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Keep it Classical: Symphony Explores Space
April 9, 2009, 12:06 pm
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Gustav Holst (1874-1934) wrote his symphonic suite The Planets in 1915, depicting each known planet of the solar system, except for earth, in seven different movements. In 1930, with the discovery of Pluto, many people suggested that Holst should add on another movement for the new planet. Holst, however, refused, explaining that he felt that The Planets was already receiving too much attention in comparison to some of his other works which he felt were more worthy of praise. Or, perhaps, he foresaw the eventual revocation of Pluto’s planetary status in 2006, which would once again make the piece complete.

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Keep it Classical: Hugo Alfven’s Symphony No. 4

Henry Fogel, announcer on the former classical music radio station in Syracuse, WONO-FM (now Hot 107.9!) and program annotator for the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra once wrote, “Hugo Alfven is cursed by history for having written one very popular work. By this he was referring to the fact that many people tended not to look past the most well known piece of the Swedish composer, the Swedish Rhapsody No 1, “Midsummer Vigil.” Actually, Alfven wrote many other works worthy of attention, including eight symphonies. The fourth of these symphonies was written in 1918.

Symphony No. 4 of Hugo Alfven is programmatic in nature, meaning that the music tells a story. In this case, it is a passionate love story. It begins with the first moments of attraction, when, as the composer explains, “two human beings find each other and the highest bliss of love reveals itself to them,” and concludes with the dramatic end of their relationship. While most symphonies have four movements, this is technically a one- movement work, although it still has four distinct sections. Each section depicts a different step of the doomed love story. The symphony also includes singers who vocalize on the syllable “Ah” rather than singing lyrics, an uncommon feature in the classical repertoire. Continue reading

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Editor Picks: YouTube Symphony Orchestra
March 30, 2009, 7:28 pm
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Last fall, YouTube called for musicians from all corners of the world to submit audition tapes for the honorary chance to be part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. This is a project destined to make classical music more accessible to everyone by bringing it up to speed with the current (and future) digital age of music. The orchestra will have the chance perform a concert in Carnegie Hall in April, performing piece by Chinese composer Tan Dun. Need I say that it will be broadcast live on YouTube?

-Meredith Laing, Managing Editor

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Editor’s Pick #87: Daniel Sadownick
March 22, 2009, 4:34 pm
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One of the world’s premier percussionists, Daniel Sadownick, says that he always strives to make any performance of his music “an event.” Wih his new album, “There Will Be a Day,” there is no doubt that this mission has been accomplished. The album features Daniel’s ridiculously impressive bongo skills and all original compositions with strong jazz and Afro-Cuban influences. The album is available now on iTunes or amazon.com, and you can check out some of the tracks at www.danielsadownick.com.


-Meredith Laing, Managing Editor

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Keep it Classical: Syracuse Symphony Orchestra Review


images1Being one of my very favorite orchestral pieces, I doubt weather there could be a performance of Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony that I wouldn’t like. With that said, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra performance of the New World Symphony, which concluded their concert on Saturday night, was one of the weaker performances that I have seen them give.  Besides a couple of noticeable errors in the brass section, intonation in the strings was sometimes questionable, and the ensemble was not always precisely together. However, the beautifully phrased flute solo in the second movement was a highlight of the piece, and there were other powerful moments which made it an enjoyable performance overall. This piece is always an audience favorite, and the overwhelming applause showed that Saturday night’s crowd was not phased by the few minor glitches.

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Keep it Classical: SUSO Concert 3/3/09

images2The Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra is excited about its upcoming concert next Tuesday. The concert includes works by George Enesco, Edvard Greig, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The Romanian Rhapsody by Enesco is a high-speed, whimsical, and exhilarating piece, which highlights the technique and talents of the flute section. The Holberg Suite by Greig is a piece written for the string orchestra, and showcases the different colors that a string ensemble can create. Finally, the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante is, as the name would suggest, something of a mix between a symphony and a concerto, and features soloists Jim Krehbiel (my teacher!) on violin and Li Li on viola.

This promising concert takes place on Tuesday, March 3rd at 8:00 PM in the Setnor Auditorium of Crouse College. Hope to see you there!

-Meredith Laing

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Editor’s Pick #67: Cavalletto
February 23, 2009, 1:33 am
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Soon to graduate with a master’s degree in violin performance, yet not entirely sure what I’m doing with myself after grad school, I was intrigued when I stumbled across an online ad about a brand new band. They’re looking for a violinist to add to their trio of guitars, vocals, and bongos/percussion. Upon checking out their Myspace I was pleasantly surprised to find that the San Diego-based group Cavalletto has a lot of talent. Now I can’t stop listening to them, and not just because of my own prospect of recording and touring with them. Their music is rhythmically driven yet with a laid-back quality. And the melodies are immediately catchy. Plus, I can already hear the violin parts in my head when listening to each of their tracks (“Take Me Far Away” is my favorite).

-Meredith Laing, Managing Editor

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