Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:44 pm
Anything that can be done with straightforward ease is said to be a "cakewalk." Any action that is "not a cakewalk" is, of course, difficult and complicated.
No surprise, right? But stay with me a little longer.
The cakewalk was a pre-Civil War dance originally performed by slaves on plantation grounds. The uniquely American dance was first known as the "prize walk"; the prize was an elaborately decorated cake. Hence, "prize walk" is the original source for the phrases "takes the cake" and "cakewalk."
Since 1973, the four-man vocal chamber group The Hilliard Ensemble has been breathing new life into the sounds of the Renaissance. Now that they've reached their 40-year anniversary, the members have decided to call it a day. Fresh off the new album Il Cor Tristo, the Hilliards will spend 2014 celebrating their long tenure with one last world tour. Then, a year from now, it's all over.
Electronic sounds created by machines like vocoders, synthesizers and laptops have become pretty standard in popular music, but electronic music is also having a resurgence in new works by classical composers.
Classical composers have worked with electronics since the end of World War II, but the new technologies and people’s growing familiarity with electronically-produced sounds has led to new and interesting works in the classical world.
The San Antonio Symphony doesn’t do a lot of television specials, but once a year they collaborate with public television station KLRN to produce an hour-long program.
"[This year's show will] launch nicely our next festival, which will be a Dvorak Festival," said conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing by phone from Belgrade. "[We'll be] introducing Dvorak to the public. We’ve chosen this year the 'Carnival Overture' and a set of Slavonic dances, which really shows Dvorak from his folky side."
On Christmas Eve, tune to KPAC 88.3 FM and KTXI 90.1 FM for a special program, “A Baroque Holiday,” featuring the San Antonio Symphony, led by Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto. Recorded live at San Fernando Cathedral, Akiko Fujimoto says the venue was beautiful, artistically and historically. “San Fernando Cathedral was built during the baroque period,” she points out, “so there could not be more perfect venue for this music to be performed by the San Antonio Symphony.”
The San Antonio Symphony’s holiday season is winding down, but there's yet another performance that maybe you shouldn't miss. This Friday and Saturday night at the Majestic Theater, the annual "Holiday Pops" concert closes the seasonal performances. San Antonio Mastersinger and Board Member Chancey Blackburn is excited about the shows.
If your Holiday celebrations haven’t had enough guitar, we've found something you should check out: The San Antonio Guitar Ensemble. Actually, it's two classical guitar ensembles, as creator Ted Schechter explains.
"One are the younger kids, who I call the guitar stars," he says. "Their average age is around ten, that’s a quartet. The older group is more teenagers, high school students…and they go anywhere from five to ten members."