Saturday, August 31, 2013

Classical New England — 2013/08/31

As I mentioned last week, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is between seasons, so for his weekend and the following two, Classical New England will devote the BSO time slot (7:00-11:00 p.m.) to rebroadcasts/webstreams of various concerts — some by the BSO and some by others. This evening's is clearly described on the Classical New England BSO page.
As part of WGBH's Opera Bash, WCRB revisits two spectacular Boston Symphony concerts featuring works by Richard Wagner in celebration of the bicentennial of the composer's birth.

Michelle DeYoungFirst, from a Symphony Hall concert in March, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung is the guest soloist in a program that includes excerpts fromGötterdammerung, Tannhäuser, Parsifal, Lohengrin, and Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Daniele Gatti.

Bryn TerfelThen, from a July performance at Tanglewood, Bryn Terfel sings the role of Wotan in Act III of Die Walküre, with Katarina Dalayman as Brünnhilde, Amber Wagner as Sieglinde, and Elizabeth Byrne as Waltraute, conducted by Lothar Koenigs.
The Walküre portion will begin about 9:00.

Next week it will be a Proms concert from the Royal Albert Hall, and the week after that we can listen to the Tanglewood concert of August 6

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tanglewood — 2013/08/23-25

This is the last weekend of the 2013 Tanglewood Season. The BSO will be playing on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, with the Boston Pops on Saturday. Sunday afternoon's concert will give us the customary season-ending Beethoven 9th Symphony. Specifics follow.

August 23  The 8:30 p.m. Friday concert is an "Underscore Friday," in which a member of the orchestra gives an introduction to the music from the stage. This evening, per the program note, there will be "introductory comments from the stage by BSO trumpet player Michael Martin." As it happens, I've missed the previous two "Underscore Friday" concerts this season, so this will be a first for me. The program is described thus for us on the orchestra's performance detail page.
The BSO kicks off the final weekend of its 2013 Tanglewood season on Friday, August 23, at 8:30 p.m. with a program featuring pianist  Peter Serkin and led by BSO Assistant Conductor  Andris Poga in his Tanglewood debut. Mr. Serkin will join Mr. Poga and the orchestra for Stravinsky's Concerto for Piano and Winds, a Bach-inspired work from the beginning of the composer's neoclassical period, about which he wrote "I have gone back in the centuries and have begun over again, on a historic foundation. What I write today has its roots in the style and methods of Palestrina and Bach." The program also includes Prokofiev's Haydnesque Symphony No. 1,  Classical, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.
As usual, if you go to that page you will find links to program notes and audio previews, as well as to performer bios when you click on their photos.

August 24 brings "Film Night at Tanglewood." The performance detail page puts it this way:
A beloved summer tradition continues on August 24 at 8:30 p.m. in the Shed with  John Williams' Film Night.  Joining maestro Williams and the  Boston Pops for this special program-which features selections by Alfred Newman, Henry Mancini, Max Steiner, and more-are guest conductor  David Newman, son of Alfred Newman and a film composer in his own right, and superstar vocalist and Broadway and screen actress  Audra McDonald, who recently won a Tony Award for her performance as the leading lady inPorgy and Bess. Ms. McDonald will join the orchestra for selections from a number of films, including  A Star Is Born State Fair, and  The West Point Story. Mr. Williams will also lead the Pops in his own film music, including pieces from Jaws Indiana Jones, and  Hook.
If I understand the program notes correctly, Maestro Newman will conduct the first half, some of which will be music composed by his father; and after intermission, Maestro Williams will conduct some of his own compositions. It's not clear to me whether Maestro Williams or Brian Hertz will be on the podium when Ms. McDonald sings.

August 25
The BSO's 2013 Tanglewood season comes to a close on Sunday, August 25, at 2:30 p.m. with the traditional performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, led by BSO Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink. Maestro Haitink, the orchestra, and Tanglewood Festival Chorus will be joined for this season's valedictory concert by soprano  Erin Wall, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford, tenor  Joseph Kaiser, and bass-baritone John Relyea. Completed in 1824 near the end of the composer's life when he was completely deaf, mostly destitute, and increasingly ill, this monument of musical innovation and accomplishment has stood as an iconic tribute to and example of the ability of the human spirit to triumph over adversity ever since.
Visit the performance detail page (from which the quote was taken) for the usual links to further info.

You can listen to the concerts over Classical New England, by radio if you're within range, otherwise via their webstream. As usual, there is a pre-concert program a half hour before each concert's stated start time, and there are links of various sorts on the station's BSO page. BTW, if you haven't already noticed, you might want to scan the home page of the website for links to descriptions of some of their other programming.

After this weekend, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will be off until the Symphony Hall season begins in Boston on September 21. I'm not sure what CNE will be presenting on the two intervening Saturday evenings, but I expect it will include rebroadcasts of some BSO concerts. I'll let you know, if I find out. Otherwise, you can just listen in at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tanglewood — 2013/08/16-18

August 16  Friday evening we have a concert by the Boston Pops (which is why I label the summer posts "Tanglewood — [date]": it's not always the BSO). There is still a performance detail page, with a link to the program notes, and it tells us the following:
Keith Lockhart will lead the Boston Pops in an evening concert in the Shed on Friday, August 16, with celebrated pianist, vocalist, and archivist of the great American Songbook, Michael Feinstein. The evening will feature some of the most beloved tunes in the American songbook repertoire. Special guests include Broadway and television star Cheyenne Jackson and actress and singer Faith Prince.

August 17  On Saturday, the Boston symphony returns to the stage for the first of two Mozart/Mahler programs — this one under the baton of Bernard Haitink.
Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink joins the BSO at Tanglewood for the first time in five years on Saturday, August 17, leading the BSO in Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with soloistIsabelle Faust and Mahler's Symphony No. 4, featuring sopranoCamilla Tilling.
Go to the performance detail page for links to the background information (including performer bios by clicking on their pics).

August 18  Sunday brings the second Mozart/Mahler concert, with Christoph von Dohnányi at the podium. This is the "Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert."
Emanuel Ax joins conductor Christoph von Dohnányi and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra for the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert and the second weekend program dedicated to the music of Mozart and Mahler. Mr. Ax will perform as soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat, K.271, and the program closes with Mahler's Symphony No. 1.
See the performance detail page for the links to background info, including audio previews, program notes, and performer bios.

Classical New England will have their regular pre-game shows 1/2 hour before the concerts.
Visit their BSO page for all sorts of links: interviews, previous concerts on demand etc.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tanglewood — 2013/08/09-11

August 9  We have Sibelius and Brahms on offer Friday evening.

Christoph von Dohnányi takes the podium on Friday, August 9, at 8:30 p.m. leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra and soloist Gil Shaham in Sibelius's Violin Concerto, a virtuosic work that eschews strict traditional forms for a freer, more organic style; similar to Sibelius's most popular symphonies, the concerto provides plenty of energy and excitement, as well as splendid, sweeping climaxes. The program concludes with Brahms's rich and multifaceted Symphony No. 2, which combines pastoral beauty with melancholic reverie then gains momentum and sprints to a thrilling finale.
As always, go to the performance detail page for links to background material.

August 10  Saturday brings another Brahms Symphony and (continuing a series begun last week) a Beethoven Piano Concerto. The program also includes a piece by a favorite of James Levine, the recently deceased centenarian Elliott Carter. Go to the performance detail page for the links. It describes the program as follows:
On Saturday, August 10, at 8:30 p.m., pianist Yefim Bronfmanjoins Maestro von Dohnányi and the orchestra for Beethoven's stormy Third Piano Concerto, a dramatic, tumultuous work in which Beethoven takes an audible step away from the style of Mozart, his towering forebear in the piano concerto genre. Also on the program are Brahms's towering Symphony No. 4-Brahms's ultimate fusion of past and present, combining a mastery of Classical, Baroque, and even Renaissance techniques with his own lush Romantic idiom-and Elliott Carter's meditative Sound Fields, the composer's only workfor string orchestra, performed in commemoration of Mr. Carter's recent passing.

August 11  The final concert of the weekend is an all Beethoven program, including another of the piano concertos, a symphony, and an overture, to wit:
On Sunday afternoon, August 11, at 2:30 p.m., Christian Zacharias returns to the BSO for an all-Beethoven program, building on a relationship as conductor/pianist with the orchestra that began with his BSO conducting debut during the orchestra's 2010-11 season. To open and close the concert, Mr. Zacharias will conduct the composer's Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus and his Symphony No. 6, Pastoral. At the heart of the program, Mr. Zacharias leads the Piano Concerto No. 2 from the keyboard. Used as a means for the young Beethoven to display his virtuosic pianistic talents in concert and make a reputation for himself in Vienna, the work is quite Mozartean in form and character but hints at the storminess that was soon to come.
Here's the link to the performance detail page.

Classical New England will broadcast and stream all three virtually live (there is a delay of a few seconds) with introductory material beginning 1/2 hour before the scheduled concert times. Their BSO page has lots of potentially interesting links to things beyond just these three concerts.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tanglewood — 2013/08/02-04

Yikes! I thought I still had a day to post about this weekend's Tanglewood concerts. I just realized that it's already Friday, and the first concert of the weekend is already over. Here's their description of what I missed:
Several Friday-evening Shed performances will be part of the popular UnderScore Friday series this season. At these performances, patrons will hear comments about the program directly from an onstage BSO musician. Dates: July 12, August 2, August 23. 
Stéphane Denève, chief conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, returns to Tanglewood on Friday, August 2, at 8:30 p.m. leading a performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with pianist Lars Vogt. Compared with the Third that preceded it and the Fifth that followed, the Concerto No. 4 is a sharply contrasting interlude, a less imposing but more original sideways step with which Beethoven explored the lyrical and discursive possibilities of the form. The program opens with Strauss's searching tone poem Death and Transfiguration, a young man's vision of a far-off death, and ends with Poulenc'sStabat Mater for soprano, chorus, and orchestra, featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
Hopefully, you were alert enough to realize that this was a concert night and listened even without my prompting. Of course, the links on the performance detail page may still be of interest, especially the audio of the concerto and the interview with Maestro Denève.

August 3  Still to come, as of this writing, is a Saturday evening program of music by Ravel and Beethoven conducted by Charles Dutoit with Lang Lang as soloist in the Beethoven. A fuller description follows:
Acclaimed Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit leads the BSO in two programs, Saturday, August 3, and Sunday, August 4, continuing the BSO's multi-year survey featuring Maestro Dutoit in repertoire from the early- to mid-twentieth century. On Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m., Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang  joins the BSO and Maestro Dutoit as soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1. The program will also include Ravel's hauntingly beautiful Pavane for a Dead Princess, one of his many works inspired by the music and culture of Spain, and the composer's complete ballet score Daphnis et Chloé, a signature piece for both Mr. Dutoit and the orchestra.
Again, see the performance detail page for links to performer bios (by clicking on the photos), program notes, and audio previews.

August 4  The Sunday afternoon concert has Maestro Dutoit returning to conduct two pieces by Stravinsky, with Yo-Yo Ma soloing in the Dvořák Cello Concerto. As always, the performance detail page gives links to bios, program notes, and audio material, as well as the "official description" of the program:
On Sunday, August 4, at 2:30 p.m., cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins the orchestra for Dvořák's romantic Cello Concerto, an ardent piece full of tuneful melody and impassioned music that is one of the composer's finest works and is infused with the Slavic flavor present in all of Dvořák's oeuvre. The program also includes Stravinsky's brief orchestral fantasy, Fireworks, an early work that finds the composer still writing in the mold of his mentor Rimsky-Korsakov, and The Rite of Spring, an iconic work that demonstrates Stravinsky's early maturity and which celebrates its centennial in 2013.

Classical New England will broadcast and stream the concerts at the usual times (see previous posts for specifics). See their BSO page for links. BTW, I just noticed that they have links to the Verdi Requiem broadcast and the all Mozart program on that page. I'm not sure how long they'll be available, since no earlier concerts are linked on that page.