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Classical Music: Air Check Script

Every election season it seems at least one incriminating document turns up to contradict what some politician has told us.

138 years ago, Richard Wagner’s autobiography claimed a stormy sea crossing as inspiration for his opera The Flying Dutchman, but a document he had written 27 years earlier told the truth that he’d taken the story from a satirical novel written by another author.

Every leitmotif for the characters and themes of this opera are introduced in the overture which begins with a well-known ocean or storm motif before moving into the Dutchman and Senta motifs. Here is the overture to Wagner Opera the Flying Dutchman by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Antonio de Almeida conducting.

I saw the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was at Northrop Auditorium over the weekend, perform one of the most important choral and classical scores of the 20th century. The medieval poems of “”Carmina Burana”” by Carl Orff were written in an early form of German and Latin and are often racy, but without descending into smut. While “”modern”” in some of his compositional techniques Orff captured the medieval period’s spirit with infectious rhythms and easy tonalities.

It is a cyclic work that speaks about community rites and the joy of life.

So here is Carmina Burana, composed by Carl Orff, and performed by the Royal Flemish Philharmonic of Antwerp, Muhai Tang, conducting.

Having just elected one of our youngest presidents ever, it seems appropriate to look at another early bloomer, an Italian composer who began working as professor of composition at the conservatory of Milan right after graduating at the age of 19—an early age. Though composer only live to age 35, he was fairly prolific in a lushly tonal style.

The three pieces for orchestra we’ll hear are superficially traditional but not nostalgic, and are in fact a bit daring, almost self-mocking. There are three dance movements, minueto, habanera, and FOO-lahna—three pieces for orchestra. Here’s the Slovak Radio Symphony orchestra under the one-named conductor Adriano.