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Enjoy music for Valentine's Day as host Deborah Simpkin King surveys choral music from the eras of Courtly and Romantic love on Sounds Choral Sunday (2/14) at 2 pm. 

This week’s Dress Circle (2/14 7:00 p.m.) is actually a program to celebrate Valentine’s Day!  To that end, we’ve compiled a program of some of our favorite love songs from Broadway and Hollywood.  True to our mission, we’ll have a mix of familiar and unfamiliar songs.  On the familiar side, we’ve focused on “Show Boat,” “Follies,” “Kismet,” and “La Cage aux Folles.”  On the not so familiar stage side, we’ve got songs from “Steel Pier,” “Children of Eden,” “Very Warm for May,” and “Napoleon.”  We’ve even turned to a few films like “Tangled” and “Enchanted” for two of our favorites. 

Love is on the air and in the music as Karrin & Bill celebrate with a special Valentine's Day Episode.

February gets overheated with music from movies inspired by the Brontë sisters, including “Wuthering Heights” (Alfred Newman), two adaptations of “Jane Eyre” (Bernard Herrmann & John Williams), and the biographical fiction “Devotion” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold).  It’s a Yorkshire pudding of passion, torment, and cruelty. Sigh along with tortured romances of the Brontës, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Cupid, draw back your bow, for two contrasting treatments of the allegorical myth of Psyche and Eros.  Frequently interpreted as a metaphor for the elevation of the soul through love, it’s a beautiful tale of blind faith betrayed and redemption achieved, the protagonists clambering through travails to triumph.  César Franck’s version is full of romance and ardor.  Lord Berners’ is decidedly cheekier, more suited to the ballroom, perhaps, or even an amusement park.  Get Psyched for Valentine’s Day.  Love is blind, then kind, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Photo by Marco Borggreve

Host Ryan Brandau explores the music of Josquin des Prez and Robert Fayrfax on Sounds Choral this Sunday (2/7),  including selections from a new album released by Stile Antico. Listen at 2 pm.

Some call February the “Month of Love,” and since we love musicals, we’ll be looking at some of the February openings on this week’s Dress Circle (2/7 7:00 p.m.) (…not that we don’t do this each month, but…)  Once again, we’ve got a happy mix of songs from shows like 1917’s “Oh, Boy!” through 2017’s revival of “Sunday in the Park with George” starring Annaleigh Ashford and Jake Gyllenhaal.  Along our 100-year route, we’ll hear from other revivals including “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” “The Pajama Game,” “Sunset Boulevard,” and “Fiddler on the Roof” as well the original casts of “Redhead” and “Wonderful Town.” 

Slip on your dancing shoes and chase away the winter blues.  Get those toes tapping with selections from “The Tales of Beatrix Potter” (John Lanchbery), “The Red Shoes” (John Easdale), “Specter of the Rose” (George Antheil), “The Leopard” (Nino Rota), and “A Damsel in Distress” (George Gershwin).  Regain your tone with tunes from movies about the dance, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Manon Lescaut was Puccini's first great success. It premiered in Turin in 1893, and after some revision, in Milan in1894. It was a rocky road to success. Giulio Ricordi, the publisher, warned Puccini not to try it - only a few years before Massenet had used the same 1731 novel by the Abbe Prevost to write his very popular Manon. Puccini was undaunted: "a woman like Manon can have more than one lover," he said. "Massenet feels it as a Frenchman, with powder and minuets; I shall feel it as an Italian, with a desperate passion."

The Lost Chord: February 7 - Still Runs Deep

Feb 4, 2021

William Grant Still was recognized as the “Dean of Afro-American Composers.”  His Symphony No. 1, the “Afro-American Symphony,” is probably his best-known music, but his Symphony No. 2, “Song of a New Race,” is equally attractive, full of good tunes, with a second movement George Gershwin could have only wished he had written.  On a more somber note is Still’s choral ballad, “And They Lynched Him on a Tree,” contemporary with Abel Meeropols’ “Strange Fruit.”  The hour will conclude with the beautiful and contemplative “Summerland.”  Still is still the one, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Sounds Choral host Ethan Sperry presents an introduction to the choral music of Southeast Asia, including secular works from the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore Sunday (1/31) at 2 pm. The program includes an interview with composer Saunder Choi, a former member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

You may not know the name, but you’re sure to know the songs we’ll be showcasing of Roger Edens on this week’s Dress Circle (1/31 7:00 p.m.).  After a short stint on Broadway as a pianist, Edens was one of the throng who went to Hollywood and the films, but in his case, it was a wise move.  He came to the attention of Arthur Freed at MGM, and for nearly three decades wrote songs and incidental music for some of Hollywood’s most loved musicals such as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face,” “Good News,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and “On the Town.” 

Baby, it’s cold outside!  The best time for armchair travel.  Cozy in, but get a world view, with selections from “Dersu Uzala” (Isaac Schwartz), “The White Reindeer” (Einar Englund), “Lieutenant Kijé” (Sergei Prokofiev), and “Scott of the Antarctic” (Ralph Vaughan Williams).  The forecast is for a wintry mix, this Saturday at 6 pm.

The Lyric Stage January 31 - Gluck's Le Cinesi

Jan 28, 2021

This Sunday night February 11 on the Lyric Stage, we have Christoph Gluck's Le Cinesi, The Chinese Women. Gluck wrote the music for this one act in 1755 to entertain the Austrian royal family at the manor house of one of their noble friends. It is an early example of what became opera buffa.

In this season of bitter temperatures and falling snow, keep your spirits up with music inspired by Finland’s avian life. Einojuhani Rautavaara’s concerto for birdsong and orchestra, “Cantus Arcticus,” from 1972, incorporates tape recordings made by the composer on the bogs of Liminka, near the Arctic Circle. Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 culminates in a grand theme inspired by swans in flight around his home on the shores of Lake Tuusula in Järvenpää. We’ll hear it as it was first performed in 1915, before it was substantially revised to become the masterwork we know today.

Sounds Choral host Gabriel Crouch presents choral music based on the works of Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden Sunday (1/24) at 2 pm.

We’re shining a spotlight on an audience favorite on this week’s Dress Circle (1/24 7:00 p.m.) as we take the first look at the career of Nathan Lane.  On this week’s program, we’ll hear Lane in recordings of the Disney film “The Lion King” and a televised concert version of “The Wizard of Oz” in which he played The Cowardly Lion.  We’ll also listen to a pair of songs from the stage version of Mel Brook’s “The Producers” and several songs from a studio cast recording of a musical version of “The Man Who Came to Dinner” entitled “Sherry!”  

Take the long view, with music from award-winning epics by director David Lean.  Enjoy selections from “Lawrence of Arabia” (Maurice Jarre), “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (Malcolm Arnold), and “Doctor Zhivago” (Maurice Jarre).  Close your eyes and get the big picture, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Verdi wrote Macbeth for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, where it premiered on 14 March, 1847. It was Verdi's tenth opera. Verdi deeply respected Shakespeare, and worked hard to maintain the integrity of his source when he set about to write his own version of Macbeth.

Steal some fascinating glimpses of Béla Bartók, captured in rare private recordings, with the composer at the piano, performing his own music – including fragments of the Piano Concerto No. 2 – alongside works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms.   Also featured will be a selection from a 1944 radio broadcast, with the composer speaking in English, at a concert given by his wife, Ditta.  Hungary for Bartók?  The snacks are on wax, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Half Past: Jan. 17

Jan 17, 2021

If you like the unfamiliar, we may have a program for you on this week’s Dress Circle (1/17 7:00 p.m.) as we take a second look at "Musicals with Which You May Not Be Familiar.”  This time, we’ll be looking at Cole Porter’s 1958 television musical “Aladdin” which starred Cyril Ritchard, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Sal Mineo, Basil Rathbone, and Geoffrey Holder. We’ll follow this with music from the wonderfully irreverent 1966 off-Broadway revue “The Mad Show” with music by Mary Rodgers with lyrics by Marshall Barer, Steven Vinaver, and Stephen Sondheim and performances by Linda Lavin, McIntyre Dixon, Jo Anne Worley, and Paul Sand.  

Karrin & Bill look for that much needed hope was we pass into 2021 with music by Handel, The Beatles and Sam Cooke.

A jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness.  Well, we’ve got the wilderness anyway.  Poetry warms the soul, through selections from “Dead Poets Society” (Maurice Jarre), “Lady Caroline Lamb” (Richard Rodney Bennett), “Il Postino” (Luis Bacalov), and “Cyrano de Bergerac” (Dimitri Tiomkin).  It could be verse, this Saturday at 6 pm.