Classical 101

Advent Voices

8 hours ago
Advent candles
Liesel / Wikimedia Commons

Advent is a time of quiet contemplation and waiting. It's waiting for darkness to become light and for hopes to be realized. Throughout the centuries Advent has been observed musically in sacred and secular ways.

Join Lynne Warfel for an hour of the most beautiful vocal music inspired by and written for Advent. Listen Sunday, November 29 at 4 pm on Classical 101.

Thanksgiving with Cantus

Nov 23, 2015
Curtis Johnson

Cantus, one of the premiere men's vocal ensembles, talk with host Alison Young about the holiday, music and food. This year's special presentation will focus on the importance of heritage, including works from the Sacred Harp, Lakota Wiyanki by Herrington/Woodside and is the premiere of Psalm of the Soil, by Sarah Kirkland Snider.

Listen to this Thanksgiving special, Thursday, November 26 starting at 7pm on Classical 101

On a long drive, Itzhak Perlman will sometimes listen to classical music on the radio and try to guess who's playing.

"There is always a question mark," he says. "If it's good, boy, I hope it's me. If it's bad, I hope it's not me."

Michael Rene Torres, Executive Director C.O.D.E ensemble

It has become common practice to shop and eat local. But what about listening local?

The Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble has joined forces with Wild Goose Creative to bring a free concert of 'Ohio Made' music to the public this Saturday afternoon. The entire program focuses on New Music made here, in the capital city, and they are encouraging the public to come as you are, 4:00 PM Saturday.

image of a portrait of Mozart in which he wears a bright red coat

It's an interesting irony – Mozart composed his Symphony No. 33 (K. 319), with its vivacious opening and beginning-to-end loveliness, before a backdrop of impending financial disaster and professional dissatisfaction.

Limelight Magazine

"Honey, have you seen those three violas?" "I think they're in the trunk, dear." Said NO ONE...EVER. Really?  Who leaves an instrument in the trunk?

Ricardo Morales / Twitter

For all of us who (attempted to) play the clarinet, there is nothing more enjoyable than spending time with someone who really can play the clarinet. I wasn't bad, but let's face it - I am in radio for a reason.

Riccardo Chailly
Decca Classics

  On November 10, 1909 in New York City, Gustav Mahler sat down at a harpsichord and led the New York Philharmonic in a performance of his own arrangement of music by Johann Sebastian Bach.  The great Late-Romantic composer of gargantuan symphonies was also a great admirer of the music of Bach.  He was also a leading conductor of his time and had come to New York from Vienna to be the new principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera.

The Metropolitan's Opera's new production of Lulu, by Alban Berg will be shown live from New York in movie theaters world-wide, as part of the Met's Live in HD Series, on Saturday, November 21 at 12.30 p.m. Locally, Lulu may be seen at AMC Lenox, Crosswoods Theaters, or Polaris.

It's fair to say that in opera, there is Lulu and there is everything else.

Spanish composer Enrique Granados wrote his set of 8 Poetic Waltzes for the piano, but they sound wonderful performed on the guitar, too.  

color photo of a night shot of Kabul, showing city lights and mountains
Hassan Reza / Flickr/Creative Commons

In a country where music and educating girls were once banned, a 17-year-old girl recently became Afghanistan's first female conductor, according to BBC News.

Negin Khpolwak is a student at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, where recently she conducted a student ensemble in a concert.

"I want Afghanistan to be like other countries in the world, where girls can become pianists and conductors."

color image of a portrait of Mozart in which he wears a bright red coat

Mozart wrote the opening chords of his so-called "Paris" Symphony (Symphony No. 31) specifically to pander to French expectations, which is not to say to pander to French taste. Mozart didn't think the French had any taste. He also thought they were ridiculous for thinking that symphonies that begin this way were especially French.

Sometimes rating orchestras and conductors seems like a riddle as mysterious as  the Sphinx.  This month on Symphony @ 7, I'm featuring orchestras and conductors on Bachtrack's list of the top-ten for this year.  

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

The Spectra Horn Quartet performs one of the classics of the horn literature this weekend with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra...Robert Schumann's Konzertstück for 4 Horns and Orchestra.  When it was first written, the modern chromatic valve horn was still in it's very early stages, meaning most of the world's horn players were much more comfortable with the natural horn.  Many said it was unplayable.

Spectra Horn Quartet joined me in the Classical 101 studios for some music-making and conversation about the upcoming weekend of performances, beginning with some of Bizet's Carmen.

Columbus Symphony Orchestra

It's quite evident that Columbus Symphony conductor Rossen Milanov is passionate about classic film scores from Hollywood's Golden Age. You can see it on his face and hear it in his voice as he speaks about composers such as Max Steiner, Maurice Jarre, and Elmer Bernstein.

Those composers and others are the subject of a week-long focus on music written for the silver screen the CSO is calling The Hollywood Festival.

Fox Filmed Entertainment Group

With the release of Spectre, the latest Bond film, Joshua Zinn of Houston Public Media took a fascinating look at how classical music has been used throughout the years in the Bond franchise.

It would be easy to assume it would be used in the many sophisticated settings in which 007 finds himself. However, classical music has turned up in some unexpected places...sometimes a little silly, sometimes to great effect.


Squiggles, squares, slashes, dots and dashes are what music is made of. Well, kinda. If you have ever seen a Medieval music manuscript or sheet music, you understand the importance of images and their connection to sound. Iconography and notation connect music at the present to music yet to be made. Now, you can learn all about the history of notation for free, online, with two world-renowned musicologists from Switzerland. 

Roman Malamant

Most of us will not get past the first part of that headline, thinking, "Oh, another story about a multi-million dollar violin being auctioned off." Nope. This time, it's the BOW.

Talk to any string player and ask them about their bow. Then get something to drink and take a seat, because you're going to be awhile.

Wikipedia Commons

"If this isn't your greatest work, I don't know what is," wrote Andres Segovia to Manuel Ponce in 1940 about his Concierto del Sur (The Concerto of the South).  Segovia was the most famous guitarist in the world, and Ponce was famous primarily for his songs, such as Estrellita (little star) from 1912, which had become an international hit.

image of a portrait of Mozart in which he wears a bright red coat

Mozart's elegant “Haffner” Serenade was first performed at a grand and resplendent celebration. But one later performance ended in nothing short of debauchery.

Hector Berlioz

  When the Symphonie fantastique of French composer Hector Berlioz appeared in 1830, no one had ever heard anything quite like it.  

color photo of bass clarinetist Amy Advocat and marimbist Matt Sharrock playing in front of beer vats
Claudia Hansen / Transient Canvas website

Hear Transient Canvas on The American Sound, 6 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Tuesday on Classical 101.

Deutsche Grammophon

In the tale of Peter and the Wolf, the wolf lives in the forest where Peter lives with his grandfather.  There is a pond in the clearing where Peter sometimes swims.  Along with the wolf, a duck, bird, and cat get involved. Eventually, hunters who had been tracking the wolf show up and Peter convinces them to take the wolf to a zoo.

What if the wolf had been in the zoo to begin with, that zoo was located near Hollywood, Peter's grandfather was an aging hippie, and instead of hunters, it took helicopters and a robot to track down the wolf after it escaped from the zoo?

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

This Sunday at 1:00 pm on Columbus in Concert, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra broadcast season continues with a program called The Trumpet Sounds.  The performance from November of last season featured founding musician and principal trumpeter Tom Battenberg as soloist in Haydn's E flat Trumpet Concerto.  Co-founder and Conductor Laureate Timothy Russell returned to conduct a program music he called some of his favorites. 


Here's the problem.: I'm planning a broadcast of a splendid recording of Handel's first smash hit Italian language opera, Rinaldo. This is an opera seria; three acts with plenty of da capo arias, a limited chorus, a happy ending, and lots of fancy stage affects. 

Would you believe that this was the first opera by Handel to ever be sung at the Met, and it was back in 1983! 

Opera Columbus

The way to a kid's heart maybe less through music at first, but more through stories. Here's a list of some of my favorite books about opera, suitable for kids. This is by no means exhaustive, just a sampling. Feel free to send in your own favorite titles:

Sing Me a Story, the Metropolitan Opera Book of Opera Stories for Children by Jane Rosenberg

Suitable for grades 3-6; and beautifully illustrated. Breaks down the intricacies (impossibilities!) of some opera plots.

Eduardo Fernandez with guitar
Courtsey of Artist

Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote his only guitar concerto in 1951 for Andres Segovia, the most famous classical guitarist in the world, originally calling it "Fantasia Concertante."  

image of a portrait of Mozart in which he wears a bright red coat

Think the price of stocks and bonds fluctuates wildly? Imagine the price of a genius composer's brand-new set of piano concertos. 

Rockbeat Records

Horror movies depend a great deal on the element of surprise, unless you're Alfred Hitchcock. He was the master of letting you in on the secret early, then letting you watch people twist in the wind.

In an interview, Lang Lang said he first laid eyes on a piano when he was just two years old, in a Tom and Jerry cartoon on an old black and white television set at home in the industrial city of Shenyang. A Cat Concerto featured Tom in white tie and tails playing Liszt while Jerry ran up and down the keys trying to stop him.That piece was the Hungarian Rhapsody Number 2.  You can hear more of that conversation here. A segment from the cartoon that inspired a career is here.