Insight With Beth Ruyak

Hosted By Beth Ruyak

A daily, in-depth interview program providing context and background to the issues that face our region.


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Thursday, August 14, 2014 Permalink

Insight: Capitol Chat / The Stagecoach / Sound Advice: Cale Wiggins / Lila Downs




It's been a busy week as the California lawmakers faced deadlines before the end of session on Aug. 31. The most important issue on everyone's mind was a water bond for the November ballot. Capital Bureau Chief Ben Adler was there following last night's vote to approve a $7.5 billion water bond.

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Gov. Jerry Brown, left, shakes hands with Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, after Brown signed to measure t0 place a $7.5 billion water plan on the November ballot, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. The measure replaces an existing water bond that was approved by a previous Legislature but was widely considered to costly and unlikely to be approved by voters. The water plan was approved by lawmakers earlier in the day after weeks of negotiations between Brown and legislative leaders. Rich Pedroncelli / AP


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During California’s pioneer days, stagecoaches hauling gold from isolated mines to big-city safes were easy targets for highwaymen. Road accidents ended in disaster and coaches tumbled down mountainsides in the Sierra Nevada.

Sacramento author Cheryl Anne Stapp’s new book "The Stagecoach in Northern California: Rough Rides, Gold Camps & Daring Drivers"  takes readers back to an era before the railroad and automobile arrived in the state.

A time when the stagecoach was king of the road. Stapp is officially launching the book Thursday at Time Tested Books in Sacramento.


1). Leonidas Kavakos & Yuja Wang - Brahms “Violin Sonata No. 2”

2). Leonidas Kavakos & Yuja Wang - Brahms “Violin Sonata No. 3”

3). The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Marek Stilec (conductor) - Zdenek Fibich – “Zaboj, Slavoj a Ludek”

4). The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Marek Stilec (conductor) - Zdenek Fibich – “The Tempest”

5). The Zofo Duet - Gustav Holst – “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity”

Violinist Leonidas Kavakos is not often mistaken for his ancient namesake, the Trojan King Leonidas, but there are moments in his recording of Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3, when you could be forgiven for believing that he might hold back a wall of invading Persians with just a violin. On his new release Brahms: The Violin Sonatas, the exceptional Greek violinist is joined by 27-year-old pianist, Yuja Wang. Wang, a beneficiary of China’s effort to emphasize the arts, was already an established concert pianist by the age of 21. Her stature has only grown since then. There are moments in this recording when Wang and Kavakos are so in sync that they sound like one musician; it's thrilling to hear.

The Zofo Duet are a Grammy nominated duo that specializes in pieces for one piano four hands. Their name means 20 finger orchestra (with the "z" standing in for a "2"), and they do an admirable job of filling up musical space with a single piano. Both members, Eva-Marie Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi, had established themselves as international solo pianists before they joined forces.  Their latest release on the Sono Luminus label, Zoforbit: A Space Odyssey includes a full rendition of the Planets by Holst. For anyone who is already familiar with the work, the Zofo Duo's performance is revealing, in that it gives a very clear view of the underlying structure of the full orchestral version. The Album also features works by George Crumb, Urmas Sisask and David Lang.

Grace Notes: Composers in World War I - A CapRadio Music Special

Tomorrow at 4:00 (PT) Cale explores how the lives and music of composers like Gustav Holt and Ralph Vaughn Williams were immeasurably altered by World War I.

Lila Downs, Mexican American Grammy award-winning singer, will perform at Sacramento's Crest Theatre. Music from her 17th album and Grammy-winning “Pecados y Milagros” will be featured, alongside music from the Hispanic Roots project. Her Southwest Tour kicks off in Chicago on August 11 and her CD, "Raíz,"a collaboration with Argentine singer Soledad and Spain’s Niña Pastori, will release the following day, August 12.



  • Capitol Chat: $7.5 Billion Water Bond Deal

    This week's Capitol Chat focuses on the new $7.5 billion water bond.

  • A Time When The Stagecoach Was King Of The Road

    Author Cheryl Stapp talks about the stagecoach in Northern California.

  • Max Kellenberger

    Cale Wiggins And New Classical Recordings

    Classical host Cale Wiggins reviews new recordings of Brahms’ Violin Sonatas by Yuja Wang and Leonidas Kavakos, the music of a forgotten Czech composer and Holst’s “The Planets” for one piano and four hands.

  • Singer Lila Downs Explores New Territory With Raiz Album

    Lila Downs will perform at the Crest Theatre Aug. 14.

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