We’ve come to the end of another season and I want to thank you for making these classes so stimulating and fun. They are a highlight for me and I love sharing this magnificent music with you. We heard a lot of great stuff over the past nine months:
1. Renaissance crazyman, Gesualdo (Musical Mavericks) 2. The sublime “Dirait-on” of Beaverton’s Morten Lauridsen (Choral Masterpieces) 3. Arvo Part’s time-altering “Spiegle im Spiegle” (Chamber Music) 4. Schubert’s gorgeous String Quintet (The Mystery of Melody) 5. The sadness of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come No More” (American Beauty) 6. Power, control and freedom on the podium (Great Conductors) 7. Leontyne Price’s final “Aida” (Legendary Singers) 8. Literalists, paraphrasers and a Brazilian street festival (Folk-Inspired Music) 9. And yesterday’s dramatic openings and cadenzas in concertos.
I will announce next year's classes soon and they will be great! And remember, you don't have to be a musician to enjoy these musical explorations. Everyone is welcome. My hope is to increase your enjoyment so you can respond with deeper understanding and wonder to this great music.
Here's what people said about last year's classes:
"This was fabulous! The best time I have had in a long time. Absolutely wonderful."
"Exceptional seminar. A lot of thought and research must have gone into this."
"I'm not sure what I expected, but this was astounding. I loved the music and your commentary -- warm, personal, from the heart -- made these familiar pieces come alive in a way I've never experienced before."
"So wonderful to be introduced to classical music in a meaningful way!"
Sept. 24: Musical mavericks: The astonishing madrigals of Renaissance composer (and murderer) Don Carlo Gesualdo, and how Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Stravinsky, Gershwin and Steve Reich changed music forever.
Oct. 29: Choral gems that touch the heart: Thrilling masterworks, including Bach's Mass in B Minor, plus astonishing gems from Bulgaria, Estonia and the San Juan Islands.
Nov. 19: Cherished Chamber Music: The beauty of music designed for intimate spaces. My favorite pieces include the profound artistry of Beethoven and Schubert, the demonic power of Brahms and the hushed calm of Arvo Part.
Dec. 3: The Most Memorable Melodies Ever Written: What's in a melody? Just about everything we love about music. A good tune unfurls effortlessly, inevitably and stays with us. But writing memorable melodies requires a rare kind of talent. Mozart and Schubert had the gift in spades. We'll look at timeless classical melodies and explore what makes them so good.
Jan. 21: American Beauty: It's no accident that the music of three 19th-century Americans sounds as vital, today, as it ever did. What connects the nostalgic music of Stephen Foster, the vigor of Louis Moreau Gottschalk and the optimism of John Philip Sousa?
Feb. 11: Do orchestras need conductors? Deconstructing the mysteries of the podium, with examples that range from dictatorial to collaborative. We'll explore which approach works best -- and why -- as we watch Carlos Kleiber, Riccardo Muti, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein.
March 25: Voices of the Century: We admire the great singers who made history. We compare pairs of singers in the arias that made them famous: Jussi Bjorling and Franco Corelli, Renata Tebaldi and Maria Callas, Fritz Wunderlich and Francisco Araiza, Jon Vickers and Peter Pears, Leontyne Price and Anna Netrebko, Joan Sutherland and Natalie Dessay, Gerald Finley and Dietrich Henschel and Barbara Hannigan and Portland's own Audrey Luna.
April 29: Folk-inspired music:We explore the rich connection between folk and classical music. Bach inserted popular ditties into his sublime “Goldberg” Variations. Chopin found echoes of his Polish homeland in the Mazurka. Lou Harrison merged Indonesia’s gentle gamelan with his own beautiful melodies and Portland’s Kenji Bunch evokes the pounding rhythms of southern chain gangs in a mesmerizing symphony.
May 20: High Drama: Concertos are high-stakes events, which is why composers love them. Audiences do, too because they know that virtuosity will be on display, pyrotechnics will ensue, tension will be high and reputations will be on the line. We explore two overlooked elements: When concertos break the rules and those extraordinary cadenzas when the orchestra stops and soloists bring out the howitzers.
Class details:Cost per session: $20, payable at the door. Classes take place in the recital hall at Classic Pianos, 3003 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. in southeast Portland, next to the Aladdin Theater at the corner of Milwaukie and Powell Blvd.
Parking: You may park in the store's parking lot on the corner of Powell Blvd. and 11th Ave., behind the store. You may also park in the Brooklyn Pharmacy parking lot, but avoid the spaces that say, “Brooklyn Pharmacy Only.” Additionally, you may park on 11th Ave., the one-way street directly behind the store, accessed from Powell Blvd. And you can find ample neighborhood parking on Franklin, as well as 10th Ave.