pelleas

Music Post: When words inspire music

If you think words can convey information better than music can, you will be interested to know that Felix Mendelssohn, who wrote poetry and whose letters are a joy to read even today, felt that music could convey emotions too complex to be explained using words. Music, he felt, was…

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Music Post: Classical music, big and small

Classical music has evolved such that it is performed on parallel pathways – the big symphonic concert and the small chamber performance. The difference between the two used to be public performance versus party performance, but now we pay good money to hear both symphonies and quartets. Some composers are…

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Music Post: The Music of a Beautiful Woman

Painters throughout history have depicted beautiful women = the subject seems to have fascinated most artists – including those who are gay or who are themselves women, suggesting that this fascination it is not only sexual. Women often inspire classical music as well. In the past when my radio show…

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Music Post: Ludwig Van Ordinaire

At any given moment on classical music history, a few figures dominated, while others worked in their shadows. The most extreme example of this would be the three decades of the 1800s, when everything happened in the shadow of one composer: Beethoven. Beethoven’s First Symphony, five years in the making,…

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Music Post: Rock stars working classical

James Pankow in concert with Chicago. James Pankow, the trombone player with Chicago, has formal training. Jazz fusion star Chick Corea briefly attended Juilliard. Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman has some classical piano training. Beatles arranger George Martin had schooling in piano and oboe. Keith Emerson, left, and Rick Wakeman,…

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Music Post: When classical music is melodious

Some great classical music is built from melodic fragments rather than what Edward Elgar would call “the great tune.” Beethoven’s Fifth grows from the shortest musical motto. Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” grows from sounds that pound. Yet Beethoven and Stravinsky also wrote great tunes, like the slow movement of the…

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Music Post: The most essential composers – yours, mine, and other people’s

I don’t have them any more. When I moved to Hawaii I gave them away. But once I had a collection of books about classical music, all structured with chapters on each of “the greatest composers.” What fascinated me about these books was the evolution over time of which composers,…

hpr-studio

Music Post: How I Do “HDO”

Recently I have taken to shooting selfies in the Hawaii Public Radio studio on Saturday morning just to have a photo to put with the weekly FB reminder that the show is coming on. Last weekend, though, it occurred to me to shoot the actual studio and explain what you…

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Music Post: Concertos for Multiple Soloists

Isaac Stern, left, and Yo-Yo Ma, right, performing the Brahms Double Concerto in Japan. “Multiple soloists” sounds like an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp.” But as long as they take turns taking solos, I guess it’s accurate to call them soloists. It does raise the intriguing question of whether two soloists…

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Music Post: Howard Dicus, rock jock

Howard at age 14, in the ninth grade, in 1967. In 1970, when I did high school news for WNAV Annapolis, Md., while entering my own senior year in high school in Pasadena, Md., my goal was to earn the station’s next weekend disc jockey shift. I wanted to be…