A classical Christmas: Festival of Carols!

Today is the first day of Festival of Carols, an annual KMFA tradition. It’s four days of holiday programming that includes a truly incredible and majestic compilation of seasonal music, spanning dates that go back hundreds of years. It really is an eclectic assortment, some of which is recognizable in the form of modern carols…. but there’s even more music that is steeped in historical culture and rarely heard, certainly not at the shopping mall or in office buildings. They are delicate and sparkling and contemplative and joyful. Many of these precious recordings are out of print; we’re very lucky to have them, and to be able to share them with listeners. Sometimes I wish that these pieces weren’t confined to the Christmas season!

Think you know your traditional Christmas music pretty well? Here’s a fun link to a short Christmas Puzzler that I found on an NPR blog. See if you can get a perfect score!  🙂

From all of us at KMFA, we sincerely wish you a Christmas holiday of peace, comfort, and joy.

~posted by Alison @ KMFA 🙂

Which Musical Works Are You Thankful for This Year?

Special thanks to Anne Akiko Meyers, who posted a link to this on her Facebook page. 🙂

As we celebrated Thanksgiving, and considered all the treasures for which we are grateful, we saw this on WQXR’s website (the classical music station in New York City):  classical artists wrote about which musical pieces they are particularly thankful for…what a lovely and diverse list of music! Here’s what Austin’s own esteemed violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers, wrote:

Anne Akiko Meyers, violinist

The Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 is one of the masterpieces written for violin and orchestra. I am so thankful that Prokofiev was in Paris and was so inspired after hearing the Szymanowski Mythes that he wrote this concerto. Impressionistic, beautiful, violent and ultra stylish, it is a great workout for me physically and emotionally when I perform this enchanting music. George Gershwin’s Summertime arranged by Jascha Heifetz is one of the most beautiful lullabies ever written… “hush little baby, don’t you cry…” Thank you George!! And Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel has such simplicity yet it’s music that makes you sit still, remember and just breathe. The music is aptly titled, “Mirror in Mirror” and is so reflective. A beauty….

Click here to visit the WQXR website and read more submissions from artists, such as Eric Whitacre, Jacques Lacombe, and all three members of the Claremont Trio!

~Submitted by Alison @ KMFA  🙂

In the KMFA Studios: Sara Hessel interviews Ryland Angel!

Keith, Sara, and Ryland in Studio 2000

~posted by Sara Hessel, KMFA Music Director

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing internationally renowned countertenor Ryland Angel, along with Keith Womer, artistic director of La Follia Austin Baroque. The subject matter of our interview was La Follia’s next concert, “Sacred Music of the Early German Baroque,” which will feature Ryland’s vocal talents, as well as several other exceptional guest performers.

The concerts are happening this weekend (Nov. 6 and 7) at two different venues in Austin. I’ll be giving a preconcert lecture about one of the stars of the early Baroque, Dieterich Buxtehude, starting 30 minutes before before each performance. For more information, please visit www.lafollia.org.

Click here for an extended excerpt of my interview with Keith and Ryland.

Sara Hessel is KMFA’s Music Director, as well as producer and host of Ancient Voices. Tune in on Sundays, 9am and 4pm, to enjoy Ancient Voices, right here on KMFA, 89.5.

Brian Satterwhite’s own film score

I know that KMFA has lots of fans for Brian Satterwhite’s show, Film Score Focus. Brian is the host and producer of the show… but did you know that he is not *just* a fan of cinematic music, he’s actually a composer of film scores, by profession. 

Maybe you heard about one of his recent film scores: Artois the Goat. (You can click on the photo above to view the trailer.) But unless you were on the Indie Film circuit, or were able to acquire tickets during SXSW last year (it sold out all three screenings), you had to settle for those teasing trailers…. until now! It just came out on DVD!

Here’s a review from the Austin Chronicle that I particularly liked: http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=756702 (It speaks to the Austin creators and local talent, as well as the quality of the movie.)  I think it even says it’s “cheezy, but in a good way.”  😉

And there’s one more connection KMFA celebrates with this wonderful film score: Brian Satterwhite performed several of the pieces himself, and our sound engineers, Jeffrey Blair and Phil Pollack, recorded some of the cues (about seven or eight pieces I think) for the film right here in KMFA’s Studio 2000.

~posted by Alison @ KMFA 🙂

*** UPDATE!***  I just got a note from Brian:


I just wanted to send you a quick note that this week on Film Score Focus I’ll be playing music from ARTOIS THE GOAT with the filmmakers as my guests. The DVD just came out a month ago. Check out the FSF blog post and tune in if you can. It’s on 89.5 KMFA Friday night at 8PM or Sunday at 7PM. You can even tune in via the internet at http://www.kmfa.org.