December 31, 2016
It's the end of the year in less than 6 hours (for me, at the time of writing). 2017 is just around the corner, and the podcast itself started nearly a year ago. With (most of) the first year behind me, I'd like to say thanks to all my previous guests. Go back and listen to any episodes you haven't heard, and excuse the lower quality of some of the editing and recording. The content is still great. Today's episode, since everyone is busy with New Year stuff, is a bit of housekeeping, and a reminder to please share the podcast with others if you're enjoying it, and to get in touch with me. I'd love to hear from you.
I'm at www.fugueforthought.de, and on Facebook and Twitter @fugueforthought. Thanks to musopen.org and to Zencastr. See you next year.
December 16, 2016
Lisa Casal-Galietta is artistic director of the Red Door Chamber players in NY, USA. Social media and classical music might seem an unlikely pairing, but for Red Door, it's all part of the job. They're a welcoming, friendly group of talented musicians dedicated not only to making wonderful music, but to making sure as many people as possible enjoy it. To that end, they're breaking down some of the obstacles that people might have to discovering classical concerts, and that's why they're the first in a series I'll be doing on how ensembles and organizations are reaching people who might not think they'll love classical music. The Red Door Chamber Players make great ambassadors for this cause. Enjoy.
Find them at reddoorchamberplayers.com, or on Facebook. The featured music in this episode is Dvorak's 'American' 12th string quartet, from musopen.org. Podcast recorded using Zencastr.
December 3, 2016
Mary Birnbaum is a brilliant stage director with a background in English (and French) who directed a remarkable performance of Verdi’s Otello this past summer in Taipei. We managed to get in touch with each other and I had a wonderful conversation with her about opera in Asia (and anywhere), what opera represents and why it’s so important, how her background informs her craft, and how a first-timer to the opera house (or concert hall) should think about their first visit and why they should absolutely go. She speaks very eloquently about the power and importance of music. Enjoy. Find her at www.marybirnbaum.com, with photos of the Otello production.
Find Fugue for Thought on Twitter and Facebook, and at www.fugueforthought.de. The podcast is recorded with Zencastr, and the music comes from musopen.org. This episode features Verdi's (only) string quartet in E minor.
November 11, 2016
In the third and final and maybe most delightful part of a mammoth conversation we had some months ago, we finish up by discussing some meatier details of Haydn: the value of his early quartets, his daily routine, his brother Michael, and (I think of it as) how Haydn saved music, or just showed up at a pivotal point in history, as well as what to remember when listening. Schubert also gets a mention. Check out Mike's fantastic Haydn resource at www.fjhaydn.com, and find me at www.fugueforthought.de, and share on social media. Enjoy.
October 30, 2016
In this episode, I speak with Julie Comparini, who performed the world premiere recording of René Leibowitz's Explanation of Metaphors. The story of her career and how she found herself in Bremen, Germany, performing music that spans centuries of history in various languages, is a fascinating one. What's it like to sing in a language you don't speak? Or a language that no one speaks (anymore) (or ever did)? I speak with Julie about this, her wonderful journey to where she is now, both geographically and professionally, as well as what she's been up to lately, and you should take a listen to it.
October 15, 2016
The record industry is dying, right? And people have stopped caring about classical music right? And what actually is 'classical music'? Bob Lord is CEO of PARMA recordings and a collection of other labels, recording and producing a wide variety of music. He's also bassist of his band Dreadnaught.
What's the role of the recording in making new (or old) music happen? What should we be calling 'classical music'? And also how does a progressive rock bassist of an "experimental rock trio" find himself not only listening to but producing classical music? It's all very interesting. His discussion of 'entry points' into classical music is something I think most people can identify with, having more in common, or understanding more about, Stravinsky or Bartok than Bach or even Mozart. In our discussion, Mr. Lord speaks of his own musical background, how he came around to appreciating classical music, where it's going, what role the recording plays in presenting and preserving new music, and even the importance of failure. Go listen, and check out PARMA and their upcoming releases.
October 1, 2016
In the second part of my conversation with Haydn expert Mike McCaffrey, we speak about Mike's own interest in Haydn and why he decided to focus on the Classical era. We get to know more about the composer as a human and entertainer, and Mike makes a great argument for the importance of performances on period instruments, something that I had until recently made a point to avoid.
“Haydn was an entertainer first and foremost. That’s what he cared about. ‘How are people going to react to this music? I want them to be amused, I want them to enjoy it, and if they’re not going to enjoy it I‘m not going to write it.’”
Knowing more about the person and the choices and the situations behind the music can go a long way towards appreciating it and hearing in it something you might not have otherwise. Enjoy.
Find Mike McCaffrey at:
or on Twitter @GurnBlanston106
Find me at:
September 16, 2016
Imagine yourself, a young talented pianist, on a trip to Europe digging for what are arguably your own musical roots, and being handed manuscripts of sonatas that have never been published, some never even performed, much less recorded, and coming from a very dark time in the history of a certain part of the world... imagine that feeling, that sense of responsibility, that connection.
And now meet Dr. Katelyn Bouska. She tells me that the works of Czech composer Miloslav Ištvan have occupied a pretty significant place in her life over the past year, and that she foresees that they will continue to do so. She came across Štěpán Filípek, Ph.D, one of the founding members of the Miloslav Ištvan Quartet, and he was able to get her the scores that we speak about.
I had the wonderful opportunity to have a sneak peak of sorts at her recital she gave of the pieces in April, and I am very eager to get my hands on a more portable format of these works because they are absolutely stunning. In this episode, we speak about how she came across Miloslav Ištvan, his background, what makes his work special, and what it's like to be the first person to bring these incredible pieces to people's attention. It's a conversation I was thrilled and privileged to have, and this is only the first part of it. I'm looking forward to sharing more, and cannot wait until you guys get to hear this music for yourselves. Stay tuned, and go listen!
Dr. Katelyn Bouska- www.katelynbouska.com
and on Facebook and Twitter
September 11, 2016
想跟你們分享一下我第一次（應該也是最後一次）的中文訪問. 我很不喜歡聽自己講中文, 尤其是這種比較緊張, 講的不太標準的時候. 不過Diotima Quartet 的音樂會快到了， 也想分享很短的一個討論. Quartet的第一小提琴趙雲鵬花不短的時間用英文跟我聊天, 讓我更期待他們禮拜二（9/13）的音樂會, 也有順便錄一小段中文跟大家分享他對這個曲目的想法，背景等等. 希望9/13在國家音樂廳可以跟我一起享受！
(A quick, short, Chinese-language version of the previous episode with Yun Peng Zhao of the Quatuor Diotima in preparation for their upcoming concert in Taipei. Back to English for the next episode)
August 29, 2016
After an unintentional summer break, the podcast is back with a very exciting episode related to our Darmstadt School Series back in July. One of the featured composers, and perhaps the most famous of them, is Pierre Boulez, who passed away in January. The same week that I posted an article about his Livre pour Quatuor, I discovered that the Diotima Quartet would be coming to Taipei to premiere a new performing version of the work by the composer himself. They had an incredible opportunity to work with Boulez on his only work for string quartet, dating back to half a century ago, and I speak with Zhao Yun Peng, first violinist of the Diotima quartet about modern music and about the quartet specifically. There will be a Part 2 of this conversation as well as a (brief) Chinese version coming out later this week (hopefully), so stay tuned. I quote Mr. Zhao below. I asked him what he would say to audiences coming to hear a work from Boulez (or anything modern) for the first time:
-What we can do and what we can say maybe… is to say to the people, “okay, now we’ve changed a century and maybe just try to give up our habit to listen to the music from the nineteenth century. Maybe we need some references to listen to nineteenth-century music. But when you listen to the twentieth century, maybe just give up this habit, for example, nice melody. For example, some drama… maybe just let [it] go… It’s a little bit like when you appreciate a painting when you go to the modern arts exhibitions, and okay, you’re faced with a painting, but I think everyone will have a different feeling, everyone will have a different understanding, and it’s not necessary to have the same. The most important thing to have is to have a personal satisfaction when you listen to this sort of piece.-
Go listen to the whole episode. It's very good.
Find the Diotima Quartet at:
or on Facebook as Quatuor Diotima
Find me at:
or on Facebook as Fugue for Thought