Thursday, April 30, 2009

BSO — 2009/04/30-05/01-02: Season Finale

For the final concerts of the 2008-09 BSO season, the illustrious English conductor Sir Colin Davis brings the monumental Te Deum of Berlioz, a composer with whose music Sir Colin has long and profound experience. Tenor Matthew Polenzani, who has sung in recent BSO performances of Berlioz's Requiem and Roméo et Juliette, joins the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the PALS Children's Chorus for these performances. The elegant English pianist Imogen Cooper is soloist in Mozart's majestic Piano Concerto No. 25, written in Vienna in 1786.

The BSO website says that tonight's performance is sold out. Further info is available by following the links beginning on the page I've linked. I'm not sure how much of the popularity of tonight's performance is for the music, and how much has to do with Sir Colin, who has been pretty popular here. But a sellout is not a frequent occurrence.

This is a program not to be missed, IMO. As usual it will be streamed over WGBH (click Radio, then Listen WGBH 89.7) on Friday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight  (Summer) Time (with a pre-concert show at 1:00), and over WCRB (click Listen Live) at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. If you can listen to both, I especially recommend WGBH for the interviews that are part of the intermission and preview. But both give you the music.

I'm especially looking forward to the Berlioz piece. I don't think I've ever heard it, but his Requiem is spectacular and I'm hoping for something comparable musically. For me there is the added attraction that the text is a liturgical piece of thanksgiving to God. On Sundays outside Lent and Advent t is part of the Office of Readings (Matins). Great composers have composed settings in honor of victories or royal recoveries of health. M.-A. Charpentier and G. F. Handel come to mind as two who have contributed to the genre. Columbus is said to have ordered a Te Deum sung (probably on of the Gregorian chant settings) when his ships made land on his first voyage.

Check back for a review from the Boston Globe and maybe my own comments from the Thursday performance, which is part of my subscription — if I haven't already added them by the time you read this.

Friday, April 24, 2009

BSO — 2009/04/23-25


RAVEL Le Tombeau de Couperin

STRAVINSKY Pulcinella Suite

DEBUSSY Petite Suite

STRAVINSKY Symphony in C

Susanna Mälkki will conduct the concerts April 23, 24, and 25
About the Music

Debussy's early, short Petite Suite for piano four-hands was orchestrated colorfully by Henri Büsser in "Debussy style" in 1907. Ravel made his own orchestrations of his piano suite Le Tombeau de Couperin, an homage to the French Baroque composer Couperin. Stravinsky's Pulcinella ballet, written just a few years later, takes some of its music from Pergolesi and refashions it in purely Stravinskian good humor.
As usual, the Saturday evening concert will be streamed over WCRB (see link to right).
The Boston Globe liked Ms. Mällki's debut with the orchestra.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

God Save the [Reigning Sovereign]

When I said I wasn't planning to do any national anthems soon, I was forgetting that today (April 23, which it is where and when I'm writing) is St. George's Day. So here goes.

Here's what the English sing before international sports contests.

But since Betty Windsor's sovereignty extends beyond the boundaries of England, I've decided to add a couple of pieces which seem to refer to England itself. On the second one, you can fast forward to 4:30 to get to the familiar tune.

The words don't come through too clearly in the versions of "Land of Hope and Glory" and "Jerusalem" above, so here are others.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

BSO — 2009/04/16-18

The concert, which I will attend on Thursday consists of
Beethoven: Violin Concerto — with Isabelle Faust (replacing Julia Fischer) as soloist
Mahler: Symphony No. 4 — with Juliane Banse as soprano soloist in the finale
all under the baton of guest conductor Mark Wigglesworth (replacing the originally scheduled guest, Yuri Temirkanov).

I really like the Beethoven concerto, and I'm very much looking forward to it. Unfortunately, they will not give the usual matinee performance on Friday, so you will not have the chance to listen to it then. But there will be the normal Saturday evening performance, and I expect it to be streamed over WCRB at 8:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. And maybe WGBH will make it one of their Sunday afternoon broadcasts. Keep checking their website.

See the BSO website for more info.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14: Anniversary

Martin in Broda reminds us that April 14, which it still is here for another hour, is the 250th anniversary of the death of George Frideric Handel. Worth remembering. Here's another article.

Boston's Handel and Haydn Society gave the American premiere of Messiah and has performed it every year since the mid 19th century.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

BSO — 2009/04/09-14 Edited: Review Added

This week's Boston Symphony Orchestra program, to be streamed over WGBH at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Friday, and WCRB at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday will be:

Sibelius — "The Bard"
Grieg — Piano Concerto
Copland — Suite from "Appalachian Spring"
Bartók — Suite from "The Miraculous Mandarin"

conducted by BSO Assistant Conductor Shi-Yeon Sung, with Nelson Friere as soloist in the Grieg.

There was an article about the conductor in yesterday's Boston Herald. Last summer she conducted a BSO concert at Tanglewood. Here's a Boston Globe article about that and another concert the same weekend.

More information about the concert is available at the BSO website, including podcasts about the pieces, linked to the first page.

And here's the Globe's review.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jean-Frédéric Neuburger

Last Friday evening M. Neuburger gave a concert at the Harvard Musical Association. He's about 22 years old and has been winning prizes as a pianist and organist for the past ten years. He gave a piano program of five pieces — Bach, Franck, Ravel, and 2 by Chopin. It was over an hour of music, and he did it all from memory. More importantly, he did it well. The audience applauded enthusiastically, and he gave an encore, by Debussy, also from memory.

So here's another name to look for in a concert hall near you.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mistake? — Poll

I must admit, I've been a little surprised that none of the (few) people who view this blog had any comment on my post of Danny Boy. Maybe it's just my sense of humo(u)r, but I thought it was hilarious.

Well, it has occurred to me that I may have made a mistake by posting Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau so soon after Danny Boy. This had the effect of hiding it from everybody who uses sidebars to see what's new on blogs. So I'm wondering if posting in the other order would have made a difference. Did you ignore Hen Wlad, but would have gone for Danny Boy if you knew it was there?

See the poll to the right. It's asking whether you read either of those posts before you saw this one. And if not, would you have if the order had been different and you knew Danny Boy was there?

Added April 13: The poll got 6 responses. Three said they had seen at least one of the posts, which tells me that the order didn't matter, because even if they had just seen "Hen Wlad," "Danny Boy" was already there, so they could have seen it just be scrolling down. The other three said that they hadn't read either but they wouldn't have looked at "Danny Boy" even if it had shown as the more recent post. So six of six either read it or were not prevented by the order of the posts. That means that if it was a mistake, it made no difference, and I'm sort of pleased to know it.

Thanks to everybody who participated.

I've removed the poll. It's served its purpose.