Posts Tagged ‘classical music’

‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’ – this Sat. AM on KWUR

Friday, March 4th, 2011

It may seem odd, if not unseemly, to put in a promo KWUR blog post for one particular selection that will open my classical show this Saturday at 11 AM, since I like to air offbeat works much of the time anyway.  However, there are a few special reasons here to promote this selection, the 1977 musico-dramatic collaboration between playwright Tom Stoppard and conductor/composer Andre Previn, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour".  First performed in 1977, this work is set in a USSR-era political prison, where one prisoner is a political dissident, and the other is genuinely mentally ill and imagines that he can conduct an orchestra on command.  Hence the presence of an orchestra in this work.  You can read more about the work from articles such as these:

(a) December 2008 Times of London interview with Stoppard and Previn

(b) January 2009 primer from Mark Espiner, The Guardian, on the play

(c) The National Theatre's page on their 2010 revival of the play

The other main reason for promoting this work is the source of the recording.  To my knowledge, there is only one recording of this work, on RCA, made right after the premiere, with a distinguished cast of actors and Previn himself conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.  In addition, it's not available on CD, AFAICT.  The recording to be broadcast from KWUR this Saturday morning, ~ 11 AM, is from the private collection of Dr. Alfred Holtzer, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Washington University.  Dr. Holtzer and I occasionally meet at concerts, and knowing about my KWUR show, he was kind enough to offer this recording for airplay at KWUR, for what may be its 1st-ever broadcast in St. Louis.  (So I have to take really good care of the LP, needless to say.)  The cast includes:

i. Ian Richardson (Ivanov, the mental patient who imagines the orchestra in his head)

ii. Ian McKellen (Alexander Ivanov, the imprisoned dissident)

iii. Patrick Stewart (the Doctor)

Dr. Holtzer also has a past connection to KWUR, as he was the faculty advisor to a group of students back in the 1970's who had the idea of setting up a campus radio station.  With funds allocated to him to serve as a faculty advisor to any Wash. U. student group, he directed the funds to this group of students.  The result is the station that is still going 30+ years later.  I sincerely thank Dr. Holtzer for the opportunity to present this recording from KWUR this Saturday.

In addition, in keeping with KWUR's mission of airing out-of-the-mainstream selections, if I were a betting man, I'd be willing to wager that neither KWMU, 90.7 FM nor the late and much-missed KFUO, 99.1 FM have aired this work.  Hence my claim that this will be the St. Louis broadcast premiere.  This, after all, is why alternative radio stations exist, to air selections that wouldn't be heard otherwise.  So if you're in your car near campus or are at your computer this Saturday around 11 AM, please feel free to listen in.

Classical new releases @ KWUR, Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Exceptionally late (not that anyone noticed), but since KWUR is the last bastion of St. Louis-based, locally hosted classical radio which features new releases. I do need to do better on keeping new release blog posts updated.  With that said, this past December and January were relatively light months for new classical CD arrivals, namely:

1.  Régards sur l'Espange (Reflections on Spain), music of Ernesto Lecuona, José Evangelista, Albéniz, Mompou, Debussy, Tomás Marco, and Turina; Louise Bessette, piano (Analekta AN 2 9963)

2. Brahms: Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, op. 24; Two Rhapsodies, op. 79; Six Piano Pieces, op. 118; Four Piano Pieces, op. 119; Murray Perahia, piano (Sony Classical 88697794692)

3. Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition, Vol. 5, "Nacht und Träume" (selected Lieder): Matthias Goerne, baritone; Alexander Schmalcz, piano (harmonia mundi HMC 902063)

4. Smetana: Piano Trio; Liszt: TristiaÉlégie No. 1, La lugubre gondole, Romance oubliée, Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth; Trio Wanderer (harmonia mundi HMC 902060)

The February list promises to be really out of control, in a good way.  Thanks for reading.


Classical new releases at KWUR, 9/2010 edition

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

For this month’s recent classical CD arrivals at KWUR, the quotient of contemporary music is higher than usual, as most classical CDs tend to feature composers long departed.  The first two listed of this month’s selections, however, buck that feature:

* Marc-André Hamelin (composer and pianist): 12 Études in all the minor keys; Little Nocturne; Selections from Con intimissimo sentimento; Theme and Variations (‘Cathy’s Variations’) (Hyperion CDA67789)

* Arvo Pärt: (a) Symphony No. 4 (“Los Angeles”) and (b) “Fragments from Kanon Pokajanen“, with (a) Los Angeles Philharmonic; Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; and (b) Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor (ECM New Series 2160)

* Robert Schumann: Spanisches Liederspiel op. 74; Minnespiel, op. 101, Spanische Liebeslieder, op. 138; with Marlis Petersen (soprano), Anke Vondung (mezzo-soprano), Werner Güra (tenor), Konrad Jarnot (bass-baritone), Christoph Berner (piano) and Camillo Radicke (piano); (harmonia mundi HMC 902050)

* Lang Lang: Live in Vienna; music of Beethoven, Albéniz, Prokofiev and Chopin (Sony Classical 88697719012)

Plus, in anticipation of Christmas (what, already?), these recent vocal ensemble recordings:

* Anonymous 4: The Cherry Tree (14th & 15th Century English Christmas carols and early Americana) (harmonia mundi 807453)

* stile antico: Puer Natus Est, including Thomas Tallis’ Missa Puer natus est and selections by John Taverner, William Byrd, Robert White and John Sheppard (harmonia mundi HMU 807517)

As always, comments and feedback are welcome here or by e-mail at  You can also IM me or call the station (314-935-5987) during my Saturday show (normally 11 AM to 2 PM; subject to change and/or football).  Thanks for reading.