Friday, July 25, 2014

Tanglewood — 2014/07/25-27

This weekend we get some mainstream composers from the late 18th to the early 20th century in roughly chronological order.

Friday July 25  We kick off the proceedings with Manfred Honeck leading the orchestra in music of Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. As the BSO performance detail page describes it:
Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck, who last led the BSO this spring at Symphony Hall, makes his Tanglewood debut with two BSO performances Friday, July 25, and Saturday, July 26. The July 25 concert, at 8:30 p.m., features English piano soloist Paul Lewis, who elicited raves for his Symphony Hall performances with the orchestra in October 2013, in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 in A, K. 414. Maestro Honeck also leads the orchestra in Beethoven's rarely performed overture to his ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, as well as Mendelssohn's dashing, breathless Symphony No. 4, Italian, which the composer called "the jolliest thing I have ever done."
(Some emphasis added.)

This should be very enjoyable. Although they don't mention it, Maestro Honeck is Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Check out the links on the detail page for further info (including performer bios by clicking on the thumbnail photos).

Saturday July 26  Maestro Honeck returns on Saturday evening to lead a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection." See the performance detail page for links to program notes, audio preview, and performer bios. They offer this synopsis:
Manfred Honeck leads the BSO, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, soprano Camilla Tilling, and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in Mahler's sprawling and transcendent Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, both one of the great works and the great spectacles of the symphonic repertoire. At approximately 85 minutes in length and calling for an oversized orchestra in addition to the numerous vocal forces, this massive work shakes the rafters and stirs the soul in equal proportions, demonstrating Mahler's ultra-Romantic musical language as well as the intense spirituality ever-present at the core of his work.
Again, worth hearing, in my opinion.

Sunday July 27  The matinee includes music of Rachmaninoff and Verdi and features the debut of conductor Jacques Lacombe. As always, there are links to background info on the performance detail page, which also give this description of the program:
Canadian conductor Jacques Lacombe makes his BSO and Tanglewood debuts on Sunday, July 27, at 2:30 p.m., leading a varied program of Rachmaninoff and Verdi. On the first half of the program, Venezuelan-American pianist Gabriela Montero plays Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, full of passionate emotion and hummable melodies that stick with the listener long after the performance has ended. The operatic second half of the program-featuring soprano Marjorie Owens, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop, tenor Issachah Savage, baritone Stephen Powell, and basses Morris Robinson and Julien Robbins-is devoted to the music of Verdi, including the Overture and Va, pensiero (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from Nabucco and the Finale of Act II from Aida.
(Some emphasis added.)

Another very enjoyable concert, I think. The Verdi excerpts are all first rate.

WCRB will broadcast and stream all three concerts. Those on Friday and Saturday are scheduled for 8:30 p.m., Boston (and Lenox) Time, and Sunday's is at 2:30 p.m. Each will be preceded by a half-hour warm-up. These usually include recordings of other works by the composers on the concert or performances by the soloists or the conductor. The station's BSO page also gives overviews of the concerts, along with the schedule for the remainder of the Tanglewood broadcasts and links relating both to this weekend and to other BSO matters.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tanglewood — 2014/07/18(belated)-20

I'm sorry to be late with this. The Friday concert has already been completed, of course; but since it will be available for listening on demand, it might be still worthwhile for me to include the information about it.

Friday, July 18  From the BSO's performance detail page, we get the usual program notes, audio previews of some of the works, and performer bios, as well as the following blurb:
Edward Gardner joins the BSO at Tanglewood in his BSO debut for Strauss's musical joke about the German peasant, folk hero and trickster, Till Eulenspiegel. Baritone Thomas Hampson, dubbed "the ambassador of American song," performs Aaron Copland's deceptively plain Old American Songs. Beethoven's Symphony 7 rounds out a program that is in turns, dark, joyful, nostalgic and hopeful.
(Emphasis added)

They also note:
Conductor Christoph von Dohnányi has been forced to cancel his upcoming concerts at Tanglewood because of serious illness in his family. The concert on Friday, July 18 will now be led by British conductor Edward Gardner  in his BSO debut. The concerts on Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 will be conducted by Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck in his Tanglewood debut. Programs and soloists remain unchanged.

Saturday, July 19  The concert, which begins at 8:30 p.m., Boston Time, includes the Brahms Symphony No. 3; Rolf Martinsson's "Bridge," Trumpet Concerto No. 1, with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist; and Capriccio Italien by Tchaikovsky: all under the baton of Andris Nelsons. Instead of describing the concert, the performance detail page gives information about procedures for area residents to obtain tickets for this Berkshire Night concert. It also gives the usual links to background material.

Sunday, July 20  Andris Nelsons returns to the podium for Rapture, by Christopher RouseLalo's Symphonie espagnole for violin and orchestra — with Joshua Bell as soloist — and the ever popular Fifth Symphony of Beethoven to close the program and evoke a standing ovation. Go to the performance detail page for the usual links.

The Sunday Concert begins at 2:30. Both it and the 8:30 Saturday concert will be broadcast and streamed approximately live (a few seconds delay) by WCRB, whose own BSO page includes a link to an interesting-sounding interview with Maestro Nelsons as well as brief descriptions of all three concerts for this weekend, the schedule for this summer's remaining Tanglewood broadcasts, and other links and information. They have a sort of preview show beginning ½ hour before the scheduled concert time. (The BSO, in my experience, never actually starts on time. They always begin at least 5 minutes late, which provides a little grace period for audience members who might have been on time but for some slight delay.)

I'm not familiar with the Martinsson, Rouse, or Lalo pieces, but I'm curious to hear them. I don't care much for Brahms, but I'm sure the Tchaikovsky and the Beethoven will be good. Enjoy.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tanglewood — 2014/07/11-13

Friday, July 11  Music Director Designate Andris Nelsons leads an all-Dvořák concert — "The Noonday Witch," his Violin Concerto, with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist, and Symphony No. 8. Go to the orchestra's performance detail page for links to program notes, audio previews, and performer bios (click on the thumbnail photos). They summarize the program as follows:
Czech composer Antonin Dvořák was a long-serving orchestral string player, so it is curious that his beautiful, singing violin concerto should be the least well-known of all the instrument's great masterpieces. Flowing, lyrical and fiery, the concerto reminds the German virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter of passages in Mozart's The Magic Flutesung by the Queen of the Night due to its technically daunting passages for the violin's highest register. Andris Nelsons, the BSO's music director designate, offers a torrent of melodies in Dvořák's 8th symphony, in turns thrilling, adventurous and achingly lyrical.
The concert begins at 8:30 and can be heard over WCRB via radio or webstream., with a "pre-game show" at 8:00. Go to the station's BSO page for brief descriptions of this weekend's broadcasts and the remainder of the Tanglewood broadcast season, as well as links to interviews, podcasts, etc.

Saturday, July 12  Maestro Nelsons conducts music of Richard Strauss — the final scene from "Der Rosenkavalier," with Sophie Bevan, soprano (Sophie), Angela Denoke, soprano (Marschallin), Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano (Octavian), and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra,  RachmaninoffSymphonic Dances, and Ravel — Boléro, the latter two with the BSO back on stage. The program detail page, with usual links, describes it, somewhat irreverently, thus:
Strauss's Rosenkavalier ("The Knight of the Rose") portrays the bitter-sweet love triangle between the worldly-wise, aristocratic Marshallin, her young toy-boy lover, and a young rose, Sophie, in a rollicking comic opera that is, well, Wunderbar! The BSO's Andris Nelsons presents Rachmaninov's lush Symphonic Dances, the composer's final composition, written in New York exile but full of nostalgia for the old Russia. Ravel's  Bolero--pounding, relentless, irresistible-rounds out  a spectacular gala program.
Once more the concert begins at 8:30, with the station's preliminaries at 8:00.

Sunday, July 13  The Boston Pops take the stage under the baton of Keith Lockhart, with Jason Alexander as guest artist. Here's the description from the performance detail page:
Singer, dancer, and master of comedic timing, Jason Alexander is best known for his appearances on television (as George Costanza in Seinfeld) and in film. A Broadway veteran and Tony-Award winner, with the Boston Pops he will perform selections from The Music Man, Pippin, andMerrily We Roll Along, plus a few surprises.
The show begins at 2:30, with WCRB beginning coverage 1/2 hour earlier.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tanglewood — 2014/07/05-06

It's the Boston Symphony's season opener at Tanglewood, with programs Saturday evening at 8:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2:30.

The BSO program detail page describes the opening night program as follows:
Celebrated soprano Renée Fleming opens the 2014 BSO season at Tanglewood in an all-American program. With the Boston Symphony, she will present great works of the American concert hall and opera stage, plus favorites from musical theatre and popular genres. 
(Emphasis added)

The program detail page has links to performer bios (click on the pictures) and program notes Composers are Schwantner, Copland, Barber, Adams, Gershwin, and Rodgers, conductors William Eddins and Rob Fisher.

The page for Sunday afternoon has this to say:
Jerusalem-born conductor Asher Fisch leads a Romantic program fitting for a mid-summer Berkshires' evening. "I've just finished a tiny, tiny piano concerto," Brahms wrote to a friend, referring with great understatement to his piano concerto number 2, a piece as expansive and passionate as a symphony and as intimate at times as a string quartet, and performed alongside the BSO by the magisterial American pianist, Garrick Ohlsson. The preface to the score of Liszt's Romantic symphonic poem Les Preludes reads, in part, "Love is the enchanted dawn of existence," a sentiment echoed in the closing excerpts from Wagner's sunniest opera, Die Meistersinger, a tale of love fulfilled.
(Some emphasis added, and editorial corrections made)

Go there for the usual links, including an audio preview of the Brahms.

As usual, it's all available approximately live on radio and over the web via WCRB. Their BSO page has the whole Tanglewood season broadcast/webstream schedule, as well as links to an interview with Miss Fleming and lots of other things (including recent Pops concerts).

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tanglewood Preview — 2014/06/28

This week there are no live BSO or Pops concerts. Instead of rebroadcasting an earlier concert on WCRB, as they put it on their BSO broadcast page:
WCRB previews Tanglewood 2014, which features four BSO concerts led by Music Director Designate Andris Nelsons, Mahler's ResurrectionSymphony conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, and an All-Tchaikovsky concert featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
It should be interesting, and whet your appetite for what will be coming during the summer. On that page, there are various links, and you can also see the broadcast/webstream schedule for the summer.

Also note that on Monday, June 30, there will be another broadcast/stream of the recent John Williams Film Night at the Pops, and on Friday, July 4, they'll present the concert by the Pops Esplanade Orchestra. Tanglewood starts the following evening.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Boston Pops/Classical New England — 2014/06/21

WCRB will be broadcasting and streaming the "Film Night at the Pops" program which John Williams led on four evenings earlier this month. The station's BSO page has a brief description and links to other things having to do with the Boston Symphony, including the concerts available on demand. The orchestra's performance detail page offers the following description:
June 6-11 at Symphony Hall in Boston, Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams returns for this signature event of the season. Hear cherished and familiar themes from such favorite movie scores as Star Wars,Jaws, and Harry Potter. Mr. Williams will salute some of his illustrious predecessors, whose work influenced him, and in turn he will also lead selections by some of today's notable film composers, many of whom have undoubtedly been influenced by him. With the incomparable Boston Pops Orchestra led by the maestro of movie music, this is a concert not to be missed!
There will be a repeat broadcast/webstream on Monday, June 30 at 8:00 p.m., and it will then be made available on demand. John Williams will also conduct the Pops in a Film Night program at Tanglewood on August 2. It may be slightly different from the one he did in Symphony Hall.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Boston Pops/Classical New England — 2014/06/14

On Saturday, June 14, and again on Monday, June 23, at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time, you can listen to "Gospel Night at the Pops." In addition to a brief blurb about the show, WCRB's BSO page has links to other items of potential interest to Pops and Symphony lovers. Unlike the previous couple of weeks, this Saturday's broadcast/webstream will be live, as noted on the BSO's performance detail page. (Next week it's back to pre-recorded concerts for the John Williams show.)
The annual Boston Pops Gospel Night, an audience favorite for more than 21 years, brings the 2014 season to a rousing close, as guest conductor Charles Floyd returns to lead the orchestra and the Boston Pops Gospel Choir in a program of music designed to inspire, delight, and thrill an audience. The virtuosic vocal ensemble Take 6, celebrating their 25th anniversary, joins the orchestra to show why Quincy Jones calls them "the baddest vocal cats on the planet." It's sure to be an unforgettable evening!
So you can tune your radio or your computer to WCRB for the Pops' Gospel Night. Enjoy.