Inspiration from Shakespeare

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Tchaikovsky was a Shakespeare fan. If you don’t believe it, just consider the number of his works inspired by the Bard: Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasia, Hamlet Overture-Fantasia, Incidental music to Hamlet, and The TempestFantasia.

Shakespeare has always inspired composers, including Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Britten and Thomas Adès.

Tchaikovsky’s The Tempest was suggested by Vladimir Stassov. He gave Tchaikovsky an outline of the play, that served as the musical narrative. Tchaikovsky’s music evokes a stormy sea, the love between Miranda and Ferdinand, and the magic of Ariel.

Watch Gustavo Dudamel talk about his recording project featuring the Shakespearean works of Tchaikovsky, and don’t miss Kentucky Shakespeare’s performances this summer!

Lisa Spurlock Gilmore

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Classical 90.5′s live music program, Lunchtime Classics, is on summer hiatus. In the meantime, we’ll look back at some notable past performers.

Lisa Spurlock Gilmore, harpist, is a national award winner, soloist, and recording artist. Among other accomplishments, she was 1st place winner of the American Harp Society National Competition in the Grandjany Division.

Lisa began studying music on the piano and violin at age two. She received much of her early musical training from her parents who are both professional musicians and members of the Juilliard alumni. At age eight, she began studying harp under the instruction of Linda Wood Rollo. The following year, at age nine, Lisa received a full scholarship to study at the Summer Harp Masterclass at Indiana University with Distinguished Professor of Music, Susann McDonald. Lisa later enrolled in the Bachelor of Music program at Indiana University under McDonald’s instruction.

Lisa performs for weddings, parties, and social events including the Kentucky Derby’s annual Derby Ball, and corporate parties for companies. She has made numerous concert appearances with the Louisville Chorus and performed with members of the Louisville Orchestra. Lisa founded the Louisville Harp Academy, one of the largest and most comprehensive harp studios in the region, offering lessons to students of all levels, beginner through advanced.

Enjoy this Lisa Spurlock Gilmore’s rendition of Bach from a past Lunchtime Classics appearance:

A Remembrance of Lorin Maazel

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Maestro Lorin Maazel

Obituary from the New York Times

Obituary from The New Yorker

Healthy Competition

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Competition is all around us, from sporting events to how many ads you see for a particular product. Composers haven’t been insulated from competition, either. When Joseph Haydn was working in London, his former student Ignaz Pleyel showed up and became his teacher’s rival. Haydn decided he would write a Sinfonia Concertante, like Pleyel’s (who had already written 4 of his 6). This hybrid music would combine elements of a concerto (a soloist or group of soloists and orchestra) and a symphony. Haydn only wrote one, but it has become one of his most beloved works.
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Do you know what Pleyel is mainly known for today? Pianos.

(Chopin’s favorite piano was a Pleyel)

The lighter side of English music

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Light music is a generic term for a British musical style of “light” orchestral music, which originated in the 19th century. It reached its peak in the mid 20th century but continues until the present day.

The style is a less serious form of Western classical music, usually comprised of shorter orchestral pieces and suites designed to appeal to a wider audience than more serious compositions. The form emphasises melody and tonal harmonies.

Occasionally known as mood music or concert music, light music is often grouped with the easy listening genre, although this designation is misleading. Although mainly a British phenomenon, light music was also popular in the United States. Composers such as Leroy Anderson and George Gershwin could be considered American progenitors of light music.

We’ll hear light music from Great Britain on the next English Pastorale, Sunday at 9 am.