Saturday, December 29, 2012

BSO — 2012/12/29-30; New Year's Day from Vienna

Classical New England is playing repeats this evening and tomorrow at the regular Boston Symphony times.

Saturday, Dec. 29
Celebrate Tanglewood!
Take off the parka and put away the snow shovel!  Join us for an encore broadcast of the Gala Celebration of the 75th anniversary of Tanglewood, with conductors Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Stefan Asbury, David Zinman, and Andris Nelsons, as well as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, and pianists Emanuel Ax and Peter Serkin.

Sunday, Dec. 30
In an encore broadcast, soprano Layla Claire is joined by mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and narrator Claire Bloom for Mendelssohn's incidental music for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Bernard Haitink conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 1.

Here's what I posted at the time of the Beethoven and Mendelssohn concert. I can't find anything about the one from Tanglewood.

On New Year's Day, at 11 a.m Boston Time (5 p.m. Vienna Time, I think), they will broadcast and stream the traditional New Year's Day Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

BSO — 2012/12/22-23

Saturday December 22 at 7:00 p.m. Classical New England is broadcasting and streaming the Boston Pops live in their Holiday Pops concert. There will be a repeat on Sunday, December 23, at 1:00 p.m.

See earlier posts for info about other Christmas-related programming on CNE.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Recent Concerts

Andreas Scholl.  On Friday evening, Andreas Scholl gave a recital at the Harvard Musical Association, with his wife accompanying him on the piano. The program was the same as one he gave in New York on December 8 at Alice Tully Hall. One of the pieces he performed was Schubert's "Death and the Maiden." Here is a recording he made a few months ago. (Spoiler — I recommend listening before reading further.) What makes this especially interesting is that he uses his baritone voice for the second stanza, Death's reply to the maiden. It was very effective, not only because the different range is appropriate, but also because hearing his lower voice was so unexpected.

Here's a review of the New York performance. Here's another (with the reviewer unaware that Mr. Scholl was to give a private recital in Boston six days later). I'm not sure of the capacity of Alice Tully Hall, but the Marsh Room at the HMA holds about 100 people, so I'm sure ours was more intimate. And afterwards, we were able to gather downstairs for chocolates, macaroons, and sparkling rosé wine and chat with the artists (I myself didn't, because I couldn't think of anything to say, but other people did).

I liked the recital, but I think the Times reviewer may be right that Scholl's voice is more suited to baroque, or maybe it's just that I like countertenors better opera, because, good as he was, I couldn't get fully engaged. Here are some recordings of him in opera

and in solo recital (including some pieces he sang for us)

You can decide what you like, if anything. (BTW, you can get the idea on most of these without listening all the way through.)

Bach Christmas Oratorio.  Sunday afternoon I went to the Handel and Haydn Society's presentation of Parts 1, 2, and 6 of the Christmas Oratorio. Their earlier performance got a mixed review in the Boston Globe. I hadn't read the review before I went on Sunday, and I didn't find anything really wrong with the performance — maybe a couple of points where it wasn't quite as vigorous as I would have liked, but overall I was quite satisfied.

Here's a link to the whole oratorio, performed by vocal soloists, the Monteverdi Choir, and English Baroque Soloists conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner in Weimar in 1999. I don't recommend listening to the whole thing all at once. You can do something similar to how it was originally heard if you listen to the first part on Christmas Day, second on December 26, third on the 27th, fourth on New Year's Day, fifth on January 2, and sixth on January 6. Or you can approximate my experience by listening to the first and second parts, taking a twenty minute intermission, and then listening to part 6. You can find other performances on videos: the whole oratorio, individual cantatas, and specific numbers. My favorite is this one from the first part, here sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. (BTW, the Gardiner version, with Dietrich Henschel takes 4:20, while Kurt Thomas and Fischer-Dieskau take 5:10. I somewhat prefer Henschel/Gardiner, largely because I don't care for Fischer-Dieskau's near staccato on multi-note syllables.)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

BSO — 2012/12/15-16

This week's Boston Symphony rebroadcasts on Classical New England are as follows:
[quote]Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16
Celebrate Beethoven!Beethoven name on proscenium at Symphony Hall
For the anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, CNE brings you two BSO encore performances of music by the composer whose name sits above the stage at Symphony Hall.

Michelle DeYoungOn Saturdy at 7pm, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung is joined by soprano Christine Brewer, tenor Simon O'Neill, and bass Eric Owens for Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and conductor John Oliver.

Christoph von Dohnanyi
Then, on Sunday at 1pm, Christoph von Dohnanyi leads the BSO in the Tanglewood Opening Night program of 2012, with an All-Beethoven concert that includes the Leonore Overture No. 3, the Symphony No. 6, "Pastoral," and the Symphony No. 5, a program that re-creates the BSO's first concert at Tanglewood.[/quote]

Their BSO page has links to background material.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

BSO — 2012/12/08-09; Other Broadcast/Webstream Attractions

It happens every year that that for most of December, instead of regular subscription series concerts, the Boston Symphony presents Holiday Pops concerts. This year they began on December 5, and they'll continue through December 24. Then the musicians get a little vacation, I guess, until concerts resume on January 10. So there will be no live symphony concerts until January 12, 2013. During that period, Classical New England will broadcast and stream the Holiday Pops live on December 22 and rebroadcast it on December 23. On the other weekends through December 30, they will be giving us "encore broadcasts" of some previous concerts. They don't include their plans for January 5 and 6 on their BSO page at this point. But the page does give brief descriptions of the concerts they'll be reprising through the rest of December. It also has the schedule for the regular concert broadcasts when they resume. I'll try to remember to give a notice week by week as they come up, but if I miss a week you can go there to check it out.

December 8.  
Violinist Itzhak PerlmanIn an encore broadcast, Itzhak Perlman is both soloist and conductor in the BSO's All-Beethoven Opening Night concert, including the two Romances for violin and orchestra and the Symphony No. 7.  Also, Bernard Haitink leads the BSO in Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.
 There is information about the opening night concert in my post of September 21. I hope the links are still working. The second part of the broadcast, with Haitink conducting, looks like the concert of May 5, 2012, the one I called "Last Night at Symphony" in my post on it.

December 9.
Conductor Stephane DeneveStéphane Denève returns to the podium at Symphony Hall to conduct Berlioz's Overture to Les Francs-juges, the Saint-Saëns's Piano Concerto No. 5, the "Egyptian," with soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Three Interludes from James MacMillan'sThe Sacrifice, and the Suite No. 2 from Roussel's Bacchus et Ariane.
As usual, this is the rebroadcast of last weekend's Saturday evening broadcast. My post is here.

Other Broadcast/Webstream Attractions.

Classical New England also has a page for their "2012 Holiday Specials." Among the items that particularly interest me are:

  • Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" being given one cantata per week on The Bach Hour Sundays at 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Apparently they began last Sunday, because this weel it's the second of the six cantatas;
  • "A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" from King's College Cambridge (England) broadcast/streamed live on December 24 at 10:00 a.m. our time (They've been doing this for years, and it's always good.);
  • A rebroadcast of the Handel and Haydn Messiah on Christmas Day in the morning at 10:00 (If you're not in church, you might want to listen.);
  • The New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic at 11:00 on January 1 — another standard offering for a number of years (I'm not sure if this is live or an hour or two delayed. I thought the concert is at 15.00, which would be 9:00 a.m. here, but I could be wrong.).
There are many other items listed on that page, so take a look and see what else appeals to you you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Winter Orgy® Period 2012

The Winter Orgy Period on WHRB has begun. We've already missed the Hans Rosbaud Orgy on December 1, the Warhorse Orgy on December 2, and the Midori Orgy yesterday. As I write this, the Hummel Orgy is underway, and will continue through Friday, December 7. You can listen to the webstream at and you can access the current program guide for specific times of the orgies at

In general,  it seems that this time they are giving the classical orgies on afternoons and evenings with other types of music overnight and into the morning. There are also interruptions for Harvard hockey and basketball games. That's why you'll want to check out the program guide.

But here's a list of the classical orgies with their starting and ending dates:
  • Johan Nepomuk Hummel     December 4-7
  • Claude Debussy     December 9-12
  • Alfred Cortot     December 13-17
  • Rodion Shchedrin     December 16
  • Krzysztof Penderecki     December 18-19
  • Jean Françaix     December 20
  • Moriz Rosenthal     December 20

Sunday, December 2, 2012

H & H Messiah — Sunday, December 2, 2012

Classical New England will broadcast and stream the Handel and Haydn Society's performance of Handel's "Messiah" live from Symphony Hall this afternoon at 3:00 Eastern Time. Definitely worth hearing, IMO. You can go here for CNE's links to program notes as well as information about other seasonal programming.

H & H's page about Messiah has further links and introduces the performance as follows:
A tradition for 159 years—make it yours! Harry Christophers conducts the Period Instrument Orchestra, Chorus, and internationally acclaimed soloists in Handel’s dramatic masterwork. Don’t miss Canadian superstars soprano Karina Gauvin and countertenor Daniel Taylor, British tenor extraordinaire James Gilchrist, and Boston's own premier baritone Sumner Thompson in this season’s unique rendition of this Boston tradition. No holiday season is complete without Handel’s stunning oratorio.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

BSO — 2012/11/29-12/01

This week's Boston Symphony program is mostly French, with three French composers, a French conductor, and a French pianist. There is also music by a Scottish composer. Some details are provided in the BSO's details page, which also has links to program notes, audio previews, and an interview with the conductor.
Returning to the BSO podium for the third consecutive season, French conductor Stéphane Denève leads the BSO in a trio of French works by composers from his native country: Berlioz's dynamic overture to his unfinished early opera Les Francs-juges, Albert Roussel's Suite No. 2 from his 1930 ballet Bacchus et Ariane, and Saint-Saëns's Piano Concerto No. 5, Egyptian, with fellow Frenchman Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist. Also on the program are the Three Interludes from The Sacrifice, Scottish contemporary composer James MacMillan's 2006 opera on a story from The Mabinogion, an ancient collection of Welsh legend.

I was there on Thursday, and I'm looking forward to hearing the music again on the broadcast and the webstream repeat. I wouldn't call any of it the greatest music of all time, but it all was good and I think a rehearing or two will bring even more understanding and enjoyment. The newest piece, interludes from MacMillan's opera "The Sacrifice, felt more accessible during the performance than had MacMillan's St. John Passion, which we heard almost three years ago. The Globe's reviewer was very pleased with the performance.

Go to Classical New England to listen to the webstream approximately live this evening and check out their BSO page for broadcast/streaming schedules as well as their own interview with the conductor.