Welcome to Classical Music Discoveries' Season 14!
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Below you will find over 100 shows that are currently available for you to listen to online. Just scroll down to a show you would like to listen to and then just click on "play" to listen to your selection.
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Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti with an original English libretto by the composer. It was commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theatre on December 24, 1951, in New York City at NBC studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast live on television from that venue as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America.
Shocking, gripping, and thought-provoking, Mara Gibson's new album SKY-BORN conjures a flurry of emotions through its moody music. In one moment, the busy strings create a fury of anxious, energetic sounds; the next, the strike of a lone piano chord paints a brooding soundscape.
SKY-BORN is Gibson's sophomore album, and the first to be released on Navona Records. She has worked at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance for over ten years and will also be teaching this fall at Louisiana State University this year. Gibson's album features compositions performed by UMKC fellow faculty members, the Cascade Quartet, violist Michael Hall, mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen, and pianist Holly Roadfeldt.
Gibson drew her inspiration from a variety of artistic mediums. The piano preludes, which are interspersed throughout the album, were inspired by paintings from Jim Condron (www.jcondron.com), each piece extracting a beautifully haunting soundtrack from a series of abstract art. Gibson also used poems as the foundation for her compositions. The eerie One Voice reflected the writings of the Michigan-based poet Hannah Ensor, while The Folium Cubed is Gibson's response to Luisa Sello's Let Clover Be Aid. Sky-born sets Emerson’s “Music” for four soloists, full of idealism and hope, in the ugliness, and in the reality, something we do not share enough.
The 15-minute epic Blackbird carries the reader along a journey of grace and violence invigorated by Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, a poem by Wallace Stevens. Though influenced by literary works, SKY-BORN breeds nothing but visceral energy and harrowing emotion that resonates with the listener right down to the last note of the viola.
Hansel and Gretel (German: Hänsel und Gretel) is an opera by nineteenth-century composer Engelbert Humperdinck, who described it as a Märchenoper (fairy-tale opera). The libretto was written by Humperdinck's sister, Adelheid Wette, based on the Grimm brothers' fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel". It is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes, one of the most famous being the "Abendsegen" ("Evening Benediction") from act 2.
The idea for the opera was proposed to Humperdinck by his sister, who approached him about writing music for songs that she had written for her children for Christmas based on "Hansel and Gretel". After several revisions, the musical sketches and the songs were turned into a full-scale opera.
Humperdinck composed Hansel and Gretel in Frankfurt in 1891 and 1892. The opera was first performed in Hoftheater in Weimar on 23 December 1893, conducted by Richard Strauss. It has been associated with Christmas since its earliest performances and today it is still most often performed at Christmas time.
Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor
Sung in English
Based on the Ukrainian folktale of the same name, THE MITTEN presents a world built using simple narration as its foundation and a complex composition creating the surrounding universe. Composer Mona Lyn Reese needs only to speak a few short sentences from a children’s tale in each track, and then lets the performers in the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra carry the details of the story deep into the imagination.
THE MITTEN is the tale of a child who loses a mitten in the woods. Various animals find the garment and seek refuge inside of it, each animal growing larger and more absurd than the last. When composing the piece, Reese assigned each animal a unique instrument; the clarinet scurries like a mouse, the violin soars like the owl, the tuba bumbles like the boar, and so on.
The composition starts off coy, curious with innocent trots of the clarinet as the boy loses his mitten and leaves the forest. When the animals continue to squeeze into the garment for shelter, the orchestral tips balance and crescendos into chaos. The weight of each instrument piles on top of one other inflating into an anxious, busy sound until the orchestra explodes into an exciting climax.
THE MITTEN contains three different versions with an English narration, Spanish narration, and an instrumental version. Though the compositions don’t change, listening to each one feels like a brand-new journey, ensuring that the Reese’s work can be just as timeless as the folktale.
Our favorite NEW Christmas album of 2017.
Lindsey Stirling's first Christmas album "Warmer in the Winter"
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Carol of the Bells
Angels We Have Heard on High
I Saw Three Ships
Let It Snow
Warmer in the Winter
What Child Is This?
All I Want For Christmas
Time To Fall in Love
Jingle Bell Rock
This album is available now at Itunes, Amazon and ClassicalRecordings.co at:
Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The Italian libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo. Despite serious initial problems with the Austrian censors who had control over northern Italian theatres at the time, the opera had a triumphant premiere at La Fenice in Venice on 11 March 1851.
It is considered by many to be the first of the operatic masterpieces of Verdi's middle-to-late career. Its tragic story revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto and Rigoletto's beautiful daughter Gilda. The opera's original title, La maledizione (The Curse), refers to the curse placed on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter had been seduced by the Duke with Rigoletto's encouragement. The curse comes to fruition when Gilda likewise falls in love with the Duke and eventually sacrifices her life to save him from the assassins hired by her father.
Performed by the CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice
Recorded by Classical Music Discoveries
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