Summary: Classical 91.7 audio librarian, Dacia Clay has a secret: she knows next to nothing about classical music. But she wants to learn! In each episode of the Classical Classroom, classical music pros give her "homework assignments." You'll learn about everything from bel canto aria to the use of leitmotif in the score to Star Wars. Come learn with us in the Classical Classroom.
Team Classroom is taking a little holiday break this week, so we present one of our favorite episodes from the wayback machine. Hope your holiday season is full of the good stuff. We'll be back next week with new episodes! --------------------- In this episode, independent producer, author, documentary filmmaker, Peabody Award-winner (et cetera, et cetera…), Wesley Horner chats with Dacia about Bach's B Minor Mass and bringing classical music to people who hate wearing tuxedos. Audio production by Todd Hulslander with occasional grunts of approval from Dacia Clay.
It's four days until Christmas. Chances are, you've heard a lot of beautiful music. If you're looking for more of that, you've come to the wrong place. Welcome to Jingle Hell, where bad songs are born, and good songs come to die. Alecia Lawyer, founder, artistic director, and principal oboist of River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) talks about the worst musical offerings of the season, and what makes them so bad. Songs that include entire scales? Check. Songs with completely bizarre lyrics that we sing along with anyway? Check. Wookiees? Yeah. This episode has all of that and oh so much more. Listen if you dare! And, uh, merry Christmas. You're welcome. Audio production by Todd "Good King Wencelastodd" Hulslander with two eyes made out of coal by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. Music in this episode: "Dominick the Donkey." Ray Allen, Sam Saltzberg and Wandra Merrell. "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas." John Rox. Performed by Gayla Peevey. "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." Randy Brooks. Performed by Elmo and Patsy. "White Winter Hymnal." Written and performed by Fleet Foxes. From their self-titled album. "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." By John Frederick Coots. Performed by the Cheeky Monkeys. "Ding-a-ling-a-ring-a-ling." Written and performed by Sufjan Stevens. From Silver and Gold. "Baby It's Cold Outside." Frank Loesser. Performed by Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone. From the Elf movie soundtrack. "Vader Did You Know?" Vic Mignogna. "What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)." From Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk. "Mary, Did You Know?" Lyrics written by Mark Lowry and music written by Buddy Greene. Performed by Pentatonix. Greensleeves. London Festival Orchestra. "Joy to the World." Isaac Watts. "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen." Performed by the Bach Choir. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." Performed by Celtic Woman. "Good King Wenceslas." John Mason Neale. "Angels We Have Heard on High." Performed by Sandi Patty. "The Cherry-Tree Carol." Performed by King’s College Choir. If you enjoyed this episode, you can also hear Alecia talk all about the oboe in Episode 10! For more about ROCO and Alecia: www.rocohouston.org For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
2013 was - I think we can all agree - a magical year. It was the year of the arthouse film "Sharknado," the year of the Harlem Shake, and the year that Justin Bieber was separated from his pet monkey. But more important than any of those moments? Thanksgivukkah happened. Learn all about this phenomenon, about the history of Hanukkah, and about the music of the holiday in this Classical Classroom episode from the vault. ------------------------------------------------- Happy Thanksgivukkah everyone! That's right: the Julian and the Hebrew calendars have aligned this year to create a day even more amazing than Hanukkah and more delicious than Thanksgiving. There won't be another until the year 79811! To honor this rare occasion, Cantor Benjamin Matis of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center in Roslyn, NY in Long Island schools us on the history and music of Hanukkah. Audio production by Todd “Toddfurky” Hulslander with a side of help and gravy from Dacia Clay. Music in this episode includes: – John Williams’ Star Wars (Main Theme) – Ma’oz Tzur (Ashkenazi and Sephardic versions) – George Frideric Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) – Richard Tucker singing “Sound an Alarm” (Judas Maccabaeus) – David Paskin, The Ballad of Thanksgivukkah Aaaand, of course, this gem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s5GY2NY2wY&feature=youtu.be For more about Cantor Benjamin Matis: www.srjc.org/leadership For more Classical Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
Chances are, unless you happen to be a cellist, you've probably never heard of Auguste Franchomme. But back in the day, he was one of the most celebrated musicians in Paris, he was besties with Chopin, and he hung out with people like Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, and the Rothschilds. He was a teenager when he won the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatoire, and he was solo cellist in King Louis-Philippe’s Musique du Roi. So, why is it that most of his work hasn't been recorded and is, in fact, out of print? Why do we remember the name "Chopin" and not "Franchomme"? Cellist and Franchomme scholar Louise Dubin, who just put out a CD called The Franchomme Project, discusses this and much more in this episode. All music in this episode from Louise Dubin's The Franchomme Project. Audio production by Todd "Terr-ee-bleh" Hulslander with eating of palmiere by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more about Louise Dubin: www.louise-dubin.com For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
Hope all of you in the States enjoyed your Thanksgiving. We took some time off to enjoy ours, so this week, we're giving you old gold. Øystein was recently in Houston, and because our stars didn't align, we weren't able to record a new episode with him. (Øystein, come back anytime, buddy!)To make up for that, we give you this rerun. Anyhow, prepare to fall in love with the tuba! -------------------------------------------------- Learn 100% more about the tuba in this episode than you've ever known! Norwegian tuba soloist and chamber musician Øystein Baadsvik is the only tuba virtuoso in the world to make a career exclusively as a soloist. He is also the only tuba player in the world to have a great story about touring with a punk band. He joins us all the way from Norway to tell us about this shadowy instrument: its size, its repertoire, and its fnugg. For more about Øystein Baadsvik: www.baadsvik.com. For more about Classical Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom. Audio production by Todd "Tall Texan" Hulslander with slings and arrows by Dacia Clay. Music in this episode: - Bass Tuba Concerto in F Minor, 1st mvmt, by Ralph Vaughn Williams. Performed by Øystein Baadsvik. - Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra 1st mvmt, by John Williams. Performed by Øystein Baadsvik. - Fnugg from The Front Row - Reserved (a Houston Public Media compilation CD). Performed by Øystein Baadsvik. - Fnugg from YouTube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q19Kcgvgjs - Blood Sweat and Tears tuba solo: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciPI7U1VEhE - The Cod Lovers - Encounters II for solo tuba, performed by Roger Bobo - Csárdás by Vittorio Monti, performed by Øystein Baadsvik. - Ordner seg (It'll Be All Right) from Ferry Tales by Øystein Baadsvik. - Winter from the Four Seasons Concerto by Antonio Vivaldi, performed by Øystein Baadsvik. PS, The title for this show was inspired by a great band called 500 Megatons of Boogie. You can find out more about them here: www.reverbnation.com/500megatonsofboogie
Knowing how a piece of classical music came to be is often a bit of a guessing game. What inspired Bach to write the Goldberg Variations, or Beethoven to write his 9th Symphony? Context clues, letters, composers' notes help us put the story together; we fill in the rest with our imaginations and mythology. But no more! In this episode of Classical Classroom, you'll hear the entire story of a piece of modern classical music, Music for Wood and Strings, from commission to performance. Even the instruments on which the piece is played didn't exist before this story began. You'll meet composer Bryce Dessner (The National), instrument maker Aron Sanchez (Buke and Gase), and the members of So Percussion. You'll hear a lot of awesome music. You'll laugh! You'll cry. Your life will be affirmed. But seriously, it's a compelling (and thoroughly American) story about ingenuity, modernist music, and most importantly, joy. Music in this episode: - Music for Wood and Strings. Bryce Dessner. Played by So Percussion. - "Don't Swallow the Cap." The National, from the album Trouble Will Find Me. - "Seam Esteem." Buke and Gase. - So-Called Laws of Nature. David Lang. Played by So Percussion. - Appalachian Grove I. Laurie Spiegel. Audio production by Todd "Tex" Hulslander with giddyups from Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more So Percussion: www.sopercussion.com For more Bryce Dessner: www.brycedessner.com For more Aron Sanchez: www.polyphonicworkshop.com Thanks to Emily Motherwell, Stuart Wolferman, Da Camera of Houston, and the people at Brassland for their help with this episode.
How do you tell a story without words? Why, with music of course! Richard Scerbo, founder and artistic director of DC-based Inscape Chamber Orchestra, explains how - and why - composers use music to tell tales. Walk through two very different kinds of musical "stories" in this episode. Watch out for dancing puppets and swamp ghosts. All music in this episode performed by Inscape Chamber Orchestra: - Excerpts from their new album, "Petrushka," by Igor Stravinsky. - "Black Bend" by Dan Visconti from the album "American Aggregate". Audio production by Todd "Tiny T-Rex Arms" Hulslander with fleeing by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more Inscape: www.inscape.org For more Richard Scerbo: www.richardscerbo.com For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
This episode contains pretty much everything: Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday, Plato's Symposium, music by living composers, the Great American Songbook, and most importantly, love, baby. All music in this episode from Anne Akiko Meyers' new album, Serenade: The Love Album. Audio production by Todd "Tickle Me Elmo" Hulslander with high-pitched cackles by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more about Anne Akiko Meyers: www.anneakikomeyers.com For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
It's a Menotti two-fer! Lynda McKnight from Houston's Opera in the Heights teaches all about the composer Gian Carlo Menotti and two of his short operas, "The Medium" (not the Patricia Arquette kind), and "The Telephone" (not the Lady Gaga kind). Learn about this versatile 20th century composer and these two drastically different operas. Also, zombies. By the way, Opera in the Heights is staging a "Medium" and "Telephone" double-header through November 7th! For more about them and the show, go to www.operaintheheights.org. Music in this episode: - Gian Carlo Menotti, The Medium. Chicago Opera Theater recording. - Gian Carlo Menotti, The Telephone. BBC Radio Broadcast on YouTube. Audio by Todd "My, My Telephone" Hulslander with psychic readings by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more about Lynda McKnight: www.uh.edu/class/music/faculty-staff/McKnight_L For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
What?? Two episodes in one week? That's right. We made you a treat: Go with us on a field trip to the Moores School of Music Organ Recital Hall at the University of Houston where we meet up with Keith "Creepy" Weber and the colossal, two-story Beckerath Organ that lurks in the hall. Learn all about Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and why it's the soundtrack for all things macabre in this episode, the final installment of our Bachtoberfest series. Music in this episode played by Keith Weber, except for "Toccata Remix" by VioDance (www.viodance.com). Audio production by Todd "All A-Twitter" Hulslander with snargling by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. Thanks to Matthew Dirst and Melissa Sanson for the information they provided for this episode.
Cellist Matt Haimovitz has grappled with Bach's Cello Suites for decades. He first recorded them in 2000. He's dedicated his new second recording of the Suites to Anna Magdalena, Bach's second wife, who copied Bach's manuscripts. Haimovitz talks about how Anna Magdalena's transcriptions became his spirit guide on a quest to gain a greater understanding of the Gospel of Bach. Music in this episode: - Excerpts from J.S. Bach, The Cello Suites According to Anna Magdalena. Matt Haimovitz. - Excerpts from J.S. Bach, 6 Suites for Cello Solo. Matt Haimovitz. - J.S. Bach, Suite 1. Pablo Casals. - That one sound effect from Law and Order, created by Mike Post. - Philip Glass, Orbit. Matt Haimovitz. Audio production by Todd "Toddtober" Hulslander with smashing of pumpkins by Dacia Clay, and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more Matt Haimovitz: www.matthaimovitz.com For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
Bachtoberfest continues! Catalyst Quartet members Karla Donehew-Perez and Karlos Rodriguez talk about famously eccentric (eccentrically famous?) performer and composer, Glenn Gould, his recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations, and Catalyst's Gould-inspired arrangement of the Variations. Discussed: breakfast, order out of chaos, and who this "Goldberg" person was. Music in this episode: - "Aria da capo" from Gould's 1955 and 1981 recordings, and from the Catalyst Quartet's debut album, Bach/Gould Project. - Goldberg Variations from Catalyst's CD Audio production by Todd "Triffid" Hulslander with ingenious biological meddlings by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more Catalyst Quartet: www.catalystquartet.com For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
Continuing with our Bachtober celebration, we revisit this oldie but goody with Kurt Stallmann. Bach’s Invention No. 1 contains an entire universe of music as we learn in this episode with Kurt Stallmann, Associate Professor of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. It gets metaphysical up in here, you guys. Audio production by Todd “Birthday Boy” Hulslander, with happy claps of approval by Dacia Clay. Music in this episode includes: Johann Sebastian Bach, Invention No. 1 in C Major (from his Inventions and Sinfonias BWV 772–801, aka the Two- and Three-Part Inventions), played by Kurt Stallmann. Recording of same piece by Glen Gould.
This Classroom teacher needs only one name: Madonna! JK! But he's also a world-famous musician: Pianist Yundi teaches about Chopin's preludes, all of which he recently recorded on his new album, aptly entitled "Frédéric Chopin: Complete Preludes". Where did these preludes come from? Why are they each so different? Yundi teaches all of this and more in this episode. All music in this episode from Yundi's new album. Audio production by Todd "A Confederacy of Todds" Hulslander with cries of "Opa!" from Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more about Yundi: www.yundimusic.com For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom
The first woman who ran for the U.S. presidency did so in 1872. Never heard this story? Thankfully, composer and conductor Victoria Bond has written an opera about this woman's life. Hear the incredible, true, titillating tale and learn about opera AT THE SAME TIME! Sex, scandal, alliteration! All in this episode. All music in this episode is from Victoria Bond's opera, "Mrs. President." Audio production by Todd "Trusty Sidekick" Hulslander with quick draws by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. For more about Victoria Bond: www.victoriabond.com For more Classroom: www.houstonpublicmedia.org/classroom