Be sure to join the Southwest Symphony Orchestra in St. George Utah for an evening of resplendent sounds with TV and Movie composer - Kurt Bestor.
Kurt’s credits include more than 40 film scores and more than 40 themes for national TV programs and commercials. Also southern Utah concert-goers will recognize Kurt as the producer and arranger of the Jenny Oaks-Baker CD “Wish Upon a Star” which earned Jenny and Kurt a Grammy nomination.
Be sure and save the date, Friday, May 19th at 7:30 PM at the Cox Performing Arts Center at Dixie State University. Lucas Darger will be conducting the Southwest Symphony Orchestra.
For more information and to order tickets, please visit the orchestra’s website at:
SouthwestSymphony.co or call 435.652.7800
Welcome to Classical Music Discoveries' Season 13!
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Becoming a Freemason was very important to Mozart. He was admitted as an apprentice on December 14, 1784. He was promoted to a journeyman Mason on January 7, 1785 and he became a master Mason shortly thereafter.
Many of the lodges had many composers as members and since young Mozart was widely considered the best composer of them all, he was freely admitted and welcomed in all the lodges throughout Europe.
Mozart’s position within the Masonic movement sided on the rationalist, Enlightenment-inspired membership, as opposed to those members oriented with the mystical occult.
They believed that the conventional social rank was not coincident with the nobility of spirit, but that people of the lowly class could be noble in spirit just as nobly born could be mean-spirited. This view appears in Mozart’s operas; for example, in “The Marriage of Figaro”, the low-born Figaro is the hero and the noble Count is the villain.
The Freemasons used music in their ceremonies as they believed that “the purpose of music in the Masonic ceremonies is to spread good thoughts and unity among the members” so that they could “be united in the idea of innocence and joy.”
One of the central tenets of Albert Camus’ philosophy is the indomitability of the human spirit, a subject on which he famously mused that “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” This quote encapsulates the theme of WINTER’S WARMTH, Navona’s latest orchestral compilation featuring works from John A. Carollo, J.A. Kawarsky, Andrew Schultz, and R. Barry Ulrich. These composers present conceptual pieces that all act as soundtracks to our resiliency during the toughest moments of the human experience.
Let Freedom Ring, the first of Carollo’s two contributions to the album, focuses specifically on the freedoms of the American experience, utilizing an aesthetic of performer interpretation to exemplify the inalienable rights of Americans. A triumphant instrumental mood conjures intense feelings of patriotism despite being set in a minor key.
The shifting phases of Kawarsky’s Episodes speaks to the need to overcome life’s unpredictable changes. Amidst the crawls and crescendos of the piece’s orchestral mood, the piano retains center stage through the piece, pointing to a steadfast confrontation of turbulent times. The piano and orchestra often engage in a call-and-response manner of conversation, with strings and piano working to develop the central theme introduced with clarinet as the piece concludes.
Carollo’s second piece, The Transfiguration of Giovanni Baudino, similarly focuses on these themes of change, with the composer describing his fascination with the process of transfiguration and the “transformations we experience as human beings living through life’s demands and delights, its turmoil and tribulations.” The composition is appropriately tumultuous, journeying through numerous, intense orchestral moods.
Schultz contributes the majestic Falling Man/Dancing Man, a piece inspired by two contrasting depictions of human reactions to war – a photo of a man leaping to his death from the burning World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and a snapshot of celebration in the streets after an allied victory in World War II. This creates a clear juxtaposition of themes throughout, given life by the composition’s lofty three movements which breathe in and out with orchestral swells. Throughout, an inspired organ performance provides the work’s trailblazing element.
The album’s name sake manifests in Ulrich’s Russian Winter, a short segment of a larger, string suite written in G minor. The title perfectly matches the imagery conjured by the cinematic nature of the composer’s writing; it’s easy to picture this piece playing in the background as grandiose shots of the cold Russian tundra loom in the distance.
Despite the numerous themes explored on WINTER’S WARMTH, there remains an underlying feeling of hope which points to the triumph of humanity within times of hardship. These four composers’ talents work towards a cohesive album rife with musical commentary on what it means to thrive within the human experience.
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The Jazz-styles of Monica Chapman has been a favorite with our listeners all over the world for many years.
In Monica’s newest release entitled “Small World” Monica has chosen to sing the songs that have left a lasting impression on her.
This CD will be released on Itunes on May 1, 2017 and pre-sales begin on April 23rd.
Tracks on this CD are:
A Shine On Your Shoes
Baby It’s Cold Outside
What Kind of Fool Am I
So in Love
Orange Colored Sky
A Foggy Day
Like many European composers alive during the World Wars, Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was nomadic. But while most of these artists’ music changed drastically based on their location, Martinů’s compositional style consistently referenced the culture of his Czech heritage. SMALL STORMS – cellist Meredith Blecha-Wells’ debut record – contains Martinů’s duos for cello and piano from the latter half of his life, with the performances of Blecha-Wells and pianist Sun Min Kim fully embodying the folkloric sensibility and conservative style that typify the composer’s oeuvre.
Blecha-Wells’ beautiful playing is especially apt at capturing Martinů’s oft-celebrated gift for melody and lyricism. Consistent with his Romantic and Neoclassicist predilections, the works featured on SMALL STORMS come from genres originating in the nineteenth century, and, in some cases, even earlier. In her variations, nocturnes, and arabesques, the cellist looks not to redefine these time-tested genres, but instead personalizes their forms within the composer’s characteristic musical language.
Blecha-Wells’ rendition of Martinů’s Seven Arabesques for Cello and Piano and Nocturnes for Cello and Piano are emblematic examples of the composer’s mixture of the European Classical tradition, elements of his native Czech culture, and the influence of his contemporaries. “Adante,” the fourth movement of the Suite Miniature, works along these lines and sounds most heavily inspired by folk music. Conversely, “Adante Moderato” from Arabesque might be the most modernist, namely in its dissonance and use of irregular time signatures.
Throughout SMALL STORMS, the duo’s playing blends wonderfully, no matter a passage’s virtuosity or simplicity. It should come as no surprise that Martinů’s cello writing is highlighted in this recording – Blecha-Wells’ lyrical warmth and powerful athleticism triumphantly illustrate why the composer welcomed her instrument’s entire expressive continuum in his music.
Young Mozart is now beginning to be internationally recognized for his musical talents apart from his father Leopold. In 1770 Wolfgang was awarded the “Order of the Golden Spur” by Pope Clement XIV, which effectively, was an honorary knighthood. In 1771, while touring Italy, Wolfgang was honored by Milan’s musical elite for his exceptional work.
The 3 Divertimentos in this broadcast were composed in rapid succession and are sometimes referred to as the 3 Salzburg symphonies. These 3 compositions were not named by young Mozart and it is not known who actually penned the titles of divertimento.
Mozart was clearly in great demand and was commissioned to compose works for dinner parties, receptions and any number of private or civic gatherings. While the commissions kept rolling in, astounding music flowed freely from Mozart’s quill.
This performance by the CMD Philharmonic of Paris is conducted by Dominique Beaulieu and is available for purchase at:
Composer Alla Elana Cohen presents a full album of chamber works in her first Ravello Records release RED LILIES OF BELLS, GOLDEN LILIES OF BELLS, WHITE LILIES OF BELLS. Cohen is an extremely creative and evocative composer, her works are wildly imaginative. The album is rich with musical surprises that reward repeat listens.
The album begins with Inner Temple Vol. 2 Ser. 1 “Brachot” (“Blessings”), a dramatic string quartet in three movements. The first movement begins with gliding lead violin lines before turning more brooding and less fluid, with bursts of sliding chords countered interspersed. A steady pizzicato shapes the second movement, played in turns by two violins and by viola and cello throughout nearly the entire length of the piece.
The final movement is characterized by frenzied violin lines that positively soar. Cohen returns to the Inner Temple theme later in the album with Inner Temple Vol. 1 Ser. 12 “Brachot” and Inner Temple Vol. 1 Ser. 11 “Shabbat Nigunim,” both works for chamber orchestra which continue the spirit of the initial Inner Temple installment.
The mood shifts slightly with the next composition, a triptych for chamber orchestra entitled Homage to Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais. Tension defines the sprawling first movement – both in the notes played and rests. The group’s mallet percussion plays an especially important role in setting the mood, which is as uneasy as it is beautiful.
The second movement gives the listener a chance to catch their breath, featuring the same tense feeling albeit with more sustained chords than the first movement’s breakneck pace. The woodwinds take center stage on the third movement, giving an airy and lighter feel to the otherwise dense piece. Taken as a whole, Homage to Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais is a glorious journey and a true highlight of the entire album.
Next up is the title track suite, Red Lilies of Bells, Golden Lilies of Bells, White Lilies of Bells, presented as a trio for violin, cello and piano. The first movement and third movements are almost entirely spoken word with just the hint of a melody. The second movement of the Trio contains variety of bell-like sonorities, especially in the piano part, with spatters of chords and bursts of sound.
This trio is an outlier among the several larger personnel works on the album, as is the solo cello performance on Hoffmanniana and duet for soprano and viola on Inscriptions on a Bamboo Screen. The interplay between voice and strings on Inscriptions pushes both instruments to soar to higher and higher planes. The composer herself adds cup gong to the proceedings of the last movement, which compliments the percussive, steady plucking of the viola. And though the cello stands alone on Hoffmanniana, its collection of lively bowed and plucked techniques presents an intense display that matches the impact of its neighboring orchestral tracks.
Cohen is to be especially exalted for her work with tension, fluidity, and varying tempos among her dynamic group of compositions presented in this collection.
Cohen is a distinguished composer, pianist, music theorist and teacher who came to the United States in 1989 from Soviet Russia. She now lives in Boston and is an Professor at both Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music
Acclaimed performers and ensembles have performed Cohen’s works, including Sebastian Baverstam, Mickey Katz, Bianca Garcia, Moran Katz, the Ariel String Quartet, JACK Quartet, Xanthos Ensemble, and more
“Alla Cohen explores the new direction in classical music…all those who love Mozart and Beethoven will add to these names the name of Alla Cohen.” - Mikhail Kazinik, BFI Radio on 11/15/13
“The relentless intensity of Alla Cohen's music, its characteristic texture and powerful urgency, reveal a composer whose music emerges from the deepest sources of passion and engagement. Her expressive dynamic is matched by her technical mastery and by her high-minded aesthetic. There is no compromise here. This is music that simply must be.” -Yehudi Wyner
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The 31st season of La Musica International Chamber Music Festival was another smashing success. However, don’t be dismayed, over the next several months we will revisit the music of these concerts.
In this broadcast we will play for you the opening concert from April 3, 2017.
You will hear:
Mendelssohn’s “Piano Trio in D minor, No. 1, Op. 49
Webern’s “Langsamer Satz for String Quartet”
Richard Strauss’ “Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 13”
Federico Agostini, Antonio Meneses, Derek Han, Claudio Cruz, Cecilia Ziano, JeongHyoun Lee and Bruno Giuranna
Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Easter Oratorio, BWV 249 was composed in Leipzig and first performed on April 1, 1725.
The first version of the work was called a cantata and later was upgraded to an oratorio when it was revised 10 years later in 1735. The work was originally based on another secular cantata by Bach which is a lost work, although the libretto still survives. Picander, the author of the cantata, is also the likely author of the oratorio.
Unlike the Christmas Oratorio, the Easter Oratorio has no narrator, but has 4 characters assigned to the 4 voice parts. Simon Peter (tenor) and John the Apostle (bass) appear in the first duet and are hurrying to Jesus’ tomb. Finding the tomb empty, they meet Mary Magdalene (alto) and the “other Mary”, Mary Jacobe (soprano). The mixed choir appears only in the final movement and in some versions of the work, partly in the beginning duet.
The performance by the CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice and conducted by Joana Filipe Martinez is scored for soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists, a mixed chorus, 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, english horn, bassoon, 2 recorders, transverse flute, 2 violins, viola and continuo.
This performance is available in our online music store - http://www.classicalsavings.com/store/p364/J.S._Bach%3A_Easter_Oratorio%2C_BWV_249.html