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A Brexit Day Playlist

Andrew Manze, Music Director, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony No. 5; Ralph Vaughan Williams (Conductor), London Philharmonic Orchestra A pacifist and humanist, Vaughan Williams completed his Fifth Symphony during the darkest days of the World War II. It was premiered in London in 1943 and is an unambiguous expression of hope and […]

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Exile Aria

“Whenever a country is in turmoil, inevitably, people try to find groups to blame for the problems at hand,” conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya began her explanation of why she left her native Russia 22 years ago. “I remember as a small child going to my chorus rehearsals, and every week as I went passing through the […]

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Siegfried Idyll

Some babies are put in swaddling clothes. Others are born into families where expectations are so great that they begin to resemble similarly physical restrains. Siegfried Wagner, the only son of Richard, was born in 1869. Richard wrote the “Siegfried-Idyll” to mark the occasion, a work with and flashes of mesmerizing genius. As the male […]

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Oud of Damascus

In February of 2011, 15 children were arrested in Darʿā, Syria. They were accused of painting slogans criticizing the regime on the school walls: “Down with the President” and “Your turn, Doctor,” an allusion to Bashar al-Assad’s degree in opthalmology. The children were beaten up and tortured in prison. In response, a protest against police […]

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Teaching at Sapir College

Ever since I started my new teaching job as a music lecturer at Sapir College in the south of Israel, I’d had the itch to drive at the end of the day and watch the sunset—a beautiful desert sunset, with its giant red orb glowing in a light that is particular to the Negev district. […]

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The Savior’s Gaze

Upon hearing her own stepmother the Kostelnička guiltily admit that she was the one who killed her infant child—whose frozen corpse the people of the Moravian village have now discovered—Jenůfa, initially shocked and appalled, first orders her to “stand up.” Then, going against the general bloodthirsty tenor of the crowd surrounding them, she grants her […]

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Drastic and Vivid

In 2014, the Colorado Symphony put on a concert series called “Classically Cannabis,” attracting media attention from around the world. On November 8, 2016, California, Nevada, and Massachusetts followed in the Rocky Mountain State’s footsteps by passing referenda legalizing recreational marijuana. As decriminalization spreads through the U.S. and perhaps to Europe, will we see more […]

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Notes Towards A Movement

On November 24, 1963, two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Leonard Bernstein conducted Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony with the New York Philharmonic on a nationally televised memorial to the slain president. Three days later, Bernstein spoke before an audience of 18,000 at Madison Square Garden, where he delivered his famous words: “This […]

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None Shall Sleep

“I may not enjoy sitting through an opera,” wrote Donald Trump with assistance from ghostwriter Meredith McIver in his 2004 book How to Get Rich. “But I’ve always respected opera singers and enjoy the highlights of opera.” On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump used one of opera’s most iconic highlights, Luciano Pavarotti’s recording of […]

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A Bang on a Can All-Stars Playlist

One way the Bang on a Can All-Stars describe themselves is as “a genre in their own right.” On their upcoming European tour, with performances at the Kampnagel in Hamburg (November 18), Les Halles de Schaerbeek in Brussels (November 19), and Villa Musica in Mainz (November 20-21), their programs confirm this, reading more like new […]