The New York Times is reporting that WQXR, New York City’s only classical music station, will unveil a new sound next week (when it also moves to a new position on the radio dial). The good news is that classical music will remain the focus. But WQXR may no longer be a place to discover unfamiliar or challenging music.
Funny how frogs capture the human imagination. Maybe it’s the green skin; perhaps it’s the warts, protruding eyes, peculiar life-cycle, the whole amphibian thing…or the sounds they make and what they look like when they make them.
Today in the Mozart Café, I’m airing a symphony that puts humans and frogs in the same sonic pond. It’s by my favorite classical era eccentric: Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf. It’s his Symphony No. 5 (Transformation of Lycian Peasants into Frogs after Ovid’s Metamorphoses.) It’s interesting for me to see how the inspiration for this symphony was regarded by a Dittersdorf contemporary – Austrian painter, Johann Georg Platzer. This is his Latona Turning the Lycian Peasants into Frogs from 1730. So, here you have them – frogs à la the 18th century. My, but they’re large. Note, too, the human terror. No wonder an alternate tale of frog-turned-prince arose. A much-needed rebuttal.
(For a summary of the tale and to see a larger, creepier version of this painting, click here.)
Get to know Lithuanian violinist Julian Rachlin – whose recording of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D lights up our air and stream this afternoon – a little better through this joyful finale from the 2007 Rachlin Presents festival, documented in a film by Jasmina Hajdany. For this highlight of the festival, he’s joined by, among others, actor and producer Sir Roger Moore, violinist Janine Jansen, and cellist, Mischa Maisky:
A diminutive Spanish pianist with a giant talent passed away Friday night. Alicia de Larrocha was beloved as an interpreter of both Mozart and Spanish composers, and played with a lightness and subtlety that seemed to match her small stature. She gave her first recital at five, had her orchestral debut at age nine, and continued her career until just a few years ago when she formally retired. In addition to her role as a concert artist, she was a capable and respected teacher and arts administrator at the Frank Marshall School in Barcelona, where she herself studied with the founder as a child. Read about the highlights of her career and her approach to music making by clicking here.
Trying to make my own wish (to see this ballet, not just hear it) come true, I went looking for a good performance of Pulcinella online. Here are parts I and V of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet with choreography by Richard Alston. Performers are the Rambert Dance Company; Della Jones, soprano; Julian Pike, tenor; Martin Nelson, bass with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Brian Wright. (To see parts II – IV, click here.)
Tomorrow, September 30, Davidson College welcomes the Punch Brothers to the Duke Family Performance Hall. The group has been playing a startling mix of bluegrass, jazz and classical music to sell-out crowds around the world.
And today at 10:30 AM, you can hear WDAV’s exclusive interview with the band’s mandolin virtuoso, Chris Thile. Listen over the air at 89.9 FM, via the Public Radio App with your iPhone or via live streaming through iTunes or wdav.org.
This morning I’m airing a piece by an almost “unGoogleable” German composer, David Funck (1648-1699) , whose Suite in D, originally for bass viol consort, has been arranged for cello ensemble. It’s as much fun to watch as to hear:
This word just in from WGBH in Boston, MA: Public service broadcaster WGBH today announced plans to acquire New England’s leading all-classical music station WCRB 99.5fm from Nassau Broadcasting Partners of New Jersey. The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed pending filing with the FCC.