This Week in Classical Music 10/13/17

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Bill Murray Does Classical/Spoken Word Album;

Biggest Concert Grand Piano Ever.


It’s “This Week in Classical Music”—An Update on what’s happening in the Classical Music World; I’m Randy Kinkel.

As seen recently on Steven Colbert--veteran actor and comedian Bill Murray collaborated with cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang, and pianist Vanessa Perez in a "mashup" of legendary American authors and some of the great songwriters and composers of classical music.

the album's most familiar piece of spoken word  for most will be the excerpt from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, read to the sounds of Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer's "Moon River".

But there’s also the middle "Blues" movement of Ravel's Violin Sonata paired with Murray's reading of "If Grant Had Been Drunk at Appomattox",  by James Thurber.

A passage  from James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer is scored with a Schubert sonata.

Jan Vogler gives a masterful reading of Bach’s prelude from his cello suite #1 alongside Murray's recitation of a poem from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

The Recording is called New Worlds: Bill Murray, Jan Vogler and friends, and it’s available now in several different formats.


You say you’re in the market for a custom-made concert Grand Piano but you just can’t find one big enough?  Well, then—here’s a piano you might want to take a look at.  It’s in New Zealand.

Adrian Mann began building his 20 foot long piano in a Barn in Timaru, on the east coast of the South Island.

He says he started the project as an “obsessive” high school student—and he’s been working on improving it ever since. Mann is now 28 and working full-time as a piano builder.

Mann’s Piano, called the “Alexander” sounds very different from normal pianos, with a deeper Bass and more depth resulting from it’s extraordinary length. It also weighs more than a ton.

“It was a gigantic experiment. If you think of a typical concert piano, of course they sound amazing. But with this piano, there is an extra level of depth and resonance  because the piano wires are more than 20ft long,” said Mann.

“You’ve got a huge soundboard, it moves a massive amount of air, and you’ve got that extra bit of grunt behind it. The keys are almost 3 feet long. There were huge engineering challenges to overcome. When it was first built the sound was quite raw, but it’s now much more refined.”

Check out the Alexander piano’s sound on TheAlexanderPiano channel on youtube.



For more on these and other items and events, go to the website,; be listening each week at this time for another update; find us on Facebook and follow us on twitter; and join US every Weekday at noon with Linda Cassidy for “The Most Wanted Hour”, playing your top 100 picks in Classical Music…I’m Randy Kinkel, for This week in classical music.