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:

Featured Album: Vivaldi Recomposed

Richter Four Seasons Recomposed

How many times have you heard Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons? How many times do you think violinists and orchestras have performed it? It is one of the most popular and iconic works in classical music (actually, Baroque music), and with good reason: it’s full of color, evocative and powerful. Max Richter has taken this unforgettable music and “Recomposed” it for violinist Daniel Hope, the Concerthaus Chamber Orchestra of Berlin and conductor AndrĂ© de Ridder (Richter also plays the Moog Synthesizer), and released it on Deutsche Grammophon. Listen to it this week as our Featured Album!

Chicago Symphony plays Stravinsky

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Both familiar and unfamiliar works by composer Igor Stravinsky are on this week’s broadcast by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The Symphony in Three Movements took over three years to write. Begun in April, 1942, work on several Hollywood films delayed the work’s finish until August 1945. Stravinsky referred to it as his “war symphony” citing actual world events inspiring the three movements. The first movement was inspired by a documentary on Japanese scorched earth tactics in China. The third movement deals with footage of German soldiers goose-stepping and the allied forces’ eeventual success.

Stravinsky’s Eight Instrumental Miniatures were scored for 2 Flutes, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, harp, celesta, violins, violas, cellos and basses. It is an orchestration of studies for piano originally called Les cinq doigts. The original work comprises eight short pieces in which the right hand generally plays only five notes, remaining in essentially the same position at the keyboard throughout. The third movement is an arrangement of the Russian folk melody Kamarinskaya.

Pribaoutki is a cycle of four songs composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1914 to Russian texts by Alexander Afanasyev. The title can not be directly translated into English from the Russian. But they can accurately be referred to as nonsense songs. The cycle is short, lasting only four minutes in performance.

The Concertino, played on 12 instruments, is an arrangement of the original for string quartet. Originally written in 1920 Paris, the revamped version appeared in 1952 in Los Angeles. Stravinsky wrote, “My present intentions towards my earlier work have led me to re-bar it rather extensively, to clarify some of the harmony, and to punctuate and phrase it more clearly. Although the violin part remains untouched, the three other string parts are re-distributed among the ten wind and brass instruments.”

The Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra is one of two suites that were originally part of two sets of “Easy Pieces” for piano duet written between 1914 and 1917. The second suite was actually written first in Paris in 1921. The Polka movement was dedicated to Sergei Diaghilev, intended to be a musical portrait of the choreographer.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Marcelo Leninger, Matthew Aucion and Charles Dutoit in these works and pieces by Ravel and Debussy, Sunday evening at 6 pm.

English Ballet

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Music for the ballet is our feature on this week’s An English Pastorale with music by Edward Elgar, Arnold Bax and Constant Lambert.

Edward Elgar’s The Sanguine Fan was written in 1917 for a performance in support of war charity. The light plot of the ballet was taken from the scenario depicted on a sylvan fan by artist Charles Sonder. The entire composition wasn’t recorded until 1973. We’ll hear the 1989 recording by Brydon Thomson and the London Philharmonic.

From Dusk Till Dawn by Arnold Bax (PHOTO) was commissioned by the same woman who commissioned Elgar’s work in the same year. She requested a ballet from Bax for a charity matinee at London’s Palace Theatre. The story revolves around china figures who can suddenly move one summer night.

Constant Lambert’s Romeo and Juliet is one of only two commissions for British composer by the famous Russian choreographer Sergei Diaghilev. It’s not a traditional retelling of the Shakespeare classic, but about a ballet company rehearsing for a performance. The story picks up on the traditional tale except for the fact that at the end the lovers elope by airplane. The original set and costume design was a collaboration by Max Ernst and Joan Miro.

Join us for An English Pastorale Sunday morning at 9 on Classical 90.5. In the meantime, enjoy an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet with photos of the set design: