Archive | December, 2014

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Happy New Year 2015

It’s time to grab the party hats, pop the cork, and turn the page on 2014. As part of your celebration, take a moment and listen to Auld Lang Syne, sung by the United States Army Chorus. Here is Scottish poet Robert Burns’ original 1788 poem: Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? […]

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Polish-born conductor Jerzy  Semkow (1928-2014)

Remembering Conductor Jerzy Semkow

Polish-born conductor Jerzy Semkow passed away last week at the age of 86. A longtime French citizen who resided in Paris, Semkow served as principal conductor of the National Opera in Warsaw (1959-1962), the Royal Danish Opera and Orchestra in Copenhagen (1966 to 1976), and as Music Director of the Orchestra of Radio-Televisione Italiana (RAI) in […]

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Wagner's house in Lucerne

Siegfried Idyll: Wagner’s Musical Love Letter

(above: Richard Wagner’s villa at Tribschen, near Lucerne, Switzerland.) On Christmas morning, 1870 Cosima Wagner, the wife of Richard Wagner and daughter of Franz Liszt, awoke to the sound of music: “As I awoke, my ear caught a sound, which swelled fuller and fuller; no longer could I imagine myself to be dreaming: music was sounding, […]

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The Story of the Bells, In Honor of Karl Haas

Some Listeners’ Club readers may remember Adventures in Good Music, the nationally syndicated radio program hosted by German-American musicologist Karl Haas. The show, which always began with Haas’ trademark greeting, “Hello everyone,” aired between 1970 and 2007 and became radio’s most popular classical music program. Each year on Christmas Eve, Haas dedicated his show to the distinctive sounds […]

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Christmas tree

Your 2014 Christmas Playlist

With Christmas just a few days away, here is a short collection of music guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. Take a break from the rush of last minute shopping, light the tree, pour some eggnog and explore the playlist: Pérotin’s Viderunt omnes Let’s start off with music from the late 12th century. Pérotin […]

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Jascha Heifetz and his accompanist, Milton Kaye, having dinner with troops from the 21st General Hospital following a USO concert in Naples, Italy,  June 16,1944.

Heifetz Plays "White Christmas"

  If you’ve never heard Jascha Heifetz’s 1944 recording of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, take a moment and listen. White Christmas was first performed by Bing Crosby on Christmas Day, 1941. Crosby’s single sold 50 million copies and stands as the best-selling single of all time. The song resonated with soldiers stationed abroad during the Second World War. Around […]

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Judas Maccabeus before the Army of Nicanor.

Judas Maccabaeus, Handel’s Hanukkah Oratorio

George Frideric Handel’s 1746 oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus tells the story of Hanukkah. The oratorio, set to a libretto by Thomas Morell, is a three act dramatization of the Maccabean Revolt (167-160 BC), in which a Jewish army rose up against the Seleucid Empire (present day Syria). The revolt, which ultimately led to the rededication of the Temple […]

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Sandro Botticelli's "Adoration of the Magi" (1475)

Respighi Meets Botticelli

    Ottorino Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano (Three Botticelli Pictures), written in 1927, was inspired by the work of Italian Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli. The second movement is a musical depiction of Botticelli’s famous nativity scene, Adoration of the Magi.  Color and atmosphere are important elements in Respighi’s music. Notice the distinct voices of the bassoon and oboe […]

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Remembering Lydia Mordkovitch

Russian-born violinist Lydia Mordkovitch passed away earlier in the week. She was a student of David Oistrakh and served as his assistant in the late 1960s. In this interview she talks about her Russian musical roots and the influence of Oistrakh’s teaching. Mordkovitch emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1980. In 1995 she joined the faculty of […]

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Something of Life: Jeffrey Zeigler's New Album

Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler’s debut solo album, Something of Life, came out last month. The recording, produced on the Innova label, features dynamic contemporary music by Paola Prestini, John Zorn, Philip Glass, Gity Razaz, Glenn Kotche, and Felipe Pérez Santiago. Zeigler recently left the Kronos Quartet after eight seasons to focus on a solo career, teaching, and family. […]

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