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Classical Music Discoveries
The World's #1 Classical Music Show
Category: Easy Listening
Location: Cedar City, UT
Proudly Sponsored by La Musica International Chamber Music Festival, The Southwest Symphony Orchestra and Flowers.FM
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May 10, 2017 11:00 PM PDT

When approaching his latest chamber album BLISS POINT, Polish-born violinist and composer Piotr Szewczyk turned to a unique lens of inspiration – food science. His interpretation of a “bliss point” in the culinary sense embodies the technique’s saturation of a flavor just before the point of diminished potency. Of course, he trades in the contents of his spice cabinet in favor of diverse instrumental pairings, and in doing so, the composer explores the “saturation limits in the full spectrum of emotions, textures, and characters.” In doing so, Szewczyk is confident that the resulting collection of chamber works “covers the entire expressive range of my vocabulary and artistic sensitivity.”

Naturally, Szewczyk’s violin stylings are included in this spectrum, as he appears on nearly all the album’s compositions. He keeps true to his stated inspirations on BLISS POINT and exemplifies these goals on the title track. Accompanied by clarinet, cello, and piano, the violinist leads the quartet through a set of intertwined sections that starkly differ in their pacing. An ostinato bookend aids in structuring the piece, opening with a gentle pulsation and closing with tranquility after a midsection of contrasting instrumental textures.

Contrasting moods also appear on the album’s first two mixed ensemble pieces. The four short, ever-shifting movements of Twisted Dances are brought alive by oboe, violin, cello, and piano, and the scattered themes of Images from a Journey range from explorations of darkness to a similarly dance-inspired movement based on gypsy performers.

These ensembles are only a sample of Szewczyk’s use of contrast on the album, with a strong example arriving on Piano Trio No. 1’s bricolage of disparate movements. The composer cycles through passages of intense, rhythmic virtuosity; then meditative jazz piano obscured by melancholic tendencies; and lastly, an explosive finale with unbridled energy as its ignition.

His vibrant writing for strings echoes this trend as well, including the viscous, atonal sonorities of a string quartet in the octatonic scale on Half-Diminished Scherzo and the fury of a lively string trio on the appropriately titled Furioso.

These types of musical personification all exhibit the intense imagery of Szewczyk’s compositions. Even without knowing the title of Very Angry Birds, the way the violinist’s extended techniques glide over propulsive piano chords will prompt listeners to point their imaginations skyward. This tendency also holds true for the composer’s dialogue between instruments, such as the furious battle of violin and viola on Conundrum and the marital themes of Nimbus, which tests the polarity of wedding vows with passages full of both joy and bickering.

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May 09, 2017 11:00 PM PDT

In this edition which we call “3 Symphonies and a Lost Vocal” we explore some quickly composed works by Mozart.

First, we will hear “Regina coeli”, or at least, what has survived of this once grand mass. While Mozart was considered to be the composer of this work, this was not proven until the lost title page was discovered in 1964. Only 3 movements of this work exist today. The remaining movements were destroyed in World War 2.

This performance is the by CMD Philharmonic and Chorus of Paris and conducted by Dominique Beaulieu. All of the performances in this broadcast are available now at ClassicalRecordings.co

Now we will hear 3 symphonies composed in rapid succession my Mozart in May of 1772. Music historians believe these symphonies were composed during the period when Mozart stayed in Salzburg between 2 trips to Italy. The autograph pages of these symphonies are preserved in the National Library of Berlin. All 3 symphonies are widely accepted to be inconsequential in Mozart’s compositional library and are often overlooked.

Here at Classical Music Discoveries, we like to differ. We believe, as Mozart was abandoning the Italian style of composing, that he used these symphonies to explore the German or Mannheim style of composing. If you listen carefully, you can hear subtle explorations into distorted harmonies and chord structures, which would not to be fully developed in much later works of Mozart.

First, we will hear Symphony 16 in C Major. This symphony is scored for 2 oboes, 2 horns and strings which is not Mozart’s full orchestra that he has used in the past. Evidence again, that these 3 symphonies were strictly for experimental purposes in composition. The 3 symphonies will be performed by the CMD Paris Philharmonic and conducted by Dominique Beauleau.

Symphony 17 in G Major is another experimental 3-movement symphony scored for 2 oboes, 2 horns and strings.

Symphony 18 in F Major is an experimental 4-movement symphony scored for 2 flutes, 4 horns and strings. Here Mozart not only experiments with the creation of musical harmonies, but he also experiments with instrumentation. There are no oboes in this symphony and for the first and second movements, a second pair of horns is used, which is a rare occurrence for Mozart.

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May 09, 2017 12:55 PM PDT

Argentinian composer, conductor, and scholar Alicia Terzian’s new Navona release OFF THE EDGE is an incredible journey into the heart of the string orchestra. The four works on the album introduce listeners to Terzian’s captivating compositional perspective and enchanting treatment of this ensemble’s sonic potential. Her writing focuses heavily on the drama, nuance, and contrasts accessible through instrumental color, and OFF THE EDGE showcases numerous audacious textures involving the string orchestra, with different percussion instruments,chorus,soloists and voice.

To this end, Terzian’s work Tres Piezas para Orquesta de Cuerdas is the album’s simplest presentation of strings, as it is the only piece on the album to feature string orchestra by itself. Even so, this highly sectional piece demonstrates the ensemble’s considerable textural flexibility. As one might expect, the composer uses the orchestra as a conventional and singular melodic force with the accompaniment of solo violin and cello in the corresponding variations of the 2nd movement. More importantly, Tres Piezas is a work that exploits string instruments’ capacities to produce both compellingly powerful and delicate sounds.

The other works on OFF THE EDGE more commonly play to the extremes of the string orchestra’s sonic palette. This tendency is encapsulated in the first minutes of Carmen Criaturalis (1970), a concerto for horn, string orchestra, and percussion considered the beginning of "spectralism". Here, Terzian fuses the sounds of a rolling cymbal with trembling, sliding strings and the vibraphone, which give way to the solo horn’s anguished solo melody, a melody calling to mind a scream and then joining the orchestra in an emotional conclusion.

Canto a Mi Misma (1985) features an enthralling form, as well as rich, vivified string textures and is scored for string orchestra, a chorus reading the texts of 20 poems, and the tam-tam. Both thematically, and in actual performance, sound transformation is a key element of this composition. Spoken material is electronically manipulated and delayed around a performance space, an effect admirably captured in this recording. Through speaker placement and live sound manipulation, the listener perceives musical content and its ongoing transformation with a fluidity mirroring that of the material itself. While perhaps hard to visualize, the live performance of this piece utilizes a specially designed system of scattered speakers and stage microphones structured specifically by the composer for the transmission of this single composition.

Written in 1992, the album’s titular work combines strings, Chinese cymbals, choir, and bass soloist in a dramatic and expansive musical design.

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May 08, 2017 02:04 PM PDT

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is a music drama in three acts, written and composed by Richard Wagner. It is among the longest operas commonly performed, usually taking around four and a half hours. It was first performed at the Bavarian State Opera, in Munich, on June 21, 1868. The conductor at the premiere was Hans von Bülow.

The story is set in Nuremberg in the mid-16th century. At the time, Nuremberg was a free imperial city and one of the centers of the Renaissance in Northern Europe. The story revolves around the city's guild of Master Singers, an association of amateur poets and musicians who were primarily master craftsmen of various trades. The master singers had developed a craftsman like approach to music-making, with an intricate system of rules for composing and performing songs. The work draws much of its atmosphere from its depiction of the Nuremberg of the era and the traditions of the master-singer guild. One of the main characters, the cobbler-poet Hans Sachs, is based on a historical figure, Hans Sachs, the most famous of the master singers.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg occupies a unique place in Wagner's oeuvre. It is the only comedy among his mature operas, and is also unusual among his works in being set in a historically well-defined time and place rather than in a mythical or legendary setting. It is the only mature Wagner opera based on an entirely original story, devised by Wagner himself, and in which no supernatural or magical powers or events are in evidence. It incorporates all of the operatic conventions that Wagner had railed against in his essays on the theory of opera: rhymed verse, arias, choruses, a quintet, and even a ballet.

This performance by the CMD German Opera Company of Berlin and conducted by Dominique Beaulieu.

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May 03, 2017 11:00 PM PDT

On TWILIGHT REMEMBERED (2003), musical and marital partners Robert and Kim McCormick join forces as the McCormick Duo, performing percussion and flute, respectively. The album presents a collection of contemporary compositions for these two instruments, including works from Paul Bissell, Elliot Carter, Andre Jolivet, Ralph Shapey, David Heuser, Henri Lazarof, Hilton Jones, Wesley Fuller, Howard Buss, Kent Kennan, and Daniel Adams.

Gramophone notes that the “combination of flute and percussion is oddly satisfying, in part because these instruments inhabit such different worlds. While each work here possesses the haunting characteristics that the combination inevitably exudes, their composers take varied tonal and formal routes to arrive at their compelling destinations.”

The duo was described as a “unique virtuoso partnership” by Paul Ingram of Fanfare, who went on to praise the way both players “carved out a unique corner for intelligent modern music, and it's good to spend an hour there, in such varied, sophisticated company.” American Record Guide praised Kim’s playing as “always supple and expressive,” while Gramophone lauded how Robert’s “command of percussion shadings invests everything with textural sensitivity.”

Robert McCormick is currently Professor of Music at the University of South Florida and timpanist with Opera Tampa. He is a former member of the Harry Partch Ensemble and served as principle percussionist and assistant timpanist with the Florida Orchestra for twenty seasons.

He has authored several articles, solos and two percussion texts: Percussion for Musicians and 32 Duets for Percussion. Robert was the 2006 recipient of the Florida Music Educator of the Year Award, the 2007 Grand Prize winner of the Keystone Percussion Composition Award, and the 2010 recipient of the Jerome Krivanek Distinguished University Teacher Award.

Kim McCormick is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of South Florida and performs as Principal Flutist of the professional Florida Wind Band and Concertmaster of the Florida Flute Orchestra. She is the Past President and Chairman of the Board of the 600 member Florida Flute Association, and has received numerous awards for her work with Sigma Alpha Iota international professional music fraternity.

A dedicated teacher, her students have won regional and national competitions including the National Flute Association’s Piccolo Young Artist and Jazz Artist Masterclass, the Florida Flute Association Young Artist Competition, the Yamaha Young Artist Competition, a Grammy nomination and numerous Downbeat Magazine awards. After graduation, many have gone on to graduate programs at prestigious universities. She is an active member of the Florida Flute Association, National Flute Association, Sigma Alpha Iota and the Florida Bandmasters Association. Several articles have been published in Flute Talk Magazine.

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May 02, 2017 11:00 PM PDT

“Scipio’s Dream” is a dramatic serenade in 1 act composed by Mozart when he was 15 years old for his beloved patron, Archbishop Schrattenbach. After the archbishop’s death, Mozart dedicated it to the new archbishop, Count Colloredo. However, the serenade went through a few ending changes to reflect what Mozart thought of the new Archbishop of Salzburg. This work was given a private performance for Colloredo on May 1, 1771, however, only 1 aria and the final chorus were performed. This was done not to give away the real intent of this work.

“Scipio’s Dream” was never performed in Mozart’s lifetime. The work was not performed in its entirety until 1979 for “Mozart Week in Salzburg.”

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May 01, 2017 11:00 PM PDT

Ravello Records proudly presents the digital single PIECE BY PIECE, the PARMA debut of composer Beth Mehocic. Her work of the same name is scored for flute, bass clarinet, trumpet, bass trombone, violin, contrabass, and percussion and is performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Chamber Players. Piece by Piece was commissioned by the Erick Hawkins Dance Company of New York City in honor of their former director and composer-in-residence, Lucia Dlugoszewski. Dlugoszewski is known for her developments in avant-garde music technique and experimental music; thus, Mehocic includes a number of these techniques in the piece, including pitch bends, rapid glissandi, muting techniques, and extreme ranges. These effects are made all the more striking by Mehocic’s kaleidoscopic orchestration—brassy wails, brittle string snaps, and nasally trumpet pervade the piece. Piece by Piece also creates the illusion of free rhythm and meter in a completely metered setting, with an energy that is constantly shifting. The rhythmic and timbral play result in a spirited, kinetic work, with each instrument always interacting with another. Each sound dances around, or with, or against the next—a vibrantly patterned collage of musical color.

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April 29, 2017 10:42 AM PDT

In this broadcast we are proud to feature Sony Classical’s latest release: Boston, the original motion picture soundtrack by Jeff Beal.

This movie documentary, starring Matt Damon, tells of the history of the Boston Marathon from its humble origins starting with only 15 runners, to the first female runners, through the tragedy of 2013 and ultimately, the triumph of 2014.

To learn more about this film, please visit their official website at: BostonMarathonFilm.com

To learn more about the composer, please visit: JeffBeal.com

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April 27, 2017 10:20 AM PDT

On MARIMBA CONCERTI WITH PERCUSSION ORCHESTRA (2006), Robert McCormick conducts his McCormick Percussion Group – an ensemble comprised of 20 marimbists and accompanied by guest pianist Corey Holt Merenda throughout. Guest conductor Cayenna Rosa Ponchione appears on her composition The Creation, the album’s concluding track.

Other compositions on the album include The Alabados Song by Paul Bissell; Concertino for Two Marimbas and Six Percussionists by Jan Van Landerhem; Concertino for Marimba and Four Percussionists by Chihchun Chi-sun Lee; Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble by Daniel Adams; and Concertino for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble by Paul Reller.

In expressing his gratitude for the record, Landerhem said he was “touched by the ensemble’s poetry and technical precision. The sound and the performance of the ensemble are of high professional standards, and could be compared with the best percussion ensembles I have heard. This is also true for the performances of the other compositions.”

McCormick is currently Professor of Music at the University of South Florida and timpanist with Opera Tampa. He is a former member of the Harry Partch Ensemble and served as principle percussionist and assistant timpanist with the Florida Orchestra for twenty seasons.

He has authored several articles, solos and two percussion texts: Percussion for Musicians and 32 Duets for Percussion. Robert was the 2006 recipient of the Florida Music Educator of the Year Award, the 2007 Grand Prize winner of the Keystone Percussion Composition Award, and the 2010 recipient of the Jerome Krivanek Distinguished University Teacher Award.

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April 25, 2017 11:00 PM PDT

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.”

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