Aaron Copland’s three beloved ballet scores from the 1930s and 40s — “Appalachian Spring,” “Billy the Kid” and “Rodeo” — are concert hall staples. But did you know he wrote six ballets? The three you never hear are “Gohg” (1922-25), “Hear ye! Hear ye!” (1934) and “Dance Panels: A Ballet in Seven Sections” (1959).

With music director Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra embarking on a three-CD recording project that will document all six Copland ballets on the Naxos label, local audiences are going to get a crash course in the subject. The cycle got off to an invigorating start Friday morning with a lively reading of “Dance Panels.”


13. October 2012 · Comments Off on Neil Sedaka Goes Classical · Categories: Read Online

Manhattan Intermezzo is the new piano concerto by Neil Sedaka, a 19-minute uber-bonus track on his new album, The Real Neil. Now it would be easy to be cynical about this piece, one of the silver-tongued songwriter’s first attempts to write what he calls “something serious”. I’m not claiming Manhattan Intermezzo is a piece that takes the concerto genre to places it has never been before, or that it marks a high point in contemporary composition. Far from it, given the music’s unabashed nostalgia and easygoing tunefulness. But the concerto is a sincere attempt to write something on a different scale, by a musician who told me: “My great love is classical music, and I’ve gone back to my roots with this piece.”

Sedaka won a scholarship to the Juilliard School, New York, studying there during his childhood and early teens. “I played a vast repertoire of Rachmaninov, Schumann, Chopin and Bach.” In fact, he describes his longer-than-half-century career in pop almost as an accident: “I discovered I could write songs and sing, so it all took off in that direction. It was my son who said, ‘Dad, you should try to write something classical.'”

It could have been very different. In 1956, his teacher sent a recording of the 17-year-old Sedaka playing Prokofiev’s fiendish Third Piano Sonata for submission to the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow. Sedaka was accepted to play for a place at one of the most prestigious and competitive classical music hothouses. But a couple of weeks before he was due to go out to Russia, “I was disqualified, because they had heard that my name was associated with writing American capitalistic rock’n’roll.” It’s a tantalising thought, what Sedaka would have become in the classical world if that Moscow experience had worked out differently.


13. October 2012 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Never thought that I would be this happy to get 3 oboe reeds.#musicmajorproblems

Classical CD for newborns to inspire a love of music

Every newborn baby in Scotland will receive a classical CD to inspire a love of music.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) with the Association of Registrars of Scotland will offer a disc to babies born over the next year.

The CD will be distributed to all 220 offices across Scotland and is expected to reach up to 60,000 families.

The compilation titled Astar, Gaelic for ‘journey’, features Scottish songs, nursery rhymes and classical works.

The CD was recorded by the RSNO and RSNO Junior Chorus, led by music director Peter Oundjian.

He said: “When I was an infant my godfather gave me a tiny record player, I would place it under the family piano and put on my prized recording of Peter and the Wolf.


I don’t know if hearing something as an infant causes a person to love something, but I suppose it’s worth a try.