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Classically Speaking

Classical music in West Virginia and Beyond

Janis-Rozena Peri: Recital & Interview

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · April 28, 2011

On her recital this Sunday in Morgantown, soprano Janis-Rozena Peri will sing songs from different places and times in three different languages. Despite their differences, these songs some common ideas. We spoke earlier this week about the songs, the themes they share, and her approach to music and semi-retirement:

Listen to our conversation and check out her recital program here:

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Interview with Janis-Rozena Peri


The Community Music Program of the College of Creative Arts


Janis-Rozena Peri, soprano

Catherine Crotty, piano

Sunday, May 1, 5:30 p.m.

Music for a while.

All ye songsters                                                    Purcell

Music for a while     

Love can make you crazy .                                                          

Das verlassene Mägdelein                                 Hugo Wolf

Das verlassene Mägdelein                                 Robert Schumann

Spleen                                                        Claude Debussy                       

Losing my Mind                                                Sondheim                                                                                 

War: what is it good for?  Absolutely Nothing!!                        

C                                                                      Poulenc

Au pays ou se fait la guerre                               Deparc

Noel des enfants qui n’ont plus de maison           Debussy


 The Teacher-Student Connection: Arnold taught Alban who taught Kurt who taught etc.

Erhebung                                                   Arnold Schoenberg

Sommertage                                                      Alban Berg

Die Nachtigall                                                   Alban Berg

Surabaya Johnny                                               Kurt Weill


The great divide: body and spirit, with the river in between.

A Negro speaks of Rivers                                  Margaret Bonds

City Called Heaven                                           arr Hall Johnson

Ride on King Jesus                                            arr Hall Johnson

Music for a Royal Wedding

(Commentary, Just for Fun) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · April 28, 2011
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Will you be watching the wedding?

As if it's not wild enough that I'm heading to Moundsville for the next two days, I've promised a friend to stay up tonight (tomorrow morning?) and watch the royal wedding in our cabin.*  I hadn't quite been getting into the spirit of it all, but I'm now glad to know that there will be some good British music to enjoy along with all the pomp and circumstance.

No Pachelbel, Mendelssohn, or Wagner for these kids!

"Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton are pleased to announce the music for their Wedding Service. The music has a largely British theme. The Couple have put considerable thought into selecting the music, and their choices blend traditional music with some newly commissioned pieces."

Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Delius, Walton, Finzi, Maxwell Davies, Parry, Rutter... Check out the full list of wedding music selections here. Thanks to my colleague Beth Vorhees for sharing the link!

* As much as I like The Night of the Hunter, we will not be staying in the prison. I'm not as brave as some of my colleagues.

Anvils Gone Wild

(Just for Fun) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · April 25, 2011

You probably don't need any more things clanging around your head on a Monday, but I can't get over all the versions of the Anvil Chorus from Verdi's opera Il Trovatore [The Troubador] that are out there. Here are a few to enjoy.

As presented by Buster Bunny and Plucky Duck...

Perhaps you're more of a traditionalist?

Or like your opera to swing?

Glenn Miller & His Orchestra

Are you rather a fan of the classics? (wait for it...at about 3:38)
The Cocoanuts (Marx Brothers)

Or just looking for some catharsis...


The anvils will be there this weekend at the Metropolitan Opera (on the radio and at the movies...)


Poetry or Music?

(Commentary) Permanent link
By Larry Stickler
 · April 22, 2011

What is the nature of opera? What is most important – the words, the music or the theatrical production? These are the questions being mulled over as we go to a chateau near Paris in the 1920’s.

It is the birthday of the widowed Countess Madeleine. The composer Flamand and the poet Olivier are rivals for the affection of the Countess. Whom will she choose – the composer (music) or the poet (words)?

This is the premise of the opera Capriccio by the German composer Richard Strauss (1864-1949). The libretto (script) was written by Richard Strauss and Clemens Krauss. The opera had its premier at the State Opera in Munich on October 28, 1942.

Renee Fleming in Capriccio
Ken Howard
Renee Fleming in Richard Strauss's opera Capriccio

Capriccio will be broadcast live in high definition from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to movie theaters around the world this Saturday, April 23, 2011. Local opera lovers may watch the live transmission of the opera at 1pm this Saturday in the Cinemark Theaters at the Huntington Mall or in Ashland

(Editor's note:  or at the Great Escape Theaters in Nitro or Hollywood Theaters Stadium in Morgantown and several other theaters in bordering states).

Famed soprano Renee Fleming will sing the role of Countess Madeleine and Andrew Davis will  conduct the orchestra. The expected running time of the opera broadcast is 2 hours and 45 minutes. Capriccio will be sung in German with English subtitles.

If you miss the broadcast on April 23, there will be an encore showing on Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30pm. (note: Encores will be shown in Barboursville, Ashland, and Bridgeport.)

The next live transmission from the Metropolitan Opera will be Il Trovatore by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi on Saturday, April 30 at 1 pm.

Larry Stickler
Professor of Music
Marshall University

Related links:

* Preview video selections from Strauss's Capriccio
* Metropolitan Opera Live in HD
* Listen to West Virginia Public Radio to hear the opera on the radio this Saturday at 1pm.
* Follow West Virginia Public Broadcasting on Facebook. We give away a few pairs of tickets there the week before each of the opera screenings.


 Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · April 11, 2011

Over the weekend, my friend Kathy was talking about composer Eric Whitacre. Her daughter had just played some of his music in the All-County Band, and she’s now interested in his Virtual Choir. 

This morning, I started to write her a note with some of my favorite Whitacre links, and I’ve decided to just post it here and send her this link instead. And if you have more suggestions, add them in the comments:)

First, the virtual choir – read about it here. You can also follow the choir on Twitter. Check out their performances of his pieces "Lux Aurumque" and "Sleep":

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque'


Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0, 'Sleep'

Totally cool and inspiring. But my favorite version of  “Sleep” doesn’t involve any voices – it’s a mallet ensemble arrangement, performed by the TorQ Percussion Quartet (thanks to percussionist Andrew Flanagan, who is studying at WVU, for sharing this with me).

TorQ Percussion Quartet plays Sleep, by E. Whitacre, arr. D. Morphy, B. Duinker

My two go-to Whitacre albums are Eric Whitacre: The Complete A Capella works 1991-2001 / Brigham Young University Singers, Ronald Staheli, cond. (alas, out of print) and Eric Whitacre Choral Music / Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison, cond.

You can hear Whitacre speaking about his music with Raymond Bisha in this podcast from Naxos about the Elora Festival Singers recording.

On the sillier side, my friend Robert from music school recently shared a few Whitacre-themed webcomics (isn’t the Internet wonderful some days?)

* Behind the Scenes of the Virtual Choir

* Eric Whitacre Whitafacts

* Pros and Cons of being Eric Whitacre

* A Timeline of Eric Whitacre’s Haircuts

Finally, I'm singing Whitacre's music for the first time. The Charleston Civic Chorus is singing “Water Night” this spring (our concert is May 1st!). It’s challenging to blend all the different parts, but the poetry (by Octavio Paz) and music are so lovely:

"Water Night" Eric Whitacre, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia

How about you? Anything you think I should be adding to my list of Whitacre links?

Your music, your station

 Permanent link
By Josh Stevens
 · April 8, 2011

Mm, coffee is especially good in my public radio mug with the Writer's Almanac playing...

Fiesta Josh
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Editor's note: Josh recently donated to support the programs he loves on West Virginia Public Radio. Have you?

WV Classical Calendar -- April

 Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · April 1, 2011

April 2011

The first day of each month means a new West Virginia Classical Calendar, which could be special enough, but this month always brings a bit more fun at its start, including a new Beethoven discovery featured on Performance Today.

Here's the calendar; let me know if we're missing anything!

April 1: Around the World…in About an Hour -- WV Youth Symphony, River City Youth Ballet, Appalachian Children’s Chorus (Clay Center, Charleston)

April 2: Shenandoah Conservatory Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Joseph Schwantner, guest composer)

April 3: Wesleyan Singers and Concentus Vocum

April 3: WVU Low Brass Concert

April 3: Scarborough Trio (Fairmont Chamber Music Society)

April 3: Marshall University Chamber Choir

April 4-7: Wheeling Symphony Young People’s Concert Tour

April 6: Colleen Tan, violin; Vicki Cavendish, piano (Kanawha Forum)

April 6: Shenandoah Chamber Choir

April 7: Marguerite Bostonia, organ (West Virginia Wesleyan College)

April 7: WVU Faculty Piano Quintet

April 7: Marshall University Percussion Ensemble

April 7: Sigma Alpha Iota Composer’s Showcase (Fairmont State University)

April 7: Alderson-Broaddus Chamber Music

April 8: Wheeling Symphony Pops “The Music of Led Zeppelin”

April 8: WVU New Music Concert

April 8: Robert Henry, piano (Clarksburg)

April 8: Shenandoah Brass Ensemble

 April 9: Robert Henry, piano masterclass

April 9: Trio Con Brio Copenhagen (Charleston Chamber Music Society)

April 9: Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Rossini's Comte d'Ory (various locations)

April 9: Marshall University Choir Invitational

April 9: Dallas Brass "An American Musical Journey" (West Virginia University at Parkersburg)

April 9: Clipper Erikson, piano (Randolph County Community Arts Center, Elkins)

April 10: WVU Choir

April 10: Fairmont State University Community Orchestra; Robert Henry, piano; Kim Henry, horn

April 10: Faith Esham, soprano (West Liberty University Concert Artist Series)

April 10: Nexus (Shenandoah Conservatory)

April 11: WVU Graduate Wind Quintet

April 12: Lynn Hileman, bassoon (WVU Faculty Recital)

April 12: Tuesdays with Fran: J.S. Bach Sampler (Carnegie Hall Lewisburg)

April 12: WVU Percussion Concert

April 12: West Virginia Wesleyan Wind Ensemble

April 12: Shenandoah Concert Band

April 13: The Kanawha United Presbyterian Church Choral Scholars (Kanawha Forum)

April 15: MUsic Alive: Baroque to Bernstein (First Presbyterian Church, Huntington)

April 15: Looking Glass (Marshall University)

April 15: Alderson-Broaddus Concert Choir

April 15: WVU World Music Concert

April 15: West Virginia Wesleyan Percussion Ensemble

April 15-16: WV Symphony Orchestra, “Das Lied von der Erde”

April 15-17: Opera Up Close (Shenandoah Conservatory Performances)

April 16: Shenandoah Chamber Chorus

April 16: Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra; Michael Forest, tenor "Das Lied von der Erde"

April 17: Elaine Ross, pianist/composer; Gayla Blaisdell, soprano; John Neurohr, trombone (WVU Guest Artist Recital)

April 17: Alderson-Broaddus Orchestra, Concerto Concert

April 17: Shenandoah Percussion Ensemble

April 18: WVU Chamber Winds

April 18: Anita White, piano (Glenville State College)

April 19: West Virginia Wesleyan Concert Band

April 19: WVU Symphonic Band and Concert Band

April 19: Shenandoah Guitar Ensemble

April 20: Marshall University Woodwind Ensemble

April 20: Sonos (West Virginia Wesleyan)

April 21: Alderson-Broaddus Concert Band

April 21: WVU Symphony Orchestra

April 21: Marshall University Wind Symphony

April 23: Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Strauss's Capriccio (various locations)

April 25: Phi Mu Alpha American Composers Recital (Marshall University)

April 25: WVU Electronic Music

April 26: Marshall University Orchestra

April 26: WVU Wind Symphony

April 27: Metropolitan Opera HD Encore: Rossini's Le Comte d'Ory (various locations)

April 27: River Cities Symphony Young People and Young at Heart Concert

April 28: WVU Graduate String Quartet

April 28: Marshall University Symphonic Band

April 29: Glenville State Concert Band

April 29: Marshall University Choral Collage

April 29: WV Department of Education Arts Alive! Showcase (Clay Center, Charleston)

April 30: Ohio Valley Symphony; Ilya Kaler, violin

April 30: WomanSong Spring Concert (Charleston)

April 30: Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Verdi's Il Trovatore (various locations)

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