Lyudmila Zykina – The Volga River Flows

Lyudmila Zykina (1929-2009)

Lyudmila Zykina was a national folk singer of Russia. In 1947 Lyudmila joined the Pyatnitsky Choir (a choir that sang traditional Russian folk songs). In 1960 she started her solo singing career. Lyudmila was a favourite singer of Leonid Brezhnev and Kim Il-Song and Kim Jong-Il. During her long singing career she won many honors including the Lenin Prize, Order of Lenin,the People’s Artist of the U.S.S.R.,and the Order of St. Andrew. Her most popular songs included Techot Volga and Orenburgskii platok. An asteroid is named after her. It is the asteroid 4879 Zykina.

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Stéphane Grappelli plays piano

Stéphane Grappelli (1908-1997)

Stéphane Grappelli was a French-Italian jazz violinist and jazz pianist. Today he is most well known for his work with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France which he founded together with gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Throughout his long career Grappelli collaborated with several violinists (Ray Nance, Stuff Smith, Svende Asmussen, Jean-Luc Ponty, Svend Asmussen, Yehudi Menuhin, Joe Venuti) and other musicians including Marc Fosset, Joe Pass, and Oscar Peterson. He is best known for his jazz violin playing. Grappelli also played jazz piano at a very high level. Here is a clip of Stéphane Grappelli playing the piano. I hope that you enjoy it.

Amália Rodrigues – Gaivota

Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999)

Amália Rodrigues was the queen of Portugese Fado, which is characterized by passionate and elaborately embellished singing often accompanied by Portugese guitars. The Portugese guitar is a round-bellied twelve-string guitar that is used almost exclusively in Fado.

Here is a 1970 recording of “Gaivota.” I hope that you enjoy this beautiful music. There are a lot of Fado recordings on YouTube by a variety of artists. I hope that you will check them out.

Domenico Cimarosa – Piano Sonatas no. 11 and no. 19 (Danae Kara – piano)

Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801)

Domenico Cimarosa was an Italian composer, violinist, and keyboard player. During his lifetime Cimarosa was known for his more than 60 operas. He also composed vocal music (oratorios, sacred pieces, secular cantatas, hymns and songs) and instrumental music (over 80 keyboard sonatas,chamber music, and other works).

Danae Kara (1953-)

Danae Kara is a Turkish pianist. She gave her debut recital in 1969 when she was 16 years old. Since then Danae Kara has performed in major venues in various European cities, Latin America, in Russia, and the former U.S.S.R.

Here is a recording of Sonata no. 11 and Sonata no. 19 by Domenico Cimarosa played by Danae Kara. The sonatas come from a recording entitled: Domenico Cimarosa – The Piano Sonatas. I hope that you enjoy this music.

Paul Halley organ improvisation “Dusk/Sunset” at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Paul Halley (1952-) is an English organist, pianist, singer, composer, and choral conductor. He is well known for being a member and composer of the Paul Winter Consort.

From 1977-1989 Paul Halley was the organist and choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. In 1982 Paul Halley recorded a series of organ improvisations on the organ at St. John the Divine on an album entitled Nightwatch. Here is one of those improvisations entitled Dusk/Sunset. The improvisation is based on the hymn tune Picardy. I hope that you enjoy it.

Flight of the Bumblebee -Jenö Lisztes & Roby Lakatos ensemble

The Flight of the Bumblebee is a piece composed by Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov.

Here is a performance of the Flight of the Bumblebee performed by Jenö Lisztes (cimbalom solo) & the Roby Lakatos ensemble.

Jenö Lisztes is one of the world’s cimbalom virtuosos. The cimbalom is a type of hammered dulcimer. I hope that you enjoy this performance.

Gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos and pianist Frantisek Janoska play Brahms Hungarian Dance no.5

Here is a recording of Brahms Hungarian Dance no.5 performed in a gypsy style by gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos and pianist Frantisek Janoska for ABC Radio.

Roby Lakatos is a gypsy violinist who has a family that goes back seven generations of gypsy musicians all the way back to the “King of Gypsy violinist” Janos Bihari. He can play in just about any style (gypsy music, classical, and jazz) and has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras as well as his own ensemble. He makes playing the violin look effortless and doesn’t even break out in a sweat when he plays.

Frantisek Janoska is an up and coming pianist who is comfortable playing gypsy music as well as jazz. He often performs with Roby Lakatos’ ensemble and his brother Roman (a jazz violinist). Frantisek Janoska has his own group which performs gypsy music as well as jazz and classical music in a gypsy style.