Exploring Music

Archive for September, 2010

Shostakovich remembered

One of the most unfortunate aspects of Shostakovich’s career was that he lived through an era of deceit. Many historical aspects of his life have been clouded with doubt because of certain written accounts. One of the most notoriously dubious of these accounts is a book entitled Testimony by Russian musicologist Solomon Volkov. In this New York Times article, Shostakovich’s third wife, Irina, tries to set the record straight on Volkov and his book.

An Answer to Those Who Still Abuse Shostakovich

Shostakovich Webisode

Dmitri Shostakovich

Hi Exploring Music fans! My name is Joshua Sauvageau I am interning here at WFMT. Jesse and Cydne asked me to put together a short webisode highlighting anything I found interesting about this week’s subject, Dmitri Shostakovich. It took me a while, but I finally narrowed my research down to two of Shostakovich’s ‘war’ symphonies.

The events surrounding the composition of his Symphonies No. 7 & 8 were harrowing and–I felt–deserving of extra attention. I set about writing and revising the script, and was fortunate enough to have the wonderfully talented Lisa Flynn read the dialogue for it. I combed through the Shostakovich albums here at WFMT and came up with two great recordings to illustrate my script: Symphony No. 7 “Leningrad” performed by the Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Neeme Järvi (Chandos 8623) and Symphony No. 8 performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink (Decca 475-7413).

I would like to thank Lisa, Jesse McQuarters and Cydne Gillard for their invaluable assistance on this project.

I hope you enjoy it!

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Exploring Music: Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich’s childhood in St. Petersburg is recalled and we hear some very early piano pieces as Bill starts up the two week celebration of the composer.

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Bill discusses Prokofiev’s influence on Shostakovich and we learn about some compositional “wrong-footedness”.

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The opera Lady MacBeth of the Mtsensk District brought Shostakovich great fame with the public, but big trouble with Stalin and Pravda. This proves to be problematic for the composer’s Fourth Symphony.

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As World War II ends and the world struggles to come to terms with the scope of Nazi atrocities, Shostakovich looks to Jewish music in his Piano Trio No. 2.

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In the finale to the series on Dmitri Shostakovich, Bill introduces the composer’s last symphonies, Nos. 14 and 15.

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Jose Torres

In our recent “Director’s Choice” week, Bill spoke about the remarkable story of one of KPRG’s program hosts, Jose Torres in Guam.  Here’s the full text of the article that he quoted from:

http://www.guampdn.com/guampublishing/liberationguam/stories/torres.html

Torres remembers July 21

By Erin Thompson
Pacific Daily News
[email protected]

Now in his eighties, with a slightly hunched back, a stiff-gait from his “bum” leg, and a gentle, lilting voice, Jose Torres has the look and manner of anyone’s favorite grandfather. Well known around the island for his twice-weekly classical music radio program on public radio station KPRG, the former medical researcher is, in fact, a great-grandfather, who still lives with his wife and extended family members in a low-slung duplex alongside Merizo’s quiet highway.

As one of a waning number of still living Chamorros who experienced the Japanese occupation first hand, Torres seemed like a good source for information about Liberation Day war heroes. (more…)

Exploring Music: Director’s Choice

Bill kicks off Director’s Choice week with a concert-hall staple: Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major.

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Program director Gary Thorpe of station 4MBS in Brisbane, Australia chooses Airborne Symphony by American composer Marc Blitzstein.

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Cheryl Willoughby of Vermont Public Radio recommended several wonderful works for this week, including Claudio Monteverdi’s “Zefiro torna” from the album Teatro d’Amore.

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Jefferson Public Radio’s Eric Teel suggests a rare flute sonata by 18th-century Dutch composer Johannes Fredericus Groneman.

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Bill introduces Jose Torres, a radio host and combat veteran of World War II. A lifelong resident of Guam, Torres vividly remembers the Japanese invasion of the island and is fond of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

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