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Thursday news and events

Events: Heroes of the "Ring" is the title of a lecture the Wagner Society is presenting tonight in which Desirée Mays, whose career is built on talking about opera, explores the ideas of heroes and heroism in Wagner's tetralogy. Tonight at 7:30.

Olli Kortekangas's last opera was called "Daddy's Girl." The Finnish composer, well-known in Europe, is the next focus in the Phillips Collection's new lecture-performance series on contemporary European composers. A group of young Finnish artists, along with the composer, will perform several works (including a piano piece written especially for the event). Tonight at 6.

The Choral Arts Society is presenting Rachmaninoff's Vespers at St. Matthew's Cathedral, where years ago the group made its recording of the same work under Mstislav Rostropovich. Tonight at 7:30.

Note: The Ibis Chamber Music Society's concert of 20th-century music (Ravel, Françaix, Dohnanyi) plus a world premiere, originally scheduled for tonight, has been moved to tomorrow. It still repeats on Sunday the 21st.

Local news: Washington Concert Opera music director Antony Walker, already music director of the Pittsburgh Opera, will make his debut next season at the Metropolitan Opera conducting "Orfeo ed Euridice" (April and May 2011).

Steven Honigberg, a cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra, has written Leonard Rose: America's Golden Age and its First Cellist, now available in bookstores.

By Anne Midgette  |  March 18, 2010; 6:31 AM ET
Categories:  Washington , news  
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Thanks. Also, one of Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas's works tonight at the Phillips Collection, at Dupont Circle, will be for voice and small chamber ensemble.

Mstislav Rostropovich's and the Choral Arts Society of Washington's performances and recording of Rachmaninoff's "Vespers" at St. Matthew's Cathedral, south of Dupont Circle (where the body of President John F. Kennedy rested in state) were certainly a highlight of musical life in the Nation's Capital at the end of the last century -- as were the world premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti's "Cantata for St. Teresa" (Muero Porque No Muero) at Saint Matthew's Cathedral in the composer's presence, and Rostropovich's and the Choral Arts Society of Washington's world premiere performance and recording of Alexander Knayfel's "The Eighth Chapter" for four choruses and cello (Rostropovich) at the National Cathedral of Washington, in the composer's presence.

[In 1979, Knayfel was blacklisted as one of the "Khrennikov Seven" at the Sixth Congress of the Union of Soviet Composers for his unapproved participation in some 'Western' festivals of contemporary music. Also, Knayfel's Alice in Wonderland opera in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, preceeded Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland opera in Munich, by a few years.]

Posted by: snaketime1 | March 18, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The Knaifel work is available in a marvelous box which contains all of Rostropovich's Erato and Teldec recordings and which I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. The repertoire ranges from Frescobaldi (Toccata arranged by Cassado, my guilty pleasure of the album) to Penderecki.

The Knaifel piece contains many beauties, but I couldn't escape the feeling of sameness, that there was little variety during its 50+ minutes or so duration. But it may grow upon repeated listenings.

Posted by: cicciofrancolando | March 18, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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