a helping hand to his musical community by revamping The Juilliard School

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Schuman pays tribute to his favorite sport by creating an opera based on the poem ‘Casey At The Bat’

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