Discovery Ensemble, with Music Director Courtney Lewis, launched its fifth season at Jordan Hall in Boston.
Hear the concert, along with past performances, and learn more about the season:
Discovery Ensemble was founded with a dual mission: to present chamber orchestra concerts at the highest possible level of performance, and to take those performances into Boston's schools to invigorate the music education of children.
Artistic Director David St. George and Music Director Courtney Lewis have pursued that mission relentlessly, earning rave reviews and a devoted following in the process.
Classical New England was at Jordan Hall for this season's opening concert on Oct. 21. Hear the concert:
Classical New England has hosted Discovery Ensemble in our Fraser Performance Studio several times. Those performances can be heard, along with several concert performances of the last four years, in special Sunday Concert presentations:
KKL Concert Hall, Lucerne (image by Luzern Tourismus, courtesy of the Lucerne Festival)
The Lucerne Festival brings world-class orchestras and soloists to a spectacular concert hall in a gorgeous city in Switzerland every summer.
Classical New England and WQXR bring you four concerts from the 2012 festival, each Sunday in September at 3pm on Sunday Concert.
During the recently concluded U.S. political conventions, there was one point of common ground between the major parties: the economy is struggling, with no quick remedies available. But as dire as the situation is now, consider Europe in 1938. Not only was the entire world economy in even worse condition than today's, the rise of Adolf Hitler's Nazi party sent a chill throughout every aspect of life on the continent.
Tribschen, Wagner's home for seven years and the site of the first performance at the Lucerne Festival > Read more about Tribschen (image via Wikimedia Commons)
Among those who felt the chill most acutely were musicians like Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini, who, refusing to perform at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany and the Salzburg Festival in Austria, came to the charming city of Lucerne in neutral Switzerland. It had been the home of Richard Wagner for seven years, and it was at his lakeside villa, Tribschen, on Aug. 25, 1938, that Toscanini lifted his baton for the first notes of the inaugural Lucerne Festival.
Since then, the Lucerne Festival has evolved to hold a place among the most fascinating destinations for both musicians and audiences during the summer. In 1998, Jean Nouvel's new KKL Concert Hall transformed the festival and the city. The KKL is a striking modernist addition to the Old World architecture of the rest of Lucerne, and its acoustics are as perfect as can be found anywhere.
Those acoustics, along with the surrounding beauty of Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps, as well as the enthusiasm of the audiences who flock to this quiet town each summer, inspire musicians to reach the pinnacle of their interpretive and technical abilities. The results are stunning.
Classical New England is proud to bring you WQXR's production of four concerts from the 2012 Lucerne Festival. The complete schedule is below, and check back to hear each program on-demand after its broadcast.
September 9, 3pm
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Daniel Harding, conductor
Mari Eriksmoen, soprano
Bernarda Fink, alto
Andrew Staples, tenor
Franz-Josef Selig, bass
Bavarian Radio Choir
Swedish Radio Choir
SCHUBERT Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (Song of the Spirits over the Waters), D 714 (with the Bavarian Radio Choir)
SCHUMANN Nachtlied (“Night Song”), Op. 108
SCHUBERT Mass in E-flat major, D 950 (with the Swedish Radio Choir)
Hear the concert:
September 16, 3pm
Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra
Daniele Gatti, conductor
Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin
WAGNER Prelude to Act 3 and “Good Friday Spell” from Parsifal
BERG Violin Concerto (“To the Memory of an Angel”)
STRAUSS Suite from the opera Der Rosenkavalier
RAVEL La Valse
(on-demand audio is not available for this program)
September 23, 3pm
Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Bavarian Radio Choir
Swedish Radio Choir
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Juliane Banse, soprano (Beethoven)
Bruno Ganz, narrator
Anna Prohaska, soprano (Mozart)
Sara Mingardo, alto
Maximilian Schmitt, tenor
Rene Pape, bass
BEETHOVEN: Incidental music to Goethe’s tragedy Egmont for soprano, narrator and orchestra, Op. 84
MOZART: Requiem in D minor, K. 626 (edition by Franz Beyer/Robert Levin)
Hear the concert:
September 30, 3pm
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
David Robertson, conductor
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
IVES: The Unanswered Question
BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto in D, op. 61
SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 1 in E minor, op. 39
Join us for the pinnacle of J.S. Bach's sacred music, in concert at Symphony Hall in Boston with the Handel and Haydn Society and conductor Harry Christophers, Sunday, Mar. 24, at 3pm, and Friday, Mar. 29, at 7pm on Classical New England.
The soloists include tenor Joshua Ellicott as The Evangelist, bass baritone Matthew Brook as Jesus, soprano Gillian Keith, alto Monica Groop, tenor Jeremy Budd, and bass Stephan Loges.
"... this performance was easily one of his finest hours in Boston."
When the Handel and Haydn Society first performed excerpts of Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Boston in 1871, it was the first time that this incredibly powerful music had been heard on these shores. For that performance, the orchestra numbered 100, the chorus 700. On Good Friday eight years later, H&H gave the first U.S. performance of the entire work, and it returned many times over the subsequent years.
In celebration of its 200th anniversary in 2015, the Handel and Haydn Society is returning to works it premiered in this country, including the St. Matthew Passion in performances at Symphony Hall in Boston.
Jeremy Eichler of wrote that the chorus's singing was "clear yet full, beautifully balanced and musically alert. It felt just right for Christophers’ conception of this work, not as a hoary lumbering masterpiece but as a fleet, vibrant, and intensely dramatic score to be revered precisely through close attention to its musical storytelling. That conception was strikingly realized last night. Christophers’ tenure at H&H has not been without its ups and downs, but this performance was easily one of his finest hours in Boston."
When you think of the world's great orchestras, history is inevitably part of the equation. Whether it's the Leipzig and Dresden ensembles that trace their origins to the 18th Century, or comparitavely younger American orchestras that came of age in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, it's easy to think that it takes decades and decades, if not centuries, to forge the legacy of a great orchestra.
But then there's the Budapest Festival Orchestra. With its home base in a city rich in history and culture but, largely because of its Communist past, is still overlooked by Americans, the Budapest Festival Orchestra is widely considered to be among the very best ensembles to be performing today, on par with the Berlin Philharmonic (founded in 1882), the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam (founded in 1888), and, yes, our own Boston Symphony Orchestra (founded in 1881).
And yet, the group played its first concert in 1983, after being founded by Iván Fischer (pictured) and Zoltán Kocsis. It's impossible to say what accounts for the meteoric rise of the orchestra, but it's safe to assume that visionary leadership, incredible dedication on the part of all involved, and that deep cultural legacy of Budapest have all played a part.
Now Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra bring their short but powerful legacy to New York City's Carnegie Hall, and you can hear the concert on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 3pm on Classical New England. The program includes music by the orchestra's countryman, Béla Bartók, for which they're joined by the remarkable pianist András Schiff (another Hungarian), and Franz Schubert.
Bartók: Hungarian Peasant Songs
Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 2
Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C, the "Great"
Full program information and audio samples available at Carnegie Hall