Links beyond this blog have been known to expire, sometimes rather quickly. I wish things weren't this way (but they are). I will do what I can to choose wisely (but don't say you weren't warned). Click away!
"The classical music world is known for planning concerts and events
years in advance. But the Berlin Philharmonic takes the cake today with
its announcement that it has secured Simon Rattle's tenure as head of
the orchestra for another nine years."
Violinist Christian Tetzlaff's program was all J.S. Bach, all of Bach's unaccompanied sonatas and partitas, in fact, so it was not a complete representation of what Boston audiences will hear on January 31 at Jordan Hall. However, according to Allan Kozinn of the New York Times, Tetzlaff's performance (as well as the program) was sublime.
Bach's Sonata No. 3 in C and Partita No 2 in D minor, both of which were on Sunday's 92nd Street Y program and are mentioned in the review, will be played in Boston. But we will also hear Eugène Ysaÿe's Sonata for solo violin and for Paganinni caprices. Hear is a snippet of Kozinn's review to whet your appetite:
"Technique is never an issue with this violinist. The clarity and
solidity he brings to the music’s chordal writing remain among the most
striking characteristics of his Bach playing, as does the sharp
articulation he uses to suggest independent lines of counterpoint. What
has deepened is the intensity of the emotional charge he draws from
this music, in readings that match Bach’s 18th-century ingenuity with
passion and warmth in the here and now."
will not be accepted after November 12. Questions may be presented in
edited form. There is no guarantee your question(s) will be selected.
During this live, unscripted conversation, Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Rich
will reminisce about Stephen Sondheim’s career including his
collaborations with Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins; his
predecessors, including his mentor Oscar Hammerstein II; the state of
American musical theater; and, in a very personal series of
reflections, his own creative process, speaking specifically on works
ranging from his early shows Gypsy and West Side Story to such later classics as Company, Follies and Sweeney Todd.
Note: Remaining tickets for this event are limited.
Suzanne Vega sings "Small Blue Thing" in Wattensheid, Germany. It's probably the best of the fan-submitted videos from her summer 2009 tour.
Suzanne comes to Sanders Theatre, Cambridge on November 6, courtesy of Celebrity Series of Boston (ahem).
A humorous little post from the blog of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra - a pseudo-introduction of the coming season - has confused a number of otherwise worldly and alert adults into thinking the cracks therein are to be taken seriously. Here are some rather obvious samples of Slatkin's playfulness:
On distraction: "To begin, the orchestra will be seated with their backs to the
audience. Music Director Leonard Slatkin said at a press conference
yesterday, 'I feel that the listeners are distracted by seeing the faces
of the musicians. By turning around, people will tire of looking at
backsides and focus purely on the music.'"
On Beethoven's 5th Symphony: "So for these performances of the overly familiar Beethoven score, the
opening five bars will not be played, since everyone knows how they go.
It will be straight into the 6th measure. In fact, every time the
four-note motto comes in and is played loudly, the passage will either
disappear or be performed softly."
Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring: "Other emendations include orchestration changes. The opening of
Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, played by the bassoon in a high register,
will now be intoned on the tuba, two octaves lower than printed."
On formal attire: "Finally, in keeping with the new seating arrangement, the orchestra
will perform in street clothes, but the audience is requested to come
in formal attire.
'Let them learn how long it takes to put on white tie and tails.'"
And finally: "Season tickets, subscription renewals and cancellations can be taken care of directly with the DSO box office."
If the Schikele-esque notions above were not adequate proof of mirth, the post even goes so far as to include the winking emoticon, ;-), in the headline, but still there were those who remained unsure if they were witnessing a joke or not. That tells this reader that the classical community in general could use a bit more of this sort of thing ...
Pianist Ingrid Fliter is definitely at the point in her career in which people are beginning to know her music and want to hear her story. She spoke to The Times (UK) recently on a range of topics, including Chopin, pianist Martha Argerich, and winning the Gilmore Artist Award:
"Her big break was a once-in-a-lifetime chance — the intervention of
her all-time idol, the Argentine piano legend Martha Argerich, many of
whose best qualities she shares, though she would never admit the
comparison. 'A friend of mine told me that she was coming to Argentina
and that she wanted to listen to some young pianists — in four days’
time. So I practised 12 hours, 14 hours, on the one piece I wanted to
play, Chopin’s Sonata No 3.' After she had finished, Argerich told her
to pack her bags and go to study with Vitaly Margulis in Freiburg,
Germany. Then she gave her the keys to her flat in Geneva."
Entertaining, incisive, smart, honest - the only problem with Mark Morris' answers for interviewer's questions is that there are never enough of them:
"The Guardian: Who would you most like to work with?
Morris: This is
worrisome. If I say somebody who's around today, then I'll get a phone
call from their agent. So I'll have George Frideric Handel, because he
taught me everything I know, but isn't around to take the credit."
Several things have us meditating on Germany in general and Berlin in particular this season (no, not Berlin, New Hampshire, watch the video!). For one we are presenting a remarkable and somewhat coincidental array of German performers and works in 2009-2010. And many of them are indeed from Berlin. So, Bostonians, once you finish watching Berlin in 3-D, take a look at Germany coming to your own back yard:
1. The Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, make their return visit to Symphony Hall within a week of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (November 15, Symphony Hall)
2. Violinist Christian Tetzlaff, though he was born in Hamburg and lives near Frankfurt, is certainly German. Tetzlaff will perform an unaccompanied violin recital that will feature works by J.S. Bach, among others. (January 31, NEC’s Jordan Hall)
3. The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, as the name implies, is made up of first chair players from their venerable parent ensemble. The orchestra has been here before, of course, but this concert is the Wind Quintet's Boston debut. (February 5, NEC’s Jordan Hall)
4. Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra will play an all-Beethoven program under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Chailly and featuring Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire. (February 25, Symphony Hall)
6. Max Raabe & Palast Orchester capture the elegant decadence of pre-war Berlin of the 1920s and 30s in a program called “A Night in Berlin.” (March 6, Paramount Theatre, 2 shows)
7. German-born bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, in addition to being a truly gifted singer and profound communicator, is also a teacher at Berlin’s Hans Eisler School of Music. His May 2 recital will feature works by German composer Johannes Brahms, among others.(May 2, NEC's Jordan Hall)