Local artist feature – Rachel Grimes

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While Lunchtime Classics takes its summer break, we’re looking back at some of the program’s featured artists.

Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky. She has achieved a certain amount of fame in the ground-breaking chamber ensemble Rachel’s, with whom she toured and released six albums. Rachel’s solo releases include Book of Leaves, Marion County 1938, and Compound Leaves.

Grimes’s music defies a tidy description. Her music crosses many genres, from classical to jazz to ambient to Americana. BBC reviewer Spencer Grady said of her solo debut album that…

“Her most wondrous gift was always her ability to paint the most evocative pictures in purest ivory and her lightness of touch allows majestic statements such as the Corner Room and Long Before Us to ring out, echoing with sensuousness and sentiment before drawing the listener back in.”

Grimes is one of the artists included in the June 2014 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine, highlighting artistic interpretations of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Rachel Grimes’ Anthem for Flag Day

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In its June 2014 issue, the Smithsonian Magazine is highlighting artistic interpretations of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” from visual and graphic art, poetry to music. Included in the collection is Rachel Grimes, who composed this arrangement of our National Anthem, shifting it’s bright, major-key melody to a more contemplative, minor key.

Arrangements of The Star-Spangled Banner are common – most every version sung at a sporting event is an arrangement (sometimes to its detriment). Igor Stravinsky arranged our national hymn for a Boston performance, where the police misunderstood a law prohibiting the tampering with The Star-Spangled Banner. Stravinsky, who became a US citizen the following year, withdrew it from the performance (the score and parts were confiscated, but Stravinsky was not arrested).

Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock performance ranks as one of the more memorable.

And you can join this national sing-a-long on June 14th at 4pm.
star spangled banner

English Piano Concertos

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The Piano Concerto in C by Ralph Vaughan Williams was written in 1926 and 1930-31 (movement 3). It premiered in February, 1933, by Harriet Cohen, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra directed by Sir Adrian Boult. The Finale was edited later and the work was published in 1936. The concerto was not well received at first, being considered unrewarding to the soloist. Though the piece provides ample opportunity for virtuosity in all movements, Vaughan Williams treated the piano as a percussion instrument instead of a melodic instrument.

Bela Bartók was extremely impressed with the work, and yet Vaughan Williams took the advice of friends and reworked the piece into a Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, adding more texture to the piano parts.

The final version of Frederick Delius’s Piano Concerto is a work in one continuous movement. However it began life as a three-movement composition. Delius was inspired to write a concerto for piano and orchestra after witnessing a performance of the concerto by Edvard Grieg. After sketching out a few measures, however, Delius became disillusioned. His interest in the work was reignited after a conversation with Ferrucio Busoni.

On this week’s English Pastorale, we’ll hear the original versions of both the Vaughan Williams and Delius piano concertos.

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Piano Concerto in C
Frederick Delius – Piano Concerto

Taka Kigawa Plays Boulez

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Pianist Taka Kigawa will perform Boulez’s piano music later this year at (le) Poisson Rouge.

We’re giving you a chance to hear and see Taka Kigawa play Boulez, at Classical 90.5, Thursday, June 19 at 11am. Daniel Gilliam will talk with Mr. Kigawa and we’ll take your questions. The event will be recorded for online listening (not a live broadcast).

It’s free and open to the public, but we’d like to know you’re coming. You can RSVP by filling out the form below, or just show up. 619 S. Fourth Street, Louisville, KY 40202. More information at studio@wuol.org

Local Artist Feature – Diane Earle

Diane Earle

While Lunchtime Classics takes its summer break, let’s look back at some of our featured artists.

Diane Earle is artist-in-residence and professor of music at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Ky. She has performed extensively in 10 countries and 30 states. Recent performances include concert tours to Italy and China.

Dr. Earle played several performances in 2009 celebrating the 300th birthday of the piano culminating with a program produced by Kentucky Educational Television (KET) for the series Kentucky Muse. She is featured on several CDs and DVDs.

Dr. Earle received a bachelor of music degree in piano performance, magna cum laude, from University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. She has a master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees in piano performance and literature from Ohio State University. While a doctoral student there, she received the outstanding teaching associate award and won the doctoral concerto competition. Dr. Earle has also studied organ and voice.

Earle has been a Lunchtime Classics guest artist many times. Enjoy Dr. Earle’s performance of George Gershwin’s Embraceable You: