Exploring Music: St. Matthew Passion


It’s only one of two surviving Passion settings by Bach (he may have written 4-5), first heard in 1727 and not heard again until over 100 years later when Felix Mendelssohn presented Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Berlin. This week Bill McGlaughlin dives into the St. Matthew Passion on Exploring Music (Weekdays at 7pm).

in 2011, the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle presented a compelling, semi-staged version of the St. Matthew Passion directed by Peter Sellars. It was also released it on DVD and Blu-ray.

2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music Winners

Congratulations to the 2014 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music, John Luther Adams, for his orchestral work Become Ocean, premiered by the Seattle Symphony last June.

The finalists this year, two operas, are John Adams’ (not related) The Gospel According to the Other Mary and Christopher Cerrone’s Invisible Cities.

Beethoven’s Ninth


Last week I recommended a “historically-informed performance” (HIP) recording of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Now it’s time to look at the “traditional” performances of the opus that are available.

To pick one recording out of the hundreds that are available as the greatest would be an act of folly, as any choice as “the definitive” performance would raise the hackles of almost everyone else who has an opinion on the matter. So please allow me to offer two recommendations from different eras from the history of recordings.

Herbert von Karajan recorded the entire symphonic cycle of Beethoven four (yes, 4!) times. It is generally accepted that the 1963 recordings are his best. Karajan uses spirited tempi where appropriate. Fine soloists shine in the finale of the Ninth.

Claudio Abbado’s 2000 recording with the Berlin Philharmonic stands out among others in its boxed set of the complete symphonies. Abbado had the unenviable task of taking over the reigns of the Berlin Philharmonic after decades of leadership from Karajan. But he led the group admirably during his short tenure. The Berlin musicians play sharper than before and Abbado leads them in fresh interpretations of the works.

Chamber Music Society of Louisville Announces New Season

Brooklyn Rider

The Chamber Music Society of Louisville, a presenting organization that brings in acclaimed chamber ensembles to Louisville, announced its 2014-2015 season on its Facebook page Wednesday afternoon. Next year’s season will bring to Comstock Hall (at U of L School of Music) the Los Angeles Piano Quartet, Johannes String Quartet, Amernet String Quartet, Emerson String Quartet playing the meatiest chamber works of Beethoven and Brahms, rarities like Respighi’s Il Tromanto, and two string quartets of Bartok.

L’œil écoute from Performing Arts Video on Vimeo.

Roughly, a third of the season is devoted to living composers. Of note are two works by Pierre Jalbert, whose music tends to shimmer and float above the audience. Speaking of shimmering Music from Copland House will present Ned Rorem‘s infectious Bright Music, and John Harbison‘s Songs America Loves to Sing and John Musto‘s Clarinet Sextet. Brooklyn Rider comes to Louisville (for the first time) for a bonus concert at Clifton Center in April of 2015.

Bellatrix Musica Part III: The Boulanger Sisters

Bellatrix Musica is a four-part series about the influence of women throughout music history. Part three focuses on musical sisters Nadia and Lili Boulanger.


Concertino for Harp and Orchestra-Allegretto, Germaine Tailleferre, Gillian Benet withThe Women’s Philharmonic under Jo Ann Falletta, The Women’s Philharmonic, Koch International Classics 3-7169-2

D’un Matin de Printemps, Lili Boulanger, The Women’s Philharmonicunder Jo Ann Falletta, The Women’s Philharmonic, Koch International Classics 3-7169-2

Clairieres Dans Le Ciel, Lili Boulanger, performed by Emile Naoumoff and Isabelle Sabrie, In Memoriam Lili Boulanger, Marco Polo 223636

Pieces for Cello and Piano: In C Sharp Minor, Nadia Boulanger,  performed by Emile Naoumoff and Isabelle Sabrie, In Memoriam Lili Boulanger, Marco Polo 223636

Hoedown from Rodeo, Aaron Copland, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under David Zinman, Copland, Decca B0000970

Piano Sonata-Maestoso, Elliott Carter, performed by Paul Jacobs, Elliott Carter:The Minotaur, Piano Sonata, Two Songs, Elektra Nonesuch 9 79248

Company-Movement 2, Philip Glass, The London Chamber Orchestra under Christopher Warren-Green, The Minimalist, Virgin 7 91168

Lux Aeterna, Nadia Boulanger, performed by Emile Naoumoff and Isabelle Sabrie, In Memoriam Lili Boulanger, Marco Polo 223636