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December 1 – Instrument Wannabe

Leroy Anderson: Sandpaper Ballet
Percussionists are great at making sounds on hundreds of different instruments—even those that aren’t normally seen outside of the hardware store! In this piece, Leroy Anderson asks percussionists to imitate the sound of vaudevillian softshoe with two knobbed blocks covered in sandpaper.

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December 2 – What’s in a Name?

Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana: Voi lo sapete, o mamma
It should come as no surprise that many of classical music’s big names were born with, well, different names. Eugene Ormandy started life as Jenö Blau, Beverly Sills as Belle Silverman and Richard Tucker as Rivn Ticker. It’s not always clear why public figures change their names, but in the case of legendary soprano Maria Callas, the reason is obvious. Her birth name was—are you ready?—Anna Maria Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulou!

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December 3 – Little Secrets

Giacomo Puccini: Turandot: Nessun dorma
Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (whew!) has to have the longest name of all the famous composers—and that’s saying something! But when it came to composing, Puccini seemed to know that the simplest melodies made for the most unforgettable music. Just listen to the tenor aria “Nessun Dorma” from his opera “Turandot,” familiar to nearly everyone in the world. The soloist moves audiences to tears just by singing the same note in different octaves in the first two phrases.

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December 4 – Classical Superstars

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Magic Flute, K.620: Queen of the Night’s Aria
Operatic sopranos sure can sing high, but few are up to the lofty challenge of this aria—the Queen of the Night’s “Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,” or “The Vengeance of Hell Boils in my Heart.” The aria reaches a high F, which in the opera of Mozart’s time was virtually unheard of. These days, the Queen of the Night’s aria is considered the biggest highlight in the world’s most widely performed opera.

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December 5 – Little Secrets

Georges Bizet: Carmen: Votre toast…je peux vous le render
Believe it or not, this world-famous opera was once loathed…by the performers who premiered it! Word has it the male and female leads both hated the showpiece arias Bizet had written for them and demanded he rewrite them. The French composer scrambled to rewrite the now-ubiquitous aria “Votre toast…he peux vous le render,” reportedly grumbling all the while, “If it’s rubbish they want, it’s rubbish they’ll get!”

Giving Tuesday…

A global giving moment – Donate to KING FM on November 28, 2017 to participate!

Giving Tuesday on KING FM…

Thank you for your support of KING FM this Giving Tuesday. It’s not too late to donate and help us acquire the RCS Zetta.

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November 17 – Special Effects

Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachiana Brasileira No.5
Sometimes, music says it best when it says nothing at all. Such is the case in Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Bachiana Brasileira No. 5,” which calls for a soprano soloist to sing an entire aria on the sound “ah.” Who knew so few words could evoke such strong emotion?

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November 18 – Little Romantic Secrets

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op.33
There are little romantic secrets everywhere on earth, but some air their personal lives for all to see. When cellist Mstislav Rostropovich visited NBC’s Today Show, host Gene Shallot said, “It’s been said your courtship with your wife was unusually short—only a week.” To which Rostropovich replied: “Yes, that was big mistake.” Shallot was at a loss for words but managed to stammer back, “Really? A mistake?” “Yes,” the cellist replied, “that was one week lost.”  Talk about wearing his heart on his sleeve!