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Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008

Classical Preview

On Aug. 7, 1829, 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn boarded a steamer to visit a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland called The Hebrides. "Towering green waves were rolling into a cavern that was strange beyond belief, its many pillars resembling the interior of a monstrous organ, black, resonant and serving no other purpose than just being there," he wrote of the Isle of Staffa's most famous feature: Fingal's Cave. The encounter inspired him to compose his greatest concert overture...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008

Classical Preview

"Back by popular demand!" is so often misused that people tend to tune it out, but it perfectly fits two upcoming concerts. First there's the pairing of Ensemble Musical Offering (EMO) Artistic Director Joan Parsley with Cuban-born classical guitarist Rene Izquierdo (their joint venture last season was by all accounts a great success). The concert, titled "Baroque Beauty and Classical Gas," takes listeners to EMO's Baroque heart and soul and also through the classical guitar repertoire. Izquierdo performs the Preludio from Partita for Solo Violin No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006 by...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Nov. 10, 2008

Classical Preview

Classical music is replete with stories of composers who gave us many great works for which posterity is most grateful, but for whom we are left to wonder what might have been had they lived longer. One such story is that of Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940). Born in Durango, Mexico, Revueltas studied in Mexico City, Austin, Texas, and Chicago, spending much of the 1920s in the United States. He spent the '30s in his native Mexico (apart from a tour of Spain in 1937), and was assistant conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónic...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Oct. 27, 2008

Classical Preview

Like many composers plying their trades throughout the 20th century, France's Olivier Messiaen (1908-92) was profoundly affected by war-in his case World War II, which raged across Europe from 1939 to 1945. But few composers were as completely immersed in the calamitous event as Messiaen. Messiaen joined the army upon the outbreak of war, but when the German Blitzkrieg overran France in the spring of 1940, he found himself a prisoner of war. While in a German prison camp (Stalag VIII-A outside Görlitz in Silesia) he composed...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Oct. 20, 2008

Classical Preview

There's a familiar saying about the key to business success: "It's not what you know but who you know." To some degree, the same can be said of composers, a point made quite evident in the next concert of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under Music Director Designate Edo de Waart. Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), one of the great figures of early German Romanticism, grew up in a traveling family of musicians, picking up his musical education mostly on the road (though later he would study with Michael Haydn as well). As with many composers of his age, he fell under Mozart's spell, but remained largely ignorant of...
Classical Music/Dance
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008
He was one of the greatest pianists of all time and the last truly great composer in the Russian Romantic tradition-this at a time when Romanticism had long since begun to lose its grip upon Europe's artistic scene. While his contemporaries charted new courses in music (Debussy with Impressionism; Stravinsky with Modernism), he stuck to the traditions of tonality, melody and form. He even earned the scorn of some fellow composers (Stravinsky called him a "6-and-a-half-foot-tall scowl").
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008

Classical Preview

   By 1809, (1770-1827) had become somewhat restive with the piano concerto form, tiring of its common use as a mere display piece for the soloist to show off his virtuoso skills. Thus for his next such work, he wrote no cadenza (in fact, he expressly forbade one), and instead thoroughly integrated the solo piano part into the fabric of the orchestra. Dubbed the Emperor Concerto by its admirers for its majestic sweep and broad themes, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op. 73, has retained its regal position within its genre for the past 200 years. More than...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008

Classical Preview

Fate was kind to us in that a singular genius such as Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) was in the right place and time to so enrich the world of music. His composing career fits into three musical periods.
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Classical Preview

From March 17-26, 2006, Andreas Delfs led the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in a remarkable Brahms Festival, a series of concerts canvassing the great German master's symphonies, concertos and immortal Deutsches Requiem. Now, as Maestro Delfs begins his 12th and final season as MSO music director, he has chosen not only to revisit all four Brahms symphonies, but also to record them for release on CD. Why does Brahms deserve special attention? "[2008-'09] being my last season in Milwaukee, I wanted to do one more . . .
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008

Classical Review

"Any conductor reflects clearly the instrument he played. My sound is what it is because I was a violinist." So explained Budapest-born American conductor Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985). He was one of the last great giants of conducting whose name became inseparable from the ensemble he led-the Philadelphia Orchestra. His association with Philadelphia began in 1936 and ended in 1980. During this lengthy tenure he fashioned what became known as the "Ormandy Sound"-silken strings, precision in details and overall voluptuousness.

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