Friday at 8pm, celebrate the holiday season with some of the finest Christmas music from the NW Focus LIVE archives!
A Seattle tradition and a KING FM exclusive: the broadcast of the NW Boychoir’s Festival of Lessons & Carols conducted by Joe Crnko, Christmas Eve at 8pm.
Wagner: Overture to “The Flying Dutchman”
Elements of nature are more common than you might think in classical music–particularly the theme of water. Wagner got in on the act of hydrology in motion with his terrifying Overture to “The Flying Dutchman”…the legend of the mariner condemned to sail the seas of his ghostly ship. The curse could only be dashed by the love of a faithful woman, so he sailed to find her, encountering hellish weather on the way. You’ll hear a calm before the storm–and then, suddenly, you’ll be greeted by crashing thunder in the timpani!
Johann Strauss, Sr.: Radetzky March, Op.228
When Austrian field marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz marched back to Vienna after the Battle of Custoza in 1848, one of the first battles in the Italian war of independence against Austria’s occupation, his soldiers erupted into song. Johann Strauss Sr. wove that melody into his “Radetzky March,” an orchestral sparkler! To this day, the Viennese stomp their feet in time to it each year on New Year’s Eve.
Hans Christian Lumbye: Champagne Galop
Listen for an unusual popping sound in the orchestra…can you name that “instrument”?
Additional Link: Wikipedia: Christian Lumbye
Dmitry Kabalevsky: Violin Concerto in C, Op.48: I. Allegro molto e con brio
Whether you’ve heard of him or not, there’s no denying Dimitry Kabalevsky was very influential on Soviet musical education, composing ditties, nursery rhymes and oodles of songs for youth organizations. For more mature audiences, he composed symphonies, operas, chamber music and a requiem dedicated to the memory of Vladimir Lenin. Best known of all, though, is his humor piece, “The Comedian’s Gallop.”
Gioacchino Rossini: The Thieving Magpie: Overture
Leo Delibes: Lakmé: Flower Duet
There are thousands of examples of passion and romance in classical music. But Delibes’ opera “Lakmé” is so romantic that the thick canopy of jasmine described in this hypnotic duet seems to exude both sound and scent. It’s a miracle of melody—two delicate lines interwoven almost as one, accompanied by the gentle pizzicato of strings.
Louis Spohr: Sonata in G for violin and harp, Op.115: I. Allegro
German violinist Louis Spohr was busy composing, conducting and inventing—but was he too busy for love? Not on your life! He married harpist Dorette Schiedler on the promise that they’d play violin and harp duets together forevermore. It’s because of this promise that he composed gobs of duets for these two instruments, which happen to go great together when the violin is tuned a half step below its default key.
Additional link: Louis Spohr and the Harp
Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in over 35 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors.
In the 2016-2017 season James continues his cross-Canada recital tour in celebration of his 40th birthday, performs the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas in Stresa, Montreux, Los Angeles, Liverpool, and Amsterdam, and joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on a tour of China and the National Arts Centre Orchestra on a tour of Eastern Canada. James also holds artist residencies with the Melbourne Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and the Scotia Festival, undertakes two tours with the Ehnes Quartet, and leads the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the Artistic Director.
New and upcoming CD releases include a disc of works by Debussy, Respighi, Elgar and Sibelius as well as a recording of Beethoven’s Sonatas Nos. 6 and 9 (“Kreutzer”) with pianist Andrew Armstrong, the Sibelius and Schubert “Death and the Maiden” quartets with the Ehnes Quartet, and the complete works of Beethoven for violin and orchestra with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Andrew Manze. His recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a GRAMMY, a Gramophone, and 11 JUNO Awards.
In anticipation of the Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival, James will share some of his favorite music and recordings including works by Granados, Shostakovich, Dvorak, and Schoenfield.