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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In the Roberts Wesleyan College Community Orchestra, we are rehearsing the strikingly beautiful Andante Moderato from Mahler's Sixth Symphony for an upcoming concert. Our music director, Paul Shewan, loves this music very much - it shows in how he conducts it and speaks about it in rehearsal, so I asked him to write some thoughts on the music to share here on my blog. The timings he mentions in the piece coincide with the recording embedded in the post - with Riccardo Chailly conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. ~Mona 

 

Old coats

Oct 24, 2016

Chilly? Try these on for size:

“It cost me much to part with the blue coat which I wore the first time I danced with Charlotte. But I could not possibly wear it any longer. But I have ordered a new one, precisely similar, even to the collar and sleeves, as well as a new waistcoat and pantaloons.

But it does not produce the same effect upon me. I know not how it is, but I hope in time I shall like it better.”

– The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

photo by Brenda Tremblay

Composer Glenn McClure is on a journey to Antarctica.   The SUNY Geneseo and Eastman professor will pitch a tent on an ice shelf and listen, working with scientists to collect data which will ultimately shape a piece of music.  His trip is being funded by the National Science Foundation.  Before he left, he spoke with WXXI's Brenda Tremblay.

www.freekibble.com

On Saturday, October 8th, I attended the Eastman School of Music’s Innovate. Lead. Music. Conference 2016, presented by the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research at ESM.  The conference focused on innovative ways that creative artists, ensembles and musical organizations can work together, structure their work, and partner with other arts organizations to provide opportunities for artists in the 21st century, support integrated arts education in communities, and “enrich the world with music” (Dean Jamal Rossi).

The Accursed Huntsman. The name is even creeper in French: Le Chausseur Maudit

This oft overlooked orchestral gem by Belgian composer Cesar Franck was part of the program that I got to hear with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this past week. It's full of dramatic and creepy effects in the orchestra, as the piece follows the journey of the Count of the Rhine who gets himself in trouble by deciding to go hunting instead of going to church on Sunday. While he's out in the woods, a voice cries to him, "Accursed hunter, be thou eternally pursued by Hell!" And thus, an infernal hunt commences, where the count is now pursued by demons and imps.

 

With Halloween around the corner, it's a good time to add Franck's Accursed Huntsman to your playlist – along with these other creepy, haunted classical pieces. 

photo by Brenda Tremblay

Some classical music lovers are mourning the loss of a cultural icon. 

The Chautauqua Amphitheater is no more.

I confess that when I first heard about the demolition of the century-old Amphitheater, I felt dismay.

Bach-to-Bach Punning

Sep 21, 2016
Penny R. Frondelli

Blame it all on Jeffrey Biegel. He and several orchestras commissioned a new piano concerto from PDQ Bach...which got Jeffrey thinking.  There were already so many Bachs--JSB, CPE, WF, JC, JCF, to name a few.  How many other Bachs, he wondered, were out there? So Jeffrey asked us, the trusty world of classical announcers, if we knew of any.  And things got pretty silly.

Some of the suggestions:

alpacasofinstagram

One day I walked into the doctor’s office and noticed the receptionist wearing an unusual necklace, a thick chain with a large, gold llama hanging at the end.   I complimented her llama.  Her eyes lit up behind glasses as she explained that she and her family raised llamas and showed them at the New York State Fair.  They had even won prizes, she said.  

I said, “That’s nice!  I know someone who runs an alpaca farm.” 

She shrugged dismissively and said, “I just don’t get the whole alpaca thing.”

Once in a blue moon I encounter a book that resonates so deeply with me that I immediately flip back to page one and start over.  That happened when I finished Run by Ann Patchett.  The first time I read for plot and the second time for language.  Months later, I’m still going back to re-read favorite passages. 

Run is about family, running, and secrets.

Sheet music cover: The Star Spangled Banner: National Song
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

It caught me off guard. I had forgotten that the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra plays "The Star-Spangled Banner” at the beginning of the first concert of the season. I stood up and started to sing along. 

 

It caught me off guard. Part way through the anthem, I suddenly started to think of the protests by athlete Colin Kaepernick and others, sitting or kneeling during the national anthem, over issues of social injustice in our country.

 

It caught me off guard. As we were sitting down, in the brief pause between the end of the anthem and the beginning of the first piece on the concert, someone near me said:

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