Classical music kittens?

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  • I rarely get obsessed with classical music but there are pieces I return to often, like Appalachian Spring by Copeland, The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, and most anything by Bach. 

    I'm sure all of those are frowned on by real classical music listeners, but I only consider myself a dabbler.
  • @DaveinHollywood I love Appalachian Spring. One of my favorite pieces. This is the first of 4 videos of Martha Graham dancing the Bride, in her 60s I believe. It's the original choreography.https://youtube.com/watch?v=XmgaKGSxQVw
  • edited August 2015
    I guess I missed this thread, so I'm glad it's popped back up. I went through a classical "phase" back in the early 80s into the 90s, and am still interested but spend much less time listening. When I started collecting classical recordings, we were still in the vinyl LP stage, but soon CDs took over. I had invested a LOT of money in top of the line components for record playing, so when I switched to CDs had to do it all over again. 

    At one point I had over 1000 CDs, probably 80% classical and opera. I was also into folk and world music. Loreena McKennitt took up a lot of room on my CD shelves.

    My all time favorites are Rachmaninoff's Vespers (All Night Vigil) by the Robert Shaw Chorale, Jessye Norman's rendition of Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs, and lots of things by the living genius composer, John Adams... Harmonielehre is my fave modern classical piece. 

    Favorite opera is Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel with Frederica von Stade and Judith Blegen. And have to mention Monteverdi's Madrigals, Book III especially. And Dvorak's 9th Symphony, From The New World.

    Also I love me some Sibelius, Mozart, Berlioz, Rodrigo, and art songs, mostly French, English, and German. Oh, and Spanish, there're some wonderfully romantic song cycles there.  

    Sheesh, I could go on and on. Somebody make me stop!
  • @anniebets the Rachmaninoff Vespers are my go-to calming music. SO gorgeous. I don't think there's any other music that I can think of that gives me so much peace. 
    Did you hear the Harmonielehre on True Detective a few weeks ago? (If you watch) It was what was playing during the big party scene. 
    Also, I too love Hansel and Gretel-several summers ago I got to play it, in Germany, in an outside theater that was in a forest. One of my favorite experiences ever. We usually hit the Evening Prayer right around when the sun went down. Sigh....
  • It may be August, but autumn has arrived.  I know that because my season tickets for the symphony and opera have arrived.  Sure sign of fall!
  • @Emster  Noo, I didn't see Harmonielehre on True Detective.. I might have to start watching it just for that reason. And yes, the Vespers are the ultimate in choral music for me, just glorious. The tenor (or sometimes mezzo soprano) solo in #5, the Nunc Dimittis, gives me chills every time I hear it.
  • Anniebets said:  Favorite opera is Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel with Frederica von Stade and Judith Blegen. And have to mention Monteverdi's Madrigals, Book III especially. And Dvorak's 9th Symphony, From The New World.

    So, one of my former co-workers used to talk about "my cousin the singer" for years.  It wasn't until he was going to her big farewell performance before she retired that I found out it was Frederica von Stade.  No one else in the office could figure out why I was flipping out at this news.

    So, kittens, a small group with which I've sung for years had it's director walk away and the group asked me to take over.  I'm still trying to plan a program, so here's the question.  

    What are your favorite a cappella chorale pieces?  

    We do a wide range, sacred and secular, early music and contemporary.  Everyone seems to really like the complex pieces.  They honestly find madrigals insipid.  They like Josquin and Tallis, Whitacre, Gjiello and Paulus.  It's a small group, so I'm trying to stick to four or five part, preferably without a tenor split, since that's my smallest section.  Suggestions would be appreciated.
  • I just wanted to offer a book-thread crossover here: I just finished 'The City of Dark Magic' which is a really awesome sort of modern Beethoven 'fanfic' set in Prague about a musicologist and it totally made me want to bust out my violin and get back into the music. I thought of this thread, which I lurk in but never post on :P 
  • Thomas Hampson is hot.   That is all.
  • edited December 2015
    Went to an amazing concert tonight!  Renée Fleming and Patricia Barber singing PB's songs (well, mostly, it being mid-December we got some Christmas music, too).  I admit to having been a bit concerned, because - I hate to say this - Renée was not at her best in The Merry Widow at Lyric a couple of weeks ago. She was having problems projecting.  But all was well tonight.

    The concert was being recorded by WFMT, and will be broadcast on Dec. 21 at 8:00 (CST).  You can stream it on http://www.wfmt.com/  And you should.  (Sorry about the errant semi-colon.  I have no idea why that happens.)


  • @SingingPhoenixD, I had no idea people were even posting on this thread, and you've probably already chosen your repertoire for the year, but in case not...

    I miss singing a cappella occasionally. The choir I'm currently in has 200 people, so it's not going to happen. But I remember really liking the Kirke Mechem setting of Siegfried Sassoon's poem "Everyone Sang." "Take Him Earth for Cherishing" by Herbert Howells. "Rytmus" by Ivan Hrusovsky.

    And if you can get a piano at all, I loooooved "Music to Hear" by George Shearing. Shakespearean lyrics and a jazzy arrangement = really, really fun.

    I'm so glad this thread woke back up while I wasn't paying attention!
  • edited December 2015
    Lilithcat said:
    Thomas Hampson is hot.   That is all.
    @Lilithcat WHY HAVE I NOT POSTED THIS HERE BEFORE?

    http://barihunks.blogspot.com/

    You're welcome.
  • @stellavision -

    Oh, yes, I enjoy that site immensely.
  • @stellavision -

    Oh, yes, I enjoy that site immensely.
  • While I'm not very knowledgeable about opera, I went to the barihunks website, and OMG, those men are beautiful! I treated myself and ordered their calendar! I figure at my age, it's about time I had a beefcake calendar ;-) 

    And who knows?, maybe I will find some opera to enjoy along with it. Actually I've always wanted to attend a production, although I'm not sure who I can get to "drag" with me. My late father enjoyed opera. Central City Opera in the Colorado Rockies has a highly respected summer festival every year. This coming summer they will perform Tosca, The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Impresario, and Later the Same Evening; as well as St. Matthew Passion in April. Anyone have a recommendation? I think I would be most interested in Tosca and Later the Same Evening.
  • @Qitkat -

    That's a really interesting season they're doing!  I'm a huge fan of Tosca, even if it is a "shabby little shocker".  I've seen The Ballad of Baby Doe, ages and ages ago with Beverly Sills, so fabulous.  I haven't seen the others, but Mozart can't be bad, can he?  And the Musto is based on Hopper's Nighthawks, a very intriguing concept.

    Almost makes me want to head to Colorado this summer!
  • edited January 2016
    There's really nothing like a beautiful man with a beautiful voice. (And f*ck tenors. Why do they always get to be the heroes in operas? It's basses who make the earth move for me.)

    My music crush is Dashon Burton: http://www.roomfulofteeth.org/dashon-burton-1/

    Normally I'm not into dreads but a) that smile and b) when he opens his mouth to sing, the doors blow off the auditorium. Our choir director has hired him to solo with us a few times and I always drool a little bit when I know that's happening!

    @Qitkat, I am very biased. In a choice between Bach and almost anything else, I always say Bach!
  • @stellavision While this season is planned, I'll be looking for things for next season (I hope!), so thanks.

    We took a break for the holidays and are starting back up tomorrow night. It's been an amazing experience. 
  • edited January 2016
    Just saw in the NYT that Pierre Boulez has died:  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/07/arts/music/pierre-boulez-french-composer-dies-90.html

    I'm going to the Afterwork program at the Chicago Symphony this evening; I expect that there will be a tribute to him, as he was conductor emeritus there.
  • You mean Orff's Carmina Burana?  No, it wouldn't be considered opera.  But it's still tremendous fun!
  • edited February 2016
    Rats. Then I've never seen an opera.
    @firebirdsinger ;  It might be considered an old chestnut now...but I recommend Madama Butterfly to anyone as their first experience of opera.  Most productions are visually appealing; the story is simple and poignant, ending with big drama.  And the music is well-enough established in our culture that you already know it even if you don’t realize you know it!  So when you hear it being sung in context, it’s beautiful and moving.
  • Rats. Then I've never seen an opera.
    @firebirdsinger ;  It might be considered an old chestnut now...but I recommend Madama Butterfly to anyone as their first experience of opera.  Most productions are visually appealing; the story is simple and poignant, ending with big drama.  And the music is well-enough established in our culture that you already know it even if you don’t realize you know it!  So when you hear it being sung in context, it’s beautiful and moving.
    But be sure to bring an entire box of Kleenex® with you.  You'll need it in the last act.
  • Resurrecting this post -- now that September is here and many performing groups are starting their seasons, what do you BKs have tickets to that you're excited about?

    I'm going to hear Scheherazade and Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Ete at the Philharmonic in about a month. My piano teacher, who was a crazy cat lady, named one of her cats Nuit d'Ete and I really feel like I should have heard his namesake piece by now, but I haven't. Soon to change!
  • Rats. Then I've never seen an opera.
    @firebirdsinger ;  It might be considered an old chestnut now...but I recommend Madama Butterfly to anyone as their first experience of opera.  Most productions are visually appealing; the story is simple and poignant, ending with big drama.  And the music is well-enough established in our culture that you already know it even if you don’t realize you know it!  So when you hear it being sung in context, it’s beautiful and moving.
    I feel like I have told this story before, but an old friend of mine was just getting into opera when Madama Butterfly was done for Opera in the Domain in Sydney one summer. She insisted we all go because opera is the best thing ever. ANYWAY it ended in floods of tears and we all got up to go. She refused to move because that COULDN'T BE THE END because operas end happily...

    Alcina, with Dame Joan Sutherland in the title role, was my first opera but I can't say it has made me a devotee.
  • edited September 2016
    I feel like I have told this story before, but an old friend of mine was just getting into opera when Madama Butterfly was done for Opera in the Domain in Sydney one summer. She insisted we all go because opera is the best thing ever. ANYWAY it ended in floods of tears and we all got up to go. She refused to move because that COULDN'T BE THE END because operas end happily...
    No matter how many times I've seen it, I still weep buckets in the last act of Butterfly.  The guys who have the seats next to me always remind me to bring a box of tissues.
  • Resurrecting this post -- now that September is here and many performing groups are starting their seasons, what do you BKs have tickets to that you're excited about?

    I'm going to hear Scheherazade and Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Ete at the Philharmonic in about a month. My piano teacher, who was a crazy cat lady, named one of her cats Nuit d'Ete and I really feel like I should have heard his namesake piece by now, but I haven't. Soon to change!
    Hoo, boy, where to begin? 

    The Symphony season starts with Muti, Joyce di Donato and Beethoven.

    I'm going to opening night of Lyric, Das Rheingold.  They'll be doing the Ring over the next four seasons, and then the entire cycle in one.  I'm also very much anticipating their very first production of Les Troyens

    I'm also looking forward to Chicago Opera Theatre's production of The Faerie Queen, and Apollo's Fire at the University of Chicago.

    Sadly, I'll miss the Newberry Consort's contribution to Shakespeare 400, Kemp's Jig, as I'll be out of the country.

  • Happy Mozart's birthday to you all!


  • edited May 2017
    Saw Philip Glass' The Perfect American last night (and PG was in the audience - rousing applause when he was introduced before the opera and at the curtain call).

    It's wonderful.  If you have the chance to see it, do.  Or there's a DVD of a Madrid production that's quite good.
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