Blog Posts on Arts and Culture

Missing the Theme

I was sitting on the sofa, suffering through shingles.  I finished the NY Times crossword puzzle, read some of Patricia O'Connor's The Origin of the Specious, watched an episode of Judge Pirro.  Looking for further distraction, I fired up the first season of The West Wing.  As the pilot started, with that impossibly beautiful song playing over the opening credits, it struck me:  where have all the theme songs gone?

Thursday's mystery piece

Rimsky-KorsakovRimsky-KorsakovToday’s mystery piece: Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Procession of the Nobles” from Mlada. It’s a short work by a Russian composer with sailing experience.  His family pushed him to serve in the Navy, so he enlisted.


Wednesday's Mystery Piece

Bedrich SmetanaBedrich Smetana

Today, June 2nd, we heard Smetana’s Overture to The Bartered Bride. Smetana was a Czech composer who founded a school in Prague in 1848. This piece is the overture to a hugely successful comic opera. The composer saw the 100th performance of this opera, which was a milestone in the history of Czech opera. By 1952, it had been performed a thousand times at Prague’s National Theater! Tomorrow, our mystery piece is from an opera inspired by Wagner’s "Ring" cycle.


That mystery piece you heard . . .

Maurice RavelMaurice Ravel

Today's early morning mystery piece was Maurice Ravel's La Valse. Georges Pretre conducted the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart (Hanssler 93013.) Congratulations to Robert, who guessed via e-mail at Tomorrow, we'll hear a work by a Czech composer which, by 1952, had been performed a thousand times at Prague’s National Theater. Hear a daily mystery piece at around 6:40 a.m. on Classical 91.5.


Making Rossini EVEN BETTER.

I think this video speaks for itself.  No need for me to infringe on it's amazingness.


Morning Mailbag

One of our chief joys is hearing from WXXI's classical music listeners.  Enjoy a sample of a few e-mails from recent weeks.


I've been listening to your show on the way in to work lately and really enjoying the selection. Michael Pratorius was new to me, and a direct hit.

A question: you played a chaconne by Marin Marais last week (I believe by the Concert of Nations). I'd like to track the recording down, but he wrote a number of chaconnes. Can you shed any light?



Hi, T---------,


Trombone Spring Break!

Earlier this month, I was gone and off the air for a whole week.  I thought I'd try Skyaking for a bit--didn't work out so well.  After multiple bird strikes and $17,000 worth of skyaks destroyed, I decided on a safer endeavor and played racquetball.


Oldest piece of music in history?

I'm not sure this is really what it claims to be, but it's interesting nonetheless.



Artists needed for Haitian relief fundraiser

Two professors at Nazareth College are organizing a fundraiser next Wednesday, January 20th to raise money to help victims of the Haitian earthquake.   If you are a musician, actor, poet, or dancer of any age, you are invited to participate.  To get involved, email either Dr.


New Year Resolution

Happy New Year! While zillions of people aspire to start fresh, to stop smoking, lose weight, and eat healthier foods, I resolve to eat better quality chocolate and update my blog more regularly. To that end, I offer you two items.