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Classically Speaking

Classical music in West Virginia and Beyond

Quartetto Gelato & the Ohio Valley Symphony

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 29, 2010
Quartetto Gelato
Quartetto Gelato

Listening to Quartteto Gelato is a lot of fun. They play Italian songs, tango, Eastern European folk music, baroque, classical , and romantic music – anything that catches their fancy.

Peter de Sotto plays violin and mandolin and sings in the quartet. When I called him last Friday, he was running between two flights on his way from one gig to the next. He managed to arrange an interview for the following Monday while still catching his flight. Listen to our conversation about the ensemble and their roots as strolling musicians, and about their upcoming performance with the Ohio Valley Symphony in Point Pleasant this Saturday.

This audio player requires Adobe Flash
Interview with Peter De Sotto of Quartetto Gelato
Musical antics with the Quartetto Gelato


NPR’s Deceptive Cadence

(News, Meta) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 24, 2010
Deceptive Cadence blog logo

NPR has a new classical music blog – Deceptive Cadence

They’ve posted live chats with performers and composers, concert recordings, classical cartoons, links, and lists. I really like their series of stories about first loves in classical music, with contributions from composers, performers, conductors, and listeners. They want to hear your stories too: “What’s the First Piece of Classical Music You Fell in Love With?”

Yesterday, they posted a fun classical music trivia game. Give this puzzler a try.  Can you match pieces of music to the animals that inspired them? (I almost got them all – I needed an extra attempt to match one pair)

I’ve added Deceptive Cadence to our recommended links over on the right side of the page. They’re all good reads -- but of course no replacement for stopping in here to read (and listen to and watch) what’s new with Classically Speaking and WV Public Broadcasting. :)

Reading Lang Lang

(Commentary) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 22, 2010

In the times that I am not bustling around producing interviews and other programs or preparing for October’s fund drive, I’ve been discussing this New Yorker profile of pianist Lang Lang with anyone who will put up with me, including violinist/WV Symphony concertmaster Amelia Chan and pianist Gerald (Jerry) Lee (whose interview will be posted some time next week).

The article, by David Remnick, makes for a good long read: “The Olympian: How China’s Greatest Musician Will Win the Beijing Games.”

Lang Lang Live in Vienna

I have his new recording, Lang Lang Live in Vienna, here on my desk, and I’ll have 10 minutes to interview him over the phone next week. I’m having trouble really listening to the music on the album, in part because because I’ve read and heard about him so much more than I’ve seen or heard him play. It’s hard for his performance to get past the noise that his personality and publicity have created in my mind, at least.

Why can’t I calm my thoughts enough to forget that he has his own line of sneakers when I’m listening to him play Chopin?  (Am I simply spreading this mental contagion by writing about these issues here instead of just presenting you with the music?)

Lang Lang Shoes
Lang Lang's Signature Adidas Shoes

These are just a few stray thoughts on a Wednesday afternoon, nothing too clearly figured out  yet. How about you? What are your reactions to Lang Lang’s music or to his story?


Lang Lang playing Chopin's Waltz Brilliante Op. 34, No. 1 in A Flat Major


Opening Night in Wheeling

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 21, 2010
Smith, Andre Raphel
Maestro Andre Raphel
The Wheeling Symphony will play its opening night concert this Friday. Listen to Maestro Andre Raphel discuss opening night and the music for this concert:
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Maestro Raphel describes the Wheeling Symphony's opening night concert 2010

For more about the Wheeling Symphony’s 2010-2011 season, you can read and listen to our preview.

On Friday's concert, guest artist William Wolfram will perform Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the orchestra.  Here’s a teaser – Wolfram playing Liszt’s interpretation of themes from Bellini’s opera Norma: 

Concert season is just getting into full swing – check out our calendar for more about the classical concerts around the state over the next week. In addition to the Wheeling Symphony's opening night celebration, the West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra is playing their first concert, there’s chamber music in Charleston with the La Catrina Quartet, Shepherd University’s Opera Workshop is presenting Hansel and Gretel, and the WV Symphony Orchestra is on tour:WV Classical Calendar - September


Related links:

* Wheeling Symphony

* Wheeling Symphony 2010-2011 Season

* William Wolfram

* WV Classical Calendar – September 2010

More Movie Opera News

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 20, 2010

Met Opera Crowd
Heading into the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center

Thank you to Barbara Elliott who shared another theater where you can see the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD. She wrote this comment on our last blog post: 

“For those of us in the southeastern part of the state, the closest place to see the Met broadcasts is the Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville VA. It is a beautifully restored historic theater. They usually offer a free lecture about the opera beforehand.”

Sounds lovely!

- - - - -

Wherever you are considering checking out the opera, you should take a look at this preview of the Met’s Ring Cycle in the New York Times. The pictures and the descriptions are out of this world! This production of Das Rheingold will be in movie theaters in October.

Read the article: “The Valhalla Machine”

See the slide show: “High Tech Wizardry at the Met”


Previously: Extra, Extra: Opera at the Movies and Pubcaster Special: Opera Newsletter


Extra, Extra: Opera at the Movies!

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 14, 2010

The Metropolitan Opera will broadcast operas into movie theaters Live in HD starting on October 9 this year. It's their fifth season of HD movie theater opera broadcasts.

Das Rheingold at the Met
Richard Termine
An early technical rehearsal for Robert Lepage's new production of Wagner's "Das Rheingold" at the Metropolitan Opera

This year, twelve operas will be beamed to movie theaters: two from Wagner (Das Rheingold and Die Walküre), Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Puccini’s Girl of the Golden West, a tragedy and a comedy by Donizetti (Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale), Nixon in China by John Adams, Capriccio by Richard Strauss, a Rossini rarity – Comte d’Ory, Gluck’s Iphegenie en Tauride, and a pair by Giuseppe Verdi – Don Carlo and Il Trovatore.


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

Did I miss any? Don't even get me started listing all the stunning singers and fabulous directors who will be involved in the season.

In West Virginia, you can see these operas at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville and in Granville (Morgantown). Nearby, there are theaters in Ashland, Kentucky; Germantown, Maryland; and Pittsburgh. 

Shawn Patterson, WV Public Broadcasting Marketing Director extraordinaire, has put together a special edition of the Pubcaster newsletter with more information about the movie broadcasts, and a nice introduction to opera terms.  Check it out. Print it out and tape it to the fridge. Send it to all your friends.

Anna Netrebko in Don Pasquale
Marty Sohl
Anna Netrebko in Donizetti's Don Pasquale

Be sure to stay tuned to WV Public Radio and to our Facebook page for more information. I’ll be giving away tickets to screenings in Barboursville, Granville, and Germantown throughout the year.


Hope to see you there:)


More about the Met Opera on the radio and at the movies:
  * 100 years of opera on the radio
  * Hamlet in HD
  * Onegin Once Again
  * Met Opera returns, expands in WV
  * Opera Goes to the Movies in WV

First Opera Series:
  * Tosca
  * Carmen
  * The Love for Three Oranges 

Arvo Pärt Playlist (Happy 75!)

(CD Reviews, Commentary) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 10, 2010

“Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,

To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells”

-Edgar Allen Poe, “The Bells”

The word for the day is: tintinnabulation. Estonian composer Arvo Pärt has used it tp describe the technique he uses to create his resonant, beautiful music.  

Here’s my playlist for celebrating Arvo Pärt’s birthday and his music. He turns 75 this Saturday!

Arvo Part Passio

Passio / The Hillier Ensemble

The first time that I heard Pärt’s music, it was the Passio, performed in Indiana, about five years ago. I really like this recording, but experiencing it in a live performance was overwhelming. The oboe and bassoon complement the solemn vocal lines so well.


Arvo Part Da Pacem

Da Pacem / Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Paul Hiller, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, organ

A beautiful mix of choral pieces, several with vocal soloists and organ. These are all wonderful performances. This album is a great introduction to Pärt’s music, and one of my favorites in our music library. I was going to pick a favorite track to highlight, but I give up. I love them all.

Arvo Part Cantique

Cantique / Kristjan Järvi

(listen free online with NPR’s “First Listen” through September 21)

A new album!  I've just started listening to this new recording through NPR's First Listen. Stabat Mater and Cantique provide more of the lovely choral music that I expect from Pärt, with the addition of strings. I'm enjoying hearing his approach to the orchestra in his Symphony No. 3 on this album. It's intense.


Part Portrait Dubeau

Arvo Part: PortraitAngele Dubeau and La Pieta

These lush string arrangements are quite pretty, and they capture some of the peaceful spirit found in the works that they have chosen. I like this album, but I think Dubeau's approach worked better for the previous album in this series, Philip Glass: Portrait. Listen to my interview with Angèle Dubeau here.

Smile album

Bonus track: Spiegel im Spiegel [Mirrors in Mirrors] from Anne Akiko Meyers’s album Smile

A perfect moment, frozen in time. You may have heard this music in the film There Will Be Blood (in great contrast to the rest of the dense score by Johnny Greenwood and the manic use of the third movement from Brahms's Violin Concerto).  You can hear Meyers describing her approach to Spiegel im Spiegel in our interview here.


For more, check out Thursday’s episode of Performance Today, which features Pärt’s recent Symphony No. 4 “Los Angeles.”  In an interview on that show, Pärt caught my attention with this description of his music when he said, “It is not mysticism, it is real life.”  

What do you think of Pärt’s music? Do you have a strong memory of discovering it? What other recordings or pieces do you recommend? 

Peter DuBois Interview

(Interviews, News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 10, 2010
DuBois, Peter
Peter DuBois

West Virginia native Peter DuBois is the new host of the public radio program of choral and organ music With Heart and Voice, from WXXI in Rochester, New York. 

This weekend, DuBois’s first nationally syndicated episode of the program will be heard around the country. Listen to the radio story about DuBois and With Heart and Voice here.

I couldn't fit our entire conversation into the radio story. I do think you will enjoy the other stories that he has to share, so I’ve posted the interview audio here. You can stream or download it below:

This audio player requires Adobe Flash
Interview with Peter DuBois

Silence and Sleep

 Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 7, 2010

A short week can be especially hectic. Take some time to listen.


David Tudor performing 4'33" by John Cage, via The Rest is Noise


- - -


TorQ Ensemble performing "Sleep" by EricWhitacre

WV Classical Calendar -- September 2010

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · September 1, 2010

September 2011

Lots of concerts as music students head back to school and new concert seasons begin! Let me know what is missing!

Sept. 2: Richard Kosowski, tenor; Russell Young (WVU Guest Artist Recital)

Sept. 5: Wheeling Symphony Music Under the Stars, with Chris Tedesco, trumpet

Sept. 5: WV Symphony at the Greenbrier

Sept. 5: WV Symphony with Ryan Hardiman and Randall Reid-Smith (Schoenbaum Stage, Charleston)

Sept. 6: WV Symphony (Beckley)

Sept. 7: Kim Goodman, flute (WVU Guest Artist Recital)

Sept. 10-11: West Virginia Symphony: Opening Night with David Kim and Carter Brey

Sept. 10: Divine Melodies: Dale Capehart, baritone (MUsic Alive)

Sept. 14: Tuesday with Fran (Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg) (interview)

Sept 15: Greg Partain, piano (WVU Guest Artist Recital)

Sept. 16: The Music of Gil Trythall (WVU)

Sept. 19: Michael Stroeher, trombone (Marshall University Faculty Recital)

Sept. 22: Alderson-Broaddus Afternoon Recital

Sept. 23: WVU Symphony Orchestra

Sept. 24: Wheeling Symphony with William Wolfram, piano

Sept. 24-26: Hansel and Gretel (Shepherd University Opera Workshop)

Sept. 25: WV Symphony (Chuck Mathena Center, Princeton)

Sept. 25: La Catrina String Quartet (CCMS)

Sept. 26: Appalachian Choral Invitational Concert (Alderson-Broaddus)

Sept. 26: Joint Marshall University Faculty Recital

Sept. 26: WV Symphony (Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church, Hurricane)

Sept. 27: WVU Faculty Chamber Music Recital

Sept. 30: Martin Saunders, trumpet (Marshall University Faculty Recital)

Sept. 30-Oct. 2: Opera Scenes (WVU)

Something missing? Let me know!

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