|
archives :||

Bernstein

This tag is associated with 18 posts

Violinists: CEASE AND DESIST

Man, I was so happy, cruising through the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s 13-14 season. My beloved Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is doing the Shostakovich violin concerto: AWESOME. Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman is back with his ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT rendition of Beethoven’s Romance No. 1; as far as I’m concerned his is the only version that matters. Hell, they’re playing the score to Casablanca while screening the film! I love Casablanca! Here are your winnings, sir!

There’s more! Mahler’s “Titan” symphony! Holst’s The Planets! Gershwin! Bernstein! My favorite Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto! And look, Mendelssohn’s violin conc – STOP RIGHT THERE.

I’ve said it before but apparently no one was listening, so this time I’m going to try it with more shouty capitals: STOP PLAYING THE MENDELSSOHN VIOLIN CONCERTO. EVERY SINGLE SEASON, SOMEBODY PLAYS THE MENDELSSOHN VIOLIN CONCERTO. THERE IS NOTHING SO VERY GREAT ABOUT THE MENDELSSOHN VIOLIN CONCERTO THAT WE NEED TO HEAR IT INTERPRETED BY EVERY CONCERT VIOLINIST ON EARTH. IT IS NOT THAT DEEP, PEOPLE. IT’S NOT EVEN PARTICULARLY IMPRESSIVE. IT’S, LIKE, EVERY SINGLE STUDENT VIOLINIST’S FIRST REAL CONCERTO. I PLAYED IT. NO ONE CARES. KNOCK IT OFF. LEARN ANOTHER FREAKING PIECE OF MUSIC.

And let us not say another word about it. (Please don’t make me say another word about it.)

Advertisements

Concert Roundup Likes to be in America

  • This week the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra goes old school cinematic with Leonard Bernstein‘s West Side Story – literally. They’re playing the music live in accompaniment to a screening of the film. To sweeten the deal, some of the original Sharks and Jets will be at the June 14 performance, plus – wait for it – MARNI NIXON! Yay Marni Nixon! June 13 at Strathmore; June 14 – 16 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Maybe you don’t like to be in America – maybe you’d rather be in Europe. If so, the National Symphony Orchestra has you covered with a program of Ravel‘s Tombeau de Couperin, some Dutilleux, and Vaughan Williams‘ second symphony, also known as “A London Symphony.” June 13 – 15. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: CityDance performances. [ See the calendar! ]

If you’d like your concert included in next week’s roundup, leave a comment or drop me a line.

Video Week: “Leonard Street” was my favorite

notmondayvideoMinimal classical inclusion, but I still think it’s clever, so: posting. I love Video Week!

Incidentally, my ballet teacher lives in a neighborhood where all the streets are named after classical composer. Dear CDZA: Pleeeease do a follow up video there?

P.S. Happy D-Day!

I think I hear a ghost

My grandmother doesn’t see very well, and as such one of her favorite pastimes when we’re together is to request that I look things up one my iPhone. During my visits we’ll watch old movies, and she’ll say “Look up when this person died” or “I wonder if he was ever in anything else; look that up.” So I fire up the browser app, head over to Wikipedia, and find out.

Our most recent sojourn was through The Sound of Music, and as the first nuns appeared I remembered that Marni Nixon got some actual screen time in the film, as Sister Sophia. You know about Marni Nixon, right? She was the ghost singer to the stars, working for Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood, and Marilyn Monroe, among others.

Curious about her current whereabouts I looked her up of my own accord, and was fascinated to discover that she recorded vocals for such great composers as Schoenberg, Webern, Copland, and Bernstein. I had no idea! Unfortunately I couldn’t seem to locate any real footage of these performances, but I did find this fascinating interview, wherein she talks about how she just dubbed as a means of paying for her singing classes, and more. Find out what it was like for classically trained singer back in the day, where if they found it you dubbed, you were finished!

Concert Roundup, Back In Full Swing

Back in the saddle again.

  • As promised, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra busts out Bernstein‘s “Kaddish” symphony, with a narrator and soprano and boy choir and everything. Add to that some John Adams and Dave & Chris Brubeck (their Ansel Adams piece accompanied by the titular photographer’s images) and you’ve got a very modern evening. September 28 & 30 at the Meyerhoff; September 29 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • Annnnd they’re back – the National Symphony Orchestra kicks of their season with an opening ball performance featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter. Cool! She’ll be playing Mendelssohn‘s violin concerto. Ugh! (I kid, I kid, but guys, seriously – find a new freakin’ concerto, okay?) Add some Beethoven (YESSS), Sarasate, and Strauss, and we’re in business. September 30. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: an urban jazz harmonicist (swear!) and a rock concert complete with tailgate. [ See the calendar! ]

If you’d like your concert included in next week’s roundup, leave a comment or drop me a line.

I Coulda Been a Concert Roundup

Because the BSO is playing Bernstein’s On the Waterfront, and… shut up.

  • But first, talking! As the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra website says: “Learn about Leonard Bernstein‘s ‘Kaddish’ Symphony from BSO Maestra Marin Alsop in discussion with Chazzan Emanuel Perlman of Chizuk Amuno Congregation. Program is followed by a Q & A session and a light dessert reception.” Plus everyone who attends gets a 20% discount on the “Kaddish” concert. AND you get dessert. Win-win. September 19 at the Gordon Center as far as I can tell. [ See it! ]
  • Like I said, the BSO starts off its regular season with, oh, what’s that guys name? Oh yeah; Gil Shaham, playing the Barber violin concerto. No biggie. Also Bernstein‘s On the Waterfront symphonic suite and Copland‘s third symphony. September 20 & 21 at the Meyerhoff; September 22 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • The NSO says: wait for it…
  • This week at Strathmore: a viola and guitar duo. Not even gonna try to sell that one (oh, I kid ’cause I love). [ See the calendar! ]

If you’d like your concert included in next week’s roundup, leave a comment or drop me a line.

The Return of the Concert Roundup

Woah! There are, like, concerts happening this weekend and stuff! Is it the beginning of the new season already? It is? Oh, crud, that means it’s going to get cold soon, isn’t it? Anyway…

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra continues its tradition of offering a season preview concert for all of ten bucks (fifteen at the door, if you can get them at the door – this sucker tends to sell out).  “Bernstein, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and more!” they say. September 13 at the Meyerhoff and September 14 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • And then it really IS the start of the new season as the BSO presents its annual gala season opener. The star this year? None other than Renee Fleming. (See my review of last year’s gala here.) September 15 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • The NSO is still in hibernation.
  • Strathmore lives! Upcoming: a jazz saxophonist and a bassist to the stars. [ See the calendar! ]

If you’d like your concert included in next week’s roundup, leave a comment or drop me a line.

The Great White Concert Roundup

They won’t stop ’til they’re all stars on Broadway, apparently.

  • No Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert this week.
  • The National Symphony Orchestra, however, offers two, both of the Broadway musical persuasion, and once again both at Wolf Trap. On August 3, the lauded Idina Menzel takes the mic to sing her favorite Broadway songs. Alternatively, on August 4, the orchestra will play the soundtrack live along to the full film of Bernstein‘s West Side Story.  [ See Idina! ] [ See West Side Story! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: a free outdoor concert tonight, a West African percussion and dance troupe for kids tomorrow. [ See the calendar! ]

Composer Cagematch!: THE WINNER

Oh, guys. It’s been such a fun journey. Thirty-two composers (edited to add: +2 play-ins) stepped into the ring, and over the year we have slowly whittled it down to two. Before we crown our winner, let’s take a look back over composers past, shall we?

* denotes the winner of the match

ROUND ONE

  1. Prokofiev vs. Stravinsky*
  2. Debussy* vs. Ravel
  3. Dvorak vs. Copland*
  4. Britten* vs. Holst
  5. Rimsky-Korsakov* vs. Mussourgsky
  6. Grieg* vs. Sibelius
  7. Schumann vs. Brahms*
  8. Tchaikovsky* vs. Rachmaninoff
  9. Mahler* vs. Wagner
  10. Monteverdi vs. Verdi*
  11. Schoenberg* vs. Berg
  12. Bernstein vs. Gershwin*
  13. Handel* vs. Haydn
  14. Chopin* vs. Liszt
  15. Bartok* vs. Shostakovich
  16. Saint-Saens* vs. Khachaturian

ROUND TWO

  1. Stravinsky* vs. Debussy
  2. Copland* vs. Britten
  3. Tchaikovsky* vs. Rimsky-Korsakov
  4. Bartok* vs. Schoenberg
  5. Saint-Saens vs. Grieg*
  6. Brahms* vs. Mahler
  7. Verdi* vs. Handel
  8. Gershwin* vs. Chopin

ROUND THREE

  1. Stravinsky* vs. Bartok
  2. Copland vs. Tchaikovsky*
  3. Verdi vs. Gershwin*
  4. Grieg vs. Brahms*

ROUND FOUR

  1. Brahms* vs. Stravinsky
  2. Gershwin vs. Tchaikovsky*

ROUND FIVE (PLAY-IN ROUND)

  1. Tchaikovsky vs. Mozart*
  2. Beethoven* vs. Brahms

ROUND SIX

Mozart vs. Beethoven

And so we arrive here, at the end. I think we all know whose t-shirt I was wearing, but it wasn’t a question of my sartorial decisions; it all came down to the best man taking the Composer Cagematch! crown. Are you ready? And the winner is…

Continue reading

Whose opinion is more valued than mine?

RHETORICAL QUESTION. But as a loyal reader, you totally want to know all about my picks from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming season, right? Especially since I, personally, found that you have to wade through an unexciting beginning. Don’t be put off – there’s a gold streak running all the way from January to June!

  • Alexander Nevsky (January 11 – 13) – Um, full Prokofiev score live, set to the film? Yes please.
  • Hairspray (January 24 – 27) GOOD MORNING BALTIMORE! A concert opera version narrated by – wait for it – none other than John Waters himself.
  • Pictures at an Exhibition (January 31 – February 2) – I said PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION. Why aren’t you buying your tickets right now?
  • Mozart’s Requiem (February 28; March 2 & 3) – Everyone knows I’m not Mozart’s greatest fan, but no one can deny theRequiem.
  • Mahler’s Titan (March 7 – 9) – Oh, Mahler, I love your “Titan” so. Nothing can take that away from us.
  • Saint-Saen’s Thundering Organ Symphony (March 14 & 17) – A friend recently informed me that this was the theme from Babe. My understanding of pop culture is weak; my love for this piece is strong.
  • Wagner: A Composer Fit for a King (April 19 & 20) – Neuschwannstein! Mad King Ludwig! Obsession! Insanity! Fun!
  • Time for Three (May 2 & 4) – I saw them premiere Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto Four-Three, and it was awesome. Let’s do it again.
  • Romeo and Juliet (May 23 – 25) – PROKOFIEV version. Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, I’m terribly sorry, but you’re going to have to clear out.
  • West Side Story (June 13 – 16) – Um, full Bernstein score live, set to the film? Yes please.

So those are my picks. Check out the concert calendar – anything striking your fancy?