Classical Concerts

Spring For Music, From Carnegie Hall

Thursday, May 5, 2011
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In the midst of conductor transitions, struggling orchestras, and dicey subscription renewal rates from audiences, orchestras all over the country are creating new concepts in programming to energize  and reinvigorate the concert experience.  A series of concerts at Carnegie Hall presented by Spring For Music puts that process on steroids.

Created through a proposal system open to orchestras around the country, each program casts is built around a specific artistic concept, bringing together familiar music in combination with lesser known pieces, many of them brand new commissions.

For Boston audiences, one particular concert stands out.  On May 10, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble known for exploring all corners of contemporary repertoire with their Music Director, David Alan Miller, will perform a program entitled Spirituals Re-Imagined.  Opening with George Tsontakis's Let the River Be Unbroken and closing with Aaron Copland's complete ballet Appalachian Spring, the heart of the program is The Spirituals Project.  This set of commissions based on American spirituals begins with works by two of Boston's great composers, John Harbison, with "Ain't goin' to study war no mo,'" and Donal Fox, with "Hear de' Lams A'cryin.'"

Join us at 99.5 All Classical for four of these concerts on the air, and all seven via live webcast.  Here's our broadcast schedule on 99.5, Boston's All Classical Station:

Saturday, May 7 at 10pm

ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
THE NEW BRANDENBURGS
[program notes]

AARON JAY KERNIS
Concerto with Echoes (inspired by Brandenburg No. 6)
MELINDA WAGNER
Little Moonhead (inspired by Brandenburg No. 4)
SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES
Sea Orpheus (inspired by Brandenburg No. 5)
CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS
Muse (inspired by Brandenburg No. 3)
STEPHEN HARTKE
A Brandenburg Autumn (inspired by Brandenburg No. 1)
PAUL MORAVEC
Brandenburg Gate (inspired by Brandenburg No. 2)

Wednesday, May 11 at 8pm

ALBANY SYMPHONY
David Alan Miller, Music Director
SPIRITUALS RE-IMAGINED
[program notes]

GEORGE TSONTAKIS
Let the River Be Unbroken

The Spirituals Project

JOHN HARBISON
“Ain’t goin’ to study war no mo’"
DONAL FOX
“Hear de’ Lams A’cryin’”
BUN CHING LAM
“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”
TANIA LEON
“Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel”
DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN
“Harvest”
KEVIN BEAVERS
“Deep River”
RICHARD ADAMS
“Stan’ Still, Jordan”
STEPHEN DANKER
“Wade in de’ Water”
Nathan De’Shon Myers, baritone

AARON COPLAND
Appalachian Spring (complete ballet,1945)

Saturday, May 14 at 10pm

THE SAINT PAUL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
[program notes]

IGOR STRAVINSKY
Concerto in D for String Orchestra
MARIA SCHNEIDER
Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra
Dawn Upshaw, Soprano
Maria Schneider, Conductor
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Commission (New York premiere)
BELA BARTOK
Five Hungarian Folk Songs for Soprano and String Orchestra, arranged by Richard Tognetti
Dawn Upshaw, Soprano
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
Symphony No. 104 in D, London

Sunday, May 15 at 3pm

ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTREAL
Kent Nagano, Music Director

THE EVOLUTION OF THE SYMPHONY

GIOVANNI GABRIELI
Sacrae Symphoniae for brass excerpts
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sinfonias, for solo keyboard, Nos. 1-5
Angela Hewitt, Piano
ANTON WEBERN
Symphony, Op.21
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sinfonias, for solo keyboard, Nos. 8,9
Angela Hewitt, Piano
IGOR STRAVINSKY
Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1920 version)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sinfonias, for solo keyboard, Nos 11, 12, 15
Angela Hewitt, Piano
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67



And here is the complete list of live webcast programs.




Friday, May 6, 2011 at 8pm

ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
THE NEW BRANDENBURGS
[program notes]

AARON JAY KERNIS
Concerto with Echoes (inspired by Brandenburg No. 6)
MELINDA WAGNER
Little Moonhead (inspired by Brandenburg No. 4)
SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES
Sea Orpheus (inspired by Brandenburg No. 5)
CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS
Muse (inspired by Brandenburg No. 3)
STEPHEN HARTKE
A Brandenburg Autumn (inspired by Brandenburg No. 1)
PAUL MORAVEC
Brandenburg Gate (inspired by Brandenburg No. 2)



Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 8pm

TOLEDO SYMPHONY
Stefan Sanderling, Music Director
[program notes]
Director: Cornel Gabara
Cast: Pete Cross—Alexander
David de Christopher—Ivanov
Yazan “Zack” Alquadi—Sasha
Kevin Hayes—Colonel
Benjamin Pryor—Doctor
Pamela Tomassetti—Teacher

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 30
ANDRE PREVIN TOM STOPPARD
Every Good Boy Deserves Favor
(New York City premiere of full orchestra version)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 8pm

ALBANY SYMPHONY
David Alan Miller, Music Director
SPIRITUALS RE-IMAGINED
[program notes]

GEORGE TSONTAKIS
Let the River Be Unbroken

The Spirituals Project

JOHN HARBISON
“Ain’t goin’ to study war no mo’"
DONAL FOX
“Hear de’ Lams A’cryin’”
BUN CHING LAM
“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”
TANIA LEON
“Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel”
DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN
“Harvest”
KEVIN BEAVERS
“Deep River”
RICHARD ADAMS
“Stan’ Still, Jordan”
STEPHEN DANKER
“Wade in de’ Water”
Nathan De’Shon Myers, baritone

AARON COPLAND
Appalachian Spring (complete ballet,1945)


Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 8pm

THE DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Jaap van Zweden, Music Director
[program notes]
Indira Mahajan, Soprano
Kristine Jepson, Mezzo-soprano
Vale Rideout, Tenor
Rod Gilfry, Baritone
Dallas Symphony Chorus (prepared by Don Krehbiel)

STEVEN STUCKY
August 4, 1964
(New York premiere)

Commisioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and first performed in September 2008 to commemorate the 100th birthday of President Lyndon B. Johnson.


Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 8pm

OREGON SYMPHONY
Carlos Kalmar, Music Director
[program notes]

CHARLES IVES
The Unanswered Question
JOHN ADAMS
The Wound-Dresser Sanford Sylvan, Baritone
BENJAMIN BRITTEN
Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20
RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
Symphony No. 4 in F minor


Friday, May 13, 2011 at 8pm
THE SAINT PAUL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
[program notes]

IGOR STRAVINSKY
Concerto in D for String Orchestra
MARIA SCHNEIDER
Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra
Dawn Upshaw, Soprano
Maria Schneider, Conductor
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Commission (New York premiere)
BELA BARTOK
Five Hungarian Folk Songs for Soprano and String Orchestra, arranged by Richard Tognetti
Dawn Upshaw, Soprano
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
Symphony No. 104 in D, London


Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 8pm

ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTREAL
Kent Nagano, Music Director

THE EVOLUTION OF THE SYMPHONY
[program notes]

GIOVANNI GABRIELI
Sacrae Symphoniae for brass excerpts
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sinfonias, for solo keyboard, Nos. 1-5
Angela Hewitt, Piano
ANTON WEBERN
Symphony, Op.21
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sinfonias, for solo keyboard, Nos. 8,9
Angela Hewitt, Piano
IGOR STRAVINSKY
Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1920 version)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sinfonias, for solo keyboard, Nos 11, 12, 15
Angela Hewitt, Piano
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
 
(photo credit: Jeff Goldberg/Esto, courtesy Carnegie Hall)

Hear Music From The Royal Wedding

Friday, April 29, 2011
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(photo:  AP)

England's Royal Wedding of 2011 for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge included stunning musical performances.  Hear them on demand:

Processional Sequence:

For Queen Elizabeth:  March from The Birds, by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
For the clergy:  Prelude on Rhosymedre, by Ralph Vaughan Williams
For the bride:  "I was Glad," by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry




Hymns:

"Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer," words by William Williams, translated by Peter Williams and others, and music by John Hughes
"Love Divine All Love Excelling," words by Charles Wesley and music by William Penfro Rowlands
"Jerusalem," by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, words by William Blake


 

"This is the day which the Lord hath made," by John Rutter, commissioned by Westminster Abbey as a wedding present and performed by both the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal Choir





"Ubi caritas," by Paul Mealor, a Welsh composer




"Blest pair of Sirens," words by John Milton from At a Solemn Musick, music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry




The National Anthem




Recessional Sequence:

"Valiant and Brave," after the motto of No. 22 Squadron (Search and Rescue Force), composed for the occasion by Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, Principal Director of Music in the Royal Air Force
Crown Imperial, by William Walton
Toccata, from Symphonie V, by Charles-Marie Widor
"Pomp and Circumstance March No. 5," by Edward Elgar


 

And if you missed any of Cathy Fuller's pre-wedding interview this week with conductor Christopher Warren-Green, you can hear it here.

Simon Trpceski Plays Liszt

Friday, April 29, 2011
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Soprano Dawn Upshaw

Friday, April 29, 2011
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Dawn Upshaw is one of the music world's most innovative and inspirational singers.  On Friday, April 29, she'll perform a recital with pianist Stephen Prutsman, presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston. She visited 99.5 All Classical to talk with host Cathy Fuller about the program and her new recording of music by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy.





In 2008 she visited WGBH, and hosts Cathy Fuller and Richard Knisely had the opportunity to talk with her work and the state of classical music in our culture.



Suzuki Conducts Bach

Thursday, April 21, 2011
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Masaaki Suzuki has, over the course of many years, established an approach to Bach's sacred music that combines scholarly thoughtfulness with a lyrical interpretive style that elucidates the relationship of the text and music. His dozens of recordings of Bach's cantatas with the ensemble he founded, Bach Collegium Japan, have engendered a wide following amongst audiences and critics.

Suzuki conducts his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut with Bach's St. John Passion in the final version by Bach, revised in 1749 in the year before his death.

The soloists include soprano Hana Blažíková, mezzo-soprano Ingeborg Danz, tenor Christoph Prégardien, and bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann.

Here are excerpts from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's program notes, written by Helen M. Greenwald.  The complete notes and text translation are available from the BSO.
 

Traditional Holy Week observance includes the daily reading and/or musical performance of accounts in the four Canonic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John—of the events in the last week of Jesus’s life. The term “Passion” refers specifically to the suffering of Jesus, and John’s version of it, read each year on Good Friday, ends at the burial after the crucifixion ... Bach’s St. John Passion is thus a text-driven work with a well-defined functional history...

... It is important to understand its two intersecting planes—the first, a narrative (recitatives and choruses) and the second, commentary and reflection (chorales and arias). The story is told by the Evangelist, and selected events are reenacted through dialogue between characters—Jesus, Pilate, the Girl, Peter, and the Servant—and the crowd...

... In 1749, when he conducted the St. John Passion at St. Thomas [right], his eyesight had been failing for quite some time. By 1747, he had already delegated some of his cantor’s responsibilities to his pupil and copyist, Johann Nathanael Bammler, for whom he later wrote a reference—the last known document in Bach’s own hand, dated April 12, 1749, just a week after his final performance of the St. John Passion.

Zhou Long's Madame White Snake Wins 2011 Pulitzer Prize

Monday, April 18, 2011
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Chinese-American composer Zhou Long has been awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for his opera Madame White Snake, premiered in February 2010 by Opera Boston and broadcast in April 2010 on 99.5 All Classical. It was the first work commissioned by Opera Boston, and you can learn more below, as well as hear the entire opera on demand.
Listen now

Listen to 99.5 All Classical's world-premiere broadcast of Madame White Snake.

 

      
The World

WGBH's The World takes you behind the scenes of Madame White Snake.

WGBH on Twitter
Once upon a time...

A cross-cultural drama of passion and transformation, Madame White Snake is a story drawn from a beloved Chinese legend: A powerful white snake demon longs to become human to experience love. She grasps love for one fleeting instant before it is swept away by a flood of deceit, doubt, and distrust.
Who is Madame White Snake?
Watch as Opera Boston artists and Bostonians on the street try to answer, "Who is Madame White Snake?"
 



The birth of Madame White Snake
The creative team behind this world-premiere opera talks about the inception of the piece and the process of bringing it to the stage.
 

...the final step
The final preparations for Opera Boston's World Premiere, just before opening night!
 

The artists
Ying Huang, Madame White Snake
Chinese soprano Ying Huang has generated an extraordinary level of critical acclaim and popularity in a career that has already spanned many arenas, including opera and concert stages, television, recordings, and motion pictures.
Ms. Huang is consistently sought after on stages throughout the world for her portrayals of Mozart soprano roles. Her performances as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Despina in Così fan tutte and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte have been seen in opera houses throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and South America.

Zhou Long, composer
Zhou Long is recognized internationally for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West. Deeply grounded in the spectrum of his Chinese heritage, particularly its philosophical and spiritual ideals, he is a pioneer in combining the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions with contemporary Western ensembles and compositional forms.

Gil Rose, music director
Gil Rose is recognized as one of a new generation of American conductors shaping the future of classical music. His orchestral and operatic performances and recordings have been recognized by critics and fans alike. In 1996, Rose founded the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the leading professional orchestra in the country dedicated exclusively to performing and recording music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Under his leadership, BMOP's unique programming and high performance standards have attracted critical acclaim and earned the orchestra eight ASCAP awards for adventurous programming as well as John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music. Since 2003, Rose has also served as music director of Opera Boston, an innovative opera company in residence at the historic Cutler Majestic Theatre.

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