Exploring the Sarabande Over 400 Years

No one seems to be sure, exactly, about the roots of the sarabande as a dance form. It may have originated in Mexico or some other part of Latin America. It was popular in the Spanish colonies during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The zarabanda was first mentioned in a 1593 poem, Vida y tiempo de Maricastaña, written […]

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Fabio Biondi

New Release: Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante Play Leclair

Elegance, charm, and musical integrity have long characterized the French approach to violin playing. These qualities can be traced back to the violinist and composer Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764), who is often considered to be the founder of the French school of violin playing. As a virtuoso composer and teacher, Leclair helped to elevate French violin playing […]

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Arcadi Volodos in concert, Wien, Musikverein 01.03.2009, FOTO : © COPYRIGHT by  ALI SCHAFLER  .Tel. +43664/9881302  _  www.alischafler.com

New Release: Arcadi Volodos Plays Brahms

Johannes Brahms’ three Op. 117 Intermezzos are a mix of serene, autumnal beauty, solitary introspection, and underlying sadness. Brahms wrote these solo piano works in the summer of 1892 with his longtime friend, Clara Schumann in mind. He described them as “lullabies of my sorrow.” The score is inscribed by a quotation from a Scottish poem from Johann […]

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Tchaikovsky’s Fateful Fourth Symphony

It begins with one of the most powerful, bold, and memorable statements in all of symphonic music. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor opens with a blazing fanfare, first heard as a piercingly metallic proclamation in the horns and then augmented by trombones and soaring trumpets. Regarding this opening, Tchaikovsky wrote, The introduction is the seed of the whole […]

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Renée Fleming as the Marschallin in Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier."
Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Taken during the rehearsal on October 6, 2009 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

“Der Rosenkavalier,” Renée Fleming, and the Passing of Time

Time is a strange thing. While one is living one’s life away, it is absolutely nothing. Then, suddenly, one is aware of nothing else. It is all around us – inside us, even! It shifts in our faces, swirls in the mirror, flows in my temples. It courses between you and me – silent, as in […]

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Lou Harrison at 100: The “Elegiac” Symphony

Sunday marks the centennial of the birth of American composer Lou Harrison (1917-2003). Harrison, who was born in Portland, Oregon and spent most of his life on the West Coast, was a maverick who quietly defied the mainstream. His music reflects the adventurous American experimental tradition of his mentor, Henry Cowell, as well as Charles […]

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The Hollywood String Quartet: Five Classic Recordings

The Hollywood String Quartet, formed in 1939 and active until 1961, is regarded as the first American-born chamber music group to rise to international prominence. Their fame was due, in large part, to their numerous and exceptional recordings. The members were all studio musicians who created the lush, glowing soundtracks of Hollywood’s “golden age.” First […]

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Brahms’ First Symphony: Walking in the Footsteps of a Giant

I shall never write a symphony! You can’t have any idea what it’s like always to hear such a giant marching behind you! Johannes Brahms was nearing 40 when, in 1872, he wrote these words in a letter to the conductor Herman Levi. The “giant” was Beethoven, whose nine game-changing symphonies loomed like a dauntingly impassible […]

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“Kinah”: Leonard Slatkin’s Musical Elegy to his Parents

Elegies are, by nature, solemn, reflective, and reverent. They function as musical or poetic tombstones. Leonard Slatkin’s Kinah, premiered by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in December, 2015, is all of these things. It’s also music filled with ghosts and faint echoes of distant, haunting voices. Leonard Slatkin grew up in Los Angeles in a prominent musical […]

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