KPAC Blog

The KPAC Blog features classical music news and analysis.  From a detailed look at Wagner's masterpiece "Parsifal," to an inside look at the Latin Grammys, the KPAC Blog features writings about some of the music played on air as well as other interviews and essays about classical music.

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KPAC Blog
4:27 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

One Of Beethoven's Greatest Testaments, The 'Hammerklavier Sonata'

1820 portrait of Beethoven done by Joseph Karl Stieler, color by Greg Firlotte

My piano teacher told me about the story of Ludwig van Beethoven's creation of his biggest Piano Sonata the "Hammerklavier."

It goes back to John Broadwood sending him his best and biggest piano, and Beethoven's reply was this groundbreaking work. When I looked up to confirm what I was told, I found out the story was even more amazing.

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KPAC Blog
4:53 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Parker Makes Stravinsky Ballets One Man Band

Jon "Jackie" Kimura Parker
John Clare / Texas Public Radio

Igor Stravinsky made an original piano version of his ballet "Petrushka," so why would someone else make one?

"Well, I played it as a student, and I remember thinking, you know, I would actually trill this octave, not that one," says Jon "Jackie" Kimura Parker.

Parker has made a solo piano version of the entire ballet, not just a few scenes.

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KPAC Blog
12:25 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Beethoven Transcends His Time With 28th Piano Sonata

Even in his dark period, Beethoven was too stubborn to let it keep him down.
unknown

What is a musical genius to do? Ludwig van Beethoven had been composing piano sonatas with his own technical prowess in mind since he was eleven years old, and thirty five years later he hits a brick wall.

The new ideas and experimentation that stimulated so much of his music wasn't happening. This was the situation Beethoven found himself in 1816. The composer was a crotchety and difficult man at the best of times and after 1815 his physical problems and lack of energy brought his compositional growth to a standstill.

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KPAC Blog: Metropolitan Opera
2:42 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Richard Wagner's "Siegfried," The World's Last Hope

Jay Hunter Morris as Siegfried.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

In "Siegfried" we return to the origins of Wagner's conception of "The Ring." Before there was an explanation and an event, a plot before a back story.

These various sketches, fragments and early drafts were separated by a quarter of century from the opera's first performance (1851-1876).

We recreate the fairytale atmosphere of "Das Rheingold" with a dwarf, a dragon, giants, a singing bird and a boy so innocent he has "never" seen a girl.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:07 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

How Do You Handle Loneliness On The Road?

In her latest video message, opera star Joyce DiDonato ponders the art of loneliness on the road.
Nicholas Heavican

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 2:30 pm

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KPAC Blog
1:53 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Beethoven And The Painful Farewell - Art In Uncertain Times

1820 portrait of Beethoven done by Joseph Karl Stieler.

Context is everything. Ludwig van Beethoven dedicated his 26th piano sonata to Archduke Rudolph of Austria. The nickname of the sonata is "Les Adieux" or "Farewell," and I've heard speculation on the supposed relationship between the composer and his patron and friend.

Just knowing the title page on the first edition helps clarify some facts: "On the departure of his imperial highness, for the Archduke Rudolph, in admiration."

Why was his highness leaving? War.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:26 am
Thu April 18, 2013

The Conductor Who Gained Power By Giving It Up

Colin Davis found power in humility later in his career — and one astonished music journalist.
Alberto Venzago

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 2:09 pm

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Classical Spotlight
11:59 am
Wed April 17, 2013

SA Symphony Celebrates Fiesta With Traditional And Baroque Music

Conductor Akiko Fujimoto
Chris Eudaily TPR News

Three concerts span fun Fiesta and Riverwalk themes with Akiko Fujimoto!

This weekend the San Antonio Symphony adds cellos, oboes, and more to mariachi sounds with their annual Fiesta Pops at the Majestic Theatre Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m.

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KPAC Blog
1:57 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Hot Rod Beethoven Settles In For His 'Appassionata' Sonata

1820 portrait of Beethoven done by Joseph Karl Stieler.

We learn from others, or as Picasso said, "Good artists copy, great artists steal." Beethoven took this advice and borrowed from Mozart and Haydn, but quickly progressed.

Where some would borrow a sonata development or structure, Beethoven would take the layout, hacksaw it off and replace it with an invention of his own, or invert something and swap parts around, much like car nuts did in the early days of Hot Rod building.

But the composer's days of modifying others' ideas was over.

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KPAC Blog
12:21 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Caroline Shaw, 30, Wins Pulitzer For Music

Caroline Shaw, winner of this year's music Pulitzer, performing with the ACME ensemble in New York in September 2012.
AJ Wilhelm for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 5:16 pm

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