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Classical 101

I Love These Requests

CLASSICAL 101 BY REQUEST begins tomorrow at 1 PM! Our listeners have always delighted me, especially since I now have a venue to hear from more of you more often. Requests are coming in steadily to our website and from learning what you'd like to hear I can learn more about you. Mario Ancona! One of you wants to hear the gorgeous Pearl Fishers duet with Caruso and Mario Ancona! We know Caruso today because his great fame remains potent 90 years after his death. He recorded extensively and his rich baritonal tenor took well to the new medium. Mario Ancona gave 197 performances in New York between 1893 and 1897. Ten years after this he made some duet recordings with Caruso. The tenor was in his prime and Ancona, pushing fifty, sounds terrific. (He stopped singing in New York because his fees ran too high. In Russia he was paid in gold coin.) A listener wants Mario Ancona, who died in 1931. I'm a happy boy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lGVEZAsrgE The blessing of this program for me is making new friends, in people and in music. I spent part of yesterday with the String Quartet No. 1 in e minor by Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884).   He called this work "From My Life". This is thought to be the only 'program' string quartet. It's a work of gentle sadness spiced with polka rhythms  and a pungent tonal structure, no dissonance but some riveting sharpness. I know what you know about Smetana:  Ma Vlast , particularly Moldau. Now I know a little more. Thank you, listeners! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Jvn3jXEC7I