Classical

With St. Patrick's Day upon us, it's hard to escape the allure of the Emerald Isle, with its rolling heaths, swirling jigs, frothy beer and curious legends. While we can't afford to fly you to Dublin we can offer this humble St. Paddy's Day puzzler. Score high and be rewarded with the pot 'o gold at the end of the rainbow. Mess up and yours is a sad bowl of soggy Lucky Charms.

Photo by Ciuin Ferrin; used with permission

Two masters of the Russian 7-string guitar, Oleg Timofeyev and Vadim Kolpakov, came into our studios last November to play original and traditional music. They told Barney Sherman about composing Roma music in Moscow, performing with Eugene Hutz at Madonna's birthday party, and reading a scene in Dostoevsky that connects Roma and Klezmer musicians. And they demonstrated the special sound and style of their instruments.

Mitch Huang

Iowa Public Radio presents the Symphonies of Iowa series, this week, Sunday, March 16, 2014 at noon and Monday, March 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.,  presenting Orchestra Iowa’s Showcase Chamber Concert entitled Ice Fishing. Opening this concert is a piece by Iowa’s own Michael Gilbertson, Fold by Fold for Piano, Violin, and Cello. This ballet premiered at the Julliard School with seven dancers along with the musicians. Crusell’s Quartet No. 1 in E-flat Major for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op.

Des Moines Metro Opera

This year marks the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 42nd Festival Season.  The season includes Verdi’s La Traviata, Dead Man Walking by Heggie, and Rossini’s Le Comte Ory. New this year will be their 2nd Stage Series presentation of Peter Brook’s Tragedy of Carmen, a riveting pared-down version of Bizet’s Carmen.

The Des Moines Metro Opera was founded in 1973 by Robert Larsen as Artistic Director and Douglas Duncan as Managing Director. Today it is regarded as one of the leading Summer Opera Festival Companies in America.

Sean Henri from Wikipedia

I’ve put it off all week, but the public clamor is getting overwhelming…um, would you believe a single email?... so: On to the follow-up! In my last post, I explained why my trusty ideas about “what makes music classical” now seem confused, and I promised to follow up with a more viable approach. Here's a start. I don’t want to oversell it; at best, it’s only part of the answer. But for me, it helps clear at least some of the fog. 

Imagined Reality

Iowa Public Radio proudly showcases the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra and their fourth collaborative performance with the Chicago Symphony’s Beyond the Score series on Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa, scheduled for Sunday, March 9, 2014 at noon and Monday, March 10, 2014 at 7 p.m.

Barney Sherman

If you missed the in-studio live set of Renaissance music by Fathom, not to worry - Fortune has smiled on you! You can listen to the mp3 with the widget below or to a WAV file at this link.  The group performed music written from the 1400s through February, 2014 (by Mary Larew, a native of Iowa and member of Fathom), all of it focused on the theme of Lady Luck. The six members of Fathom each have distinguished careers in early music (and in some cases, new music as well). They are:

Philippe Jaroussky cuts a masculine figure on the cover of his new album, Farinelli: Porpora Arias, but you might do a double take upon hearing the music. The arias the French opera singer performs on this release were written in the 18th century for a castrato — a boy singer castrated to retain his high singing voice through adulthood.

Orchestra Iowa

Join us Sunday at noon or Monday at 7PM as Orchestra Iowa performs "the apotheosis of the dance" - Beethoven's wildly inspired Seventh Symphony - preceded by two neglected Italian masterpieces. Nino Rota is best known for his film scores for Fellini and Coppola, but was even more important as a concert composer, and double-bass virtuoso Volkan Orhon shows what we've been missing in the Divertimento Concertante. And Giuseppe Martucci's Nocturne is an inexplicably neglected beauty, as Tim Hankewich and the orchestra demonstrate in this concert recorded at the Paramount in Cedar Rapids.

triosettecento.com

Join us Saturday at 7AM or Sunday at 6PM to hear selections from the Ames concert by one of today's leading Baroque ensembles, Trio Settecento. Violin virtuoso Rachel Barton Pine, cellist/ gambist John Mark Rozendaal, and harpsichordist David Schrader perform music of the Italian Baroque as guests of Ames Town and Gown. The broadcast is part of our University Concert series.

With spring just around the corner, Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase gives you a fresh look into the restoration of C.Y. Stephens Auditorium’s “Silver Code”, the curtain that has opened world class acts for 45 years. Kate Greder, Textile Conservation Fellow, Jason Alread, Iowa State Associate Professor of Architecture, and Lynette Pohlman, the Director of University Museums at ISU, discuss the meticulous process of restoring the treasured curtain, as well as the curtain’s role in ISU’s architecturally significant Stephens Auditorium.

Tune in at 3pm for a live in-studio concert of Renaissance music by the NY-based group Fathom.  Its six members, including two Iowans, have distinguished careers in early music (and in some cases, new music as well). They are:

Rob Mercier

  Join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for Orchestra Iowa’s Beauty and Beethoven concert from their 2013-2014 season Sunday, March 2, 2014 at noon and Monday, March 3, 2014 at 7 p.m. This performance includes Italian composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher, Giuseppe Martucci’s Notturno, Op. 70. Also performed is Rota’s virtuosic double bass work entitled Divertimento Concertante with internationally acclaimed Volkan Orhon soloing. Polishing off the concert is Beethoven’s Symphony No.

nadiasirota.com

At 4 PM Tuesday, go behind the scenes at Iowa Public Radio's studios on the UNI campus for a live taping with wcfsymphony soloist and musical explorer Nadia Sirota. IPR on-air personalities will lead you on a tour of the recently renovated studios, followed by a talk-and-play taping with Nadia (to be broadcast later). Sirota is a leading new music advocate, who next weekend will perform “beautiful music of a higher order than anything else you will hear this year,” with the wcfsymphony.

Orchestra Iowa

If you missed wcfsymphony’s deeply moving commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the pogrom that marked the beginning of the Final Solution, join us for a rebroadcast Monday night. On the broadcast, music director Jason Weinberger (who conceived of and organized the event) tells Jacqueline Halbloom about his grandparents, all four of whom survived Nazi camps.

wcfsymphony

Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa presents a collaborative performance spearheaded by the wcfsymphony and the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at noon and Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7 p.m. Jason Weinberger, wcfsymphony’s artistic director and CEO, shares the stories about his two sets of grandparents and their survivals in Nazi camps during the Holocaust and his deep interest in music connected to those unspeakable times.

Quick: define “classical music.”  It may sound easy, but most of my attempts have been dead ends. They don't get you to much of the music. Later I’ll discuss a definition that I think works - it covers everything, and helps explain why classical music matters to us. But first let me give you a tour of some of the blind alleys.

Des Moines Symphony

Hear Joe Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony in Ralph Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and a lesser-known gem, based on Scottish folk melodies, Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. The soloist in the Bruch is the award-winning young Japanese violinist Fumiaki Miura. Also on the program: Wagner's Rienzi Overture and Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier suite. The broadcast, on Sunday at 12 noon and Monday at 7PM, is part of our Symphonies of Iowa series, produced and hosted by Jacqueline Halbloom.

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Richard Strauss scored "Die Frau ohne Schatten" for, count 'em, 164 instruments; the percussion alone include "glass harmonica, 4 timpani, 5 Chinese gongs, cymbals, snare drum, rute, sleigh bells, bass drum, tenor drum, big field drum, triangle, tambourine, 2 castanets, tamtam, whip (slapstick), xylophone, glockenspiel, bells, 2 celestas." Budgets alone would make performance rare, as do scenery challenges (like a golden waterfall and, we're not making this up, children singing out of a frying pan).

S. Takehana

  Join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s performance with Fumiaki Miura, a young Japanese violinist as he makes his debut with the Des Moines Symphony.  Miuara, winner of the international Joseph Joachim Violin Competition will join the symphony for an inspiring performance of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. Also included on this program is Strauss’s romantic Suite from Der Rosenkavalier.

Featuring:
Joseph Giunta, conductor
Fumiaki Miura, guest violin

Schmidt Artists

Doctors told 15-year-old violin prodigy Augustin Hadelich he would never play again. A tractor fire at his family's farm had badly burned his upper body, including his bowing arm. But after many months of physical therapy Hadelich came back - and now, at age 29, he has won top international awards, been entrusted with two consecutive Stradivarius violins, and earned praise from critics like Alex Ross, who wrote in The New Yorker that Hadelich has not only "fast-fingered brilliance" but also "the musicality and freewheeling fantasy that...

Wikipedia

Join us tonight at 7 to hear Orchestra Iowa principal players delight with masterpieces for horn by Haydn and Mozart and a supreme works for string by Brahms. Principal horn Andy Harris shines in a Divertimento by Haydn and the Horn Quintet by Mozart; he's joined by the orchestra's new concertmaster Luke Witchger and by Karla Galva,  violist Lisa Ponton, cellist Carey Bostian, and double-bassist Volkon Orhan. Then five strings players come together for the masterpiece that Brahms meant to be his final work - his  String Quintet no. 2.

October-December 2014 SYMPHONIES OF IOWA Broadcasts:

October 6, 2014: Broadcast of Orchestra Iowa's "Resurrection." Recorded March 8, 2014.

October 13, 2014: Broadcast of the Des Moines Symphony's "The Moldau & Dvorak." Recorded March 15 and 16, 2014.

October 20, 2014: Broadcast of the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony's "Spaces: Mahler 1 and World Premiere." Recorded April 5, 2014.

October 27, 2014: Broadcast of the Des Moines Symphony's "Giunta Conducts Beethoven: 'Eroica.'" Recorded April 12 and 13, 2014.

Orchestra Iowa

Tune in Sunday at noon or Monday at 7PM as four Orchestra Iowa members perform overlooked gems by Mozart, Schubert and Faure. They start with an unfinished String Trio by the teenage Schubert, continue with a Piano Trio in C major that Mozart wrote while working on his "Jupiter" Symphony, then come together for a powerful Piano Quartet in G Minor by Faure, his second. The four superb soloists -  violinist Xian Meng, violist Lisa Ponton, cellist Carey Bostian, and pianist Miko Kominami  - were recorded last September as part of IPR's Symphonies of Iowa series.

Heartland Concert Artists

Join Jacqueline Halbloom at 5PM as Iowa Arts Showcase finds out about the Tallcorn Jazz Festival, a Kurt Weill show with poetry by Langston Hughes, and more.  We'll hear about the festival from a headliner, Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera, and from Chris Merz, UNI's Director of Jazz Studies. Celeste Bembry of UNI (who toured worldwide with the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers) fills us in on Black History Month, and Bernard McDonald of Simpson tells us about their upcoming production of Weill's Street Scene.

Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

How do you top a Super Bowl triumph? Renee Fleming does it by returning to a signature role - the love-struck sprite Rusalka in Dvorak's beautiful opera. Saturday at noon you can hear it live from the Metropolitan Opera on IPR  - OR watch it live in HD video in theaters in Ames, Cedar Falls, Davenport, Dubuque, Des Moines, Grinnell, and Iowa City.

Photo by Ciuin Ferrin; used with permission

With all eyes on Sochi, here's a little IPR extra for the ears: two masters of the Russian 7-string guitar, Oleg Timofeyev and Vadim Kolpakov, who came into our studios last November to play original and traditional music. They told me about composing Roma music in Moscow, performing with Eugene Hutz at Madonna's birthday party, and reading a scene in Dostoevsky that connects Roma and Klezmer musicians. And they demonstrated the special sound and style of their instruments.

Orchestra Iowa

The first Orchestra Iowa Chamber concert of the 2013-2014 season, entitled Fall Romance, includes the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Brahms. This program features violinists Luke Witchger and Karla Galva, violists Lisa Ponton and Amanda Grimm, cellist Carey Bostian, bass Volkan Orhon, and Charles Harris on horn. Please join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for our broadcast of Orchestra Iowa’s Showcase Chamber Fall Romance performance.

Dennis Callahan

Last year,  Jeremy Denk won a MacArthur "Genius" fellowship, published a memoir in the New Yorker, signed a contract with Random House to expand that article into a book,  and - oh, yes - won a place on IPR's "Favorite Classical CDs of 2013" list for his recording of Bach's "Goldberg Variations." All of this makes us eager to hear him play one of Mozart's most celebrated piano concertos, no. 25 in C major.

Heartland Concert Artists

Iowa Public Radio’s February Edition of the Iowa Arts Showcase provides a front row seat to the University of Northern Iowa’s Tallcorn Jazz Festival and Sinfonian Dimensions in Jazz with guest artist Nachito Herrera. Iowa Public Radio’s Jacqueline Halbloom sits down with Herrera to discuss his early introduction to the world of classical and jazz piano along with his experience as an educator.  

Pages