In Piano Duets, Schubert Sings, Rite Isn’t Quite

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By Robert Battey

DIGITAL REVIEW – Former Buenos Aires child prodigies Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim often collaborate as soloist and conductor, but before a concert caught on DG they had played duo pianos together only once.

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Classical Cabaret: SFSO, MTT Turn Hip In SoundBox

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By Richard S. Ginell

SAN FRANCISCO – Around the corner from the main entrance of Davies Symphony Hall, a huge rehearsal room has been converted into a cabaret-cum-black-box space like the lounge of an upscale urban hotel. It’s called SoundBox.

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Seattle Symphony Premieres Bates Cello Concerto

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By Philippa Kiraly

SEATTLE – Cellist Joshua Roman and conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla ushered in a new concerto by Mason Bates that combines classical lyricism with blues, jazz elements, and techno rhythms from the club scene.

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Exhaustive Tome On Schubert Songs Is Beguiling, Too

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By Rodney Punt

BOOK REVIEW – Graham Johnson’s definitive survey of Schubert’s lyric art is at one stroke the indispensable reference for singers, pianists, scholars, lovers of music in general, and Schubert fans in particular. It arrives Dec. 16.

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Brussels Giovanni Obscures Mozart Amid Wild Erotica

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By Susan Brodie

BRUSSELS – Krzysztof Warlikowski’s new X-rated production at La Monnaie explores the more lurid instincts unleashed by the Don’s uncontrollable urges, but manages only to confuse and distract from the music.

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Stunning Babi Yar Caps Shostakovich Cycle By Petrenko

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Once a rarity, complete recordings of Shostakovich’s 15 symphonies now number well over a dozen. One of the best has just reached its conclusion with a powerful rendering of the choral Symphony No. 13.

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One Tenor’s Spirit Haunts Operatic Christmas Carol

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William Albright

HOUSTON — Britain’s Iain Bell is the latest in a long line of composers who have created operas based on Dickens’ beloved tale. Plucky tenor Jay Hunter Morris plays all of the roles in the world premiere at Houston Grand Opera.

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Around the U.S.

Die Meistersinger: Evening-Length Glory At The Met

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By Judith Malafronte

NEW YORK – James Levine’s clear and buoyant reading of Wagner’s only comedy led an evening of glorious music-making, firmly anchored by the splendid Met orchestra and chorus, as Otto Schenk’s 1993 production began its final run.

For Slatkin At 70, Maestro’s Ongoing Beat Was Destined

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By Lawrence B. Johnson

DETROIT – Some bright young musicians know early on that they want to be a conductor. Leonard Slatkin had a more specific vision. He believed himself born to be a music director, “a very different job from just waving your arms.”

Thomson Essays Offer Portrait Of Critic With Edge

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By Paul Hyde

The spirited chronicle of a golden era when the New York scene was dominated by the likes of Toscanini, Bernstein, Copland, Horowitz, and Heifetz, Thomson: Music Chronicles 1940-1954 is a classical music lover’s delight.

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Around Canada

Marionettes Bring Charm, Finesse On Trek From Austria

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By Richard Todd

OTTAWA – The Salzburg Marionette Theatre has toured North America with a playful show built around Schumann’s Papillons and Debussy’s Boîte à joujoux. Remarkably life-like puppets teamed with pianist Orion Weiss. Paris is next.

Toronto Symphony Shines Spotlight On Nielsen At 150

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Danish composer Carl Nielsen is still on the fringes of the canon, but his music has a chance to find a wider audience this concert season, with a mini Nielsen-fest in Toronto, and more to come in the U.S. and Europe.

Les Violons du Roy Take Regal Sound To Canadian West

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By Bill Rankin

EDMONTON, Alberta – An eight-stop tour by the Quebec chamber orchestra has an early romantic flavor, with an arrangement of Schubert’s String Quartet in D Minor (Death and the Maiden), plus Mendelssohn and Schumann.

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International

Born Of Tumult, Butterfly Glistens At Teatro Colón

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By James L. Paulk

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Chaos surrounds the Teatro Colón these days, the result of the country’s economic crisis. But great artistry often rises from the disorder, as it did with director Hugo De Ana’s ambitious Madama Butterfly.

In Vienna, Heady Mix of Messiaen, Boulez, Schubert

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By Matthew Gurewitsch

VIENNA — Leading the opening programs of the Vienna Philharmonic’s season at the Musikverein, Ingo Metzmacher and Daniel Barenboim followed the same template, to strikingly dissimilar effect.

In Berlin, Hélène Not So Belle And Tosca Is Teutonic

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – The Komische Oper and Staatsoper opened the season with new productions that fell flat. Barrie Kosky’s La belle Hélène offered strangely little Offenbach, and ‘Tosca,’ led by Daniel Barenboim, veered toward Wagner.

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Issues in the Arts

5-Day Boot Camp Drills Reality Of Music Criticism

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By Mike Telin

SAN FRANCISCO – One budding writer chosen to train with the pros at the Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism likened the experience to competing in a TV reality show like Top chef, complete with a $10,000 prize.

Classical Radio’s Magic Still Rules In Face Of Change

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By John Fleming

How is classical music radio adapting to the digital world? Directors of enduring stations and programs in the U.S. paint a picture of an industry in flux. They pledge to compete by accenting on-air programs that are live – and lively.

Warmed Over Gala Fare Stirs Hunger For Fresh Entrees

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By Barbara Jepson

Orchestras tend to pack their inaugural concerts with the tried and true, but The Bass Whisperer, featuring soloist and co-composer Victor Wooten, for the Nashville Symphony, is one of this season’s intriguing departures.

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Disc and Stream

Bartoli Rekindles Trove Of Arias From Old Russia

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – France was the model for Russia’s tsaritsas, but not in musical matters. Italian composers beat a path to St. Petersburg in the 18th century. In her CD research pilgrimage, Cecilia Bartoli uncovered real gems.

Ring In Seattle: Echt Wagner From Spirited Ensemble

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW — Against all odds, the upstart Seattle Opera made Wagner’s Ring its signature achievement in 1975, and just as astonishingly kept at it. Now the company is taking its 2013 Ring to the world in a CD box from Avie.

Lost Swedish Epic The Jewish Song Reprinted On CD

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – There is really no excuse for Moses Pergament’s magnum opus to languish in obscurity. The new CD incarnation of a notable 1974 LP may help to bring overdue attention to the late Finnish-Swedish composer.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

La Monnaie Chief Conductor Ludovic Morlot Resigns

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Ludovic Morlot, Chief Conductor of La Monnaie, resigns post midway through a poorly received run of Don Giovanni. Brussels’s loss is Seattle’s gain, but budget cuts make it a difficult time for La Monnaie to scramble for new talent.

CD Round-up: Andsnes’ Beethoven; Meyers’ American violin works; A Far Cry’s Dreams & Prayers

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By Roy C. Dicks: What’s the Score?

CD reviews: Leif Ove Andsnes’ Beethoven concertos; Anne Akiko Meyers’ Barber, Corigliano and Mason; Boston’s A Far Cry in Dreams & Prayers

Charles Lloyd and Gabor Szabo Mix It Up, and the latest from Herb Alpert and Sergio Mendes

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Here are a handful of recent CD releases in jazz – or within striking distance of …

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