Monday, November 30, 2020

A Conversation With Richard Stoltzman

by Brian O'Donnell

The international acclaimed clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman spent a portion of his growing up years here in Cincinnati, living in in Colonial Village in the Roselawn-Bond Hill area, while attending Woodward High School. There at Woodward he had a life changing experience, thanks to one of his teachers... and music.

So, Stoltzman got his music education at Woodward and speaks about the value of music education in our schools

Richard Stoltzman doesn't just talk the talk about music education but truly walks the walk

There's another professional musician in the Stoltzman family — son Peter John Stoltzman is a jazz pianist with whom his father frequently collaborates

Before we ended our conversation, I put him on the spot asking if he remembered the Woodward fight song from his days playing clarinet in the Bulldogs marching band. He didn't, but...

Monday, November 23, 2020

Thanksgiving Music

Are you as thankful for music as we are? What would we do without music as our daily companion to lift our mood and inspire us? Especially now as we are facing winter and a holiday season that will be unlike any we have ever known.

Many composers expressed their gratitude for the harvest, for life, for love, for country through music. Some you know as hymns. Some you know as seasonal. Some appeared in movies. All can evoke feelings of appreciation and peace.

What are your favorites?

Perhaps it’s the music of Aaron Copland – Variations on a Shaker Melody “Simple Gifts” or music from The Tender Land. Perhaps its Bach’s Now Thank We All Our God. Perhaps Ives stirs your soul with his Variations on America. Please share your thoughts below.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, you will hear much of this heartwarming and emotional music either throughout the week or during our special programs. We hope you will make WGUC part of your Thanksgiving holiday.

Listen for

Wednesday, November 25, 7 p.m. 
Host Andrea Blain and classical music fans from around the country take time to give thanks and celebrate one of life's most meaningful gifts: music. 

A Feast for the Ears
Thanksgiving Day at 10 a.m.
Mark Perzel is your host for two hours of giving thanks via music and readings.

Giving Thanks
Thanksgiving Day at 6 p.m.
American Public Media's John Birge presents classical music, stories and special guests in this contemporary celebration of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at WGUC!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Using A Sacred Form To Worship In A More Secular Way

By Elaine Diehl

Sarah Kirkland Snider is part of the so-called classical indie scene, resourceful musicians with a do-it-yourself aesthetic. When she's not composing, Sarah Kirkland Snider runs New Amsterdam Records, out of Brooklyn, which she co-founded in 2008.

Her new album on her label in conjunction with Nonesuch Records, released in late September, is Mass for the Endangered, "a 21st century twist on the Catholic mass."

She joined my phone to talk about her music:

Monday, November 9, 2020

Purity, Transparency And Impermanance - A Visit With Helene Grimaud

 By Elaine Diehl

The Messenger by Helene Grimaud
Photo by Mat Hennek

The brand-new album from Hélène Grimaud, The Messenger, is a creation of a pianistic dialogue between Mozart and the Ukrainian-born contemporary composer Valentin Silvestrov.

The recording sessions took place at the start of this year - before the worldwide pandemic shut things down - at an historic Mozart site in Salzburg, the Great Hall of the University, where Ms. Grimaud was joined by the Camerata Salzburg.

She called to talk about the new release:

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Symphonie Fantastique

By Andy Ellis

Henri Fantin-Latour:
Hector Berlioz, sa vie et ses oevres
Symphonie Fantastique, Un bal

The Symphonie Fantastique- A “program” symphony described as “an important piece of the early Romantic period” but there’s SO MUCH MORE to this piece of music.

It tells the story of an artist gifted with a lively imagination who has poisoned himself with opium in the depths of despair because of hopeless, unrequited love. In the first score from 1845, Berlioz wrote: The composer's intention has been to develop various episodes in the life of an artist, in so far as they lend themselves to musical treatment. As the work cannot rely on the assistance of speech, the plan of the instrumental drama needs to be set out in advance. The following program must therefore be considered as the spoken text of an opera, which serves to introduce musical movements and to motivate their character and expression.

After attending a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet in 1827, Berlioz fell in love with the Irish actress Harriet Smithson who had played the role of Ophelia. He sent her numerous love letters, all of which went unanswered. When she left Paris, they had still not met. Berlioz then wrote the symphony as a way to express his love. She heard the work in 1832 and realized Berlioz's genius. The two finally met and were married on 3 October 1833.

The symphony is known for other aspects as well. Leonard Bernstein described the symphony as the first musical expedition into psychedelia because of its hallucinatory and dream-like nature, and because history suggests Berlioz composed at least a portion of it under the influence of opium. According to Bernstein, "Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral."

Another quote from Bernstein about the symphony: “Pretty spooky stuff. And it's spooky because those sounds you're hearing come from the first psychedelic symphony in history, the first musical description ever made of a trip, written one hundred thirty odd years before the Beatles, way back in 1830 by the brilliant French composer Hector Berlioz. He called it Symphonie Fantastique, or "fantastic symphony," and fantastic it is, in every sense of the word, including psychedelic. And that's not just my own idea: It's a fact, because Berlioz himself tells us so.”

The next time you’re listening to 90.9 WGUC and the Symphonie Fantastique starts to play, maybe consider leaning back and closing your eyes- let Berlioz take you on a trip.