You hear it all the time these days - Shakespeare is hip, Shakespeare is fashionable - but with composers, heâ€™s hardly ever been unfashionable. And with his birthday upon us (April 23, by most accounts), it seems only fitting to celebrate some of the most famous classical works inspired by the Bard.
Classical-music comedy has a special place in the affections of music lovers and if there was a list of Frequently Asked Questions on this subject, these queries might be near the top.
Every month MPR's music department asks a different individual to give us a list of five compact discs of his or her choosing. The criteria are strictly personal, and the choices cover a pretty wide gamut. But several discs come up again and again: Carlos Kleiber conducting Beethoven symphonies; Miles Davis and colleagues on their album Kind of Blue; and Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations.
It's the old story: boy gets shot by Cupid's bow and arrow, boy falls in love with girl. So old, in fact, that it forms the story of the very first opera. History has not been gentle with Jacopo Peri's Daphne â€“ most of the music is lost, and the date of the first performance is unclear. But the tradition which it began has been resilient, and of the thousands of operas written since then, most have had some version of boy-meets-girl at their center. Here we take a quick look at some of opera's most famous love duets â€“ and wish you a Happy Valentine's Day.
It is one of the great received images of the twentieth century: As the stricken Titanic slips into the ocean, Wallace Hartley and his musicians remain steadfast at their posts, playing "Nearer, My God, to Thee." Music has become an indispensable part of the Titanic myth. With the big exhibit in St. Paul, thousands of Minnesotans are going to become Titanic buffs, if only temporarily, and we submit five very diverse examples of how musicians have responded to the story of the disaster.