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The Mighty Russians

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 by coffeecritic

Russian orthodox church onion domes Forget about figure skating and ice hockey. I'm talking about music. Did you see the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics? If so, you got a taste of some beautiful classical music. Russia has produced some of the best loved and most important classical works in the world. Who hasn't heard Swan Lake, Night on Bald Mountain, the 1812 Overture? Nutcracker, anyone? Then there . . . more »

The Mighty Russians

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 by coffeecritic

Russian orthodox church onion domes Forget about figure skating and ice hockey. I'm talking about music. Did you see the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics? If so, you got a taste of some beautiful classical music. Russia has produced some of the best loved and most important classical works in the world. Who hasn't heard Swan Lake, Night on Bald Mountain, the 1812 Overture? Nutcracker, anyone? Then there . . . more »

The Curious Case of Benjamin Britten

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 by coffeecritic

Benjamin Britten Amid all the hoopla over the bicentennials of Verdi and Wagner, both born in 1813, it was easy to overlook the centenary of British composer Benjamin Britten, born November 22, 1913. Although not nearly as well known, if you’ve seen Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom, you’ve heard quite a bit of his music. You could say the entire film was built around his opera, Noye’s . . . more »

The Curious Case of Benjamin Britten

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 by coffeecritic

Benjamin Britten Amid all the hoopla over the bicentennials of Verdi and Wagner, both born in 1813, it was easy to overlook the centenary of British composer Benjamin Britten, born November 22, 1913. Although not nearly as well known, if you’ve seen Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom, you’ve heard quite a bit of his music. You could say the entire film was built around his opera, Noye’s . . . more »

Verdi Flash Mob!

Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 by coffeecritic

Verdi caricature It's Giuseppe Verdi's bicentennial and there have been celebrations going on all year. People are gathering at Verdi monuments all over the world to honor him with impromptu renditions of "Va pensiero", the stirring choral work from his opera Nabucco. Actually, the first Verdi flash mob took place in 1901, when crowds in the street broke into "Va, pensiero" during his funeral procession. As you . . . more »

Verdi Flash Mob!

Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 by coffeecritic

Verdi caricature It's Giuseppe Verdi's bicentennial and there have been celebrations going on all year. People are gathering at Verdi monuments all over the world to honor him with impromptu renditions of "Va pensiero", the stirring choral work from his opera Nabucco. Actually, the first Verdi flash mob took place in 1901, when crowds in the street broke into "Va, pensiero" during his funeral procession. As you . . . more »

Riot at the Rite! The Birth of Modernism

Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 by coffeecritic

"Never had an audience heard music so brutal, savage, aggressive, and apparently chaotic; it hit the public like a hurricane, like some uncontrolled primeval force." - Roman Vlad, musicologist, composer "Some of the most controversial notes ever composed ..." - Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor "The most important piece of music of the 20th century" - Leonard Bernstein, composer, conductor "If that is a bassoon, then . . . more »

Riot at the Rite! The Birth of Modernism

Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 by coffeecritic

"Never had an audience heard music so brutal, savage, aggressive, and apparently chaotic; it hit the public like a hurricane, like some uncontrolled primeval force." - Roman Vlad, musicologist, composer "Some of the most controversial notes ever composed ..." - Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor "The most important piece of music of the 20th century" - Leonard Bernstein, composer, conductor "If that is a bassoon, then . . . more »

John Cage Centennial

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 by coffeecritic

Where the Heart Beats This year the American contemporary composer, John Cage, would have turned 100 and venues around the world are holding events to celebrate. Although his work is obscure to most of us, he's had an enormous influence on classical music and modern dance. He's best known for his collaboration with the choreographer Merce Cunningham, and for his score entitled 4'33" (Four minutes, thirty-three seconds), which is . . . more »