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Classically Speaking

Classical music in West Virginia and Beyond

Halloween Classics

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 30, 2010

Pumpkin with Candy Corn
Boo!

What are your favorite spooky classical pieces? We broadcast several of my favorites on Thursday and Friday, and several more requests have been sent in, so we’ll be finding a few lingering ghosts, including that of the Flying Dutchman, during next week’s classical music.

Check out the playlists, and then leave a comment here with any additional suggestions. (Do you conduct along with those Fantasia favorites like Carole? :)

Plus this weekend, if you’re in the Charleston or Morgantown area, you can catch some scary-fun music with Red Priest’s “A Nightmare in Venice” in Charleston on Saturday and West Virginia University’s choir concert “Myths, Mystics, and Magic” on Sunday. Visit our October WV Classical Calendar for details.

I coulda been a conductor!

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By Carole Carter
 · October 29, 2010

I coulda been a conductor!  Actually, it was on my list of things to do before I died. It started when I was fairly young. I would air-conduct recordings of my favorite classical works.

I probably ripped off the idea from watching Disney’s animation of Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Fantasia Movie Poster
Fantasia (movie poster)

If Mickey Mouse could do it, so could I!

I loved pieces like that – Sorcerer's Apprentice, Night on Bald Mountain, Pictures at an Exhibition. Flashy, dramatic stuff.

In college, I really wanted to take the orchestral conducting course, but it always conflicted with touring choir. So – I settled for choral conducting.

Actually, I’d been conducting choirs since I was in 7th grade, both at church & and school. As a senior, I'd subbed for our director who was recovering from a heart attack for about 6 weeks.

When I came to West Virginia, I was finally able to realize my dream. First I served as musical director for a number of community theater productions. During a stint as interim church music director, I conducted a small instrumental ensemble performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria.

So, air-conducting can lead to real conducting!

 Who knew?!

Leonard Slatkin (interview)

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 28, 2010

Leonard Slatkin
Donald Dietz/Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Maestro Leonard Slatkin


Leonard Slatkin was recently in West Virginia to conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Morgantown. Slatkin has been the Principal Guest Conductor of the PSO since 2008. We spoke about Dvorak, Rachmaninov, and Joan Tower’s music, also about the concert hall as an instrument, giving up the viola, recording, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra sound. 

Listen below (streaming or download) to my conversation with Leonard Slatkin:


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Leonard Slatkin interview

Supporting Classical Music

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 20, 2010

If you've been listening to the radio, you've probably heard that right now, it is the "Connecting Communities" fund drive.

We're asking listeners (including our online reader/listeners) to support West Virginia Public Radio with a donation, so that we can keep bringing you classical music, as well as the stories, interviews, calendars, ticket giveaways, commentary and everything else that we have online and on the radio.

Yesterday, when Jim Lange, Larry Groce, and I were announcing, Woogie, Walter, Peter, and Nancy were answering the phones and speaking to listeners who chose to support West Virginia Public Radio. Here's a view from behind the scenes. Thank you to volunteer Nancy Douglas for taking these pictures (she escaped being photographed by being the one with the camera)!

You too can be part of the fun by calling 1-800-723-4687 or by sending in your support through our website.



Fund Drive 2010 1
Nancy Douglas
Walter, Woogie, and Peter at the phones. Jan Johnson makes sure that everything runs smoothly.

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Fund Drive 2010 2
Nancy Douglas
Mona and Jim work hard to raise money

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Fund Drive 2010 3
Nancy Douglas
Larry Groce keeps cool at the mic

Fund Drive 2010 4
Nancy Douglas
Jim Lange is powered by cookies

 

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Fund Drive 2010 6
Peter Harris takes your calls and tells good jokes

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Fund Drive 2010 5a
Nancy Douglas
Walter and Woogie are taking your calls and sharing stories


So that's where and who you're calling, when you dial 1-800-RADIO-87 to support West Virginia Public Radio. Are you a member yet?

Update: Thank you and congratulations! You made the $135,000 goal. We'll have final figures in a few days, which I'll make sure to get posted. Thank you for supporting classical music and West Virginia Public Radio!

Olga Kern & Rachmaninov in Morgantown

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 18, 2010
Olga Kern
Pianist Olga Kern

On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will perform in Morgantown, with guest conductor Leonard Slatkin. Pianist Olga Kern will perform Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto with the PSO.

Kern spoke with me over the phone about her connections to Rachmaninov and his music, and the challenges that his first piano concerto – the very first piece that he published – presents compared to his other music. Listen to her talk about the music:

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Interview with Olga Kern

Kern also has a new album of Chopin Sonatas. In the interview, she discusses the enormous importance of Chopin for “opening the door” to many sounds and ideas on the piano.

Rachmaninov performs Rachmaninov (Piano Concerto No. 1)

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Olga Kern at the Cliburn Competition

Valentina Weekend

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 15, 2010

Alas that I can't make it to the West Virginia Symphony concert with pianist Valentina Lisitsa this weekend! If you're going, I'm sure it will be wonderful (she's playing Prokofiev!). If not, you can join me in indulging in some virtual Valentina. She has her own YouTube channel.

Dame Joan Sutherland, In Memoriam

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 11, 2010

I was very sad to just read of opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland’s passing. The New York Times reports that she died this morning at the age of 83.

I first heard her voice when I was producing a project about Mozart’s Don Giovanni. I listened to as many recordings of the opera as I could find and chose my favorite selections from each. From all those recordings, Joan Sutherland was my favorite Donna Anna, and she remains so years later.

Since then, I’ve heard quite a few of her other beautiful recordings. Dame Sutherland said: “As far as recording is concerned, I find that it’s somewhat dehumanized. But I think that we are fortunate that we are able to leave behind such a reasonably exact record of the sort of sounds we make”

I feel fortunate to have these sounds to which we can continue to listen. I have a few links below, and I’d welcome any suggestions for more listening in honor of this great artist.

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Update: Here are links to more tributes to Dame Joan and a comment from listener/reader Mary-Bess Halford:

"Thank you for your nice tribute to Dame Joan whom I remember seeing at the Edinburgh Festival in the '67.  She was in Haydn's Orfeo ed Euridice with Gedda as her Orfeo.  They both made a great impression on me for the beauty of their voices."

Chamber Orchestra Kremlin

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 8, 2010

Chamber Orchestra of Kremlin picture
The Chamber Orchestra Kremlin

 

Our neighbors in Ironton, Ohio will be welcoming the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin from Moscow to Ohio University Southern for a concert on October 11th.


Pat McCoy (communications director for the Ironton Arts Council, a member of the Huntington Symphony, and a professor at OU Southern) interviewed Misha Rachlevsky, the director of the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, this summer. McCoy shared this interview with Classically Speaking.  Take a listen!

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Interview with Misha Rachlevsky

Wagner Weekend

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 6, 2010

Bryn Terfel in Das Rheingold
Boris Firquet In collaboration with Ex Machina
Well hellllllooooooo, ladies. Bryn Terfel as Wotan in Das Rheingold.

The Metropolitan Opera hits movie theaters this weekend with the first of this season's Live in HD broadcasts, Wagner's Das Rheingold.

In West Virginia, the Met can be seen in theaters in Barboursville (Huntington Mall) and Granville/Morgantown. Nearby, there are showings in Charlottesville, VA; Ashland, KY; Germantown, MD; and Pittsburgh, PA.


Are you going?  Thinking about it? Just curious?  Check out this preview of the production, where director Robert LePage discusses his approach, along with images from the opera. And here's the New York Times review of opening night.


I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Previously: 

* Extra, Extra: Opera at the Movies

* More Opera Movie News

* WV Classical Calendar - October

Righteous Fire by John Beall

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 5, 2010
Dr. John Beall
Dr. John Beall

Tonight, the West Virginia University Wind Symphony will give the premiere performance of Righteous Fire, a new piece by WVU Composer-in-Residence Professor John Beall, conducted by Director of WVU Bands, Professor John Hendricks III.

Read Professor Beall's description of this new music below, and then listen to our interview from earlier this year.

The idea and sketches for Righteous Fire were written down and worked on for a long time, really since 1995. Although I made several attempts I simply could not get very far with the piece. During the summer of 2010 I was finally able to complete the work when I decided to integrate the hymn tune Come Holy Ghost and another even older sketch melody (originally intended for a violin concerto) into my existing sketch for Righteous Fire.

The completed piece realizes my idea for music about the Day of Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit as described in book of The Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament. The work is not a “blow-by-blow” musical depiction, but the listener will have no difficulty finding the “rushing mighty wind” and the “tongues of flame.” These musical events occur after a hectic, dissonant opening fast section and are followed by a serene mingling of the main ideas to a quiet, mysterious conclusion.

The premiere is tonight at 7:30pm in the Lyell B. Clay Theater at the WVU Creative Arts Center. The WVU Wind Symphony will also perform the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar, Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli, Go by Samuel R. Hazo, and arrangements of Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria and Gordon Young’s Prelude in Classic Style.


Related links:
 * Concert details

 * Meet the Composer: John Beall

WV Classical Calendar -- October 2010

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 1, 2010

October 2010

Oct. 1: WVU Opera Scenes

Oct. 2: Ohio Valley Symphony with guest artists Quartetto Gelato (interview) (Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School)

Oct. 2: WVU Opera Scenes

Oct. 3: Montclaire String Quartet “Beautiful Beginnings”

Oct. 3: Karkowska Sisters Duo (Fairmont Chamber Music Society)

Oct. 3: Harsha Abeyaratne, piano (Marshall University Guest Artist Recital)

Oct. 3: WVU Flute Choir

Oct. 4: Jeff Bush, trombone (Marshall University Guest Artist Recital)

Oct. 4: “Vienna!” with Mikylah McTeer, violin; Peter Amstutz, piano (WVU Faculty Recital)

Oct. 5: WVU Wind Symphony Concert

Oct. 5: Manuel Barrueco, guitar (Shepherd University Friends of Music)

Oct. 6: Nick Perna, tenor; Lucy Mauro, piano (WVU Faculty Recital)

Oct. 7: Fairmont State University Collegiate Singers and Chamber Choir

Oct. 8: WVU Percussion Ensemble

Oct. 8: Wheeling Symphony Pops: '50s Dance Party

Oct. 9: Met Opera Live in HD: Wagner’s Das Rheingold (Barboursville, Morgantown, Ashland, Ky; Germantown, MD; Pittsburgh, PA; many others in the region)

Oct. 9: Alderson-Broaddus College Homecoming Concerts

Oct. 11: WVU Chamber Winds

Oct. 11: Chamber Orchestra Kremlin (Ironton Arts Council)

Oct. 12: Marshall University Orchestra Concert

Oct. 12: Julie Bees, piano (WVU Guest Artist Recital

Oct. 12: Tuesday with Fran: Chopin's Waltzes, Mazurkas, and Nocturnes (Carnegie Hall Lewisburg)

Oct. 12: Heidi Lucas, horn; Richard Perry, tuba (WVU Guest Artist Recital)

Oct. 13: Julie Bees, piano (WVU Guest Artist Masterclass)

Oct. 14: West Liberty University Bands Concert

Oct. 14: WV Symphony Orchestra at Fairmont State University

Oct. 15: Shepherd University Choral Concert

Oct. 15: Ozge Ileri, cello (MUsic Alive, First Presbyterian Church, Huntington)

Oct. 15-16: Marshall University Choral Festival

Oct. 15-16: "Valentina Returns!" West Virginia Symphony, guest artist Valentina Lisitsa, piano

Oct. 16: WVU New Music Concert

Oct. 16: Huntington Symphony “A Fall Classic”

Oct. 17: David Allen Wehr, piano (West Liberty University Concert Artist Series)

Oct. 17: Fran Belin, piano (interview) - A Celebration of Frederic Chopin’s 200th birthday (Carnegie Hall Lewisburg)

Oct. 19: Chiara String Quartet (Shepherd University Friends of Music)

Oct. 19: WVU Faculty Chamber Music Recital

Oct. 19: Leon Bates, piano (Concord University Artist Lecture Series)

Oct. 21: John Weigand, piano; James Miltenberger, piano (WVU Faculty Recital)

Oct. 21: Shepherd University Choral Concert (Martinsburg Center for the Arts)

Oct. 23: Opus Chorale (Charleston)

Oct. 23: Met Opera Live in HD: Mussorgsky’s Boris Godonov (Barboursville, Morgantown, Ashland, KY; Germantown, MD; Pittsburgh, PA; many others in the region)

Oct. 24: Pittsburgh Symphony with Olga Kern, piano (interview) (West Virginia University)

Oct. 24: Rebecca Rischin, clarinet (Marshall University Guest Artist Recital)

Oct. 24: Laureate Wind Quintet (West Virginia University)

Oct. 25: Marshall University Octuba Fest!

Oct. 25: Francesca Arnone, flute (WVU Faculty Recital)

Oct. 26: Gerald Lee, piano (West Liberty University Faculty Recital)

Oct. 27: The American Boychoir (WV Wesleyan)

Oct. 27: Marshall University Octuba Fest!

Oct. 27: Met Opera HD Encore: Wagner’s Das Rheingold (Barboursville; Ashland, KY; Germantown, MD; Pittsburgh, PA; many others in the region)

Oct. 28: Marshall University Woodwind Ensembles Concert

Oct. 28: William Haller, pipe organ (WVU Faculty Recital)

Oct. 28: Shelly Tramposh, viola; Cullan Bryant, piano (WVU Guest Artist Recital)

Oct. 29: Magnets: Brazilian Student Recital (Marshall University)

Oct. 29: Angelique Clay, soprano; Cliff Jackson, piano (WVU Guest Artist Recital)

Oct. 30: Red Priest “A Nightmare in Venice” (Charleston Chamber Music Society)

Oct. 30: Donald George, tenor (interview); Lucy Mauro, piano (WVU Guest Artist/Faculty Recital)

Oct. 31: Ramsue Lopez, guitar (Marshall University Guest Artist Recital)

Oct. 31: WVU Choir Concert “Myths, Mystics, & Magic”

Oct. 31: Borealis Wind Quintet (West Liberty University Concert Artist Series)

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