Jean Sibelius's later works, his Seventh Symphony, Tapiola, and, today's featured piece, incidental music for The Tempest, are masterworks. The orchestral textures are rich, dense, frothy, clear, containing pure and contradictory natures throughout, not unlike Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest. Also not unlike Prospero, Sibelius, at the height his powers and late in life, found himself in a place where his powers languished. He would not write again after these late works, though he would live another 30 years.
A good mystery thriller unravels thread by thread, making it impossible to put the book down. The plot grips you as tension builds, and you wait for the inevitable... sure you know what will happen next!
But a great mystery thriller leaves you doubting even what you were so certain of, and makes you question what you thought you knew about the characters. As I eagerly turned the pages of Allen Eskens's debut novel The Life We Bury by the light of my bedside lamb at 2 a.m., I knew I had found the latter.
Perhaps for its depth of feeling or simply for its being a requiem, there is a certain surprise to find that Faure said, "My Requiem was composed for nothing ... for fun, if I may be permitted to say so!" He had such fun for nearly 15 years, composing and revising through the 1880's and 1890's. Our fun in listening will go on much, much longer. Kathleen Battle and Andreas Schmidt are the soloists. Carlo Maria Giulini directs the Philharmonia Orchestra.
The public garden is often designed for the eye: hedges shaped gracefully, flowers arranged colorfully. For many, visions of gardens, memories of past gardens, are sight dominant. But the Sioux City Lions Club has envisioned a garden to be experienced by our other senses. As you walk through it, signs with information written in high contrast letters as well as Braille direct you to touch, smell, and listen to the plants and environment. Tom Venesky, Iowa's only blind Master Gardener, gave us a tour. Join us.
Mozart's purpose for writing the Serenade in D, K 203, is up for debate. Either it was written for his patron's name day, or it was written for a graduation ceremony. Who knows? What we do know is that it is a light and flitting affair with three minuets for good dancing and celebration. It is played here by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and soloist Iona Brown. Sir Neville Marriner directs.
What I’m recommending today is an assemblage of curious and quick-witted writing from one of my favorite authors.
Malcom Gladwell is known for being a “brilliant investigator of hidden extraordinary.” He’s written five books, including The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, which is one of my favorite books of all time.
As the Tchaikovsky Competition is now smack dab in the middle of its final round, we thought it fitting to play the recording made of Van Cliburn at Carnegie Hall shortly after his historic win of the very first Tchaikovsky Competition. Here he plays Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto, one of the most beloved and feared of the genre. Kiril Kondrashin, who conducted the orchestra in Moscow, was invited to conduct this concert as well. It was a truly warm moment during the Cold War.
Young Beethoven had applied to and been accepted by Mozart as a pupil, but B learned of his mother's impending death on his way to join M, so the two never met. However, B's appreciation of M's genius can be heard especially in the early piano concertos. The Third Concerto marks the point at which B's voice emerges fully from M's influence. It is, as one would imagine, a beautiful metamorphosis.
Written between Verdi's Aida and Otello, the Four Sacred Pieces were the pursuits of a retiree. Each composed at leisure and without the thought of a cycle. Today, however, they are most commonly heard as a cycle. Such is life. We hear them performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Ernst-Senff-Chor. Carlo Maria Giulini directs.