WFIT Features

Charles-Marie Widor
BBC

It was largely a French-church phenomenon of the nineteenth century.

The old Baroque organs (some of which would today be regarded as near-priceless) were scrapped and replaced with huge instruments whose compass was more like that of a symphony orchestra. These titans could play at a whisper or set the building a-rumble. There were enough ranks of pipes to afford the player a palette of tone colors unlike anything previous.

Anja Conklin
Anja Conklin

Anja Conklin will be interviewed at WFIT 89.5 FM at 6:00pm by Java John Goldacker to talk about and play a couple of her original songs. Right after, she'll be performing at Florida Discount Music (FDM) Open Mike's from 7:30-9:30.

The attic isn't the only place where you can find something you never expected.

In 1865, somebody left a pile of manuscripts to the Royal Academy of Music. One of them, a Gloria for Treble Voice and Strings, had "Handel" written by some unknown hand on the front page -- underlined twice! But nobody believed it. Such a score was unknown, and it wasn't the sort of thing the primarily-secular composer was likely to have set his mind to.

In 1950, with the Cold War in full force, an international Bach festival and competition was held in the city of Leipzig in what was then the German Democratic Republic. The winner was a 26-year-old Russian pianist, Tatiana Nikolayeva.

Dmitri Shostakovich was one of the jurors, and he was sufficiently taken with Nikolayeva's playing that he wrote a collection of 24 preludes and fugues -- reminiscent of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier series -- especially for her.

Beethoven's Choral Fantasy wasn't, as it might appear at first glance, a dry run for the Ninth Symphony. This is not to say that he mightn't have looked back at it sixteen years later when he was working on his groundbreaking final symphony, but he composed it as a grand finale for a gala concert of his most recent works -- a day when Beethoven would have been better off to stay in bed.

We'll follow the Fantasy with some musical hi-jinks from Haydn and Mozart, and then music from three composers whose nationalism did not always sit well with the authorities.

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