Classical

July 4th
6:08 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

Fourth Of July: When The Piccolo Gets To Shine

Jim Walker plays the piccolo. (www.jimwalkerflute.com)

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 3:47 pm

Fourth of July means we’ll be hearing a lot of John Philip Sousa’s famous military march “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The big highlight comes toward the end, when the piccolos in the orchestra stand and let loose over the rest of the orchestra.

But imagine being the piccolo player who has to play that part over and over.

“The first time I played it was in the seventh grade,” Jim Walker, the retired principal flutist and piccolo player for the Los Angeles Philharmonic told Here & Now.

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Author Interviews
2:09 am
Thu July 4, 2013

For 'Star-Spangled Banner,' A Long Road From Song To Anthem

American lawyer Francis Scott Key witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry from a boat about 8 miles away.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 8:48 am

All over the country on Thursday, fireworks will light up the sky. In many places, those fireworks will come with a patriotic soundtrack — one that wouldn't be complete without "The Star-Spangled Banner." The song officially became America's national anthem in 1931, but it's been around since the early 19th century.

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Author Interviews
5:30 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

The Tragic Story Of 'Traviata' Muse Marie Duplessis

Ross MacGibbon Collection of Musee de la Dame aux Camellias

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:12 pm

You may not know the name Marie Duplessis, but odds are you know some stories about her. She inspired a French novel, which was turned into a successful play, several movies (including one starring Greta Garbo), a ballet and, most famously, a great Italian opera — La Traviata.

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Classical Spotlight
11:30 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Cactus Pear Music Festival Dreams Up New Programs

Violinist Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, founder and artistic director of Cactus Pear Music Festival
Credit courtesy of the artist

The seventeenth season of the Cactus Pear Music Festival gets underway Wednesday afternoon in Boerne with a children's concert. The theme this year is "Dreams & Prayers." 

"When my trio was putting together the Jalbert [Piano Trio], I kept thinking of the Messiaen [Quartet for the End of Time] - we worked on it two years ago - so it's interesting that somehow I put the two pieces together. They make great bookends to the "Into the Mystic" program!" says Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio.

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Classical Music
10:14 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Singing Nuns Top Classical Charts

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 10:50 am

Angels and Saints at Epheseus” has topped Billboard’s classical charts for weeks.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:13 am
Tue July 2, 2013

In Search Of The Great American Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there — or will there be — American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich?
Bill Swerbenski San Francisco Symphony

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 12:53 pm

Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony?

Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? (Check out our Spotify list for some contenders.) And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be "American" in the first place?

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Movie Reviews
3:40 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Branagh Imagines Mozart's 'Magic Flute' In Wartime

Pamina (Amy Carson) and Tamino (Joseph Kaiser) in Kenneth Branagh's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute.
Revolver Group

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 3:41 pm

Mozart's The Magic Flute, the last opera he lived to complete, has some of his most sublime and sublimely comic music. Technically, it's more of a musical comedy, what in German is called a Singspiel, a play with songs and spoken dialogue. I was excited to learn that it was filmed by Kenneth Branagh, whose Shakespeare movies I really admire. Mozart's mixture of fairy tale and high morality presents a great opportunity for a filmmaker; in 1975, Ingmar Bergman released a version for Swedish television that has become a beloved classic.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:36 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Why Tchaikovsky's Bells And Cannons Sound Every July 4

The Boston Pops rehearses for its Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular on July 3, 2012, at the Charles River Esplanade.
Paul Marotta Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 2:44 pm

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and on the big day, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture will be heard from coast to coast, complete with fireworks and cannons. But how did a Russian composition, depicting the rout of Napoleon's Army, end up as the unofficial soundtrack for our most quintessentially American holiday?

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Deceptive Cadence
12:11 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Hit The Road And Hear Some Music: Summer Classical Festivals 2013

At the Moab Festival in Utah, patrons can hike to a secret spot to hear concerts.
Richard Bowditch Moab Music Festival

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 7:55 am

Summer is heating up and so are dozens of classical music festivals all around the country. We couldn't possibly list them all, but here's a sampling of some of the best events, from open-air venues and seaside spots to historic concert halls. Been to a great summer festival we've missed? Feel free to pass along your own reviews in the comments section.

EAST

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Classical Spotlight
8:58 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

USAF Band Of The West Celebrates Independence Day

Airmen Ainsley Davis and Jennifer Daffinee at the TPR studios
John Clare / Texas Public Radio

This week starts local performances with Lackland Air Force Base's Band of the West, led by Captain Michael Hoerber. The concerts are free and open to the public, but tickets are recommended for early seating. (For the San Antonio concerts at Sea World, admission is required to the park, but the concert is free inside.)

The patriotic program includes music of all branches of the military, and span from the Revolutionary War to today. Ensembles include their Concert Band, Dimensions in Blue, Warhawk, and  soloists Ainsley Davis and Jennifer Daffinee.

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