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517 Posts
Challenging the Pianist: Alkan’s Ouverture
The Overture is not what we would expect from the orchestral concert overtures, which always seems to be telling you a story. This overture seems to place you in the middle of the action immediately, constantly asking for your attention.

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In the Virtuoso Spirit: Paul Huang
Pablo Sarasate (1844-1908) was one of the great late 19th century violinists. As a virtuoso, he was known not only for his faultless execution but also for his purity of tone. He gradually began to write his own music and in 1898 published his second volume of Spanish Dances for violin and piano.

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A Love Letter: Kernis’ Air
As a modern work for flute and orchestra, Kernis' Air brings not bravura runs and trills, but a kind of central stillness that lets you appreciate the intrinsic qualities of not only the work but also the instrument.

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Capturing the Wild Spirit of the Violin: Paul Huang
Violinist Paul Huang’s recording with pianist Jessica Osborne captures the brilliance of his playing. In his hands, Manuel de Falla’s Danse Espagnole in the wedding scene of La vida breve become a brilliant fiery dance.

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Music as the Refugee: Işıl Bengi and Vasilije Mokranjac’s Six Dances
Six Dances, or as one commentator said, three dances in two blocks, was composed over a seven-year period, 1950 to 1957. Some of the dances sound like Mussorgsky and some like folk song, one is concerned with temperament and another is about rhythm. The work as a whole connects the contemporary with the Romantic.

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Summer Fun: Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Scherzino
In his piece, Castelnuovo-Tedesco gives us an equally mixed piece – a bright Italian dance between the cello and the piano, tempered with a northern celebration of summer. It’s clear that Castelnuovo-Tedesco expects his listeners to know the reference he’s giving them.

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Picturing Home: Braga Santos’ Lisboa Overture
In Braga Santo’s second symphonic overture, he took his native city of Lisbon (Lisboa) as its subject. The work opens with a slow introduction, with a theme in the horn that becomes the core of the following Allegro section. Suddenly, the rest of the orchestra enters with a sprightly melody that drives the story forward.

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The Weeping Mother – Boccherini’s Stabat Mater
Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) first set the text 'Stabat Mater' in 1781 for an unknown occasion. At the time, he was in the employ of the Infante Don Luis in Spain. His first version was for soprano solo and was later revised for three voices in 1800.

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