Classical 91.5

Classical Blog

This is a place where our classical hosts, interns and artists can share their stories, viewpoints and point of view on topics related to classical music and the arts in general.  Come back to this page often to read the latest and share your comments.

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While we celebrated the 300th anniversary of one of the world’s strangest gigs with Handel’s Water Music throughout the day on the radio on WXXI Classical 91.5, a few others were making a splash with some thoughts on Water Music. Here are a couple articles that caught my attention that I thought you might like too. 

Olivia Lopez

Once upon a time, my lips nearly melted off my face.

Thanks to Julie Philipp, the Democrat and Chronicle's senior engagement editor, I had the chance to tell a story from my personal life as part of a collection of true, first-person tales centered on the role music can play in defining who we are and how we express ourselves. Click here for "My Brief and Spectacular One-Day Career as an Adult Bassoonist."  

Let’s be honest.  

We take the understated beauty of the Erie Canal for granted.   It’s not the mighty Mississippi, but it was equally impactful in American history.  Think about it.  You can float from New York to Chicago on a waterway that adds European charm to small towns across the state.  

It’s small, lovely, and ours.

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest is just starting – 9 days of music in cafes, small clubs, big concert halls, free outdoor stages, recording studios, the public library, and classrooms…lunchtime concerts, afternoons and evenings of music, and late nights that spill into early mornings. There really seems to be something for every taste and approach.

Everyone will have their own list of what you should check out – and then those lists will change as everyone experience the music and discovers their new favorite sound.  You can catch up with my colleague Julia Figueras each day during Morning Edition on WXXI News (at approximately 8:43am) and then catch the Jazz Corner on WRUR at 10:30 each morning on Open Tunings with Scott Regan and Jeff Spevak.  

Accidentally hearing music can melt your heart and ignite your curiosity.  That’s a real possibility on June 21, a day of worldwide celebration of music on which all kinds of musicians – young and old, amateur and professional -- will stream into parks and streets and bridges to make music for the sheer pleasure of it.  Keep your ears peeled.

This is not a metaphor for your soul being transported to another realm – I’ve got physical transportation on my mind.

Now that it is spring, I’m back into biking to work pretty much every day. I’m happy to be out and riding again, even though I did appreciate the chance to read on the bus on my commute this winter. The seasonal change in my travel habits – along with thinking about how we get around as I prepare to host an event for Reconnect Rochester about transportation and sustainability – reminded me of some of my favorite music for bikes – and trains – and even cars. 

Sarah and the Moose

Jun 12, 2017

What's your voice type? Alto? Soprano? Bass? Tenor?  Not sure?  Here's a primer to help you find your spot in the choir. (Click the post title if you don't see it, and enjoy.)

The daily 6:40 a.m. Mystery Piece (June 12 - 16) will test how well you can identify singers' voices.

Thanks to the Classical 91.5 listener to who sent in this comic relief! ~ Brenda

Tony Award Predictions

Jun 6, 2017

In 2017, the race to the Tony is much less clear-cut than last year. In 2016, it was easy to predict which show would run away with just about every statue as Hamilton received 13 nominations and took home an impressive 11 awards, including Best Musical. This year, the awards may not be as one-sided, as there are several different shows in the running for the various big categories. Here is a quick look at what I think are the most heated races and which shows just may take home the coveted statue.

When Classical 91.5 listener Bruce Leslie attended a university graduation ceremony in London, he expected to hear Edward Elgar’s first “Pomp and Circumstance” march.   But he didn’t.  When he asked people about its omission, they looked at him incredulously and said that music had no connection with graduation in the U.K.

“Mompou is evoking in music the silence…and the silence is music.”  

When guitarist Rafaella Smits visited Rochester, she played and spoke about music by Catalan - French - Spanish composer Federico Mompou (1893-1987).

I think it’s fair to say Mompou is one of the composers with a “cult” following – he’s not mainstream famous, even among those who routinely listen to classical music, yet his music is beloved and revered by those who are in the know.  

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