Friday, April 27, 2012

Footnote composers fight back!

One of our societies ills is the Best Seller Syndrome, most people figure if it -whatever "it" may be is popular than it must be good to great. What isn't popular isn't worth reading, watching or hearing.

On the Piano this Sunday one of the best known Russian composers from their golden age; Anton Arensky. A pupil of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, Arensky's music is informed, lyrical and dramatic. What else do you want from an artist? He was director of the Imperial Choir, one of the plum positions in Russia at the time and spent his free time composing, conducting and concertizing. His music charmed audiences back then and it still works!

Find out about the Virtues of Arensky this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI when we hear his dramatic Piano concerto and sample some of his music from his Suites for two pianos.

host, Randy Anderson

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wagner's Cosmic Family Drama

Each of the operas (okay, "music dramas) of Richard Wagner's “Ring Cycle” has a certain focus and nature of music characterization. “Das Rheingold” is a fairytale of gods and mythic figures in which mortals figure hardly at all. “Siegfried” is a coming of age story about a boy becoming a man through struggle and realization, communion with nature and an encounter with a woman; “Götterdämmerung” is a tragedy that begins in brief hope and darkens finally into global conflagration. “Die Walküre” is the most human--its focus is an extended family whose success or dysfunction, reconciliations and conflicts begin as domestic squabbles. 

In a house that was never really paid for, after a business deal with giants, who are informed they didn't read the fine print and sets in motion abduction and murder, a family is under siege. The types are universal: a father who is both loving and unfaithful , a wife , both jealous and malicious with whom he endlessly argues; a daughter headstrong and rebellious; rival siblings - the whole nine yards of the most popular television drama raised to cosmic conflict. At the heart of the drama is a dispute about the fate of a young couple, Siegmund and Sieglinde. They are in love , but she is already married (and they may be more than kissing cousins...)  and the question that all the world argues is is love stronger than tradition, than contracts and oaths, familial obligations. Fricka, the wife says no, Wotan the husband says yes, but tradition and law dictate that this cannot be. In the balance hangs the fate of the whole world.

For many opera lovers and concertgoers this is the most beloved and familiar of all Wagner's works. Its melodies, leitmotifs and theme-complexes are the stuff of cartoons, radio advertisements, orchestral renditions and piano transcriptions, movie music and recital encores. A stormy orchestral prelude sets the scene, then in rapid succession comes “Winterstrume wichen dem Wonnemond” and “Du bist der Lenz”; the “Ride of the Valkyries”; the pleading “War ist so schmalich,” and finally the piece du resistance, "Wotan's Farewell.” 
Leb'wohl du kuhnes herrliches Kind!

Du meines Herzens heiligster Stolz!   


Farewell, you dauntless, glorious child!

You the chief pride of my heart.


For daring to disobey him, Brünnhilde is deprived of her immortality and put into a deep sleep, but as an act of pity and love, Wotan surrounds her with a ring of fire which only a great hero can breach. Will they ever be reconciled? Will the lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde find true love? Will the heroine Brünnhilde ever escape her prison of fire and be rescued by a handsome Prince?
To find out, please tune in this Saturday at 11 a.m. to the Metropolitan Opera's presentation of Wagner's “Die Walküre,” here on KPAC and KTXI.

--Ron Moore

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


No doubt our town has lots of places to get a memento - from the Alamo to Fiesta and everything in between, San Antonio certainly does quite well with knick knacks and souvenirs!
This weekend, you can have a wonderful souvenir from Camerata San Antonio - a string sextet which is a musical postcard from Peter Tchaikovsky when he spent time in Florence:

Hear Crossroads this Thursday, Friday or Sunday!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: "Reflections"

French Music Evolves... Again
By Randy Anderson

Maurice Ravel found himself in a position that most artists can relate to. He knew he could create something of value, but at the time Claude Debussy's music was carrying all before it and Ravel wasn't interested in being part of the Debussy parade. The question was could Ravel carve out a place for himself in French music?

In Paul Roberts' new book "Reflections - the piano music of Maurice Ravel" we get a blow by blow account of Ravel's journey from being yet another talented pianist who wanted to compose to one of the leading lights of French Art and someone who's music was now inspiring the aging Claude Debussy - and we get this step by step transformation one keyboard work at a time.

In my radio program The Piano I often try to link the listener in a psychological way to the music by relating what the composer was going through at the time of its composition. Some artists are quite biographical in their works and Roberts gives us a good idea of the psychological landscape Ravel inhabited while creating each piece of music. He reports from letters, on friendships and poetry, normally the symbolist poets that inspired generations of French artists from the mid - nineteenth century through to the Second World War. The author reveals insights from pianists that studied with Ravel and what he passed on to them, such as the initial vision of Ravel provided by the great pianist of the mid twentieth century, Robert Casadesus who passes on what the composer said of his La vallée des cloches (the Valley of the bells) that it was not one bell sounding in a valley but of a metaphorical valley of buildings; this is Paris at noon when all the churches in earshot started ringing their bells and the sensation of those reverberant sounds - some loud and others far away overlapping and filling out the minimalist melodies that Ravel gives us. This is comprehension far beyond a mere translation of the works title.

One brutal insight into Ravel's personality comes out in Roberts' introduction to the book. Ravel had strong views on the people who played his music. He wasn't interesting in having his music - interpreted. In an argument with Paul Wittgenstein the one armed pianist that commissioned Ravel's Concerto for the Left-hand, the performer was defending his re-writing of some passages as saying "Performers music not be slaves" to which Ravel retorted "Performers ARE slaves"; to Ravel literal slaves to the notes and the intent of the composer.

Maurice Ravel was one of the most closed mouthed artists of the day and while you can gain insight into the composer's personal life by reading "Reflections" one will get a better idea of Ravel by reading the new crop of biographies - in English that Roberts recommends in the books preface, like a new biography of the composer by Roger Nichols as well as his "Ravel Remembered".

This is one review copy I will keep and refer to in my up coming programs on the piano music of Ravel. Paul Roberts is just about the perfect writer for this task, a concert pianist and an expert in French music he also wrote "Images" about the piano works of Claude Debussy and after that thorough grounding brings us to that second peak of the French musical landscape in the twentieth century, Maurice Ravel.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Russian with a French accent?

Everyone speaks with an accent of some sort. There are those with a keen ear that can place a person with a great deal of accuracy.

Accents in speech yes, but in music? I remember hearing some recordings of one of my favorite composers Alexander Scriabin and the effect of the music was blunted somehow. It was if the accent - the idiom wasn't correct. Maybe it was because the pianist was English and all the Scriabin I had heard was by pianists born in Russia. On the Piano this Sunday two pianists with French backgrounds, Alain Lefevre and Francois-Frederic Guy,  play music of Russia - music of Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff to be precise. You can check for accent authenticity on the Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Marketing Classical

There are some great ways to show an orchestra, and interest young people.  Here are two recent examples, both from Europe!
First, the Czech Phil:

And this hilarious one from France!

Would ninjas help you attend the San Antonio Symphony?

Where the Ring Begins

The story is told of a reading at a hotel in Switzerland that went on for hours as Richard Wagner attempted to acquaint his friends and supporters with an idea drawing on Norse and German mythology, it was called Siegfried's Death .
At the end of the marathon recitation the feedback began.The general consensus was that it was all very interesting, but finally very confusing. It was, they sadly reported too vague and tenuous. It was impossible to tell how Wagner got from point A to point B. Who are all these people and gods, how did they meet, interact and develop, not to mention this sad affair and cataclysmic end? It would be necessary they all agreed well, fill in the blanks.
Musicologists and historians seem to agree that the earliest sketches and ideas for the monumental Ring date from as early as 1850. Siegfried would not reach (the then non-existent) Bayreuth Festspielhaus for its' première until 1876. The quarter century interval would be a methodical and titanic creation of the complete "back-story". As Thomas Mann said what distinguished the nineteenth century was it's uniting of the epic and the detailed. Like War and Peace, the series novels of Balzac and Zola and the London canvas of Dickens the Ring is music's attempt to offer the whole story of life, death, creation, love and everything in between. In a sense, as Jacques Barzun points out, Darwin and Wagner had very much in common, to present a totalized vision of life and the world.
Beginning with an orphan who does not know his father and whose mother died in childbirth he is a 'wild child '. Brought up in the forest by an unscrupulous stepfather, Mime, who hopes to use him to acquire a great fortune guarded by a man - dragon. Then he is to be poisoned. After forging the fragments of a sword (his only patrimony) to the music in which we glimpse his superhuman potential he before embarks on a search for love and knowledge :
                      Nothung! Nothung ! Neidliches Schwert !
                             Was mustest du zerspringer ?
Nothung ! Nothung! Coveted Sword!
Why did you have to break?
I am fusing the splinters in the crucible
He will kill the dragon, free himself from servitude breach an impassible wall of fire, acquire a magical ring and discover the mystery of love from a woman who will prophetically tell him that, "I have loved you before you were born !"
Tune in this Saturday at noon for the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Wagner's Siegfried at noon, here on KPAC and KTXI.                                                                               
by Ron Moore

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Very Ethel and very good!

I receive a lot of music each week. Yesterday was no different, and I was quite happy to get the latest from the string quartet Ethel, called Heavy. It will be released next Tuesday, April 24th in all the major outlets. I think you should check it out - whether you love or hate chamber music, and even if modern, living music isn't your thing.
When I opened the envelope, I thought, did they make a 45rpm record?! The packaging is large, about the size of the older lp, but no, it is unique, with a full length cd enclosed from Innova Recordings. Listening, I wondered, do composers write pieces that sound like Ethel, or does Ethel find music that sounds like their style? Don Byron's Second String Quartet is classic Ethel - mesmerizing, lyrical and hip. Motor-rhythms and crunchy sounds delight in this fun "Four Thoughts on Marvin Gaye."
Heavy - Innova 820
John Halle and John King provide modern sounds with electronics, drones and amazing ensemble from Ethel. Two of the Bang on a Can founders, Julia Wolf and David Lang are well represented with "Early That Summer" and "Wed" - surely to be taken up as other quartets hear these delightful readings.
Kenji Bunch joins Ethel as violist for "String Circle" - and it stands as a real charmer on the disc, again, asking "Does it sound this way because of Ethel, or was it chosen and sounds Ethel-y?" "Round"ing out Heavy is Marcelo Zarvos' "Rounds" - someone to look for in new music, it has a light sound and touch that could go far!
Whether you are an "Ethelhead" or just want something to make you smile, Heavy should be on your iPad or other listening device - it is on mine, and won't be leaving anytime soon!
- John Clare, host in the afternoons & of Classical Spotlight

Monday, April 16, 2012

PP in music 2012

Congrats to Kevin Puts, who is honored with the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music!
"Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts," commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis on November 12, 2011, a stirring opera that recounts the true story of a spontaneous cease-fire among Scottish, French and Germans during World War I, displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart. Libretto by Mark Campbell (Aperto Press).
Host John Clare spoke with Kevin this afternoon about winning the award:

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Tod Machover for "Death and the Powers," premiered by the Boston Modern Opera Project in Massachusetts on March 18, 2011, an inventive opera that uses electronic music as it explores a dying billionaire’s attempt to transcend mortality through technology, raising significant questions about human existence. Libretto by Robert Pinsky (Boosey & Hawkes); and Andrew Norman for “The Companion Guide to Rome,” premiered on November 13, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah, an impressive musical portrait of nine historic churches, written for a string trio but sometimes giving the illusion of being played by a much larger group, changing mood and mode on a dime (Schott Music).

This year's committee consisted of Chuck Owen, distinguished professor, University of South Florida, Tampa (Chair); Jeremy Geffen, director of artistic planning, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY; Jennifer Higdon*, composer and faculty, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, PA; Steven Smith, music editor, Time Out New York and freelance contributor, The New York Times; and Kenny Werner, jazz pianist, composer, author and composition faculty, New York University.


This week we'll talk with Troy Peters about the San Antonio Symphony Fiesta concert on Classical Spotlight. But did you know the symphony has a Fiesta Medal? The new Symphony Fiesta Medal has an image of their Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing conducting (seen left with the picture that inspired the medal.)
Check out this link for a history of Fiesta, and according to the "Fiesta medals and pins are an integral part of the celebration. Maybe because San Antonio is a military town? Numerous organizations create medals to sell or give away each year, with the goal being to collect as many as you can. King Antonio XLIX is credited with starting the tradition in 1971, when he put 200 royal coins on ribbons and distributed them at Fiesta events. If you have an opportunity to shake hands with Fiesta royalty, you may be lucky enough to have a medal slide into your palm."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Three Favorite Concert Halls in Mexico

Several important things are required of a good concert hall - 1. it must be a comfortable and pleasant experience for the audience. 2. it must have a good acoustic quality for both the music and the performer. 3. all of the above.

I worked as a musician in Mexico, serving at several important posts during the 1980s. During that time, I had the opportunity to play in a lot of different theatres, some good, some bad or indifferent, and a few of them great. First, a few remarks about the not so good halls. The excellent Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City Philharmonic) is poorly served by their home, the Sala Ollin Yolitzli. Mexico's Sinfonica Nacional does somewhat better. The Teatro Bellas Artes is a marvel to look at and presents an interesting interior hall for the pleasure of the audience. Unfortunately, it leaves something to be desired in terms of the acoustics. This is more a problem for the musicians than for the listener. However, the concert experience is only optimal when a concert space serves both the players and the listeners.

Sala Nezahualcoyotl - Mexico City

By far the best venue in Mexico City, and one of the very best in all of the Americas, is the Sala Nezahualcoyotl, on the campus of Mexico's National University (UNAM). The physical setting, next to ancient lava flows, is spectacular. But the absolute proof of this as one of the finest concert halls in the world is found inside. The sight is stunning and the sound is superb.  This is the permanent home of the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM, and the Sala Neza (as it is sometimes called) hosts the Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria during the summer months. Musicians count themselves extremely fortunate to play here.

Teatro de la Ciudad - downtown Mexico City
Another enjoyable venue is the Teatro de la Ciudad, located in the historic center of Mexico City. This theatre, built in 1918, survived a fire in the mid-1980s, and is today a popular location for music of all sorts. It's not an exceptional acoustic, but I nevertheless love the ambience. I've played orchestral concerts here, and opera. I've also listened to full orchestras here, and opera too. One of my fondest memories was hearing the legendary saxophonist Dexter Gordon in the Teatro de la Ciudad.

Finally, another very beautiful theatre is the Teatro Degollado, in Guadalajara. Here one finds history (the theatre was inaugurated in 1866) and classic beauty, from the chandeliered entry to the oh so European looking interior. The sound is not great, but it's not too bad either. Musicians enjoy playing this venue. It serves as the home of the Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco, now conducted by Alondra de la Parra.

Teatro Degollado - Guadalajara
On this week's edition of Itinerarios, you will have the opportunity to hear performances recorded in the Sala Nezahualcoyotl. I encourage you, if you are so fortunate as to travel to Mexico City or Guadalajara, to check out the three theatres I describe here. Your visit to Mexico will be enhanced by the experience.

-James Baker, host and producer of Itinerarios

Friday, April 13, 2012


Spring is when a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love. That and not having to shovel snow might make this the most anticipated season of the year. Whatever your reaction to the warmth that follows winter, there is plenty of music to celebrate that in between season when it isn't too hot or cold.

On the Piano this Sunday we spring it up with music from China that weds music to the happiness of spring and another that describes the gusty winds of the season. Christian Sinding created a work that finds joy in these warmer winds and Joachim Raff composed music that "blooms" in to life in his Ode to Spring. Also included is a "pictorial mood" of Antonin Dvorak and his student Josef Suk. Music of love, warmth, anticipation and life - hear it all on the Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

Thursday, April 12, 2012

La Traviata - Opera of Operas

There are a handful of operas that define the genre. Their time period is irrelevant, their themes go to the very heart of the human condition.They are most importantly marked by the democracy of their relation to the public.The usual distinctions, high and low, serious and comic, popular or specialized, near or far from us in time, manner or society dissolve. We live with them daily without our knowing it. They are the very musical air we breath. They exist in the opera house, on the the concert stage (without scenery), in the recital hall (as excerpts, arranged for piano), in the elevator, on the radio, in the lightest cartoons and the darkest dramas and yes in the shower. The aged remember them nostalgically in good, best and better performances; the casual listener usually remarking after hearing the tiniest fragment from the work remark (ironically) " I don't really like opera,but ..."  (that's what you think!) Children ask,  "What is that song ?"
A short list of such operas might read : The Magic Flute, Die Walkure, Norma, Der Rosenkavalier, Eugene Onegin, Carmen, Aida, Turandot and ... and whatever you like; the only opera you can't leave off the list is Verdi's La Traviata.
The theme beyond that of the nineteenth century "fallen woman" with or without a heart of gold is more generally the outsider and how love and the outsider collide with society. We see refracted in the drama that follows the most laughable of human foibles and our highest aspirations. Normally society will not yield and love will not be denied - Mayhem, laughter, pathos and sometimes real musical transcendence follow. Men risk head and heart for Turandot, the youths of the Magic Flute move through the threat of death to their goal of light, led by love; Brunnhilde and Siegfried will risk the end of the world and the wrath of the gods; Octavian and the Marschallin race against time and social convention and on it goes. 
Verdi sets his trial by fire and search for truth in the morally ambiguous world of a nineteenth century Paris drawing room.There are more fallen women and intoxicated and feverish men than you can count. In this seemingly frivolous and sometimes cruel world two completely unlikely people fall hopelessly in love and the walls of polite society and economic necessity are raised powerfully against them. Pleas, objections, doubts, deceit and lies all try to separate Violetta Valery from Alfred Germont. Finally the last card is played by a father (Giorgio Germont) in despair for both his son and daughters future; the need for sacrifice from a woman that however well intended just doesn't deserve love. In the process of longing, loss and rediscovery and final triumph some of Verdi's greatest and most popular music flows in an unstoppable torrent. From the first notes of the vibrant overture through the Brindisi; then E strano, Sempre Libera, Lunge da lei per me and most famously a father's pleading:
                              Piangi, piangi o misera. Supremo, il veggo
                                  E il sacrifizio - che ora ti chieggo...
                                      Weep, weep, poor girl, I see now
                                         That the sacrificeI ask could not be greater....
                                              Be brave your noble heart will conquer all. 

Truer words than Germont senor realizes. She is faithful to his happiness through rejection, humiliation and near death. Finally she wins them all over, but too late. The throbbing, pathetic, halting third act prelude - one of the towering achievements of all music says it all before the characters utter a word of the doomed ending in the shuttered Parisian room where she coughs herself to death. Violetta, like a bird locked in her cage unable to breath and her opponents realizing that they have all been wrong and she was right and in the end only a woman. Her nobility of sacrifice casts them all into the shade. Verdi should know, he lived with his second wife for years before they finally married to a scandalized Italian society - the man knew of what he spoke. La Traviata is every lost opportunity, every test to what we are and our willingness to demand truth over all appearance. Who is up to the challenge, to go this far to win happiness? These are the great questions of life  framed in a powerful drama to unforgettable music. As Richard Gere's wealthy playboy tells the street wise Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she says, "I've never been to the opera" after he tells her as they fly by private plane to see this one. He explains, " It doesn't matter, you'll understand this." And you will too.
Please tune in this Saturday at noon for the Metropolitan Opera's presentation of Verdi's La Traviata, here on KPAC and KTXI. 
by Ron Moore

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Voice of the Poet: Alternate Routes

Musical writing for the non-operatic voice in the 20th and 21st century is truly vast and largely unheard.  Besides the most famous names such as Richard Strauss, Francis Poulenc, Claude Debussy, Manuel De Falla, Gustav Mahler, Aaron Copland and Puccini, there is an entire world of melody, lieder song, vocal cantata, oratorio, song cycles and other scena and scenario that stretch across the last century into our own time.  For National Poetry Month we will survey some of these works on Alternate Routes.

In three successive weeks of programs, we'll hear from poets of all time periods, languages and geographies set to modern music. Peter Lieberson will provide music for the German poetry of Rilke; John Ireland will give us settings of Blake, Shakespeare and James Joyce; diverse composers will try their hands at the blues inflected work of Langston Hughes; Margaret Garwood will give us choral settings of e.e. cummimgs and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Libby Larsen and Elisenda Fabregas, among others, were drawn to the great novelist Margaret Atwood, and we'll hear their settings of that poet. We’ll also enjoy Shostakovich and Britten’s inspired turns at Michelangelo.

As an added treat on each of these dates, April 13, 20 and 27 we'll broadcast readings from some of the century’s greatest poets in their own words. Among these will be James Joyce, Margaret Atwood, Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Langston Hughes.

Please tune in Friday nights at 10pm on Alternate Routes and hear a feast of words and music in the three part series: “Music and the Voice of the Poet,” on KPAC 88.3 FM and KTXI 90.1 FM.

--Ron Moore, co-host, "Alternate Routes"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Titanic: Anniversary Edition" | Soundtrack review

The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic has brought about the rerelease of James Cameron’s masterpiece, “Titanic,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winselt, retrofitted into the 3D format.  The soundtrack has been rereleased, too, in a special ‘Anniversary Edition.’

I have seen “Titanic 3D,” and can attest that the film still holds up extraordinarily well as an old-fashioned epic in the best sense of the word. Even in 1997, after Hollywood had long since stopped "making 'em like that anymore," Cameron made a movie like that, and it’s terrific.  The 3D is unnecessary, and adds little to the power of the film. However, I admit it’s extremely well-rendered, and doesn’t distract from the narrative, either.

James Horner’s score for “Titanic” won an Oscar, and sold over 26 million albums worldwide. The music lover in me believes also that it wasn’t just because Celine Dion’s megahit “My Heart Will Go On” was embedded on the soundtrack album (this was in the age before iTunes). Horner’s score allowed millions to relive the Romeo and Juliet story on the high seas. Watching the movie again, I felt the score worked.

Stripped of the film, though, some elements of the score don't hold up as well. In the liner notes to the original “Back to Titanic” album (1998), Cameron notes that he wanted the score to be “unconventional and not the classic period score with its sweeping orchestral strings.” Horner’s score does use a traditional orchestra, but also includes Celtic pipes, and pennywhistles. It leans heavily on the voice as a lead instrument, both human and synthesized. It is these wordless, synthetic vocal textures that I feel sinks some of the tracks in the “Titanic” score today. Ironically, instead of creating a timeless score, the electronically created “ahh--ahh” vocal sounds immediately date the music to the mid-to-late 1990s.

The “Anniversary Edition” of the “Titanic” soundtrack includes the full 1997 album, and the welcome addition of fifteen tracks of period music performed by I Salonisti, who not only spent two days recording two dozen numbers from the White Star Line songbook, but they also appeared in the film as the band that went down with the ship.  The five-member ensemble performs classical repertoire by Johann Strauss and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, as well as popular hits of the day from operas by Jacques Offenbach and Ivan Caryll, and songwriters like Irving Berlin.  More so than Horner’s score, you can put on disc two of the new “Titanic” soundtrack and be transported back in time to 1912, enjoying the finery of Deck A with the likes of Jack, Rose, and the dastardly Cal Hockley, not to mention names like Astor and Guggenheim.

I Salonisti also perform two tracks that were not in the White Star Line songbook, but do feature prominently in the history of the doomed ship.  Both “Song of Autumn” and “Nearer My God to Thee” have been cited as the last number played by the band on deck before the ship sank into the north Atlantic on that cold April night.  For the movie, James Cameron uses “Nearer My God to Thee,” in what I think is still the most emotional scene in the film. The rendition on disc is the same as heard in “Titanic,” and includes some sound effects at the conclusion, followed by a quote from the film: “Gentlemen, it has been a privilege playing with you tonight.”

--Nathan Cone

I Salonisti on their participation in "Titanic."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Titanic Premiere

Robin Gibb
A HD live stream of the world premiere concert of The Titanic Requiem from London takes place tomorrow, Tuesday April 10, at 1:30 PM, CST ( Composed by Bee Gees legend Robin Gibb and his son RJ Gibb and performed and recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Titanic Requiem recording was released on April 3, 2012 and marks the first writing collaboration of the father-son duo. This is Robin Gibb’s first symphonic concept album, recorded over the past year, and commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the catastrophic loss of life on the oceanic legend RMS Titanic.

1.) A Classical Evening
Conductor: Alan Chircop
Edvard Grieg: "Morning Mood" from Peer Gynt Suite No.1
John Bacchus Dykes: "The Navy Hymn - For Those In Peril On The Sea" 
H.W. Petrie: Asleep in the Deep
Herman Finck: In The Shadows
Edvard Grieg: "Aeses Death" from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1
Franz Schubert: Ständchen from Schwanengesang D 957: no 4
Franz Schubert: Impromptu Op 142 no 2 in A-flat major
Archibald Joyce: Songe D'Automne
Lowell Mason: Nearer, My God, to Thee
Sir Edward Elgar: "Nimrod" from Enigma Variations

2.) The Titanic Requiem - The World Premiere Concert
Composed by Robin Gibb and RJ Gibb
Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra plus RSVP Voices (45 voices)
Joining Robin Gibb and his son RJ Gibb, will be Welsh singer Aled Jones performing "Daybreak" and British choirgirl Isabel Suckling who will perform "Christmas Day".
 Triumph (Ship Building)
 Farewell (The Immigrant Song)
 Maiden Voyage
 New York Suite in C Major
 Sub Astris (Under The Stars)
 Kyrie SOS (Tract)
 Distress (Confutatis)
 Salvation (Gradual)
 Christmas Day
 Libera Me
 Don't Cry Alone
 In Paradisum (Awakening)

Live Stream: Tuesday 04/10/2012 - 1:30 PM (CST) Location: City Hall, Westminster - London Live stream:

Friday, April 6, 2012

But officer I wasn't going that fast…

Speeding can get you jail time on the road, but in the concert hall you get cheersTempo is a funny thing, once Arturo Toscanini was arguing for a constant tempo and to prove his point he sat down at the piano wound up the metronome and started playing. Even the great conductor couldn't play in exact rhythm. He dismissed the exercise with a comment that one shouldn't play like a machine.

On the Piano this Sunday an exploration of tempos and why choosing a good pace is as important to the performer as well as the music. I even "digitally" modify a performance to see if the musician who emphasized phrasing and touch sounds convincing when the music is sped up.

Tempos and some amazingly quick performances on the Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Eponymous Alison

Trumpet sensation Alison Balsom’s new recording of modern and contemporary repertoire, Seraph – released on EMI Classics, February 7, 2012 – marked an important artistic stepping stone in her career. The labor of love features the world premiere recording of Seraph, James MacMillan’s trumpet concerto written for Alison, works by Takemitsu and Zimmermann and her long-awaited recording of the ever popular Arutunian Trumpet Concerto. Joining Alison in the concertos is the Scottish Ensemble.
Take a listen to her conversation with host John Clare here.
The trumpeter has released today her new self-titled album, an ear candy collection of her most popular recordings. The thirteen tracks on Alison Balsom, each chosen carefully from her six EMI Classics albums recorded over the past decade, combine to offer a compelling portrait of Balsom’s artistic achievements, while also pointing in the direction of what’s to come in Alison’s exceptional career. Although the music is extraordinarily varied, all of the tracks share an emotional immediacy and listenability - whether it be the singing strains of a Bach Sarabande, the smoldering dance rhythms of a Piazzolla tango, or the hymn-like profundity of American standards like “Shanendoah” or “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen” from her most recent album Seraph.
 On May 14, 2012, Alison Balsom will celebrate the release of the new album with an intimate audience at the Greene Space at New York Public Radio. The performance will be webcast live around the world and will be her first New York engagement since 2010. August 2012 will mark Balsom’s Hollywood Bowl performance debut, and will also see her touring all major U.S. markets.
Alison Balsom has broken ground as a classical musician on a traditionally challenging instrument with both impeccable credentials and a mainstream appeal that has drawn attention from meida outlets as varied as Town and Country and Women’s Wear Daily to the The New York Times which has praised her "clear, soaring tone, virtuosic technique and elegant phrasing." The awards and accolades around Balsom continue to pile up – she’s twice been named the Classical BRIT ‘Female Artist of the Year,’ along with a host of other international awards, and has performed on numerous television and radio appearances, including The Late Show with David Letterman, Prairie Home Companion, Sirius-XM and many more.