Classical Music | Nashville Public Radio

Classical Music

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Portara Ensemble will look beyond Christmas in its concert this week, with choral music about Advent and the deep night of Winter. The full program starts at 7pm Friday evening at Brentwood's Church of the Good Shepherd, and again at 7pm Saturday night at Christ the King Church in Nashville. Artistic director Jason Shelton, pianist Horacio Guendulain and a portion of the choir gave us a taste of the music to come in Studio C.

Set List:

traditional chant: Veni, Veni Emmanuel

15th century carol: Nova! Nova!

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Last year around this time, violinist Jessica Blackwell told her friend, violist and composer Christopher Farrell, that she'd really like him to write a violin solo. What's more, she challenged him to move beyond the chamber music he'd written to date and compose a piece for orchestra. The end result gets its world premiere December 6 at a performance of the Nashville Philharmonic. Farrell and Blackwell, plus pianist Megan Gale, gave us a sneak peek by playing a reduced version of the Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orchestra.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

The Belmont Brass Quintet from Belmont University brought a cornucopia of music for our Thanksgiving listening, ranging from a Baroque air and Renaissance dance to familiar hymns of gratitude and a playful contemporary composition. The ensemble is made up of trumpeters Joel Treybig and Patrick Kunkee, hornist Radu Rusu, trombonist Jeff Phillips and James Land on tuba.

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Jennifer Kummer and Anna Spina are both Chicago natives who work in Nashville as French horn players for hire: they play orchestral concerts, in the pit at opera productions, and as studio musicians. Between gigs, they've prepared a group of duet pieces for the instrument just for our Live in Studio C audience.

Ed Lambert / Nashville Public Radio

Earlier this year, Clarksville composer Jeffrey Wood debuted portions of a new song cycle about the so-called Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, with lyrics taken from poems by Kenneth Sherman. Now the entire collection of songs is ready to be performed in full. Wood and baritone Jeffrey Williams offered us a sample of selections, covering various points in Merrick's adulthood, ahead of their concert at Austin Peay State University.

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Stephen Seifert's training as a classical pianist shines through his performances on the mountain dulcimer. The instrument is a form of zither traditional to the Appalachian region that is quite user friendly for the beginner but also capable of a high level of sophistication and subtlety in the hands of a musician like Seifert.

If Live in Studio C is usually a mini-concert with some chatting about the music, this one is a fluid conversation about an intriguing instrument, interspersed with freewheeling musical examples of folk songs, hymn tunes and improvisations.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

The Blair String Quartet returned to Studio C this week with a preview of their upcoming concert. The performance Saturday evening in Ingram Hall will include Alban Berg's first mature composition along with music written by Mendelssohn when he was a newlywed, and the first of Mozart's so-called "Prussian" quartets.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Former Blair School of Music professor Agnes Wan is back in Nashville this week, and she stopped by our studios with a performance that highlighted her precise and sensitive playing. She brought two selections from Franz Schubert, each composed to sound as if they were improvised on the spot.

Nashville Symphony

The Nashville Symphony will play music by a young composer from California’s Bay Area this weekend, in a performance that kicks off an intensive, season-long relationship with the artist.

24-year-old Gabriela Smith was one of five composers chosen to take part in a workshops at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center last year. The Nashville Symphony offered feedback, mentoring sessions and a chance for the composers to hear their work played by a full orchestra. Over the course of three days, the Smith wowed the symphony’s leaders with her talent and eagerness to learn.

originally published by H. Fores on July 23, 1820 / Wikimedia Commons

This weekend, the Nashville Opera opens its season with Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  It’s a classic tale of a womanizing cad who runs out of luck. The story that forms the basis for the opera was already more than a century-and-a-half old when Mozart set it to music, and it’s been retold many times through the years.