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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 in Sarasota Florida
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October 16, 2018 01:08 PM PDT

Kenneth Kuhn
Chiharu Naruse, piano

Composer and pianist Kenneth Kuhn, after finding the music he wanted to hear did not exist, strove to bring his own musical visions to life. The result, PIANO WORKS OF KENNETH KUHN, is a cathartic journey through the memories and imagination of the composer. Romantic in quality, thematic, memorable, and deeply moving, Kuhn’s latest work leaves listeners feeling enriched and enchanted.

Kuhn’s compositions arose from three main sources: dreams, memories, and spontaneity. In Prelude No. 3 in G-minor, the composer describes the free-flowing second section as having formed on its own, stating “As if controlled by some external something I literally watched my hands play this without any thought in the process.” An Alpine Song formed from a dream of a young Bavarian woman singing and playing guitar in the Alps and what the composer could recall of her exotic melodies upon waking. In Ode to Memories, the composer reminisces on his own past and its ups and downs, from joyous school years to the sudden death of a dear friend. Sublime in nature and simultaneously tender and haunting, each memorable composition tells its own story.

PIANO WORKS OF KENNETH KUHN bares the heart, mind, and soul of the composer in a beautiful, sentimental fashion. With its emotional height and depth, nature-inspired melodies, and connection to the sublime, Kuhn’s collection both moves and inspires listeners.

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October 13, 2018 03:35 PM PDT

PARMA Recordings presents LEGENDS & LIGHT, a compilation album featuring works by composers Hans Bakker, Jan Järvlepp, Clive Muncaster, and Shirley Mier. Each has a different, unique story to tell, and the narratives are brought to life by the orchestra and string ensemble.

Hans Bakker showcases his Canzona III: Hidden in Her Light in ternary form. Described by the composer as a “hymn to the sun,” this tone poem is reminiscent of the symphonic storytellings of such greats as Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov — with a heritage of folk melodies and rhythms to boot. The extraordinary balance between strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion is expressed so fluidly, yet individually, the listener is immediately enveloped into the epic saga Bakker is telling.

Jan Järvlepp expresses his unique composition style in Suite for Strings. In this celebration of lively rhythms, short melodic phrases are repeated and altered in such a way that the work becomes a meditation in several movements. The vibrant first movement focuses on echoing melodic fragments and dynamic contrast. The second movement is an exploration of the differences in chromatic tension when a singular phrase is echoed at varying octaves. Following is the darker third movement; heaviness ensues in this dies irae of sorts. Closing is a dance movement in which the string ensemble becomes the foreground of a down-home celebration in middle-America. The violins become fiddles and there is foot stomping to fit the mood. In this incredible pedagogical work, Järvlepp brings the listener through a gamut of emotions.

Clive Muncaster’s Redcliffe Gardens Suite for Strings follows suit perfectly with a romantic “Petronella,” enormously expressive in every way. “Pastorella” takes it down a notch, toeing the line between major and minor, somewhat demonstrating the complexity of romantic love. But, obviously, love wins. “Stella” is the heroic ballad to profess it. “Fuga Romantica” layers the sweetness together using one of composition’s most complex forms. It is loaded with tone painting — butterflies in the stomach are aflutter in the entire ensemble, but finally come to rest. “Girandole” opens with a romantic, Americana section followed by a section with exquisite suspensions. The return of the first section and themes ties it all together.

Shirley Mier’s Of Lakes and Legends, a programmatic work written for the Century Chamber Orchestra, closes the album. Each movement is set at White Bear Lake in Minnesota, the city where the Century College and the ensemble are located. It opens with “Legend of the White Bear (Manitou Island),” a love story between a Sioux maiden and a Chippewa brave whose tribes are at odds with each other. The affection, tension, and strife within the story is brought to life through the power of the orchestra, culminating in the brave defending his lover from a white bear - a battle in which both the warrior and the bear are mortally wounded. In their deaths, both are transformed into the subjects of legends. “Ride on the Rails (Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad Depot)” is the symphonic representation of a new train engine’s journey from St. Paul to White Bear Lake in September of 1868. The storyline of the train’s inaugural trip tells of the excitement of the passengers as they pass through the beauteous natural landscape and arrive at a gala celebration at the Depot. “Parlor Recital (Fillebrown House)” is set to “capture the sounds and moods of [the] intimate concerts” a town piano teacher held in her home. This celebration of music is tinged with nostalgia, as it both recalls these concerts and reflects on the fact that they now exist only in time past. The piece concludes with “Regatta (White Bear Yacht Club),” an energetic homage to the influential boatmakers of White Bear Lake and the thrilling races that still occur on the Lake today.

This, hands down, is contemporary composition at its best. This album has been perfectly curated to offer continuity in the listening experience. PARMA patrons, old and new, will find enormous satisfaction in this collection.

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October 10, 2018 11:00 PM PDT

Featuring music by Mozart, Bridges and Brahms.

For more information about La Musica International Chamber Music Festival, please visit:

October 10, 2018 01:50 PM PDT

Carmen is an opera in four acts by French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhacand Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée. The opera was first performed by the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 3 March 1875, where its breaking of conventions shocked and scandalized its first audiences.

Kathryn Cavanaugh - Producer/Conductor
CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice

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October 08, 2018 01:06 PM PDT

The Magic Flute, K. 620, is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue. The work was premiered on 30 September 1791 at Schikaneder's theatre, the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, just two months before the composer's premature death.

Kathryn Cavanaugh - Producer/Conductor
CMD Grand Opera Company of Vienna

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October 07, 2018 04:00 PM PDT

Madama Butterfly is an opera in three acts (originally two) by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

It is based on the short story "Madame Butterfly" (1898) by John Luther Long, which in turn was based on stories told to Long by his sister Jennie Correll and on the semi-autobiographical 1887 French novel Madame Chrysanthème by Pierre Loti. Long's version was dramatized by David Belasco as the one-act play Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan, which, after premiering in New York in 1900, moved to London, where Puccini saw it in the summer of that year.

The original version of the opera, in two acts, had its premiere on 17 February 1904 at Teatro alla Scala in Milan. It was poorly received, despite such notable singers as soprano Rosina Storchio, tenor Giovanni Zenatello and baritone Giuseppe De Luca in lead roles; this was due in part to a late completion by Puccini, and thus inadequate time for rehearsals. Puccini revised the opera, splitting Act II into two (with the Humming Chorus as a bridge to what became Act III) and making other changes. Success ensued, starting with the first performance on 28 May 1904 in Brescia.

Madama Butterfly is a staple of the operatic repertoire around the world, ranked 6th by Operabase; Puccini's La bohème and Tosca rank 3rd and 5th.

Kathryn Cavanaugh - Producer/Conductor
CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice

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October 06, 2018 08:03 AM PDT

In MY SYMPHONIC POEMS, the two-disc album that is Mark John McEncroe’s fourth recording overall for Navona Records, the Australian composer explores worlds both internal and external. On each of the album’s ten tracks, McEncroe has crafted a musical painting, a work of art that describes, as it were, his reflections on the subject alluded to in its title.

The concepts for these very personal compositions, which were brought to life by the noted Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Anthony Armore, fall into two basic categories. The five selections on the first disc talk of the wonders of the natural world, of bio-diversity, and of the power of the seasons. From the spry energy of That Old Indian Summer, to the majestic dignity of Movements in the Night, McEncroe’s talent for creating compositions that evoke both image and emotion is on vibrant display.

The second disc features two tracks that also explore ecological terrain. Those are combined with three distinctively introspective compositions which musically portray the joys and difficulties that are a part of daily life. The tumultuous beginning of The Passing, which the composer says is “about letting go of old ideas that are no longer relevant,” evolves, as the music becomes brighter, to reflect the promise of a hopeful future. Echoes from a Haunted Past captures the frustration at not having resolved issues from the past. Those tracks bookend the playful, pastoral A Pageant at the County Fair.

In his rather brief career, Mark John MCEncroe has composed pieces that have been performed by solo pianists as well as by full orchestras. MY SYMPHONIC POEMS, the latest addition to his robust body of work, confirms that his capacity to portray both ambiance and emotion is truly boundless.

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October 03, 2018 11:00 PM PDT

La bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere of La bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the 28-year-old Arturo Toscanini; its U.S. premiere took place the following year, 1897, in Los Angeles. Since then, La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide.

Kathryn Cavanaugh - Producer/Conductor
CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice

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October 03, 2018 12:57 AM PDT

Turandot is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, completed by Franco Alfano, and set to a libretto in Italian by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni.

Though Puccini's first interest in the subject was based on his reading of Friedrich Schiller's 1801 adaptation of the play, his work is most nearly based on the earlier text Turandot (1762) by Count Carlo Gozzi. The original story is based on one of the seven stories in the epic Haft Peykar (The Seven Beauties), a work of 12th-century Persian poet Nizami. Nizami aligned the seven stories with the seven days of the week, the seven colors and the seven corresponding planets. This particular story is the story of Tuesday, being told to King Bahram by his companion of the red dome, associated with Mars. In the very first line of this story, the protagonist is identified as a Russian princess. The name of the opera is based on Turan-Dokht (daughter of Turan), which is a common name used in Persian poetry for Central Asian princesses.

The opera's version of the story is set in China and involves Prince Calaf, who falls in love with the cold Princess Turandot. To obtain permission to marry her, a suitor has to solve three riddles; any wrong answer results in death. Calaf passes the test, but Turandot still refuses to marry him. He offers her a way out: if she is able to learn his name before dawn the next day, then at daybreak he will die. In the original story by Nizami, the princess sets four conditions. The first is "a good name and good deeds", and then the three challenges.

The opera was unfinished at the time of Puccini's death in 1924, and was completed by Franco Alfano in 1926. The first performance was held at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 25 April 1926 and conducted by Arturo Toscanini. This performance included only Puccini's music and not Alfano's additions. The first performance of the opera as completed by Alfano was the following night, 26 April, although it is disputed whether this was conducted by Toscanini again or by Ettore Panizza.

Produced and Conducted by Kathryn Cavanaugh
CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice

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October 01, 2018 07:53 PM PDT

Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in Egypt, it was commissioned by and first performed at Cairo's Khedivial Opera House on 24 December 1871; Giovanni Bottesini conducted after Verdi himself withdrew. Today the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world; at New York's Metropolitan Opera alone, Aida has been sung more than 1,100 times since 1886. Ghislanzoni's scheme follows a scenario often attributed to the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, but Verdi biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz argues that the source is actually Temistocle Solera.

Performed by the CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice

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