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Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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In 1899 Finland was just another province of the Russian Empire, but Finnish patriotism was ever on the rise. Even so, movement toward independence had to be cautious. That year, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) responded to a request for music ostensibly for festivals to be held in aid of the journalists' pension fund. In reality, the effort was aimed at the struggle for freedom. Sibelius composed several short...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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The recorder has wide-ranging and unique qualities, given its pure tone. An instrument of pastorals and love scenes, enormously popular during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, it was gradually supplanted by the flute. Though it no longer has a regular seat at the orchestral table, the recorder has many devotees, finding a decent home in many...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009

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Though German-English composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) is most widely known for the Messiah, the Water Music and the Royal Fireworks Music, his operas were what his fame rested on in his own time. Today, however, Handel's operas are mainly the province of Baroque enthusiasts and specialists. Semele, HWV 58 (1744), though conceived...
Classical Music/Dance
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009

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The next Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert program contains two rather substantial works by Czech composers and a smaller one by an American. Normally larger pieces outweigh the smaller works on concert programs, but this time the small, opening piece has taken on a sad and unexpected meaning. This is the Ode for Orchestra by Lukas Foss, the Berlin-born pianist...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009
Though the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra's Jan. 25 concert had the apt title "Rachmaninoff & Hollywood," Maestro Alexander Platt also dubbed it the "Diaspora concert." All its works spanned the war-torn 1930s and '40s and most of its composers had escaped totalitarianism's tight grip on Europe. The concert opened with a spirited performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Overture to Captain Blood, one of several Erroll Flynn...
A&E Feature
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Classical music’s future

Classical music lovers are an anxious bunch, worrying that our music will die with us, that future generations may not come to know Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Verdi or Wagner and firm in our knowledge that so much of Western civilization and culture hearkens back to such giants. We call them "immortal," but truth be told it is but our sincerest hope that they are so. Rest assured, however, that classical music will not die with us: The torch has already been passed to the next generation of its lovers and most earnest practitioners...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009

Classical Preview

Composers often find inspiration for the concertos they write from the instrumentalists they befriend. Witness the four horn concertos of Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791), which are impossible to envision without his close friendship with horn player Joseph Leutgeb (1732-1811). Contemporary press reports concerning Leutgeb's artistry attest to a great and innovative talent-attributes Mozart explored fully in these concertos wherein solo passages...
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009

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"Present Music is known for building big concerts and big audiences," says Managing Director Eric Lind. Past concerts have been held at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, Turner Hall and even the zoo. But for its next concert, titled Close Up, the ensemble seeks to replace largeness with intimacy. "I want to try something that really focuses on listening and the virtuosity of our players...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Dec. 22, 2008

Classical Preview

Though some rudimentary sketches for a Tenth Symphony were eventually found among his belongings, it is hard to imagine where Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) could have taken the symphonic genre after the completion of his D Minor Symphony-a work written a dozen years after his Seventh and Eighth Symphonies and a fitting culmination of Beethoven's symphonic output. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 has been called the "Choral Symphony," but that is misleading and a mistake in emphasis, undervaluing the three purely orchestral movements that precede the choral finale. But the title (which was not Beethoven's) understandably...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Dec. 8, 2008

Classical Preview

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops concerts are a well-known and fine annual tradition, but what about a more classical-music-oriented program? The MSO, thankfully, provides us with just such a gift. What better way to start off than with a spirited overture? The MSO (under Resident Conductor Stuart Chafetz) performs the Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro, K. 492 by Mozart (1756-91). Perhaps Mozart's most beloved curtain raiser, its style is based upon the fast-slow-fast form of the Neapolitan sinfonia, nicely setting...

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