Playlists

5 Classical Artists to Add to Your Playlist this Hispanic Heritage Month

by Mary Lathem

Traditionally known as Hispanic Heritage Month, the period between September 15 and October 15 is a time to celebrate the rich historical and cultural contributions of the Hispanic and Latinx communities. We picked 5 of the countless Hispanic and Latinx artists who have made their mark on the classical music world to add to your listening queue, but don’t stop here! Listen to Concierto – WDAV’s weekly program spotlighting music by Latin American and Spanish composers and musicians – to learn about more influential artists, Sundays at 6 PM. Concierto is presented in both Spanish and English. 

Are “Hispanic,” “Latino,” and “Latinx” synonymous? Not quite – though they’re sometimes used interchangeably in the United States, there are important differences between the three terms. “Hispanic” refers to those who descend from primarily Spanish-speaking countries (including Spain), and “Latino” refers to those who descend from Latin American countries, regardless of Spanish-speaking heritage. “Latinx” was introduced around 2004 as a gender-inclusive term for people of Latin American cultural or ethnic identity. At the end of the day, identity is personal to each individual!

   
   
1. Martina Arroyo

American soprano Martina Arroyo’s remarkable talent was discovered when she began to study voice as a hobby in college. Martina continued her voice training after graduation while working as an English teacher and a social worker, embarking on a legendary career after winning the Metropolitan Opera’s Audition of the Air competition in 1957. Though she built a significant following in Europe, Martina held especially close ties to the Metropolitan Opera, where she was a principal soprano for over a decade. Particularly well known for her portrayal of Verdi heroines, Martina is considered a pioneer for performers of African and Puerto Rican descent and continues to pass on her legacy through teaching and masterclasses.

   
Video: Martina Arroyo, Oralia Dominguez: “Recordare” – Requiem (Verdi) – 1969
       
2. Alondra de la Parra

Award-winning Mexican American conductor Alondra de la Parra, known for her “spellbinding and vibrant” conducting style, shows a particular commitment to the work of Latin American conductors. She was named Music Director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 2017, making her the first female principal conductor of an Australian symphony orchestra, and left the post earlier this year. Alondra currently serves as an official Cultural Ambassador of Mexico. 

               
3. Ricardo Kanji

Brazilian recorder player, flutist, conductor, and luthier Ricardo Kanji, a founding member of both the Orchestra of the 18th Century and the choir and orchestra Vox Brasiliensis, has specialized in Baroque and Classical interpretation for the majority of his career. Recently, his work reflects a special interest in preserving the music of Brazil’s colonial period. 

   
Video: Bach – Concerto in D major with Ricardo Kanji
       
4. Gabriela Lena Frank

Listed as one of the 35 most significant women composers in history by the Washington Post, composer Gabriela Lena Frank’s music “often reflects not only her own personal experience as a multi-racial Latina, but also refract her studies of Latin American cultures, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own” (from Gabriela’s personal bio). Among numerous achievements and awards, Gabriela is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a USA Artist Fellowship, and a Latin Grammy award. Outside of composition, Gabriela is a virtuosic pianist who specializes in contemporary repertoire. 

   
Video: Gabriela Lena Frank on the future of classical music
       
5. Ricardo Iznaola

Cuban American guitarist, composer, teacher, and author Ricardo Iznaola is one of the preeminent classical guitarists of his generation. Over a career spanning four decades, Ricardo has won 9 international prizes, published over 50 musical scores and 4 books, and served as Professor of Guitar at the University of Denver for 32 years. Ricardo was inducted into the Guitar Foundation of America’s Hall of Fame in 2016 and received the foundation’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award.

   
Video: “Milongueo del Ayer” Ricardo Iznaola, Gregory (Grisha) Nisnevich-guitars
       
Spotify Playlist
       
  1. Ganymed (Ganymede), Op. 19, No. 3, D544 (Franz Schubert) – Martina Arroyo
  2. Aida: Act III, “Qui Ramadès verrà… O cieli azzurri…” (Giuseppe Verdi) – Martina Arroyo
  3. “Sobre las Olas” – Juventino Rosas, Alondra de la Parra
  4. Concerto para Violão e Orquestra: II. Ibéria – Francis Hime, Alondra de la Parra
  5. “Landum” (Anonymous) – Ricardo Kanji
  6. “Matais de Incêndios” (Anonymous) – Ricardo Kanji
  7. Danza de los Muñecos – Gabriela Lena Frank
  8. Sonata Andina: IV. Finale Saqsampillo – Gabriela Lena Frank
  9. Ten Etudes-Homages: 8. Homage to Rachmaninoff – Ricardo Iznaola
  10. Valse Op. 64, No. 1 – Ricardo Iznaola
   

Classical Kids: A Playlist

By Casey Margerum

To the young ear, classical music can be tricky to figure out. A wordless concerto or a foreign language aria can feel impossible to understand, and lengthy runtimes can cause kids to squirm in their seats.

Our new Classical Kids playlist is the perfect place to start introducing children to the genre! It contains a little bit of everything—symphonic pieces, solo instrumental works, opera, art song, and choral pieces. It’s upbeat, fun, and bubbly, and all of the pieces convey a strong emotion or tell an easy-to-understand story.

Schubert tells of ill-fated trouts, Rimsky-Korsakov illustrates the frantic buzzing of bumblebees, Bernstein protests music outright, and Whitacre shares some extremely dramatic thoughts on cows.

As your children listen to this music, make it as interactive as possible. Encourage them to dance and sing along to the pieces – ask kids to make words up if it’s instrumental or in a foreign language.

They can draw a picture of what they think is happening in the music, or even write or tell you a story based on it. After they share their ideas, tell them the “real” story. Even if some details need to be left out, you can still describe the strong sisters gathering on Wagner’s mountaintop, Belcore’s hilarious boasting, and Juliette’s outburst of joy as she attends her first grand party.

Ask your kids what they like and don’t like, and find more music that suits their tastes. Sit down together and learn about the composers of their favorite pieces, about why they wrote them, about what instruments they used to illustrate their ideas. Encourage your kids’ curiosity, and allow yourself to be curious, too!

Listen on Spotify

Music for the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

When it comes to heavenly bodies, none has provided more musical inspiration than the moon. The most frequently celebrated element of the earth’s satellite is its light, an aspect captured by composers as diverse as Beethoven and Debussy.

Numerous selections evoke the calm of night, while others imagine fanciful travel to the moon, and the wonders that await there. The phases of the moon stir the musical imagination in some of these works, as do the places from where we see it.

Most striking about this list is the number of romantic songs, from opera arias and choruses, to lieder and vintage Americana. We’re pleased to offer this contemplative sampling to observe the anniversary of the adventurous lunar landing fifty years ago.

  1. Beethoven – “Moonlight” Sonata
  2. Daniel Elder – “Ballade to the Moon”
  3. Elgar – In Moonlight
  4. R. Strauss – Moonlight Music from “Capriccio”
  5. Otto Nicolai – Moon Chorus from “The Merry Wives of Windsor”
  6. Debussy – Claire de lune
  7. Stella Sung – Dance of the White Lotus under the Silver Moon
  8. Lu Wencheng – Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake
  9. Dvorak – “Song to the Moon,” from “Rusalka”
  10. Frank Bridge – “Moonlight,” from “The Sea”
  11. Offenbach – Overture from “Voyage to the Moon”
  12. Haydn – “What a Delightful World,” from “The World on the Moon”
  13. John Williams – “Over the Moon,” from “E.T.”
  14. Schubert – “An den Mond” (“To the Moon”)
  15. Joe Burke/Benny Davis – “Carolina Moon”
  16. Mili Balakirev – “The Crescent Moon”
  17. Richard Rodgers (arr. André Previn) – “Blue Moon”
  18. Eric Whitacre – “Goodnight Moon”
  19. J. Strauss, Jr. – “From Earth to Moon: Blue Danube Waltz,” from “2001: A Space Odyssey”
  20. Brahms – “The Moon Veils Its Face”
  21. William Walton – “Moonlight,” from “As You Like It”
  22. Nico Muhly – “Moondrunk,” from “Three Moon Songs”
  23. Alexandre Desplat – “New Moon,” from “The Twilight Trilogy”