"He was a six and a half foot scowl."
— Stravinsky on Rachmaninov

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In this issue of Classical Music Extra: The mezzo-soprano star of Naples, the complete works of Rachmaninov, a new album from the Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer partnership, a cellist covering rock classics, a night at the Fitzgerald Theater with Garrison Keillor & The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and a special invitation from Performance Today's Fred Child.

New Classical Tracks


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Listen to New Classical Tracks:
Star of Naples

Stella di Napoli
By Joyce DiDonato

Following the success of her crowd-sourced "Best of" collection reJoyce and her electrifying Drama Queens album of Baroque arias, Joyce DiDonato returns to her heartland repertoire to celebrate the birth of Bel Canto opera in 19th-century Naples.

On Stella di Napoli (Star of Naples), the American mezzo-soprano's creamy tone and dramatic prowess breathe new life into little-known arias by Mercadante, Michele Carafa (a student of Cherubini and close friend of Rossini), Carlo Valentini and the prolific opera composer Giovanni Pacini, whose "Stella di Napoli" (1845) gives the album its title. Joyce worked closely with Italian conductor Riccardo Minasi (whose previous projects include Bellini's Norma with Cecilia Bartoli) to bring three unjustly neglected arias to light in new editions and world premiere recordings.

Alongside these little-known gems, Joyce presents a sumptuous Bel Canto banquet with music by the three greats — Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti — including the latter's Maria Stuarda: a tour-de-force signature role for Joyce, recently screened in cinemas and released on DVD from the New York Metropolitan Opera.

New Classical Tracks
Homecoming, A Scottish Fantasy

Homecoming, A Scottish Fantasy
By Nicola Benedetti


New Classical Tracks
Getting to know Schubert

Schubert: Works for Solo Piano
By Barry Douglas


New Classical Tracks
Revisiting Rachmaninov

Rachmaninov: Complete Works

Around the Dial


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Listen to Soundcheck:
Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer

Bass & Mandolin
By Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer

Nonesuch releases the second recording collaboration by bassist Edgar Meyer mandolinist Chris Thile. The album features 10 original compositions by the two artists, who have been performing together sporadically for more than a decade and made their recording debut as a duo with 2008's Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile, which The Washington Post, among others, praised, saying “Thile and Meyer are most enthralling when they pass a melody back and forth, fingers flying.”

Cellist Uncovers Rock Classics

By Maya Beiser


All Things Considered
A Pianist Hears Chopin

The Chopin Variations
By Chad Lawson


Deceptive Cadence
Philip Glass and
Steve Reich at BAM

Music for
18 Musicians

By Steve Reich

Pretty Good Goods


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Listen to a sample:
A Night at the Fitz

A Night at the Fitz
By Garrison Keillor & The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

In a wonderful evening of storytelling, laughter, and plenty of music, Garrison Keillor is joined by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, led by Philip Brunelle and accompanied by Richard Dworsky.

“Philip and I have performed together with a long list of great orchestras, among them the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony. After years on the road, we brought the show home to St. Paul and the phenomenal Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. The Fitzgerald audience was treated to favorites like Homage to the Aunts, Lake Wobegon Hymn, Seven Love Sonnets, Habanera, Song of the Exiles, and much more. The Saint Paul Chamber is the first orchestra I ever heard, when I was a freshman at the U, and now that I’m winding up my modest orchestral career, I’d like to wind it up at home with the hometown band.” — Garrison Keillor

The Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra


Bruce Adolphe's Piano Puzzlers


From the Land of Sky Blue Waters
By VocalEssence

Performance Today

Nicola Benedetti

When you subscribe to Performance Today's free, weekly newsletter, you'll be entered for a chance to win each week's "Music in Your Life" CD. This week, sign-up for a chance to win Nicola Benedetti's Homecoming, A Scottish Fantasy.

Of Interest to Public Radio Fans

Performance Today

Calling all Classical Music Enthusiasts,

It would be my pleasure to host you on a classical music adventure on the beautiful blue Danube River next summer. This enchanting, one-of-a-kind river cruise will deepen your appreciation for Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Brahms, Strauss (Richard and Johann Jr!), Liszt, Bartok, and many others, as we visit the very places where these immortal composers lived, loved and worked.

Get insider access to spectacular venues, concerts and activities, including a private tour and concert at the esteemed Estates Opera House in Prague where Mozart conducted the world premiere of Don Giovanni, a concert at either the world-renowned Vienna State Opera House or Musikverein in Vienna, live classical performances and musical PT interviews aboard our vessel, and an exclusive private concert with champagne at Vienna’s Mozarthaus, where Mozart lived for three years.

Experience a chic slice of Europe in style with like-minded travelers. Enjoy gourmet dining and unlimited fine wines as we experience and discuss classical music through interviews, encounters, and performances on our deluxe vessel and in world-famous concert halls. Our journey will begin in Dvorak’s hometown of Prague, then we’ll embark on our private river ship and cruise down the river, taking in the venues, the cobblestone streets, and the historic highlights of Central Europe’s classical music capitals: Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. We’ll also debark in charming small towns along the way: Melk, Passau, Linz, and Dürnstein. And each and every sight and musical experience will be infused with the Performance Today perspective that you appreciate.

I look forward to serving as your personal host on this five-star classical music voyage. Space is limited and tickets go on sale September 16. Reserve your spot before November 1 and save $400 per person.

Musically yours,
Fred Child
Host, Performance Today

Tim Russell
  Downton Abbey