The Bells of Ulm Minster

Today, we pay homage to the German-American musicologist Karl Haas, who hosted the nationally syndicated  radio program, Adventures in Good Music, between 1970 and 2007. One of the show’s most popular episodes, The Story of the Bells, was broadcast at Christmastime. It documented the distinct sounds of church bells throughout Europe, from the mighty cacophony of Zurich, to the pastoral serenity of the Alpine village of Arosa, to the highly ordered change ringing of Westminster Abbey. …

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Remembering Bernard Haitink

Bernard Haitink, the renowned Dutch conductor and violinist, has passed away. He was 92. Haitink served as chief conductor of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1961 to 1988. Additionally, he was principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1967-1979), music director of the Glyndebourne Opera (1978-1988), music director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from (1987-2002), chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden (2002-2004), principal guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1995-2004), …

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The 2021 Classical Grammys

The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony took place in Los Angeles Sunday evening. Here are excerpts from the winning albums in the classical categories: Best Orchestral Performance “Ives: Complete Symphonies” — Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic) This album features the four numbered symphonies of Charles Ives. The “New England Holidays” is not included. We sense an exciting artistic progression from the relatively conservative Symphony No. 1, completed in 1902 in response …

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The Bells of Exeter

Merry Christmas! Today we continue the tradition of Karl Haas, the German-American musicologist and host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Adventures in Good Music. Haas’ Christmas episode, The Story of the Bells, documented the distinct sounds of church bells throughout Europe, from the mighty cacophony of Zurich, to the pastoral serenity of the Alpine village of Arosa, to the highly ordered change ringing of Westminster Abbey. This year we will return to England …

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Returning to Mahler in a Time of Crisis

This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before. -Leonard Bernstein in an address following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, November, 1963 On Friday, November 22, 1963, Leonard Bernstein was at Philharmonic Hall, reviewing scripts for an episode of the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts, scheduled to be televised the next day. When initial reports of the President’s assassination came in, …

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Remembering Lynn Harrell

The American cellist Lynn Harrell passed away unexpectedly on Monday. He was 76. Years ago when I was a student one summer at the Chautauqua Institution, I attended Harrell’s masterclass and recital. His down-to-earth, irreverent sense of humor, powerful, singing tone, and profound musicianship are etched in my memory. During a career that spanned six decades, Lynn Harrell appeared regularly with the world’s top orchestras. He will be remembered also as an accomplished …

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The 2020 Classical Grammys

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony took place in Los Angeles Sunday evening. Here are excerpts from the winning albums in the classical categories: Best Orchestral Performance Norman: Sustain—Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic) Sustain, a haunting orchestral soundscape by American composer Andrew Norman (b. 1979), was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the opening of its centennial season. This concert recording documents the piece’s October, 2018 world premiere. Sustain was a finalist for …

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