Classical 101 | WOSU Radio

Classical 101

Classical 101 is Central Ohio’s source for 'round-the-clock classical music. Our hosts provide insight into classical music news from Columbus and around the world.

Explore concert previews, book and album reviews, arts features, web-exclusive playlists and archived audio and video of local and visiting musicians. Listen your way through our podcast archives of Opera Abbreviated and the Mozart Minute for a deeper dive into the music we play.

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Are you a parent of very young kids?  Do you want your children to grow up appreciating classical music and also to get dressed without balking, get psyched for bath-time, and actually sleep through the night?  If so, have I got  a CD for you! Piano Music for Children has star power.  It's a collection of great music in digitally recorded performances of piano rolls created by some of the great pianists and composers.

I remember as a kid always trying new things (or at least things I THOUGHT were new) on the various instruments I played, even if Led Zeppelin didn't exactly translate well to the clarinet.  It might not have made my folks or my teacher very happy, but it DID get me to pick up my instrument.

Placido Flamingo Sings Like His Namesake

Jul 2, 2009

It's all Meryl Streep's fault. Truly it is. If she hadn't had a birthday last month, I wouldn't have come across a reference to her having a Muppet inspired by her, named Meryl Sheep!  Streep -Sheep. Get it? You would have to be a household name in order for the joke to work. Immediately I wondered who else has had this "honor." Many, it turns out, including Placido Domingo as Placido Flamingo! Placido Flamingo has appeared in many episodes, singing new lyrics to well-known classical melodies. I've selected one video to start you on your road of discovery.

THREE AUDIO PIECES   A new recording by the Ensemble Clement Jannequin features works from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century based on the notion of the "cry." Jannequin's Les Cris de Paris is on the recording, titled L'Ecrit du cri (a pun very roughly translated as "Writings on the Cry") as are works by other composers inspired by street cries.

Yuja Wang Takes Flight

Jul 2, 2009

I enjoy following the careers of up and coming stars. One of note is Yuja Wang, a 22-year-old pianist from from China. The Washington Post called her debut recital at the Kennedy Center “jaw-dropping,â€? and The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "The arrival of Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang on the musical scene is an exhilarating and unnerving development. To listen to her in action is to re-examine whatever assumptions you may have had about how well the piano can actually be played.â€?

Mystery Composer, or The Reluctant Count

Jul 1, 2009

AUDIO PIECE AT END This would have been a good case for the History Detectives. Count Unico Wilhem van Wassenaer was a Dutch nobleman whose identity as the composer of a set of six very fine concerti grossi was a secret for over two hundred years.  The "Concerti Armonici" were publish in 1740 and first believed to be written by the violinist Carlo Ricciotti, who wrote a dedication on the printed score.

The great mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne comes to Oberlin College every October for a week of private lessons and public master classes. I generally take a van load of OSU kids up there to hear the classes. If the beauty of Oberlin's campus in mid-fall tends to lull us into a happy stupor, the energy of this lady, certainly the most astonishing vocalist I ever heard "live," is a terrific tonic.

Music Therapy and Autism

Jun 29, 2009

We've done two radio specials on the uses of Music Therapy in giving language and improved cognition to autistic kids.  They can be heard complete, with a host of other information, at Louise Steele, Professor of Music at Ohio University in Athens, is our local music therapy guru. She and her colleague Kamille Geist train music therapists who use music as a "bridge" to areas of a child's brain that may lack stimulus.

Few operas have as tortured a performance history as Giuseppe Verdi's five-act opera set to a French libretto,  Don Carlos. The Opera's Story Set at the court of Philip II of Spain, circa 1563, Verdi's French Don Carlos is based on Friedrich Schiller's 1787 Don Karlos, Infant von Spanien.  Schiller defined the romantic age along with Goethe and later Heine,  and a true to life tale of a mad, deformed dwarf, the lot of the historical Don Carlos, wasn't about to work on the German stage of the time.

The Stories Music Tells Us

Jun 26, 2009

A couple of days ago I attended a fiction writing event led by noted local author and educator Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld at the Riffe Gallery downtown.  The event was an offshoot of the Riffe Gallery's current exhibition New Narratives: Paintings by Ohio Artists, curated by the Columbus Museum of Art's Dominique Vasseur.

How to Play Music with Less Pain

Jun 26, 2009

Yes, musicians are athletes and subject to injuries, even career-ending ones. Years of training and playing in awkward positions with repetitive motion causes wear and tear on the body. Now there is an award-winning resource available for  professional and amateur musicians, teachers and students, doctors and therapists.

Many musical performances are good; far fewer are great. What makes a performance good or great? Let's explore this question with two recent recordings of Dmitri Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony.

Bach On a Ukulele

Jun 26, 2009

Someone I know who plays a ukulele sent me a YouTube video of  a young man who is a virtuoso on this diminutive (but in his hands amazingly expressive)  instrument.  His name is Jake Shimabukuro, and his arrangement and performance George Harrison's song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" has been viewed  more than three million times.

OK...maybe not THE Sousa, but as close as any of us will ever get.

Recently I came across a recording of Humphrey Searle's Two Practical Cats, two movements for narrator, flute/piccolo, guitar, and cello based on texts from T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.