Monday, 18 October 2010
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Friday, 15 October 2010
Rare. Rene Leibowitz conducts The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1962)Rene Leibowitz (1913-1972) was born in Warsaw but moved to Paris in his teens and there began a long, illustrious conducting career. Particularly interested in contemporary music, he studied with Webern and Schoenberg and wrote a detailed analysis of twelve-tone music. A keen ear for instrumental coloration (Ravel was his orchestration teacher) was evident in his kaleidoscopic transcriptions of such works as Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C (for double orchestra!). But he is best known for his often highly personal renditions of many staples of the Classical and Romantic repertoire.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Because of the color of her skin, Anderson was denied the opportunity to perform at nearby Constitution Hall and at a local high school. So the opera singer performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in April 1939 to 75,000 blacks and whites standing together.
Wearing one of Anderson's dresses, Graves called her predecessor "one of my greatest heroes."
She joked that when she looked over Anderson's performance list and saw "O, Mio Fernando" she thought, "My God she sang that song; that's really hard."
The Chicago Children's Choir, the women's a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock and the U.S. Marine Band also performed.
Introducing a number called "Would You Harbor Me," a member of Sweet Honey in the Rock said it was "written because this country has been a harborer to so many, but at the same time it has rejected so many."
Those words highlight Anderson's story. She grew up poor in South Philadelphia, but became famous in the 1930s, performing for royalty and in major concert halls in Europe, New York and Philadelphia.
When her manager tried to book Anderson at Constitution Hall, the largest venue in segregated Washington at the time, she was rejected by the Daughters of the American Revolution, which owned the hall and prohibited African Americans from performing there. The district's school board also turned her away from singing at a school's auditorium.
"To me, it's just very dramatic," said Josephine Pesaresi, 75, the daughter of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, who attended the 1939 event. "People are younger; they don't realize what huge things have happened and how far we have come. It makes me weep, I'm so happy."
Pesaresi, who sat near the stage at Sunday's concert, said in an interview Saturday that the anniversary made her recall how her father had changed his outlook about race. Black, once a member of the Ku Klux Klan, later joined a unanimous Supreme Court in outlawing segregation in public schools in 1954, and often voted with the court's liberal wing on civil rights cases.
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Thursday, 16 September 2010
As a youth, Brownlee had to sing at a church where the choir director was his father, a GM factory worker.
"I hated it," says Brownlee. "I would have ... the worst feeling in the pit of my stomach all week, if I knew I had to sing solo in church the next Sunday."
But he was a child steeped in music, making drums out of oatmeal boxes and even singing in his sleep. "One night, it was 'Go Tell It on the Mountain' at the top of my lungs — and I never woke up!" he says, repeating family lore.
He also joined his high school choir, though he didn't consider a career until his senior year in a program for gifted music students at Youngstown State University. A coach there told him he had an operatic voice.
"I was not convinced, but I decided to give it a try," he says, first as an undergraduate at Indiana's Anderson University, then polishing his voice as an Indiana University graduate student in Bloomington.
Now, he tosses off the nine high C's in "Fille" that first won Pavarotti fame in the 1960s.
But for Brownlee, fame doesn't mean playing the glamorous opera "divo." He prefers, instead, to fly home just outside Atlanta where his wife, Kendra, is expecting their first child.
And on his private Facebook page, "Bio" is followed by four words: "I am just Larry!"