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April 2014
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Archive for April, 2014

Garrick Ohlsson on Santa Fe

Garrick Ohlsson, c.Paul Body

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson presents his own brand of pianistic hot sauce as artist-in-residence at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. The Festival gathers some of the world’s finest musicians each year for a series of performances in the southwestern art and food mecca.

On Wednesday’s broadcast

Can there Be Two Don Giovanni’s?

Giuseppe Gazzaniga

What if you wrote one terrific opera, but did it on the same subject as Mozart—and it wasn’t just any Mozart opera, but one of his greatest achievements in the form? Ouch. In truth, this composer wouldn’t have felt the full force of the insult

Trained to Sing, Born to Flirt

Susanna Phillips

Susanna Phillips comes naturally by that Alabama drawl—and sounds awfully coquettish to the Yankees among us. And then there’s Isabel Leonard, who served up quite the sassy and saucy Rosina in Lyric Opera’s The Barber of Seville earlier this year. The Met’s production of Così fan tutte seems to have stacked the deck by casting those two as the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella. After all, così fan tutte, roughly translated means: women are like that

Bella Voce: Better Wear Chain Mail

Bella Voce

It’s a funny tune, at least to 21st century ears, but the Renaissance guys loved it: L’homme armé (The Armed Man). If you can imagine a scene out of the Renaissance Fair or The Game of Thrones—those people—having a hit song that no festive gathering could be without, it was L’homme armé. So infectious was it, church composers lifted the tune for their own Godly purposes

A Trippy Composer

Claude Vivier

The composer writes, “Then he removed a dagger from his jacket and stabbed me through the heart.” At that point the music stops abruptly.
—That’s pretty intense, right? Never mind that it really happened.

Claude Vivier was only 35 years old when a male prostitute stabbed him

Baroque&Before: Can You Read Medieval Music?

Introit from Missa verspertina in cena Domini

We know the Neanderthals made flutes of bone some 43,000 years ago. More recent came hieroglyphs with harps, flutes, and lute-like instruments. The art of the ancient Greeks and Romans have similar images. Keeping that in mind, figures like the treble clef or the quarter note are newcomers to the human timeline. How those ancient musics sounded has been lost. It wasn’t until medieval monks

A Conductor for the 21st Century

Carlos Miguel Prieto

Mexican maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto is getting a lot of attention from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra’s audience seems to love him, he’s great with kids, and speaks Spanish—all important assets for the CSO, as the organization works to engage the greater Chicago community.

When it comes to the importance of acknowledging a community’s diverse population, Prieto not only gets it

The Many Lives of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

People are always saying William Shakespeare is the greatest English language writer. Did you know he translates well, too? Giuseppe Verdi supposedly kept the complete Shakespeare (in Italian) beside his bed.

This week on Exploring Music, Bill McGlaughlin explores the synergies between Shakespeare’s words and different composers around the world

Pianist Says ‘Technically Simple’ Can Be the Hardest

Josu de Solaun

Valencian pianist Josu de Solaun offers perspective on what makes a piece hard. The “Rach 3,” the Third Piano Concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff is famous for having fistfuls of notes; it was written to be played by the huge hands of the composer himself at Carnegie Hall

Earth Day 2014: A Composer’s Habitat

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

One only has to hear Vivaldi’s Goldfinch Concerto from 1728, or selections from John Dowland’s 16th century songbooks to know that the celebration of nature is as old as the hills. Tuesday, April 22 is Earth Day 2014. WFMT’s celebration will include Richard Strauss’s epic tone poem An Alpine Symphony