Friday, July 31, 2009

Tanglewood July 31 – August 2, 2009

July 31 - August 2 Tanglewood Shed Performances

 Celebrating his 75th birthday, the esteemed Spanish conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos returns to Tanglewood. On July 31, he leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Debussy’s La Mer and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2, on a program with the Beethoven Violin Concerto performed by the brilliant Russian violinist Vadim Repin. 

Sir James Galway celebrates his 70th birthday August 1 with a special concert featuring a world premiere commissioned for the occasion by Derek Bermel and music by Debussy, Copland, and Mozart led by Leonard Slatkin, featuring the BSO and special surprise guests. The world premiere commission will feature flute players aged 8 to 13, who were selected through an application process to participate in Sir James Galway’s birthday celebration concert. 

Former BSO assistant conductor Thomas Dausgaard returns August 2 for the first time since 1995 to conduct The Serge and Olga Koussevitsky Memorial Concert, featuring Rachmaninoff’s sweeping Symphony No. 2 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with the dynamic Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. 

The usual webstreams are available from WAMC for all concerts and from WGBH for Sunday's.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"The Little Black Boy"

One of the "Five Songs from William Blake" which Thomas Hampson performed Sunday afternoon was "The Little Black Boy," about how the black boy in Africa learns about God from his mother and hopes to help the English boy learn to be close to God as well.

Here is the text.

The Little Black Boy

William Blake

My mother bore me in the southern wild,

And I am black, but oh my soul is white!

White as an angel is the English child,

But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree, 

And, sitting down before the heat of day, 

She took me on her lap and kissed me, 

And, pointed to the east, began to say:

"Look on the rising sun: there God does live, 

And gives His light, and gives His heat away, 

And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive 

Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

"And we are put on earth a little space, 

That we may learn to bear the beams of love 

And these black bodies and this sunburnt face 

Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

"For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear, 

The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice, 

Saying, 'Come out from the grove, my love and care 

And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice',"

Thus did my mother say, and kissed me; 

And thus I say to little English boy. 

When I from black and he from white cloud free, 

And round the tent of God like lambs we joy

I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear 

To lean in joy upon our Father's knee; 

And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair, 

And be like him, and he will then love me.

 I found the final words, "And he will then love me" very poignant. They spoke of the black boy's longing to be loved and of the English boy's inability to love until the black boy has enabled him to be close to God, and of the love coming about when the black boy has done that. They spoke to me of both personal and racial reconciliation, and they moved me to tears.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tanglewood July 24-26, 2009

Here's an excerpt from the BSO website.  As usual, the concerts will be streamed on WAMC, and WGBH will stream the Sunday concert with a "pre-game" show at 2:00 (all times Eastern).

"July 24, 25, and 26 Tanglewood Shed Performances

 The weekend begins as James Levine conducts Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture and Harold in Italy, with BSO principal violist Steven Ansell, on a program with the Prelude to Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina and the dramatic Pictures at an Exhibition (July 24). Mr. Levine and the orchestra reprise last fall’s moving performance of Brahms’s A German Requiem, here featuring the distinguished German baritone Matthias Goerne, along with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (July 25). 

Conductor David Robertson and the BSO are joined by baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Orli Shaham for an all-American program—Harris’s Symphony No. 3, Thomson’s Five Songs from William Blake, Barber’s Songs with Orchestra, and Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety (July 26).


Berlioz and Mussorgsky


July 24, 2009 8:30 PM 

BSO principal violist Steven Ansell joins James Levine and the BSO for a performance of Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, which reflects the composer’s “poetic memories” of his “wanderings in the Abruzzi,” on Friday, July 24, at 8:30 p.m. in the Shed. This lively concert of programmatic orchestral showpieces also includes Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture and two works by Mussorgsky, the Prelude to the opera Khovanshchina and the dramatic Pictures at an Exhibition, which depicts an imaginary tour of an art exhibit. Originally composed as a virtuoso piano piece, it is played by orchestras in a brilliantly colorful arrangement by Ravel. 

Brahms - A German Requiem


July 25, 2009 8:30 PM 

A memorable highlight of the BSO’s fall season with James Levine was the series of performances of Brahms’ A German Requiem. The Tanglewood performance on  Saturday, July 25, at 8:30 p.m. in the Shed, will feature the distinguished German baritone Matthias Goerne, and soprano soloist Hei-Kyung Hong, along with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver, conductor.  Considered Brahms’s largest and one of his most personal works, A German Requiem originated with music written following the attempted suicide of dear friend Robert Schumann as well as music composed at the time of his mother’s death.


Harris, Thomson, Barber and Bernstein - An All American Program


July 26, 2009 2:30 PM 

Esteemed baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Orli Shaham join conductor David Robertson and the BSO for an all-American program, on Sunday, July 26, at 2:30 p.m. in the Shed.  Mr. Hampson is featured in Thomson’s Five Songs from William Blake and Barber’s Songs with Orchestra. One of the world’s leading baritones, he is in the midst of an in-depth examination of American vocal music, a commitment reflected by his multi-year “Song of America” tour sponsored by the Library of Congress. As part of this tour, Mr. Hampson performed a recital at Tanglewood on July 22 with pianist Craig Rutenberg, which included songs of Ives, Griffes, Carpenter, and Barber. Mr. Robertson, music director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, brings his renowned expertise in the music of our time to the program, which also includes two 20th-century American orchestral classics, Harris’s Symphony No. 3 and Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety, the latter featuring Robertson’s wife, acclaimed pianist Orli Shaham."

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 21 — Belgian National Holiday — La Brabançonne

Happy Belgium Day!
(some fascinating pictures)
(good singer)

and seeçonne

I'll have to get a bottle of Chimay or Affligem beer to accompany my lunch.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Welcome — July 18, 2009: Pilgrim and Seth

Welcome to the two new followers of this little blog, Pilgrim, who joined yesterday, and Seth, who joined today.

Pilgrim is a young student who lives in Paris. As I recall, he introduced himself as being from Wallonia (look it up if you're not sure) and he has told of Lebanese and German ancestry as well. He gives interesting glimpses into a life which may be typical in some ways but also seems very special. He has been blogging since April.

Seth is a little bit older and lives in New Jersey, and manages to give a sometimes amusing spin to his workplace challenges and the problems of living with a very difficult mother — all the while coping with his own OCD and depression. I admire his ability to carry on in the face of everything. He has been blogging since October 2007.

Why not check out their blogs, if you haven't already?

Pilgrim and Seth, I hope you find something interesting here. Hopefully you can enjoy some of the concerts I alert readers to or the occasional music video, or both. Anyway, thanks for following.

P.S. I'm not sure I properly mentioned my other followers when they signed up. I didn't always have that practice. But I'm pleased that all of you show that interest.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tanglewood July 17-19, 2009

Here's what the BSO's Tanglewood page for this weekend has to say about this weekend's programs. As usual, the concerts will be streamed on WAMC, and WGBH will stream the Sunday concert with a "pre-game" show at 2:00 (all times Eastern).

Mozart and Mahler


July 17, 2009 8:30 PM  

One of the highlights of James Levine’s fall season with the BSO was the powerful Symphony Hall performance series of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6. This week, the orchestra performs the symphony for the first time at Tanglewood since Levine conducted the work here in 1972, and it marks a continuation of the maestro’s multi-year survey of Mahler’s major works with the orchestra. The program also includes Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, with the esteemed American pianist/conductor/teacher Leon Fleisher, the Tanglewood Music Center’s artistic director from 1986-1997.


Film Night at Tanglewood


July 18, 2009 8:30 PM  

One of the most popular evenings of each summer’s festival is the lively Film Night at Tanglewood. Boston Pops’ Laureate Conductor John Williams lends his unparalleled expertise to an evening celebrating the colorful legacy of Hollywood’s Warner Brothers dynasty. The evening features excerpts from classic film scores accompanying thematic montages and film clips from some of the studio’s legendary movies including Casablanca and The Seahawk, as well as selections from Williams’ own scores for Superman and Harry Potter. The evening will also include tributes to Errol Flynn, James Dean, and Bette Davis, three of Hollywood’s greatest stars. The evening’s first half will feature selections from popular Williams scores, including Suites from E.T. The Extra-Terestrial and Far and Away.


All-Mozart Program


July 19, 2009 2:30 PM  

James Levine leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in an all-Mozart program, conducting the composer’s final three symphonies, Nos. 39, 40, and 41, Jupiter. Mozart was just a few months past his 32nd birthday and in dire financial need when he began these last three symphonic works, and they were composed in a whirlwind of creative fervor, completed just weeks apart. Yet each is distinctly unique, with striking differences of mood, and they stand at the pinnacle of Mozart’s orchestral mastery, representing a standard by which other symphonies are appraised.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Good News about BSO Concert Streams

I've discovered that WAMC, Northeast Public Radio, streams the Tanglewood concerts of the BSO. They are using the WCRB feed this evening, July 10, and I presume that will be their normal practice. Just go to the link and then to "Listen Live" at the right.

I believe that the Sunday afternoon concerts will also be streamed by WGBH.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tanglewood Season

Tanglewood season starts this weekend.

And we've got trouble. It looks as if WCRB isn't streaming its broadcasts right now.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Boston's Classical Station, 99.5 WCRB.... and for your support of our streaming audio online. We have temporarily discontinued our streaming program. However, we are working hard to bring this service back to you as soon as possible! If you are in the Boston area, please tune in to 99.5 FM to continue listening. If you would like to be notified when we resume streaming our audio over the internet, please send an email and we will let you know when we're back online with our classical music.

So those of you who are beyond the reach of WCRB's broadcast signal can only hear the Sunday afternoon concerts at 2:00 over WGBH's stream.

This Sunday they're giving Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" and Brahms's Violin Concerto, with James Levine on the podium and with Christian Tetzlaff as violin soloist. Concert begins at 2:30 (or a bit later) with WGBH beginning their broadcast at 2:00. :) 

All times Eastern Daylight.