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CapRadio's classical hosts are loving Higdon, Pavarotti, and Shelest this July

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Our classical music hosts serve as your tastemakers on the air, but what they're listening to in their free time can give an even clearer vision of the people behind the voices. So to give you a window into the personal libraries of our classical hosts, CapRadio is curating a monthly playlist featuring pieces our hosts have had in heavy rotation in their homes, cars and headphones. With heart-wrenching cello music from Jennifer Reason, Beethoven deep cuts from Victor Forman and some patriotic selections from Kevin Doherty, here's what our hosts have been listening to this month, from their ears to yours.

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, Kevin Doherty July picks include; two American composers - one contemporary and one from the 19th century along with a track from the soundtrack to the recent Ron Howard-directed documentary about one of the most famous opera singers to ever live.

Jennifer Higdon is one of the most sought-after composers in the world today. Higdon's specialty is making something that might not sound conventionally beautiful actually sound beautiful. I've chosen the uptempo and entertaining fourth movement "Rap Knock" from her recent Harp Concerto for your listening pleasure (you'll immediately hear how it got its name). The entire 20-minute concerto is well worth a listen. It's the world premiere recording featuring harpist Yolanda Kondonassis of the recent album "American Rapture."

Amy Beach was a powerhouse of the late 19th century. A member of the Boston Six, Beach was one of the most performed composers of her generation. She was also the first woman to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra. Beach was a prolific composer and much of her output was written for the piano. Her Ballade in D-Flat Major is reminiscent of European Romantic contemporaries like Brahms and Rachmaninoff. The piece starts in a sort of wistful nostalgia and eventually builds into an emotional tour de force. Pianist Anna Shelest performs from her new album "Donna Voce" (The Woman's Voice).

The great operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti was no stranger to the limelight. His name garnered universal recognition as a member of the uber-popular Three Tenors and the headliner for a series of benefit concerts called Pavarotti and Friends. These things along with his enormous successes on the operatic stage no doubt made him perfect fodder for a recently released documentary directed by Ron Howard. The very first track off the motion picture soundtrack is a work that Pavarotti brought to the masses and more or less became synonymous with his voice: Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" from the opera "Turandot."

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