Sunday, May 17, 2009

Simon Boccanegra — Webstream


Verdi — Simon Boccanegra
Boston Symphony Orchestra / January 29, 2009 8:00 PM / Symphony Hall / Boston, Massachusetts

Featured Artists 
James Levine conductor / Barbara Frittoli soprano (Amelia Grimaldi) / Marcello Giordani tenor (Gabriele Adorno) / José van Dam bass-baritone (Simon Boccanegra) / James Morris bass (Jacopo Fiesco) / Nicola Alaimo baritone (Paolo Albiani) /
Raymond Aceto bass (Pietro) / Garrett Sorenson tenor (A Captain)

The BSO did concert performances of this Verdi opera last January, and WGBH was planning to rebroadcast it on February 8. For some reason, they didn't. But now it's scheduled for today, Sunday, May 17, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (just over 4 hours from when I'm posting this). I think the music is worth hearing. I attended one of the performances and thought it was well done. for the stream.

Friday, May 15, 2009


The pastor of my parish likes to have parish trips to hear the Boston Pops. This year's trip was on Tuesday, May 12. I went along. We had a block of seats in the center section of the first balcony, and we sold all the seats we had requested.

It was a pretty good concert, starting with movie music, then a cellist, Maria Beiser, and after intermission jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli with his quartet. The cellist did three pieces which had been composed or arranged for her. All three were fairly slow, and it got to be tedious after a while, although she played them well. The jazz group performed arrangements af a half dozen or so Gershwin tunes. It was much more lively and enjoyable ( a surprising conclusion for someone who prefers classical, which the cellist gave us, to jazz).

I was amazed at how sparse the attendance was. The sides of both balconies were practically empty, and the center section where we were sitting was only about half full. I've never seen so many empty seats in the balconies at a Symphony concert. And the pastor says it was the worst attendance he has seen in all the years he's been taking groups to the Pops. It seems that they have to do something to make the programs more attractive. IMO they rely too heavily on movies, and too little on light classical and popular music.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Orgy Period

There was so much other stuff happening the past couple of days that I forgot to alert you that another Orgy® Period has begun. The full schedule is available.

We've already missed the Asian Composers orgy, but the Blaxploitation Soundtrack Orgy begins at midnight, just over 8 hours from posting. There's an Anton Bruckner Orgy Sunday and Monday. But perhaps the major item is the Franz Joseph Haydn Orgy beginning at 7:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) on May 5 and ending around midnight on Friday, May 15 (with overnight and weekend interruptions). This is to observe the 200th anniversary of his death.

The Dylan Alphabetical Orgy will begin at 7:00p.m. on Sunday, May 17, and continue, with some interruptions, until 10:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22.

To observe the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth there will be an orgy titled "Mystic Chords of Memory: Abraham Lincoln in Words and Music" from 12:30 p.m. until midnight on May 24.

For everything else, including jazz and rock, see the schedule.

Friday, May 1, 2009

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

I liked it, but the Boston Globe's reviewer had faint praise. Interestingly, the review that I've linked contains a three minute audio clip from the piano concerto.

Even though the performance was sold out, there were several empty seats. Maybe people were afraid of the swine flu. There was a pretty good number of late teenagers in the audience. I don't know if management "papered the house" but it is always good to have young people there.

As the Globe reviewer says, the Te Deum doesn't quite match the Requiem, but it's still good Berlioz. I gave them a standing O, which I don't do for everything. And it is remarkable that the chorus always memorize their music and sing without scores — this time in a piece which lasted over 45 minutes. There were a couple of faulty intonations in the horns (and you've got to expect that anywhere), but everything else seemed very well performed.

The piano concerto is lovely music, and it went off without a hitch.

I still strongly recommend listening if you have a chance.