archives :||


This tag is associated with 9 posts

Concert Roundup for Three

  • This week at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, awesome violin-violin-bass trio Time for Three swoops in to perform the piece Jennifer Higdon wrote for them, Concerto Four-Three; I caught the premiere of that and it was pretty fantastic if I do say so myself! Notes of bluegrass in classical, plus they always bust out a killer encore. Add John Adams and Prokofiev and how can you go wrong? May 2 at Strathmore; May 4 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Meanwhile, the National Symphony Orchestra brings in cellist Alisa Weilerstein for an Elgar piano concerto (are we in heaven?) followed by Shostakovich‘s fifth symphony. May 2 – 4. [ See it! ]
  • Or if you prefer to take your Shostakovich without the side of Elgar, the NSO graciously offers the same symphony with the alternative sides of Shchedrin and a viola concerto by Schnittke. Ha, viola concerto. May 3. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: Gypsy jazz; classical guitar; jazz with the great Bela Fleck with The Marcus Roberts Trio. [ See the calendar! ]

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

All Concert Roundups Go to Heaven

  • Want to know what music sounds like in heaven? Then join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Elgar‘s cello concerto as performed by Sol Gabetta, and Liszt‘s – get ready for a shot of irony – Mephisto Waltz. Also Franck, who by inference is in hell with the rest of them. November 29 at Strathmore; November 30 and December 1 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • And! If you’re into interior decorating and holiday gift shopping, the BSO presents their “Symphony Homes for the Holidays,” where you can shop through several fully decorated and stuff-filled historic homes with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the orchestra. November 29 – December 1. [ See it! ]
  • Meanwhile, over in National Symphony Orchestra land, the NSO confused me with Syzmanowski, tries my patience with a Mozart piano concerto, and then soothes my fevered brow with Ravel‘s Mother Goose Suite and Debussy‘s La Mer. November 29 – December 1. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: Retro-modern lounge music, retro-retro pop, and (BLEH! … I mean, what?) smooth jazz. [ See the calendar! ]

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

Dear composers: You’re going to Hell

And now it’s time for another edition of Classical Music Popping Up In Otherwise Unrelated Works of Fiction!

Have you ever read Good Omens? Well, you should. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett with their powers combined! To give you some context, the plot centers around the approach of the Apocalypse and the rise of the Antichrist (did I mention it’s hilarious?). Which is not to say no one’s trying to stop it – two people are, or rather, one angel named Aziraphale and one demon named Crowley are, working in tandem – really.

In this scene, Crowley is making arguments as to why, exactly, the Apocalypse would be a bad time for all of them. Among his points:

Listen,” said Crowley, “how many musicians do you think [Heaven has] got, eh? First grade, I mean.”

Aziraphale looked taken aback.

“Well, I should think – ” he began.

“Two,” said Crowley. “Elgar and Liszt. That’s all. [Hell’s] got the rest. Beethoven, Brahms, all the Bachs, Mozart, the lot. Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?”

Aziraphale shut his eyes. “All too easily,” he groaned.

Well, there you have it. Turns out all those unmusical people in the world are just trying to avoid eternal damnation. But I do rather wonder how Liszt got there and Bach didn’t, you know?

A Concert Roundup My Mom Won’t Like

She does NOT Rach around the clock.

  • Oh, hey, look! It’s Rachmaninoff! Fancy that. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra offers Andre Watts, who in turn offers the Rach Piano Concerto No. 2. That plus Elgar’s first symphony, which is less famous but Elgar’s actually pretty nifty if you can get past your personal memory of your high school band murdering Pomp and Circumstance. May 12 at Strathmore; May 10, 11, & 13 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Hey, National Symphony Orchestra! Will you send me tickets to your NSO Pops concert with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy? I love Big Bad Voodoo Daddy! And fedoras! I’ll totally wear a fedora if you do. May 10 – 12. [ See it! ]
  • Also this week at the NSO: a kiddie concert for Saint-SaensCarnival of the Animals. How come these are always for kids? I like it too, you know! Are you saying that makes me a ki – oh. I see your point. May 13. [ See it! ]
  • Don’t forget to check out the Strathmore – some interesting stuff on there, like a class on how to get and keep jazz singing gigs. [ See the calendar! ]

One Concert Roundup More

Who cares about your lonely soul? We strive toward a larger goal: awesome music.

  • You know what musical theater version of a character really rubs me the wrong way? Marius Pontmercy. What a wishy-washy starry-eyed compound-word-drip. And yet I love Les Miserables (the musical) (the book was okay) just the same. Enjolras gets my seal of approval. And that is why I applaud the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra‘s BSO SuperPops for this week’s concert, which is all Les Miz, all the time! April 19 at Strathmore; April 20 – 22 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • If your small child isn’t ready for really sickening declarations of love and French people killing each other, skip Les Miz and stick with Babar. Yes, the elephant! Apparently his life has been scored by Poulenc. Who knew? April 21 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • The National Symphony Orchestra, by contrast, remains strictly classical this week, with Rachmaninoff‘s first piano concerto, Elgar‘s first symphony, and a suite by Bridge. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore, William Bolcom and Joan Morris hang together and assortment of pop stars and jazz vocalists swing on by. [ See the calendar! ]

Or Concert Roundup

The letters of the day are “O” and “R.”

  • This week the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra plays Elgar that ISN’T a march from Pomp and Circumstance. Crazy, right? But apparently he also wrote a Serenade for Strings. And if you can’t get behind that, how about the second Bach violin concerto? Or a Mendelssohn octet? March 8 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Or if you prefer, you can catch the BSO outside their gilded cage in the wilds of Frederick on March 10, with the exact same program only for some reason it’s got its own completely separate link. What a bunch of weirdos. [ See it! ]
  • Or! Have kids? I’m sorry; I would’ve counseled against it if you’d asked me beforehand. Ah, well, fait accompli. You’re probably desperate for a means to distract them on weekends; the BSO can help with that too. Their matinee children’s program “Sea Songs” promises shipwrecks, pirates, and Rimsky-Korsakov. March 10 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Current Cagematch! competitor Bartok in the house! The National Symphony Orchestra’s house, that is. It’s an all Bartok program, with The Miraculous Mandarin and Bluebeard‘s Castle. March 8 – 10; free discussion after the March 8 performance. [ See it! ]
  • Or! On March 9, the NSO offers a rather more varied program. You still get a bunch of Bartok, but you can intersperse it with Kodaly, Liszt, and all the Brahms you can dance, provide your dance is Hungarian. [ See it! ]
  • A smattering of upcoming Strathmore concerts: a jazz quintet, Ugandan song and dance, classical guitar, and Army and Marine bands. [ See the calendar! ]

Concert Roundup (Really)

Wanna hear something crazy? There’s actually a concert you can attend this week! Yes! The National Symphony Orchestra is here and it wants to help. On December 31, no less, as your New Year’s celebration. The lineup for this one is ridiculous. Let me take a deep breath now:

  • Enesco
  • Sousa
  • Rossini
  • Falla
  • Rodrigo
  • Bernstein
  • Strauss (the younger) (so it says on the website) (it makes me giggle)
  • Mascagni (remember this?)
  • Tchaikovsky
  • Strauss (the elder) (tee)
  • Elgar

And then you’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne. Or however it goes. And then there’s a party afterward with swing dancing! [ See it! ]

Or, if you prefer your music to be of the more interactive persuasion, you can play it yourself. Of course, you’ll have to wait till summer, but preparation should begin now — the BSO Academy is currently accepting applications. Get your application in before February first and spend of a week’s worth of your summer learning how to play your instrument from members of the BSO themselves, followed by a concert featuring you! [ Apply! ]

An organ fit for a king — or at least Philadelphia

I had never heard of the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ until PBS educated me with a mini-doc (they sucked me in with a ballet to “Pictures at an Exhibition” first, those clever little monkeys). I can’t seem to locate the documentary on YouTube — possibly because it’s buried under tons of tons of videos of people playing the thing — but I did discover that sometimes the organ gets a day all for itself. Enjoy a REALLY ENORMOUS INSTRUMENT.

Oh, and: if you want to have any say in the frequency which I vote about upcoming concerts, vote by tonight — I’m going to have to make my first reactionary post on Wednesday and I may need time to prepare.

Rustier and rustier

I promised when I had more info about the Rusty Musicians concerts I’d let you know. Well, I do, and now I am! This comes straight from the email sent out to the participants, and it doesn’t get any further down the horse’s throat than that.

  • First to reiterate: the concerts are on Tuesday, February 2 and Thursday, February 4, both at 6:00 pm at Strathmore.
  • In addition to the Tchaikovsky, the program features Elgar’s Nimrod.
  • Apparently there are going to be four concerts over a four hour period per night, from 6-10 pm, with four different sets of Rusty Musicians cycling through for eight total over the two concerts. Including both rehearsal and performance time, the experience will be about 40 minutes long.
  • Quote the web page, “Patrons are welcome to come and go as they please while being courteous to the performers.” So I guess that means your family can come in just for your particular time slot and leave after it’s over, or stay if they wish. Or that’s how I interpret it and it seems right. Participants receive one free ticket for themselves if they’d like to see another time slot perform.
  • Maestra Alsop would like to assure the participants that while she does want you to practice, this is meant to be a “low stress” environment, and no one’s going to kill you if you screw up a run or two. OR SO SHE SAYS. (Look, all I’m saying is, if Alsop was looking at ME down the other end of a conductor’s baton, I’d straighten up and fly right real quick. But that’s just me.)
  • Participants have been sent a link to access audio files of Alsop’s previous Tchaikovsky and Elgar recordings, so they can listen to them as part of their preparations.
  • No photography or audio/video recording will be permitted. Sorry.
  • Another email will be sent out later in the week with information such as check in locations and times and waivers and things of that nature. I won’t be posting this information because I figure the people who need it will have it, but if anyone is in a panic leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

This ends your Rusty Musician coverage for the time being. Now run and play.

(If you’re not sure where to run, why not try the BSO’s Twitter page? They’ve got that Porgy and Bess discount code…)