Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Boston Pops/Classical New England — 2014/05/31

(I'm posting this way early because I'll be leaving on Thursday to go to my 50th college reunion.)

This week the Saturday evening broadcast/stream on WCRB is "The Corner of Broadway and Soul" with Billy Porter — a program which was given on May 20 and 21 and recorded for broadcast now. The WCRB page says:
Billy Porter electrified Broadway audiences last year, winning the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in the hitKinky Boots. He joins Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops "at the corner of Broadway and soul!"
while the Pops program detail page says:
Billy Porter electrified Broadway audiences last year, winning the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in the hit Kinky Boots. He has been described as "a force of nature"; in addition to his Broadway roles in Grease, Smokey Joe's Cafe, and Miss Saigon, he is also a recording artist, songwriter, and director. His talents lie "at the corner of Broadway and soul," and he belts a Broadway ballad as expertly as his voice soars on a rhythm-driven beat. Join the Pops for an unforgettable evening featuring Broadway's most dynamic new talent.
There will be the usual repeat, this time on Monday, June 9. Both it and the May 31 broadcast are at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time.

I can't find a review on the Boston Globe website, so you can come to it free of expectations, should you choose to listen. It could be quite enjoyable.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Boston Pops/Classical New England — 2014/05/24

This week WCRB begins their broadcasts/webstreams of this season's Pops Concerts (recorded for broadcast earlier in the season). Here's what you can hear on May 24 and 26 at 8:00 p.m., according to the station's BSO page:
The Boston Pops 2014 broadcast season kicks off with "The Very Best of the Boston Pops," featuring music by Bernstein, Copland, Ellington, and more, all conducted by Keith Lockhart!
Since I haven't been/won't be at any of the concerts to be transmitted — other than the one conducted by John Williams — I generally will have no comments of my own. The Boston Musical Intelligencer doesn't review the Pops either. I'll see if I can find Globe reviews.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

BSO/Classical New England — 2014/05/17

This evening (Saturday, May 17, at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time), WCRB will broadcast and stream the BSO concert of March 14, 2014. The all-Beethoven concert, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, begins with Leonore Overture No. 3. Then Yefim Bronfman is the soloist in Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2. The program repeats on Monday, June 2.

The station's BSO page has a link to an interview with Yefim Bronfman and other items. It also gives information about upcoming broadcasts/webstreams in the BSO time slots until the Tanglewood season begins.

This concert was the first of a series of three in which the Orchestra performed all five Beethoven piano concertos, the triple concerto, and the three Leonore overtures. This concert was only given on Thursday and Friday evenings, March 13 and14, while the other two were given on Saturdays and thus could be broadcast and streamed live. This one had to be recorded, and this is the first broadcast.

The orchestra's performance detail page has the usual links to program notes, audio previews, and performer bios. It notes the the Friday performance included an introduction by bassist Todd Seeber. I suppose that will be included. The page also has the following description:
German conductor Christoph von Dohnányi and the Soviet-born, Israeli-American pianist Yefim Bronfman collaborate with the BSO in a series of three all-Beethoven programs featuring all five of the composer's piano concertos, plus the Triple Concerto for piano, violin, and cello, and his three Leonore overtures.
The little the Globe reviewer said about the actual performance was favorable. As usual, the Boston Musical Intelligencer was quite detailed, so much so that it could provide a guide to what to listen for during the concert. The reviewer was pleased. At the time, I wrote about it:
My reaction was that it was a well played performance. It didn't seem to me that the performers did anything especially unusual with the music. (I've heard other pianists seem to "swing" a couple of phrases, and Mr. Bronfman didn't.) But they played it straightforwardly, with only one or two seemingly missed notes in the piano. The sound was transparent, meaning that it seemed to me that no instruments seemed to drown others out. This may be partly because of the small number of orchestra members needed in the concertos, and no doubt partly the doing of the conductor. The clarinet solo in the first concerto was particularly impressive, and it was good that the horns played softly when appropriate (often they have seemed to overpower the rest of the winds). There's an enthusiastic review in the Boston Musical Intelligencer. In the (shorter) Boston Globe review, there is less opinion, with a heavier proportion of factual description, but the opinions expressed are favorable.
So I think it's worth tuning in.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

BSO/Classical New England — 2014/05/10

As I've noted, the Boston Symphony's 2013-2014 season has ended. For most of this month and next, the Boston Pops will be performing in Symphony, and Classical New England/WCRB will be recording a number of their concerts to broadcast and stream. But this week and next it's time for some symphony concerts that were not broadcast earlier in the season. This week, and on Monday, May 19, it's an all-Mozart program from March 8, which was displaced by the March 6 performance of Salome. This concert features Menahem Pressler tickling the ivories, with members of the BSO. The performance detail page supplies the following:
Acclaimed for decades as a founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio, eminent pianist Menahem Pressler-who recently turned ninety in December 2013-joins members of the BSO for an intimate all-Mozart program of smaller ensemble works, including the Piano Quartet in E-flat, considered one of the composer's greatest chamber music masterpieces. The outer works on this concert-two popular serenades, multi-movement works designed as entertainment during parties-duplicate the all-Mozart program of January 14.
And as of this writing, the links to notes and audio material still seems to be available. You can also find a bit of information and links on the WCRB page devoted to the BSO. If you're not within radio range of the station, go to their website for the stream. I couldn't find a review of this concert, but here's one in the Boston Musical Intelligencer which covers and earlier performance which included the two serenades (but a different quartet with a different pianist).


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Reviews: BSO 2014/04/25-26; H&H "Samson"

I'm finally getting around to posting a link to a somewhat belated Globe review of the final Boston Symphony concert of the past season. This concert — originally broadcast and streamed on April 25 — will be broadcast and streamed again on Monday, May 5. I've previously given other information and links.

Meanwhile, I went to the Handel and Haydn's performance of Handel's "Samson" on May 2. The program booklet referred to the richness of musical coloration which Handel put into the orchestration. I was paying closer attention to the words and may have missed some of that aspect of the oratorio. At any rate I considered it well played and sung, and definitely worth hearing. So far, no review has appeared in the Globe, but there is an extensive one in the Boston Musical Intelligencer. At the performance I attended, there were signs in the lobby advising us that the concert was being recorded for a later broadcast, so you may have a chance to hear it. I'll let you know if I learn anything about it.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring Orgy® Period 2014

WHRB's Spring Orgy® Period has begun, with the Warhorse Orgy on May 1. At this writing (1:15 p.m., May 2) the Evolution of Dance Orgy has just started and will continue until about 10:00 p.m. and conclude tomorrow, May 3, after the Metropolitan Opera from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

The biggies this year are the C.P.E. Bach 300th Anniversary Orgy, which runs from 1:00 to 10:00 p.m. on May 6 and 7 and then from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on May 8. Apparently it is followed immediately at 1:00 on May 8 by the Dmitri Shostakovich Orgy®, which runs till 10:00 that day. On Friday May 9 it goes from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Then on Saturday May 10 it follows the Metropolitan Opera — from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. It picks up again on Sunday, May 11, and continues through Thursday, May 15, from 1:00 to 10:00 p.m. on each of those day.

Smaller orgies include the Gothic Voices Orgy on Sunday, May 4, from 12:30 to 10:00 p.m. (Gothic Voices is a group that sings mostly mediæval and renaissance music.) May 5 brings the Cinco de Mayo Orgy of Mexican and Mexico-related music from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

After the big orgies, on Friday May 16, they give the Carlos Kleiber Orgy from 1:00 to 10:00 p.m. (Maestro Kleiber died ten years ago.) The final classical music orgy listed in the program is the French Composer Anniversaries Orgy, which will run from3:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 18.

The WHRB program guide, available via the page linked above, gives a brief description of each orgy, as well as a list of the specific works to be played — subject to change; and all timings are approximate. The station homepage also offers a link to listen on line.

WHRB usually plays classical music on weekdays from 1:00 to 10:00 p.m., rock overnight and jazz from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.. They also broadcast the Metropolitan Opera live on Saturdays during the season (roughly December-May) and outside the orgy periods broadcast operas from 8:00 to midnight on Sundays. The classical playlist is broad, perhaps broader than WCRB's. So the station is worth checking out.