LE FIGARO. - Art and wine, is it a long, loving marriage?Some modern artists, like Franz West or Damien Hirst, may drink heavily but, Rosenthal concludes, it has had little influence in their art, and he discussed only a couple examples that came to mind. His theory about women not being shown as heavy drinkers is interesting, since the primary worshippers of Dionysos were the Maenads, shown above in the amphora painted by the Amasis Painter in the 6th century B.C. The dithyramb, the frenzied choral piece sung and danced in honor of Dionysos, can be said to have influenced the development of music, dance, and theater, too.
Seated in my library, I see all my art history books which are filled with endless references to wine, from Dionysos and Homer to Velázquez and Picasso. Wine was cited abundantly in the Bible and the Gospels, which fed an entire pictorial tradition in the West. Veronese's Wedding at Cana, made in 1562 for the refectory of the monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice and conserved today in the Louvre, is a striking example of it. We could include literature, like Falstaff, the character created by Shakespeare in the Henry IV plays and The Merry Wives of Windsor, whose pen described drunks wondrously. Jovial and red-faced, he is the perfect incarnation of the English attitude to drinking, consisting of exacerbated conviviality -- it's the pub culture! -- and different from the silent solitude of the French absinthe drinker painted by Manet, Degas, and the young Picasso at the very start of the 20th century in Paris.
What do Dionysos and Bacchus represent in art?
The pleasure of losing control, as illustrated by Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne, a large oil painted in 1520 to 1523 for Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, by chance today one of the glories of the National Gallery in London. The way in which Bacchus, god of wine, descends from the chariot pulled by two panthers to go meet Ariadne, with whom he has fallen in love at first sight. The joyous nudity of his handsome body, barely covered by the pink drapery, his light and freeing movement posed at the very center of the large canvas (176.5 x 191 cm), his laughter and carefree attitude, make of this Titian one of the great representations of drunkenness. Of all the examples of drunkenness, that is. From 1470, Andrea Mantegna represented it in his engravings of mad bacchanals, expressing both a caricature and the eroticism of the Renaissance, as shown by the exposition at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1992. This unrestrained world is very often masculine. Very few women have been immortalized as drunkards, or even as drinkers.
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, M. Figueras, Hespèrion XX (inter alii), J. Savall
(re-released on October 25, 2010)
Virgin 628658 2 1 | 59'18"
The only drawback of this re-release, priced to move, is that the booklet contains neither texts nor translations of the fascinating texts, some in Latin and some in Catalan, but you can find both here and they are worth reading, intense in their pious sentiments and specific to the mountaintop monastic house for which they were composed, like a vivid slice of late medieval life. Perhaps only in the "calamitous 14th century," as historian Barbara Tuchman termed it, could such dancing enthusiasm be matched to lyrics about hastening toward death ("You will become a vile cadaver, why will you not avoid sin?") in the final piece. In a nice touch, the male schola reprises the opening piece at the end of the disc, the serene chant O virgo splendens hic in monte celso miraculis serrato (O virgin, shining brightly, on this high serrated mountain -- Montserrat), which fades into the distance as the pilgrimage continues.
Charles T. Downey, National Orchestral Institute’s presentation of young musicians displays talent, haste
Washington Post, June 17, 2013
R. Strauss, Tone Poems, Philadelphia Orchestra, W. Sawallisch
The best way to learn is to do. That is the goal of the National Orchestral Institute, the summer apprenticeship program for young classical musicians at the University of Maryland. Its National Festival Orchestra prepares weekly programs of symphonic repertoire with different conductors in a short turnaround time. The latest one was presented Saturday night at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.National Orchestral Institute
The performance, which centered on two of Richard Strauss’s virtuosic tone poems, might have been construed as biting off more than a less-experienced group could chew. That it was not was a credit to these talented musicians and to the savvy of this week’s conductor, Rossen Milanov. [Continue reading]
University of Maryland
Clarice Smith Center
James Hepokowski, in his study of Don Juan ("Fiery-Pulsed Libertine or Domestic Hero? Strauss's Don Juan Reinvestigated," in Richard Strauss: New Perspectives on the Composer and His Work, ed. Bryan Gilliam), wrote that analysis of a Strauss tone poem should be focused on understanding the work's ambiguities, how it takes shape in the pull of "unresolved tensions" between the musical narrative, the supposed literary one, and even how or if the two coincide. One example of this ambiguity is in the formal structure of Don Juan, which has been described as some kind of sonata form or some kind of rondo form.
Hepokowski inclines somewhat toward the rondo in his analysis, noting that there are four episodes between the returns of the Don Juan theme (Heldenthema): three of the hero's seductions, followed by what he calls a masked ball or orgy. The work ends with what is sometimes identified as the duel that concludes Nikolaus Lenau's version of the Don Juan story, in which Don Juan lets himself be killed, heard at the conclusion of final statement of the Heldenthema. Hepokowski notes, however, that the theme does not always return in the tonic, so it is more like a ritornello form than a rondo. As for the program, Hepokowski proposed a theory that the duel at the end is not an actual death but the seducer figure giving up his old ways and accepting a new persona as husband. This is similar to what was happening in Strauss's life at the time: he had met his future wife, Pauline, just before the composition of Don Juan, which was completed in 1888. This makes the pairing of Don Juan with the more transparently autobiographical Ein Heldenleben, composed a decade later and incorporating quotations from Don Juan and other Strauss tone poems, even more apt.
In the fourth concert of their little mini-residency in Munich’s Prinzregenten Theater, the Academy for Ancient Music Berlin (AkAMus) appeared before a very decent crowd last Saturday. Not like on their last outing, where the concert venue, a smaller scaled Bayreuth replica, was apparently two thirds empty. It’s heartening, that the rather un-adventurous Munich crowd cared enough about one of the world’s best early music groups to turn out in decent numbers. And what a gift they got!
Giovanni Bendedetto Platti,
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Akamus on ionarts:
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin at Library of Congress (14.5.05, CDT)
Dip Your Ears, No. 65 (6.7.06, jfl)
My neophyte company, still raw from a mindlessly boring, achingly sincere violin recital the week before, immediately picked up what they were all about: “It’s like a rock band, the way they play. It just happens to be classical music.” Which is exactly what they did: all in the service of unstuffy, immediate musical entertainment… allowing the music to do what it was meant to do—entertain!—rather than stifling it with decorum. With sprits this high, who would begrudge the natural horns—in Vivaldi’s Concerto for two Horns (RV 538), at a fiendish tempo—being more on the lively and liberal side than that of accuracy.
The unsuspected pleasures of Giovanni Benedetto Platti and his Concerto Grosso in G minor (after Corelli’s Violin Sonata op.5/5) were a soothing-riveting-soothing-riveting-soothing delight in five movements. A concerto chimera for recorder, cobbled together mostly from Platti and based on Corelli, was the last of four sets before intermission, and the recorder acrobatics of Christoph Huntgeburth in this fun-house tour-de-force left the audience itching to come back for more after intermission, rather than silently regret that they can’t go home already, because it would look bad with their subscription holder seat neighbors.
It went on like this, lightly thrilling all along the way, with the Corelli Sonata for Violin & Basso Continuo op.5/6 a particular pleasure during which violinist and leader Georg Kallweit and Lutenist galore Lee Santana (subbing for the indisposed AkAMus regular) displayed their musical instincts and keen ears. Only the unnecessary theatrical, tip-toed, one-by-one walking entry for Corelli’s La Follia Sonata (in Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso version) struck me as unnecessarily artificial (and corny à la Tafelmusik) in a concert that had refreshingly been stripping away artifice all evening. No matter, amid such enchantment.
Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio, online video, and other good things in Blogville and Beyond. (After clicking to an audio or video stream, press the "Play" button to start the broadcast.)
- From the Salle Pleyel, watch Vasily Petrenko lead the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Shostakovich's fourth symphony, plus Tchaikovsky's violin concerto with Julia Fischer as soloist. [Cité de la Musique Live]
- Listen to a performance of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst at the Wiener Staatsoper, starring Peter Seiffert (Tristan), Nina Stemme (Isolde), Stephen Milling (König Marke), Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Kurwenal), and Janina Baechle (Brangäne). [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- A rare performance of Vaughan Williams's opera The Pilgrim's Progress, from English National Opera, recorded last November. Streaming may not be available until Monday. [France Musique]
- Andris Nelsons conducts the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Wagner's Tannhäuser overture and the Wesendonck-Lieder with Angela Denoke, plus Dvořák's eighth symphony -- the concert reviewed by our own Jens Laurson. [BR-Klassik]
- From Copenhagen, a concert by the Danish National Radio Symphony with Marc Albrecht at the podium, performing music by Wagner and Strauss, plus pianist Kun Woo Paik in Dvořák's G minor piano concerto. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- Watch Sophie Karthäuser and the Orfeo Baroque Orchestra perform music by Mozart and Grétry at the Schwetzingen Festival. [ARTE Live Web]
- A recital by tenor Jonas Kaufmann and pianist Helmut Deutsch, recorded last year at the Musikverein in Vienna, with songs by Liszt, Mahler, Duparc, Strauss, and others. [France Musique]
- Paolo Arrivabeni conducts Gaetano Donizetti's opera La Favorite, recorded last February at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, with Alice Coote, Judith Gauthier, Marc Laho, and Ludovic Tézier. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- A concert with the late Colin Davis leading the Orchestre National de France, recorded last summer at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, pairing Dvořák's seventh symphony and Beethoven's fifth piano concerto with Emanuel Ax as soloist. [France Musique]
- Simon Rattle leads members of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Ensemble WienBerlin, in music of Wagner, Britten, Ligeti, Hindemith, and Gregory Emfietzis, at the Wiener Festwochen. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- From the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Daniele Gatti leads the Orchestre National de France in excerpts of Wagner's operas, plus Stravinsky's music for The Rite of Spring. [France Musique]
- The Croatian Baroque Ensemble, under violinist Laura Vadjon, performs music by Vivaldi and Alessandro Scarlatti, at the Internationalen Barocktage Stift Melk. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- Listen to a concert from this past April at the Cité de la Musique by the Kammerorchester Basel, conducted by Trevor Pinnock, with music by Wagner and Mozart, plus Chopin's second piano concerto with soloist Maria João Pires. [France Musique]
- The Pacifica Quartet plays the Wiener Musikverein, with quartets by Ravel, Boccherini, and Shostakovich. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- From the Cité de la Musique, cellist Xavier Phillips and violist David Gaillard join David Grimal and Les Dissonances for a concert of music by Dutilleux, Barber, and Britten. [France Musique]
- David Robertson leads the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien at the Wiener Festwochen, playing music by Stravinsky, Steven Mackey, and Ligeti, with Anthony Marwood as soloist. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- From last year's Edinburgh Festival, a recital by violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Nikolai Lugansky, with music by Janáček, Brahms, Stravinsky, and Respighi. [France Musique]
- Sakari Oramo conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in Lutoslawski's Variations symphoniques and Per Norgard's eighth symphony, plus Hilary Hahn playing the Sibelius violin concerto, at the Wiener Festwochen. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- Watch conductor Andrey Boreyko lead the Orchestre de Paris in Lutoslaski's Concerto for Orchestra, Tchaikovsky's third orchestral suite, and Liszt's second piano concerto with soloist Khatia Buniatishvili. [Cité de la Musique Live]
- Listen to the Vienna Symphony at the Wiener Festwochen, in Zemlinsky's Die Seejungfrau plus Alisa Weilerstein playing Dvořák's cello concerto. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- The Trio Ernest Chausson performs music by Ferruccio Busoni and Giuseppe Martucci, recorded last month in the Auditorium du Musée d’Orsay in Paris. [France Musique]
- The Casa da Música Baroque Orchestra, with violinist Riccardo Minasi and countertenor Franco Fagioli, perform music by Francesco Maria Veracini, Vivaldi, Angelo Ragazzi, and others, recorded in March in Porto. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- From the Paris Organ Festival, a recital by Virgile Monin, winner of the Biarritz Organ Competition in 2011, recorded last month at the organ of the Basilique Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Paris. [France Musique]
- Listen to an old recording of Catalani's opera La Wally, recorded in Munich in 1989, with Pinchas Steinberg conducting the Bavarian Radio Chorus and the Munich Radio Orchestra, starring Eva Marton, Francesco Ellero d'Artegna, Alan Titus, and Francisco Araiza. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- Music for piano trio by Henze, Beethoven, and Schubert, recorded last month at Radio France, performed by pianist Adam Laloum, cellist Victor Julien-Lafferière, and violinist Mi-Sa Yang. [France Musique]
- A recital by the young, Lyon-born pianist Lorenzo Soulès, recorded at Radio France. [France Musique]
Various Composers, Piano Préludes from the 20th and 21st Century
Irresistible unknowns: I know as much about Ulrike Fendel as this disc’s liner notes tell me. Nor do I know if it is her performance prowess, to any significant degree, or just the ingenious assembly of pieces that makes this release work. But it is an increasingly enthralling album (“album” specifically n that old-fashioned sense) which intrigues on first hearing and continues to grow on the ears after each successive spin. While I am usually am not keen on compilations, this finely balanced mix of fifteen composers (three world premier recordings of Wolfram Wagner, Alexander Kral, and Meinhard Ruedenauer; further including Préludes by Lyadov, Genzmer, Rota, Tcherepnin, Kabalevsky, Skempton, Casella, Delius, Mompou, Shostakovich, Piazzolla, and Gershwin), this is an easy exception and newfound dear musical companion.
Andris Nelsons has so far avoided being perceived as having any specialty composers—which is to say he’s not yet been boxed and ticked in repertoire to which he might then be confined. Except perhaps very broadly the swath of mainstream romantic repertoire, seeing how he’s easy on the classical period (“I’m still afraid of Mozart”, he wisely said a few years back), and easier still on baroque. But if he continues to conduct Wagner as he did on this occasion, or Lohengrin in Bayreuth (review), he might get pigeonholed yet. At least it would be fitting if it were Wagner, seeing how Wagner is where Nelsons’ career started, when his parents took the six-year old to see Tannhäuser at the Riga opera house. The house that so influenced one-time music director Wagner, to whom Nelsons would become a successor twenty years after that Tannhäuser incident.
A.Dvořák, Sy.9, Heldenlied op.111,
A.Nelsons / BRSO
R.Wagner, Wesendonck Lieder et al.,
T.Dausgaard / Swödisch CO /
Also not known for a particularly warm glow is soprano Angela Denoke, who tends to be more on the rigorous, unyielding side (very German, in some ways). But what a supreme dramatist and singer, whether as Salome (Bavarian State Opera) or Emilia Marty (Salzburg Festival, Věc Makropulos) or Marie (BRSO, Fragments / BStOp Festival, Wozzeck). In Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder (a.k.a. the WesenDonckaDonks, to Wagner at least)—from which Nelsons extracted charming levity—Denoke impressed with her amazingly concentrated, controlled voice, dark-dark hues, and natural and unstrained delivery. Her painstakingly enunciated text made every word audible. (Contrasting to an average performance, where nary a word is discernable). Immediately the imagination beckoned Denoke as Isolde… perhaps in a concert performance, in a small, intimate venue, with a conductor who can do pianissimo as well as Nelsons. The final song, “Träume” had all the above qualities, but added to it tenderness (unexpected, doubly welcome), and a soft luster that was beautiful—cough—to the—cough—very—cough—last, hushed—cough—note. (I don’t usually want to smite fellow a-musical emphysematous concert-goers, but I will make exceptions as needed.)
After this, Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony was a mere bonus; an elaborate encore—appreciated, but not necessary. Dark-genial-jovial in the first movement, Nelsons kept entertaining at a very high level—even through the second movement, a strange beast shaking its all-out romantic chains like a Bohemian Beethoven-Brahms-Wagner chimera, shackled in the slowest movement of a symphonic dungeon. The first violins’ ensemble work was a delight in the third movement… a lyrical up-beat summer’s joy of an Allegretto. Grazioso indeed! And in the finale, Nelsons showed himself unafraid of the Hoppity-Hop cliché that lurks between the lines. A happy night out, showing that Nelsons can breathe life even into the most old-fashioned kind of programming.
Many thanks to Robert R. Reilly for this review from The Kennedy Center.
This Thursday night, French influence was everywhere with the National Symphony Orchestra under British guest conductor Matthew Halls at the Kennedy Center. First there was Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, a recollection of 18th-century French music through the gauze of Impressionism, next, Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain, a musical impression of Charles Baudelaire’s Les fleurs de mal, and, lastly, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony, with wonderfully colored orchestration influenced by Vaughan Williams’s studies with Ravel.
The first movement of the Ravel sounded slightly homogenized, not as transparent or diaphanous as it should have been, and wanting in subtlety. Things improved in the second movement with the delicate tracery of the winds standing out, though foursquare rhythms. The third movement had everything together, rhythmic flexibility and finely shaded playing, especially from the oboist. With a sparkling last movement, Halls and the NSO captured the heart of
Haydn, Keyboard Concertos 3/4/11, M.-A. Hamelin, Les Violons du Roy, B. Labadie
(released on April 9, 2013)
Hyperion CDA67925 | 61'44"
Haydn, Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 3, M.-A. Hamelin (2012)
The three concertos combined here, each lasting around twenty minutes, are the only ones that can actually be attributed to Haydn with any certainty. The history of problems authenticating the many such pieces supposedly by Haydn is laid out in an informative booklet essay by scholar Richard Wigmore, the author of The Faber Pocket Guide to Haydn, published during the Haydn anniversary year in 2009. Publishers in the 18th and 19th century often took advantage of the fame of Haydn's name to give music a better chance at popularity, so often in fact that even contemporaries doubted the provenance of new Haydn pieces. The D major concerto (Hob. XVIII:11), destined for either harpsichord or fortepiano, is certainly the best known of the three, which Hamelin performs with the somewhat fancifully Romantic cadenzas of Wanda Landowska (some of the harmonies, especially in the one for the slow movement, sound like Poulenc at times). In the best virtuoso tradition, Hamelin plays his own cadenzas for the two earlier concertos, in F major (Hob. XVIII:3) and G major (Hob. XVIII:4), and given the scope of his own compositions, they are (not surprisingly) flashy, witty, and overall delightful. Labadie and his ensemble, just strings in the earlier concertos and with fine oboes and horns in the D major, provide an agile and sensitive backdrop.
The place is maintained and run since 2002 by the Comité National pour l'Éducation Artistique (CNEA), a non-profit association that also uses office space there. The space is loaned to the group by kind agreement of the Chambre des huissiers de justice de Paris, which owns the building. It is an alliance that is coming apart at the seams, since the owner has decided to find a buyer for the building, requiring renovation work estimated at 5 million euros -- according to the CNEA. The owner promptly issued an eviction order against the three tenants, near the end of their lease, but the CNEA refused to obey it. It will be for a court to decide, during a public hearing scheduled for June 19.The Balzac story is about the mystery of capturing a person perfectly in a portrait, told through the eyes of the young Nicolas Poussin, who visits the studio of another painter in the company of an elder master painter. Picasso became infatuated with the story after being asked to make illustrations for the story, so much so that he eventually moved into the studio where the narrative occurred, living there when he painted Guernica and staying there through World War II and into the 50s. It is the locale featured in the famous photograph of Picasso's studio by Brassaï (shown above). The street is named for the Augustinian monastery that once stood where the street is now, which plays into my summer project (more about that later). Some vestiges of the monks' refectory can still be seen at no. 3. The fact that Picasso chose the studio based on a short story set in that building, even though the story is set at a time when the building did not even exist, is wonderful: the levels of artistic fantasy and meaning are endless.
Alain Casabona, General Delegate of the CNEA, calls it an "unjust and brutal" decision: "It is distressing considering the image of the place, which is a true treasure to preserve, and we would hope that the owner is conscious of the work that we have accomplished here." The concern is great as to the future of the studio: "If we are thrown out, this space could become anything," he says angrily.
On April 27, 1983, a young composer over six feet tall leaned over nicely to a woman audience member of an advanced age who had come, he thought, to congratulate him after the premiere of his first major orchestral work. The lady asked him a question and, taken by a sudden rage, tried to strike him several times with her handbag. She found it unacceptable that tax dollars had been used -- the work that had just been performed, Tre Scalini, was a commission from Radio France -- to produce such cacophony. The tall man is named Pascal Dusapin and the scene unfolded in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in Paris.It happened to Stravinsky a second time, in 1945, when student composers, from the class of Olivier Messiaen, booed and blew bicycle whistles after his Four Norwegian Moods because it was too neoclassical in style. Messiaen himself had two confrontations, after he performed in the French premiere of the first book of Boulez's Structures pour deux pianos, in 1952, and again at the French premiere of his own Chronochromie in 1962. After Rite, the best-known incident is probably the violent scene after the premiere of Edgar Varèse's Déserts in 1954. One newspaper review concluded that "M. Varèse should be summarily shot: he is the Dominici of music." The reference is to the infamous murder of an English tourist that year, for which a French farmer was condemned to the guillotine.
Seventy years earlier, almost to the month, another composer, Igor Stravinsky, was nearly assaulted, in the same place, by an enraged crowd. Does the famous hall on the Avenue Montaigne, which is celebrating its centenary, contain a micro-climate capable of driving the public to acts of violence? One might believe it when rereading its history looking for scandals.
Charles T. Downey, At Strathmore, National Philharmonic’s Lutoslawski benefits from lacking Orff
Washington Post, June 11, 2013
Orff, Carmina Burana, G. Wand
The National Philharmonic marked the 100th anniversary of Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski’s birth by giving what was billed as the local premiere of one of his landmark works, “Trois poèmes d’Henri Michaux,” on Sunday at Strathmore.National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale
It is a puzzling work, requiring two conductors to coordinate masses of semi-improvised sound from, on one side of the stage, an instrumental wing of winds, brass, two pianos and percussion, and, on the other, a whispering, moaning, keening and shouting small chorus, combined in a technique the composer called “aleatory counterpoint.” This may sound like chaos, and it was at times, but the music is carefully constructed to follow the tragic contour of Michaux’s hallucinogenic poetry, a story of troubled thoughts, a surreal battle punctuated with neologisms and melancholy resignation. [Continue reading]
Lutosławski, Trois poèmes d'Henri Michaux
Orff, Carmina Burana
Music Center at Strathmore
Richard Taruskin, Orff's Musical And Moral Failings (New York Times, May 6, 2001)
Martin Kettle, Secret of the White Rose (The Guardian, January 1, 2009)
Charles T. Downey, The Washington National Opera’s ‘Approaching Ali’
Washington Post, June 10, 2013
D. Miller, The Tao of
Little is more exciting than the chance to hear a new opera. There before you is an unknown libretto, characters and plot unfolding, and unheard music flowing into your ears for the first time without anyone’s impressions or experience of the work to bias your own. So kudos to the Washington National Opera for putting its money where its mouth is by supporting the American Opera Initiative, which aims to foster composers and librettists in the composition of new operas. The program closed its first season with the presentation of “Approaching Ali,” a new opera by D.J. Sparr heard Saturday night in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.D. J. Sparr, Approaching Ali
The opera tells the story of a writer’s encounter with his boyhood hero, the boxer Muhammad Ali, drawn from the autobiographical story and novel “The Tao of Muhammad Ali” by Davis Miller, who co-wrote the libretto with experienced librettist Mark Campbell. The character of the adult Miller, sung with force and passion by baritone David Kravitz, knocks on the door of Ali’s mother’s house, hoping to get an autograph and show his idol a story he has written about him, and is invited in for dinner. [Continue reading]
Washington National Opera
American Opera Initiative
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Tim Smith, 'Approaching Ali' enters operatic ring, shows promise (Baltimore Sun, June 10)
Anne Midgette, ‘Approaching Ali,’ the second stage of WNO’s effort to foster new American opera (Washington Post, June 8)
Gary Tischler, 'Approaching Ali': Soloman Howard's Challenge (The Georgetowner, June 6)
Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio, online video, and other good things in Blogville and Beyond. (After clicking to an audio or video stream, press the "Play" button to start the broadcast.)
- Pianist Elisso Virsaladze, cellist Natalia Gutman, violinists Ingolf Turban and Maria Kagan, and violist Bodar Zhvania perform a concert of chamber music by Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Brahms (the F minor piano quintet), recorded last October in Tel Aviv. [France Musique]
- Marc Albrecht conducts a performance of Franz Schreker's Der Schatzgräber, recorded last September at De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, starring Raymond Very (Elis), Manuela Uhl (Els), Tijl Faveyts (Der König), Graham Clark (Der Narr), and Kay Stiefermann (Der Vogt). [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- Cellist Yo-Yo Ma plays Schumann's cello concerto with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, with Mariss Jansons also conducting Tchaikovsky's sixth symphony ("Pathétique"). [BR-Klassik]
- Listen to a recital by pianist Yuja Wang, recorded last month at the Wiener Konzerthaus, with music by Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel, plus a piece by Lowell Liebermann (Gargoyles, op. 29). [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- The latest in a fine series, Book V of Monteverdi's madrigals performed by members of Les Arts Florissants. [Cité de la Musique Live]
- From Schwetzingen Cathedral, Stéphane Deneve conducts the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra in Fauré's Requiem Mass, plus sacred music by Charles Koechlin, Lili Boulanger, and Fauré, and Poulenc's G minor concerto with organist Olivier Latry as soloist. [France Musique]
- A rare recording of Giovanni Simone Mayr's opera Ginevra di Scozia, recorded in 2001 in Trieste, with Tiziano Severini conducting Elisabeth Vidal (Ginevra), Daniela Barcellona (Ariodante), and Antonio Siragusa (Polinesso). [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- Michel Tabachnik conducts Synergy Vocals and the Brussels Philharmonic in performances of Luciano Berio's Sinfonia and Mahler's first symphony, recorded at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. [France Musique]
- Don't forget that the Van Cliburn Festival wraps up today, with the final round at 4 pm EDT and award ceremony at 8 pm EDT. Six pianists made it to the final round: Beatrice Rana, Nikita Mndoyants, Fei-Fei Dong, Tomoki Sakata, Sean Chen, and Vadym Kholodenko. [Van Cliburn Festival]
- From the Cité de la Musique, soprano Juliane Banse joins the Münchener Kammerorchester and conductor Alexander Liebreich, in performances of Berio's Rendering (1989), Britten's Les Illuminations, and Schubert's "Unfinished" symphony. [France Musique]
- The talented young Quatuor Hermès performs music by Ditters von Dittersdorf (first string quartet), Boucourechliev (Miroir II), and Beethoven ("Serioso" quartet, op. 95), recorded at Radio France last November. [France Musique]
- Anthony Hermus conducts Verdi's La Traviata at the Opéra de Rennes, with the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne in the pit, starring Myrtó Papatanasiu (Violetta), Leonardo Caimi (Alfredo), and Marzio Giossi (Germont). [France Musique]
- Tugan Sokhiev conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and the Brahms concerto for violin and cello, with violinist Volkhard Steude and cellist Péter Somodari. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- From the Festival Manifeste at the Salle Pleyel, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France performs music by Carmine Emanuele Cella, Philippe Schoeller, Witold Lutoslawski (the third symphony), and Henri Dutilleux (Métaboles, 1962-1964), with soprano Barbara Hannigan and conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste. [France Musique]
- Watch the Artemis String Quartet perform music by Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Piazzolla at the Auditorium du Louvre. [Medici.tv]
- A nice remembrance of Gustav Leonhardt on his 85th birthday, with music by Girolamo Frescobaldi, Antoine Forqueray, and J. S. Bach. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- Mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova and pianist Charles Spencer perform a recital of songs by Schumann, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky, at the Schwetzingen Festival. [France Musique]
- At the Klangraum Waidhofen, a recital by pianist Varvara Nepomnyashchaya, with Beethoven's op. 109 sonata and op. 77 fantasy, plus Schumann's Kreisleriana, recorded at the Rothschildschlosses Waidhofen. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- Watch Yutako Sado lead the Orchestre de Paris in music by Ibert, Lalo, and Verdi, with pianist Boris Berezovsky as soloist, at the Salle Pleyel. [Cité de la Musique Live]
- Myung-Whun Chung conducts the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, with violinist Nemanja Radulovic as soloist, in music by Ravel, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Bach, and others. [France Musique]
- Some archival recordings of the ORF-Radiosymphonieorchester Wien with soloists David and Igor Oistrakh, Friedrich Gulda, and Christian Poltéra, in music of Bach, Mozart, and Lutoslawski. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]
- String players from the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France perform music by Purcell, Johann Strauss, Vittorio Monti, Richard Ayling (Music from Outer Space, 1986), and Suzanne Giraud (Promenade du soir for solo viola, 1987). [France Musique]
- The Maîtrise de Radio France and pianist Denis Comtet perform sacred music by Buxtehude, Schein, and Bach, at the Basilique Sainte-Clotilde. [France Musique]
Flying Solo (Bartók, Paganini), A. Hadelich (2009)
We have reviewed Hadelich in solo recitals (2011, 2009) and playing chamber music with the Musicians from Marlboro, but since we missed his local debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, this was the first time we have heard him play a concerto, in his NSO debut. Hadelich's technique is nothing short of astounding, so there was little to complain about in the solo part of Dvořák's A minor violin concerto, with flawless octaves and other double stops, immaculately tuned, and daring finger-work. Hadelich's tone is intensely refined and clear but not overly large, and Hrůša, ever careful of balances, did well holding back the orchestra when he needed to do so. The first movement opened with Hadelich trading brilliant cadenza-like moments with the orchestra, with Hrůša following his soloist's impassioned stretching of the tempo here and there. A pastoral second movement, with Hadelich's sweet solo entwined gorgeously with horns and woodwinds, was followed by a tour de force finale, its joyous theme and furiant-like shifts of meter handled with urbane control by Hrůša. Appreciative ovations -- but not as overflowing as one might have expected from such a fine performance -- earned an encore of Paganini's 24th caprice. It is one of the most difficult pieces in the solo repertoire, and although I have never heard it played with greater technical perfection, Hadelich's performance left me overcome because of its musicality, that he phrased and caressed the piece so melodically, while making child's play of its virtuosic demands.
Anne Midgette, NSO revisits Prokofiev’s ‘Alexander Nevsky’ (Washington Post< June 7)
Katherine Boyle, Augustin Hadelich: The ‘golden age’ violinist to make his National Symphony Orchestra debut (Washington Post, June 5)
This concert will be repeated tonight (June 8, 8 pm) in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.
A.Corelli, 12 Violin Sonatas Op.5
The Avison Ensemble
Pavlo Beznosiuk (leader)
Linn 2 SACDs