Latest in Classical Music

Dmitri Shostakovich composed the score to the Soviet film “The Gadfly” in 1955. The complete score to the film has just been released for the first time.

 

Photo by Chris Lee/Metropolitan Opera.

Massenet’s Thaïs in a broadcast from November 11, 2017, starring American soprano Ailyn Pérez in her role debut as the glamorous courtesan and title character. Canadian baritone Gerald Finley gave his first staged performance as the monk Athanaël, in Massenet’s intriguing exploration of the conflict between religious faith and sensual desire. French maestro Emmanuel Villaume conducted a cast that also featured tenor Jean-François Borras as Nicias and bass-baritone David Pittsinger as Palémon, in the Met’s first presentation of this opera in nearly a decade.

Wellcome Collection

Thanks to listeners in Traverse City, Honor, Petoskey, Ann Arbor, Afton and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Scott Joplin, Magnetic Rag & Maple Leaf Rag; Joshua Rifkin

2. Henri Vieuxtemps, Violin Concerto no. 5 (first movement); Sir Colin Davis/London Symphony Orchestra/Isabelle van Keulen

3. Samuel Barber, Hesitation Tango; Gloria Cheng

4. Bernard Herrmann, North by Northwest Overture; Esa-Pekka Salonen/Los Angeles Philharmonic

5. Alberich Zwyssig, Swiss Psalm (national anthem); Peter Breiner/Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra

Swedish composer and pianist Benny Andersson is best known as a co-founder of the band ABBA. He also wrote music for the musicals "Chess," "Kristina från Duvemåla" and "Mamma Mia!" 

Andersson has a new album out on Deutsche Grammophon featuring 21 of his songs. He arranged and performed the music on solo piano. The music includes ABBA hits, songs from his musicals and several original compositions. 

When we invited Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov to play a Tiny Desk concert, we rolled out the big guns. In place of the trusty upright, we wedged a 7-foot grand piano behind Bob Boilen's desk in preparation for the artist who The Times of London called "without question the most astounding pianist of our age."

Friday night at 6 p.m., tune in for the premiere broadcast of MSU in Concert on Classical IPR.

Hosted by Peter Whorf of WKAR in East Lansing, MSU in Concert is a weekly program featuring faculty artists, student ensembles and guests. The performances were recorded in locations including Cook Recital Hall, Fairchild Theatre and Wharton Center Cobb Great Hall on the Michigan State University campus.

Updated, Jan. 11, 4:00 p.m. ET: This article was updated to include new allegations of sexual assault made against Dutoit.

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine has just released her 36th album. She pairs violin concertos by Max Bruch and Sir Edward Elgar. These two pieces are the shortest (the Bruch is about 20 minutes) and longest (the Elgar is about 50 minutes) of violin concertos in the standard repertoire. 

What the world needs now is another cat video. Seriously.

Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

American pianist Byron Janis has been a powerhouse since 1942, when he played Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with conductor Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Orchestra. Janis was just fifteen years old.

The following year, Vladimir Horowitz accepted Janis as his very first piano student. Janis would go on to play with some of the greatest conductors and orchestras of the twentieth century, including Fritz Reiner, Antal Dorati, Kirill Kondrashin and Charles Munch.

 American pianist Byron Janis has performed with some of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century, including Arturo Toscanini, Eugene Ormandy and Fritz Reiner. He was also the first piano student (and one of only three total) that Vladimir Horowitz ever accepted. At the age of 89, Janis is releasing not one but three new albums.

 

Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with the verismo double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Roberto Alagna stars in both leading roles: the faithless Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and Canio, the head of a traveling performance troupe in Pagliacci. The French tenor previously sang both operas in one evening at the Met in 2009, and is one of ten singers to have accomplished this feat with the company since 1901.

Today our colleague Robert Siegel is retiring after four decades at NPR. He's covered everything from peace movements in East and West Germany to the Republican revolution of the 104th Congress, the mentally ill homeless and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China.

Over his 30-year tenure as host of All Things Considered, Robert has also chased one of his lifelong passions — classical music. He's interviewed dozens of today's most compelling musicians.

Robert Mann, a violinist and one of the founders of the Juilliard String Quartet, died on Monday at home in Manhattan. He was 97 years old.

When he was a youngster in Portland, Oregon, Mann dreamed of being a forest ranger. But destiny apparently had other plans for him: instead, he became a legendary musician.

This week, Performance Today will feature two different performances given at Interlochen.

On Thursday, hour 2 of the program (during the 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. hours) will include music performed by pianist Conrad Tao.

On Friday, hour 1 of the program (during the 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. hours) will include music performed by the string quintet Sybarite5.

 Soprano Pretty Yende grew up in a small town 200 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa. After hearing the famous “Flower Duet” by Leo Delibes in a television commercial, Yende decided to become an opera singer.

Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Donald Runnicles conducts, and the cast features soprano Lisette Oropesa as Gretel, mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught as Hansel, tenor Gerhard Siegel as the evil Witch, veteran mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick as Gertrude, the children’s mother, and baritone Quinn Kelsey as Peter, their father. The opera, based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, is performed in the acclaimed production by Richard Jones.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, January 6 at 1pm ET.

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Join Classical IPR's Kate Botello, Nancy Deneen and Amanda Sewell on New Year's Eve starting at 10 p.m. They'll have plenty of classical music and conversation, a countdown to midnight and then a reflective start to 2018. This program airs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow. Susan Graham stars in her acclaimed interpretation of the title role as the wealthy widow Hanna Glawari, opposite Paul Groves as her commitment-phobic former lover, Danilo. Sir Thomas Allen sings the role of Baron Zeta, determined to play matchmaker while unaware that he is in danger of losing his own wife, Valencienne, to the dashing Camille de Rosillon, sung respectively by Andriana Chuchman and Taylor Stayton. Ward Stare conducts in his network broadcast debut.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, December 30 at 1pm ET.

Twitter @rebecaomordia

2017 was an exciting year for new albums in classical music. There were world premieres of pieces by Bartok, Puccini and Vaughan Williams. There were also lots of anniversaries celebrated in music, from the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation to the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Emerson String Quartet.  

Join Classical IPR's Amanda Sewell for a look at some notable classical music releases from 2017. This program airs Wednesday December 27 at 5 p.m. with an encore presentation on Monday January 1 at 1 p.m.

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Celebrate Christmas Day on Classical IPR with recent holiday concerts from around Northern Michigan. Local concerts are listed below.

View Classical IPR's complete holiday season program schedule by clicking here.

Christmas Day 2017

8 a.m.: Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra's Messiah plus Bach & Rutter

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thank you to listeners in Gaylord, Cedar, Northport, Wolverine and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Various, Happy Holidays Medley; Keith Lockhart/Boston Pops Orchestra & Tanglewood Festival Chorus

2. Dan Forrest, Carol of Joy; Ronald Staheli/BYU Choirs and Orchestra

3. Traditional, Lord of the Dance; John Langstaff/Christmas Revels

4. Sergei Prokofiev, Piano Concerto no. 4 (third and fourth movements); Andre Previn/London Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy

5. Leon Boellmann, Toccata from Gothic Suite; Carlo Curley

Ben Shirley's story is one of redemption. He'd been playing bass in bars, clubs and arenas in the Los Angeles area since he was 15 when he fell down a path of drugs and alcohol. Four bottles of vodka and $360 worth of heroin a day brought him down hard on Skid Row.

It was at the non-profit The Midnight Mission where Shirley turned his life around in 2011. Now, at 53, he's an undergrad in The San Francisco Conservatory of Music's program of Technology and Applied Composition. He debuted an original piece, "We Need Darkness to See the Stars," earlier this month.

Credit olagjeilo.com

  Ola Gjeilo is one of the most in-demand composers alive today. He’s not even 40 and has already had his music performed by major ensembles including the Choir of King’s College Cambridge and the Phoenix Chorale. His newest album is called Winter Songs, and it features original compositions and his new arrangements of some Christmas favorites.

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