Classical 101 Podcasts

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

How tall was Mozart? What color were his eyes? Did he ever pretend to be a cat?

image of a portrait of Mozart in which he wears a birght red oat
Wikipedia

In the final year of his life, Mozart composed his piano variations on the aria Ein Weib ist das herrlichste Ding – “A Wife Is the Most Glorious Thing” – from a Singspiel by his friend the singer and composer Benedikt Schack.

Judging solely from Mozart’s correspondence, Schack’s aria could easily have served as Mozart’s personal theme song.

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

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be," said Polonius to his young adult son, Laertes, in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Personalities being what they are, Mozart was evidently a borrower.

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

His genius secured his immortality despite his untimely death. His Requiem - ironically unfinished at his death - he believed he was composing for his own funeral.

Mozart may have been pursued by intimations of his own mortality, but he wasn't haunted by the idea of death. However, the death of his father, Leopold Mozart, may well have been a different story.

photo of Richard Smoot sitting at piano with music scores on the ledger
publicity photo

In more than three decades composing new music, Richard Jordan Smoot has seen contemporary music embrace every possible mode of expression and medium of presentation. And he hasn't just witnessed this profusion of creativity, he has contributed to it with original scores ranging from all-out electronic music to tonally based music for orchestra and chamber ensembles to full-scale multimedia projects.

"I guess I'd say my aesthetic is like the Wild West," Smoot said in a recent interview.

Ching-chu Hu wearing a lavender dress shirt
publicity photo

Water tripping in endless currents. Passion, love and anguish glowing red. East joining West in an exotic fusion of motion and color.  

These are the ingredients of central Ohio composer Ching-chu Hu's string quartet The Swash of Water and Red, selections from which will air on the Columbus Arts Festival edition of The American Sound Saturday, June 13 at 6 p.m. and Tuesday, June 16 at 7 p.m. on Classical 101.

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

By the time Mozart turned 30, his success as a composer was undeniable. But that didn't stop him from hitting up his friends for cash.

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

More than 200 years after its premiere, Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro remains one of the best-loved comic operas in the repertoire. And if you think people like Figaro today, you should have seen - and heard - the audiences in Mozart's day.

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

Picture it: Mozart at a masquerade ball gussied up as an ancient Middle Eastern prophet and spouting a made-up philosophy of riddles and off-color aphorisms.

Too silly even for Mozart? Nope.

portrait of Mozart in whcih he wears a bright red coat
Wikipedia

It's fascinating to imagine what a day in the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart must have been like. Mozart's father had a chance to experience that first-hand at the height of his son's career.

Mozart wearing a bright red coat
Wikipedia

In a month full to bursting with concerts, Mozart's waistband might also have stretched a bit during February 1785 from all the fabulous food he enjoyed.

Classical 101's Jennifer Hambrick talks with composer Maria Schneider about her work, which blurs the line between classical music and jazz, and her Grammy Award-winning "Winter Morning Walks."

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

As spring springs and nature emerges fresh and fragrant, even Mozart can't resist a posy - or, in this case, two.

What does every betrothed woman want from her little brother on the eve of her wedding? A naughty poem, of course.

Mozart in a red coat
Wikipedia

It’s like a scene from one of Mozart’s operas – the master of the house snoops on his wayward maid and is shocked by what he learns.

Mozart in a red coat
Wikipedia

If you were a pianist or composer in Europe in Mozart’s day, you definitely had competition. 

Mozart in a red coat
Wikipedia

If you followed the previous episode of The Mozart Minute, then you likely wish to know how the birth of Wolfgang and Constanze’s firstborn turned out.

Mozart in a red coat
Wikipedia

If you’ve ever known an expectant father, then you’ve probably witnessed that unique mixture of masculine responsibility, fear and uncontainable excitement that soon-to-be first-time dads seem to embody.

Wolfgang Mozart was no different during his wife, Constanze’s, first pregnancy, and the closer Constaze’s due date came, the greater Mozart’s obvious anticipation of the birth.

John Osborn as Rodrigo, Joyce DiDonato as Elena, and Juan Diego Flórez as Giacomo V in Rossini's "La Donna del Lago."
Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

  The Metropolitan Opera presents Rossini’s La donna del Lago live from the Metropolitan Opera in HD on Saturday, March 14 at 1 p.m.

For a list of local theaters, including Lenox and Easton, go here: http://www.metopera.org/metopera/liveinhd/unitedstates.aspx

Opera Abbreviated presents my, hopefully, pithy take on operas featured on the Met’s Live in HD series. Listen up!

Mozart in a red coat
Wikipedia

In February 1783, Mozart was a happy newlywed, an expectant father and a brilliant composer in the dawn of what he knew could be an illustrious career. In short, everything was going perfectly well for Mozart.

Well, almost everything. At the time, Mozart was having a bit of a cash flow issue. The details are a bit sketchy, but it seems Mozart owed a debt to a merchant, who had decided to call in the loan. 

Mozart in a red coat
Wikipedia

Almost any thumbnail sketch of Mozart shows a genius composer who never missed a good party. One particular Carnival season had Mozart all keyed up.

In the Catholic Austria of Mozart’s day, Carnival, the weeks leading up to the beginning of Lent, was a time for all manner of merrymaking, especially masquerade balls. During the 1783 Carnival season, Mozart was planning big fun.

Anna Netrebko in the title role of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta
Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

 

We have two short operas on the same program for the next Metropolitan Opera Live in HD presentation, Saturday, February 14 at 12:30 pm.

 

Now then. These may not be the ideal operas for Valentines Day! Or maybe so if you’re weird.

Opera Abbreviated introduces Iolanta and Bluebeard’s Castle.

David Danzmayr in front of the Columbus skyline
Rick Buchanan

At one time, Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Wagner were friends – kind of in an Odd Couple sort of way. Wagner would complain about someone’s conducting, Mendelssohn would think it was great. No word on who was the neat one and who was the slob. I shall keep my opinion to myself.