Friday, April 8, 2011
Michael Tilson Thomas (left) conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in concert:
Ruth Crawford Seeger - Andante for Strings
Alban Berg - Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
Johannes Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1, with soloist Yefim Bronfman
Also, John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 3, the "Rhenish"
Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Benjamin Zander welcome the Dutch harpist Gwyneth Wentink as soloist in Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera's Harp Concerto. One reviewer wrote of this performance, "Gwyneth Wentink and Boston Philharmonic penetrated profoundly into the unusual space of this improbable concerto, both running away with its uncommon personal and mystical folkloric bent."
Benjamin Zander talked with Brian Bell about Ginastera's concerto and Wentink.
Benjamin Zander on Ginastera's Harp Concerto and harpist Gwyneth Wentink
Benjamin Zander on Gershwin's An American in Paris
Benjamin Zander on Revueltas's Sensemayá
Benjamin Zander on Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Sunday afternoon at 3pm, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Peter Oundjian combine forces for a concert featuring the blazing Capriccio Espagnol by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and the Symphony No. 5 by Ralph Vaughan Williams, composed during the throes of World War II. Israeli pianist Shai Wosner joins the orchestra as the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20.
Peter Oundjian has been in the news recently for two reasons. The former violinist with the Tokyo String Quartet was named Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2004, at a time when the very survival of the orchestra was in question. As detailed last week in the New York Times, though, the orchestra is not just back from the brink, it's thriving under Oundjian's leadership.
In addition, Oundjian has just been named as the next Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a position he'll hold concurrently with the directorship in Toronto.
Here is the trailer for a documentary produced just as Oundjian was beginning his position in Toronto:
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Pierre Boulez harnesses the power and precision of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a concert performance of music that offers a wide range of 20th Century compositional voice.
The concert begins with Maurice Ravel's tribute to an earlier time and to friends lost during World War I, Le Tombeau de Couperin.
Next, Boulez and the CSO are joined by pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich for Hungarian composer Béla Bartók's Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra.
The Principal Flutist of the CSO, Mathieu Dufour (left), takes center stage for the next piece, the Flute Concerto written by 50-year-old French composer Marc-André Dalbavie in 2006.
Rounding out the program is Igor Stravinsky's revolutionary take on a Russian folk tale, The Firebird.
By Cathy Fuller | Thursday, March 3, 2011
It was on Dec. 5, 2010, at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in Boston, that, as the final, triumphant chord of Brahms’s Second Symphony rang out, the audience leapt from their seats with a fabulous, unanimous holler. Brahms had galvanized the people in an overwhelming way. It was sheer joy.
It was the Concert for the Cure, organized by flutist Julie Scolnik to benefit breast cancer research. Sir Simon Rattle, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Artistic Director, had given an immediate “yes” to Scolnik two years earlier, when she asked if he would volunteer his time for the cause.
His schedule, though, was only going to allow for this one evening in December, 2010. Having played under his baton, and having survived breast cancer, Julie knew how worth the wait this would be. She gathered together a brilliant orchestra of players in the meantime, all eager to offer their time for the cause.
Rattle works in otherworldly ways. He doesn’t ever beat time. “Why should I?” he asked me. Instead, he inspires his players with gestures that are loaded up with meaning and shape - it’s as if those gestures hold the DNA that every phrase needs to navigate its perfect path.
In rehearsal, this struck me as magical. He had harnessed everything that a conductor could need. Within the space of just a few hours, with an orchestra that had never before existed, he molded music of balance, clarity, intelligence and passion. His wisdom about the way that these pieces are constructed allowed him to pave the way to the climaxes with just the right pacing and atmosphere. I will never forget the quality of hushed love that he brought to the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.
The concert began with Mozart’s joyous Piano Concerto in G, K. 453. It sparkled in the hands of Marc-André Hamelin, and it was astonishing to see how immediately Rattle caught on to Hamelin’s vision. After a rehearsal barely longer than the concerto itself, the spark was lit.
The Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure partnered with Julie on this event. I hope you'll visit them online to learn more about the race to end breast cancer, and the number of lives that can be saved by bringing education, testing and treatments to those who might otherwise never have learned to seek help.
Juile Scolnik and Sir Simon Rattle at the Concert for the Cure, Dec. 2010
Here is the complete concert, and below that, one part of the concert to enjoy in video form.
Boston's Concert for the Cure
(video produced by Cambridge Studios)
Concert for the Cure Orchestra:
Julliette Kang, concertmaster
Thomas Van Dyck
(images: Steven Isenberg)