Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 — "Rach 3," as fans fondly call it — is one of the most famously difficult pieces of music there is. The sheet music goes on and on, with notes so dense the pages start to look like modern art. The piece is so challenging that some noted pianists have declined to perform it — but Yuja Wang has recorded it for her newest album.
The man who painted the Mona Lisa, and was the first to sketch out the helicopter and the submarine, also dabbled in music. So here's the question: What musical instrument did Leonardo da Vinci design?
With the holidays upon us, our friends at member station WQXR invited me along with Washington Post chief classical critic Anne Midgette and Sony Masterworks producer Steven Epstein, the winner of 17 Grammy Awards, to sit down with host Naomi Lewin for a Conducting Business podcast on the topic.
The Rockford Choral Union presents its 68th annual performances of Handel’s oratorio “The Messiah” Saturday and Sunday, November 30 and December 1, at Rockford’s Trinity Lutheran Church. Nat Bauer has led the performances for the last 12 years. Bauer says the Choral Union was begun back in 1945, as members of the armed forces were returning home from fighting in World War 2.
“The Lutheran churches got together and said we need to do something to welcome everybody back, so they got together and said let’s do Messiah.”
An extended ovation greeted conductor James Levine last May when he returned to performing after a two-year absence. In 2011, he resigned as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and cancelled his performances at the Metropolitan Opera. He'd been plagued by health problems, injuries and operations, and it was painful for him to move. Many of his admirers, even he himself, feared he might never conduct again.
Art is a tough way to make a living. Ask any musician, writer, sculptor, or actor. Following your passion often means spending more time than you’d like doing something else to pay the bills. Today, we wrap up our series on arts adapting in Rockford with a look at some of the people creating their art just outside the mainstream.
Who's writing the best literature in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin?
That's a question WNIJ's Dan Klefstad tries to answer twice a year. This December, his Winter Book Series will feature works by five authors which, he says, convey a strong sense of place:
"We handle snakes at a Pentecostal gathering in southern Illinois," Klefstad says. "We reconnect with nature at a Michigan cabin. In another, we meet Troilus and Criseyde of ancient Troy, but this time their tragedy plays out in Wisconsin."