Podcasts / KDFC's The State of the Arts

  • November 22, 2016

    Another kind of Thanksgiving, to get us in the mood for the holiday: the beautiful middle movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132, which he indicated in the score as “Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit” or “A Convalescent’s Holy Song of Thanksgiving to the Divinity”. It was one of the late quartets, written after he had finished his symphonies, and after he was totally deaf; it was a grateful response to recovering from what he must have assumed was going to be a fatal illness.

    Posted 11/22/2016 12:00:18 AM

  • November 21, 2016

    The key of A Major has been called sincere, confident, and full of hope. In fact, 19th Century musicologist Ernst Pauer said it “excels all the other keys in portraying sincerity of feeling.” That may be, but as you can hear in the examples below, it also can be heroic, tender, and light on its feet. How many of them can you identify?

    Posted 11/21/2016 12:00:56 AM

  • November 18, 2016

    The big top of Cirque du Soleil has returned to San Francisco with a show called Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico. With a staging that includes (for the first time in a tent show) a rain curtain, and costumes, designs, and music inspired by Mexico, Luzia will run until the end of January, after which it heads to San Jose. Artistic Director Mark Shaub gives a preview.

    Posted 11/18/2016 12:00:14 AM

  • November 17, 2016

    One of the long-held dreams of amateur inventors – like building the proverbial ‘better mousetrap’ – is to come up with a way to create a machine that powers itself, without ever slowing down or stopping. The quest for Perpetual Motion isn’t only limited to devices, though – it’s also used as a musical concept, and it’s the subject of an “A-to-Z” edition of State of the Arts today… Composers such as Niccolo Paganini and Johann Strauss II have works that seem to go on and on without ever stopping…

    Posted 11/17/2016 12:00:38 AM

  • November 16, 2016

    Classical Revolution has grown since it began as a group of instrumentalists gathering to play at each other’s apartments ten years ago. They’ve got a regular gig at the Revolution Cafe, and have expanded this season (in honor of the anniversary year) to be able to play orchestral repertoire. They’re playing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony this Friday night at 7 at Grace Cathedral. Violist and Classical Revolution founder Charith Premawardhana gives the details.

    Posted 11/16/2016 12:00:36 AM

  • November 15, 2016

    The Hands-on-Opera program of Opera Parallele is premiering another work written for (and including a chorus of) children this week. Xochitl and the Flowers, based on a book by Jorge Argueta, tells the story of a family from El Salvador that moves to the Mission and tries to make a new home there. Roma Olvera, the educational programs director for the ensemble, adapted the bilingual libretto.

    Posted 11/15/2016 12:00:25 AM

  • November 14, 2016

    Aaron Copland was born on this date in 1900, and went on to write some of the most iconically American works of classical music, evoking the wide open spaces of the prairies, and babbling brooks of Appalachia… A far cry from his Brooklyn roots. With music for the concert hall, ballet and film scores, Copland’s sound, with wide intervals and identifiable orchestration have become part of what we think of when we think of “American” works.

    Posted 11/14/2016 12:00:28 AM

  • November 11, 2016

    The Friction Quartet and pianist Jenny Q. Chai play two piano quintets for Noe Valley Chamber Music this Sunday afternoon, one by Robert Schumann, and one that’s freshly written for them by Andy Akiho. It features a ‘prepared’ piano (and in one of the movements, the cello as well) with certain strings dampened by a kind of soft putty, which gives a kind of ‘muted bell sound.’

    Posted 11/11/2016 12:00:06 AM

  • November 10, 2016

    On an ‘A-to-Z’ edition of State of the Arts, it’s Sibelius and his Symphony of Swans and Silence… The Finnish composer (and national hero) Jean Sibelius was commissioned to write a symphony to commemorate his own 50th birthday – he ended up revising it several times before it came to the version we know today, but one of its most memorable themes came to him on a morning in April when he looked to the skies.

    Posted 11/10/2016 12:00:12 AM

  • November 9, 2016

    When you say Quartet or Quintet in classical music, you have to be a bit more specific. The most frequent instrumentation for four players in a chamber music setting is probably a string quartet – with a pair of violins, a viola, and a cello. It’s a natural combination, because each instrument has a tone that’s similar, but the ranges of each allow for the highest highs and lowest lows. It starts getting a bit more complicated when you talk about quintets…

    Posted 11/9/2016 12:00:17 AM