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Art and Music Month

WFMT has a rich history as a radio station that embraces all of the fine arts. Since coming to this position in December, it was a dream of mine to somehow integrate visual art and music, and the visual component of a website makes this possible. Every day in July you will find not only musical compositions that were inspired by art (with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition being the most obvious and famous example), but also works about artists such as Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini and Ernst Bacon’s Remembering Ansel Adams. Then, there are composers who were themselves fine artists. We invite you to enjoy the watercolors of Felix Mendelssohn, for example, as we feature his music on air on July 25th, or drawings and sketches by George Gershwin on July 30th. You can view the featured artwork of the day below, while you listen to the music that goes with it on 98.7 FM.

Upcoming: Respighi’s Botticelli Triptych on July 31 at 2:00 PM.

Click here to see special WFMT member benefits during Art and Music Month.

A Marvelous Marathon of Opera

Renee Fleming as the Countess in "Capriccio"

Renee Fleming as the Countess in "Capriccio"

For one day every year, WFMT suspends the typical Saturday fare in order to wallow in the lusciousness of opera – and it’s not just anything opera, it’s Lyric Opera of Chicago; the organization that is so central to bringing the world’s greatest singers and directors to Chicago’s proscenium

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Art and Music: Botticelli

1280px-Sandro_Botticelli_-_La_nascita_di_Venere_-_Google_Art_Project_-_edited

Hear the Botticelli Triptych by Ottorino Respighi at 2:00 PM on Wednesday. The inspiration for the music was the work of Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli who found himself at the nucleus of one of the most celebrated periods in art history: the Italian Renaissance. His daring choice of secular subjects, infused with layer upon layer of ambiguity and innuendo, delighted his patron, Lorenzo de’ Medici

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Art and Music: Gershwin

Gershwin painting Schoenberg

Gershwin painting Schoenberg

George Gershwin was born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, New York in 1898. In his 38-year life, he asserted a bold musical identity that was not Russian, not European, but distinctly American (in fact, once he had tasted success, he did travel to Paris to seek instruction from Nadia Boulanger; she wouldn’t touch him

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Art and Music: Mathis der Maler

Sketch of John the Baptist, long held to be a self-portrait of Matthias Grünewald

Sketch of John the Baptist, long held to be a self-portrait of Matthias Grünewald

Like most people, Paul Hindemith underestimated the Nazis. He openly derided their ideologies, and quickly became marked as a dissident. In an attempt to keep the door open for him, Wilhelm Furtwängler commissioned a symphony from Hindemith

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Art and Music: Georgia O’Keeffe

Petunia, 1925

Petunia, 1925

Hear music by American composer Dan Welcher inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe on Friday, July 26 at 10:00 AM. The artwork of Georgia O’Keeffe is among the most recognizable of all American artists. Many of her paintings can be viewed online. “Light Coming on the Plains” is a series of watercolors depicting the plains at the break of dawn; the series, from painting to painting, presents differing hues and temperatures. “Canyon with Crows” is most like the scenes of the red hills

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Art and Music: Mendelssohn’s Watercolors

Watercolor by Felix Mendelssohn of an unknown subject

Watercolor by Felix Mendelssohn of an unknown subject

Felix Mendelssohn was a beacon in his world, whether as conductor, composer, scholar or painter. As a painter, he wallowed in images of man in dialogue with nature: landscapes with buildings or people under trees. The image to the right is of an unknown subject, but brings to mind the mysterious, churning sounds

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Art and Music: van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh Self-Portrait

Vincent van Gogh Self-Portrait

Hear Focke’s Le Tombeau de van Gogh on July 23 at 12:00 PM. There are 20 paintings depicted musically in this set. Here are some of these (below). Fré Focke was a Dutch pianist and composer; he was a student of Anton Webern. Acting on an invitation from pianist Claudio Arrau, he moved to Santiago, Chile, where he became very active and influential on the musical life there

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Art and Music: Bloch

Tamarack miners, "copper country" in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Tamarack miners, "copper country" in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Hear Bloch’s Five Sketches in Sepia on July 22 at 6:00 PM. About “color” in music: certain descriptive words may be used to express the effect of musical timbre or tone color such as: dark – brilliant; opaque – transparent; rich – mellow; fuzzy – clear; dull – sharp; complex – simple, et al. As a metaphor, musicians consider sound in the same manner that painters consider “color”

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Art and Music: Picasso

A blue room, a tub

A blue room, a tub

Hear the “Picasso Suite” by Canadian composer Harry Somers. There are 8 sections and a coda to this work which was written for a 1964 television documentary on Pablo Picasso. Their titles explain the inspiration: 1) “Paris circa 1900” 2) “Blue Period” 3) “Circus” 4) “Cubism” 5) “Neo-Classic” 6) “Etching-the Vollard Suite” 7) “Mural-Temple of Peace” 8) “Arcadia-Faun with Flute-Innocence.”

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Art and Music Month: Paulus

Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World"

Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World"

Hear Paulus’ “Voices from the Gallery” at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, July 17. American composer Stephen Paulus (who was an on-air host in May on WFMT) composed this after 11 great works of art. In it, the art works “speak” to the listener through a narrator with texts by Joan Vail Thorne

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