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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Classical Spotlight
2:47 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

'Blue Shades' And More From Composer Ticheli At TLU

Composer/Conductor Frank Ticheli
Charlie Grosso

Friday night marks the return of Frank Ticheli to Texas. He grew up near Dallas playing trumpet, studied composition at SMU and Michigan, and taught at Trinity University for several years.

Currently a USC professor, Ticheli will lead seven of his works with members of the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble at Texas Lutheran University.

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KPAC Blog:
2:45 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

The Last Sonatas, Beethoven And Composing For The Ages

Rembrandt's depiction of the crucifixion, The Three Crosses.

It is scary to realize that some of our planet's great art is there for what at the time was an accidental circumstance.

In 1819 Moritz Schlesinger, a music publisher, met with Beethoven and bargained for 60 songs and 3 piano sonatas. These were his last three piano sonatas - the pinnacle of his Late period - and took longer because of illness and other work.

Because of these circumstances there was talk of dropping the sonatas from the contract. The Piano Sonata No. 31 was finished Christmas Day 1821.

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KPAC Blog: Metropolitan Opera
1:15 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

'Giulio Cesare' And The Return Of George Frederick Handel

Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

If you're older than thirty you may know something of the unlikely and extremely rare probability of a baroque opera being performed at the Metropolitan Opera. This was sometime in the late eighties, but in musical terms seems a lifetime ago.

To quote Inspector Morse, the opera loving sleuth, "I was horrified to discover that the tickets I had received for Wagner were in fact for Handel!"

I can think of no opera composer of the first rank who has undergone so radical a transformation of fortune as Handel.

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Classical Spotlight
11:47 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Final Fiesta Event Is Classical Concert At St. Mark's Episcopal

The organ at St. Mark's Episcopal Church
Courtesy of the artist

Music from St. Mark’s presents their annual Fiesta celebration this Sunday at 4 p.m. It showcases the music of Francis Poulenc, including the "Concerto for Organ in G minor" and his grand choral symphony "Gloria."

Members of the San Antonio Symphony will augment musicians of the St. Mark’s Choir and featured soloist Joseph Causby.

Causby is the music director and conductor at St. Marks. He chuckles at the question: Is being a soloist and then conductor like juggling?

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KPAC Blog
11:46 am
Wed April 24, 2013

What Was Old Is New Again With Beethoven's Sonata No. 30

Flickr user Jochen Spalding (b_lumenkraft) cc

After his mighty "Hammerklavier Sonata," Ludwig van Beethoven continued with writing sonatas, but on a smaller and more intimate scale.

The "Sonata No. 30 in E" is a rare combination of nostalgia, youthful vigor and an antiquarian's love of baroque musical forms.

In the first movement, the music swims out of the void into being and the composer weaves passages that simultaneously project them forward and fall back into reminiscence.

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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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