Friday, May 18, 2012

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau R.I.P.

I just learned from Morgenländer's blog that Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has died. He was certainly one of the great baritones of the past 60 years. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

BSO — 2012/05/3-5 "Last Night at Symphony" Info and Reviews

This week's concerts are the last of the 2011-2912 BSO subscription season. They will be on hiatus until the Tanglewood season begins for them on July 6. Then they will play three different concerts almost weekend — Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon — through August 26. I expect Classical New England to carry them all live. Information about the schedule is posted at if you click on Tanglewood at the top of the page.

But back to the present. This week it's two works with chorus: Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven. As the BSO website says:
The 2011-12 BSO season closes triumphantly with the last of three Bernard Haitink-led concerts, a program of two very different works for voices and orchestra. Stravinsky's beautifully austere Symphony of Psalms was commissioned to commemorate the Boston Symphony's 50th anniversary and was given its American premiere by the BSO under Serge Koussevitzky in December 1930. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, one of the most beloved, familiar, and compelling works in the repertoire, still startles with its radical departures from the symphonic tradition that Beethoven inherited and developed. American soprano Jessica Rivera and American mezzo Meredith Arwady are making return engagements with the BSO. Italian-German tenor Roberto Saccà and German bass Günther Groissböck make their BSO debuts.

I enjoyed the Thursday evening performance. I thought Maestro Haitink enabled all the instrumental lines to be heard except in the loudest passages when it's inevitable that some get drowned out: this performance was so well balanced that most of the time every voice, instrumental and vocal, could be heard. The bass soloist in the Beethovenwas particularly good, I thought.  The Globe's reviewer was not so happy with it. He thought the pairing of works made no sense, and he found fault with various elements of the performance. Despite what he thinks, I recommend listening this evening, tomorrow or on demand. I hope the clarity of Thursday evening's performance comes through on the radio or via the webstream.

BTW, now the concerts will be available for streaming for a year, rather than just two weeks, and they'll be on the BSO website as well as Classical New England, but I'm not sure how to access them from the BSO site.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spring Orgy® Period 2012

WHRB has begun their Orgy Period today with the Psychedelic Unknowns and are now into the Blue Note 1500 Series Orgy, which will continue through Friday interspersed with the Psychedelic Unknowns tonight and the Smiths and Morrissey overnight Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Classical music orgies will begin on Saturday evening at 5:00 with the Max Bruch Orgy. Then on Sunday from 3:00 p.m. until midnight they will present the Warhorse Orgy. Further Orgies will include
  • Siegmund Romberg — begins Monday, May 7, at 7:00 p.m.
  • Sergei Prokofiev — begins Tuesday, May 8, at 5:00 a.m. and runs, with overnight intermissions, through Friday, May 11
  • Musikpolitik — Sunday, May 13, 1:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Igor Markevitch Centenary — begins Monday, May 14, at 1:00 p.m.
  • Albert Roussel and Florent Schmitt — begins Tuesday, May 15, at 10:00 a.m., resumes May 16 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Wilhelm Stenhammar — begins Thursday,  May 17, at noon
  • Ton Koopman — begins Friday, May 18, at noon
In general, orgies end at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m., and in the case of the ProkofievOrgy, it resumes at 5:00 on the successive days. Further information about performers and works to be performed and approximate timings is available in the Program Guide at the WHRB website. The same site also gives you a Listen Online button so you can listen to the orgies via webstream.

For any readers who have not read about earlier Orgy® Periods, WHRB is a largely student-run station at Harvard University, and the orgy periods began as a way for disc jockeys who were also students to avoid spending a lot of time deciding on programming during university exam periods. They would just play everything they had by a particular composer or performer, and then move on to another.