Archive for the 'Music Review' Category

DePaul University’s Concert Hall: A Taste of Georgia

It is not a secret that one can go to DePaul University's Concert Hall on an ordinary day and enjoy the high-quality “entertainment” there. On a fairly cold Friday night when music was the one to warm my heart, I witnessed a very exotic night with a very nice flavor: A Taste of Georgia.

AmerKlavier studio, with its artistic director and founder Eteri Andjaparidze, and DePaul A Cappella and its leader Clayton Parr were the hosts of the evening. Joining together, they presented vocal and instrumental music of Georgia.

Old Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Georgia in 1671

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Interview with Reginald Robinson: Man Out of Time

Reginald Robinson
Reginald Robinson, Ragtime Musician and Composer.
Courtesy of the artist.

Ragtime pianist and composer Reginald Robinson spent the last 10 years working on his latest CD, Man Out of Time, which includes 20 new piano solos. At age 13, after hearing Scott Joplin's The Entertainer at a school concert, Robinson began teaching himself ragtime on a portable keyboard, and he was determined to compose his own songs. In 1992 with the help of school teachers and a fellow musician, he later went on to record his first demo and was immediately signed by Delmark Records. His recordings include The Strongman (1993), Sounds in Silhouette (1994), and Euphonic Sounds (1998). In September 2004, Robinson received the MacArthur Fellowship Grant (popularly known as the “genius grant”). Robinson has performed in Europe and across the U.S., including such venues as the Chicago Jazz Festival, Ravinia, Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation Concert Series, and The American Perspectives Program, sponsored by the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony, and Poetry Foundation.

Lady of Honor Excerpt from Man Out of Time. Courtesy of Reginald Robinson.
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Night at the Opera: Duke Bluebeard’s Castle / Erwartung

Doesn't this sound like a familiar scenario: once you finally decide to go to the opera, the sky opens up and pours rain, and suddenly what you decided to be a great outfit for the evening doesn't seem appropriate any more? This was exactly the beginning of my “Night at the Opera” a few Tuesdays ago when I even cancelled the last few hours of my work just to be able to enjoy the evening with my friend Olga. Nevertheless, even the bad outfit (bad for the weather, of course) couldn't ruin the event. It was quite unexpected that I decided to go to Bela Bartok‘s Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Arnold Schoenberg‘s Erwartung. Chicago Opera Theater offered the double bill Tales from the Dark Side as two one-act operas concerning extreme relationships and the consequences of betrayal and distrust.

Bela Bartok 1927
Bela Bartok, 1927

The main actors of the Duke Bluebeard's Castle (1911) are Duke Bluebeard portrayed by the most recorded bass in history, legendary Samuel Ramey, and his younger, but not any less great, Hungarian-Canadian colleague, mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabo as Judith. Interestingly enough, this opera was performed in Hungarian, which gave zest to an already exquisite and intriguing story. Both Ramey and Szabo were extraordinary in their roles, with Szabo sometimes fighting with the loud brass (like Don Quixote and the windmills), however, not because of her inability to produce, but because of the composer's arrangement.
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