Monday, August 12, 2019

The Voyager: The Golden Record

This month marks the 42nd anniversary of the launch of Voyager 2. It also marks the 7th anniversary of Voyager 1’s entry into interstellar space. How does this relate to classical music? NASA placed a type of time capsule aboard Voyager 1 and 2 that they hoped would communicate to any extraterrestrials the story of Earth and mankind. This time capsule is in the form of a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk that contains both sounds and images carefully selected to portray this story. Many of the sounds are those made by nature – thunder, wind, water, various animals. They also included greetings spoken by people of 55 different languages. The music it contains includes world music and tunes from various eras, including a large portion of classical music. Composers such as J.S. Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky, and Beethoven are featured. Why do you think this music was selected? How would extraterrestrials interpret the items on this record? If you are interested in learning more about this Golden Record and what all in contains, I highly recommend checking out the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast. Their episode #65 “Voyager Golden Record” beautifully walks through the album, with interesting interviews from folks involved in the project. Check it out and leave your thoughts about their selections in the comments below!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Meet Anna Shelest!

Sorel Classics recently released a new album from pianist Anna Shelest. We frequently feature Anna and her husband Dmitri on WGUC, and we’re always excited to receive their latest recordings. Anna performs solo repertoire for this album, which includes music by women composers. I had the privilege of chatting with her not long after the album’s release and she told me how the idea for this disc first came about.

She enjoyed the process of narrowing down the repertoire to include on the album.

Anna went on to explain the significance of the album’s title, Donna Voce.

She finds inspiration from women musicians of the past.

It’s certainly easier being a woman musician in 2019 than in the nineteenth century!

I was curious how she first came to play the piano.

And of course, I had to ask what she enjoys doing when she’s not playing the piano (my favorite question!)

Tune to 90.9 WGUC to hear the latest from Anna Shelest, including her Donna Voce album.