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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
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Studio guests in the second hour: Cellist and University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher and UR faculty pianist Joanne Kong, previewing their recitals on July 6 and 7 launching “Rachmaninoff and the Russians,” the Richmond Symphony Summer Series
of six early evening chamber concerts, on Thursdays through Aug. 11 at Dominion Arts Center.

We’ll sample some of the music featured on their program, and hear Crutcher playing a solo work written for him by the American composer Alvin Singleton.

June 30
3-5 p.m. EDT
1900-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

J.S. Bach: Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009
Janos Starker, cello
(RCA Victor)

Past Masters:
Brahms: Sonata in E minor, Op. 38
Emanuel Feuermann, cello
Theo van der Pas, piano
(Magic Masters)
(recorded 1934)

Alvin Singleton: “Argoru II”
Ronald Crutcher, cello

Glazunov: Elegie, Op. 17
Yuli Turovsky, cello
Peter Pettinger, piano

Scriabin: Etude in C sharp minor, Op. 42, No. 5
Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonata
in G minor – IV: Allegro mosso
Truls Mørk, cello
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
(Virgin Classics)
5 months ago | |
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As Colorado’s Aspen Music Festival stages a summer season of neglected modern Americana – symphonic works by Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, William Schuman, George Antheil, Peter Mennin, Roy Harris and others – the festival’s CEO, Alan Fletcher, writing for The Guardian, examines the divide between the American composers, such as Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein, whose theatrical or narrative music has secured a place in the repertory, and those whose more abstract works have not:

5 months ago | |
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Penguins in Antarctica flee in alarm as man sings
“O Solo Mio.”


(The New York Times’ Gail Collins linked to this in a column about the impact of cruise ships on nature and the environment.)
5 months ago | |
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Ralph Stanley, the Southwest Virginia singer and banjoist, one of the last surviving first-generation figures who transformed Appalachian balladry and string-band music into the bluegrass style, has died at 89.

The Stanley Brothers, Ralph and Carter, led one of the most successful bluegrass bands in the 1940s and ’50s. After Carter Stanley’s death in 1966, Ralph Stanley took over as a leader of the band, the Clinch Mountain Boys, in time becoming a mentor to a new generation of bluegrass and “neo-traditional” country musicians.

Late in life, Ralph Stanley achieved mass popularity through performances in the soundtrack of the film
“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000), and was recognized as an icon of American folk music.

Among the honors he received were a National Medal of Arts, a Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress, and the Traditional American Music Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

An obituary by Terence McArdle for The Washington Post:

5 months ago | |
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June 23
3-5 p.m. EDT
1900-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Holst: “St. Paul’s Suite”
Camerata Wales/
Owain Arwel Hughes

Janácek: “In the Mists”
Piotr Anderszewski, piano (Virgin Classics)

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite
No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067
Ernst-Burghard Hilse, flute
Akademie für alte Musik Berlin
(Harmonia Mundi)

Beethoven: Quartet
in C sharp minor, Op. 131
Cypress String Quartet

“Symphony of Psalms”
Collegium Vocale Gent
Royal Flemish Philharmonic/
Philippe Herreweghe
5 months ago | |
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June 16
3-5 p.m. EDT
1900-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Glinka: “Ruslan and Lyudmila” Overture
London Symphony
Georg Solti

Past Masters:
Mozart: Quartet
in B flat major,
K. 458 (“Hunt”)
Quartetto Italiano (Philips)
(recorded 1966)

Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor
Stephen Hough, piano
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/
Sakari Oramo

Jennifer Higdon:
“String Poetic”
Jennifer Koh, violin
Reiko Uchida, piano (Çedille)

Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major
Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble/
Marc Minkowski (Naïve)

George Butterworth:
“On Banks
of Green Willow”
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Grant Llewellyn (Argo)
5 months ago | |
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J. Reilly Lewis, the longtime Washington choral director and organist, has died at 71.

A onetime boy chorister at Washington National Cathedral, Lewis had been director of the Cathedral Choral Society for more than 30 years. He had served as organist and choirmaster of Clarendon United Methodist Church in Arlington since 1971.

Beyond the Washington area, Lewis was best-known as director of the Washington Bach Consort, which he founded in 1977 and developed into one of the most highly regarded early music ensembles in the US.

A remembrance by The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette:

5 months ago | |
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After their July 7 concert opening the Richmond Symphony Summer Series sold out, cellist Ronald Crutcher and pianist Joanne Kong have added a second performance, 6:30 p.m. July 6 in the Gottwald Playhouse of Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets.

Crutcher, who is president of the University of Richmond and cellist of the Klemperer Trio, will join Kong in Glazunov’s Elegie, Op. 17, and Rachmaninoff’s Sonata in G minor, Op. 19. Kong will play Scriabin’s Prelude in B major, Op. 16, No. 1, and Etude in C sharp minor, Op. 42, No. 5.

Tickets are $20 and may be ordered by calling the Richmond Symphony box office at (804) 788-1212.
5 months ago | |
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Another tweak in the WDCE summer schedule: The show moves to 3-5 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 18.

June 9
3-5 p.m. EDT
1900-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Wagner: “Rienzi” Overture
MET Orchestra/
James Levine
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Martinu: Symphony No. 3
Czech Philharmonic/
Václav Neumann

Chopin: Ballade in F minor, Op. 52
Lucas Debargue, piano (Sony Classical)

Mozart: Symphony No. 23 in D major, K. 181
Geneva Chamber Orchestra/David Greilsammer
(Sony Classical)

Josef Suk: Serenade
in E flat major
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/
Mariss Jansons
(BR Klassik)

Boccherini: Quintet
in D major (“Fandango”)
Rolf Lislevand, guitar; José de Udaeta, castanets
Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall (AliaVox)
6 months ago | |
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Phyllis Curtin, the West Virginia-born soprano for whom Carlisle Floyd wrote his opera “Susannah” and who essayed roles ranging from Salome in the Richard Strauss opera to Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata,” has died at 94.

Curtin made her debut at the New York City Opera in 1953, sang regularly at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1960s and early ’70s, and performed internationally until her retirement from the stage in 1984.

She sang in the US premieres of Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes,” with the young Leonard Bernstein conducting, in Boris Goldovsky’s 1946 production at the Tanglewood Music Center; Francis Poulenc’s “Les mamelles de Tirésias” at Brandeis University in 1953; and Britten’s “War Requiem,” with Erich Leinsdorf conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra, at Tanglewood in 1963.

Curtin also was active as a concert singer in recitals and with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.

She conducted master classes at Tanglewood for 51 years, retiring in 2015. She taught at Yale University, serving as dean of its School of Music (1974-81), and Boston University, where she was dean of its School of The Arts (1981-91).

An obituary by Andrew L. Pincus in the The Berkshire (MA) Eagle:

6 months ago | |
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