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Rachmaninoff

This tag is associated with 20 posts

Concert Roundupslistlieder

At least read until you get to the bit with the condoms.

  • This week the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra chooses to go with a whole lot of Rachmaninoff. Not sure what they’re thinking there, but there it is. But no worries – they’re getting pianist Simon Trpceski to play it, which is a much butter decision in sheer quantity of consonants alone, and then finishing up with Shostakovich‘s eleventh symphony. Much better! March 22 & 24 at the Meyerhoff; March 23 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • The National Symphony Orchestra, meanwhile, wins my heart forever by choosing to present a live version of that Classical Kids favorite, Tchaikovsky Discovers America. All your favorite Tchaikovsky pieces woven into a storyline that doesn’t pander like so much children’s education does (assuming, of course, it’s the same as my beloved old cassette tapes). They ought to all be hanging out on a train. If they’re not on a train, we’ve been lied to. “And just a touch of raspberry!” March 24. [ See it! ]
  • This week at StrathmoreClassical guitar with Mattias Jacobsson, Neil Berg’s 101 Years of Broadway, and – I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE – UrbanArias. I’ve seen the program and the comic operas will include, among other things, “Craigslistlieder,” actual Craigslist postings set to music. Among the selections: “Half a Box of Condoms” and “For Trade: Assless Chaps.” How could I help but be there? [ See the calendar! ]

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

The cracks in the universe where the arts live

A long time ago, while generating ideas for blog posts, it occurred to me that it might be good to write about what makes each art different. And then I thought, no, that’s stupid – what makes each art different is that it’s a completely different art. Obviously. But there was something I was trying to get at there beyond the superficial differences, and last week I figured out what it was.

I was at a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert, the one with the Rachmaninoff. I’m not even a huge Rachmaninoff fan, being raised to look upon him with a suspicious eye, but all the same. Garrick Ohlsson was playing these beautiful chords, and the orchestra was unspooling its notes gently behind him, and I thought to myself – there are places classical music can go that nothing else can. There are things classical music can express that nothing else can. Classical music can do things that nothing else can do.

And then I thought, okay, classical music snob, if that’s the case, why do you listen to so much indie rock? Hmmm? Missy? If classical music is so darn transcendental, what do you need with a bunch of clever lyrics and a bass line?

Good question, good question. And that’s when it hit me about the cracks in the universe.

Let’s say the universe is riddled with crevices, filled with emotions and truths. There are crevices only classical music can ever hope to enter, and facts about life that only classical music could ever hope to dig out. And inside those little holes there are bits that only Rachmaninoff himself can get to, next to the divots solely Beethoven could ever hope to go. The better the composer, the better the music, the more and deeper the cracks, of course, but there it is. That’s why we need classical music, to go the places only it can.

But! There are other cracks, that indie rock can access. The same – dare I say it – for pop music, with its bounce and feel-good fun. And then cracks that a painting can pick at where music could never hope to fit. Cracks just for dance, cracks just for actors. We need them all if we can ever hope to explore as much of the universe as we can. If we let any one of them die we lose our avenue to its portion of life.

So that’s what I think about during a concert, in case you were ever wondering. Cracks in the universe. Maybe I read too much Heinlein.*

Thoughts?

* This is impossible.

A Concert Roundup My Mom Won’t Like

  • This week, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra wants to ravish you with Rachmaninoff, so get ready for that. Yes, folks, it’s an all-Rachmaninoff program – sorry, Mom! Isle of the Dead, etudes, and his third piano concerto performed by Garrick Ohlsson. January 17 & 20 at the Meyerhoff.  [ See it! ]
  • Or, if you’d rather get just the piano concerto, the BSO is performing another one of their Off the Cuff concerts, wherein in addition to playing the piece you get history, context, and commentary on its creation, form, and place in the musical pantheon from none other than Marin Alsop. January 18 at Strathmore; January 19 the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • The National Symphony Orchestra returns and counters with its own pianist – Tzimon Barto, and I think it it is fair to say he has one of the coolest names ever – playing the Bartok Piano No. 2 – and I think we can say he’s one of the coolest composers ever. So there’s that. Also Beethoven‘s Egmont Overture and Brahm‘s second symphony. January 17 – 19. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: a rock-n-classical string quartet; jazz singers. [ See the calendar! ]

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

Are your hands holding you back?

This can be fixed with a simple call to your carpenter. Oh, and you’ll have to hire a nervous guy.

And who doesn’t know an aspiring Catmaninoff?

Person who invented this, you are a genius and my new hero.

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.

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

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! ]

Not Without My Concert Roundup

But first! A personal plea.

The nonprofit arm of my ballet studio, Performing Arts Repertory Company, is in a DC-area fundraising competition. For November 9 only, Give To The Max will track how much money is donated to PARC, as well as how many individuals donate. Depending on our ranking in both categories, we could win additional funds, which would go toward dance scholarships, workshops, and education and outreach programs, among other things. A noble cause — so you want to help, right? Donate now, before you forget — it’s tax-deductible!

I give you this concert recap in thanks for your donation. If you didn’t donate, I hope you feel really guilty right now.

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra likes to be in America — this week’s concert features Copland‘s Appalachian Spring, in addition to Old American Songs. A solid work, one people will come out for, except in this case what I’m sure they’re actually coming for is Gershwin‘s An American in Paris overture. Edward CollinsTragic overture is also in the mix. Marin Alsop to conduct, William Sharp to baritonate; November 10 & 13 at the Meyerhoff.  [See it!]
  • This week at the National Symphony Orchestra it’s The Return of Leonard Slatkin! On the conductor’s docket: Clyne, a Rachmaninoff symphony, and a Saint-Saen cello concerto performed by Gautier Capucon. November 10-12. [See it!]

Updated to add: Got this from Benevolent Dictator Jamie:

Emerson String Quartet
Baird Auditorium
Natural History Museum
November 19 at 6 PM

This concert offers an exclusive opportunity to hear the quartet
perform in an intimate setting with excellent acoustics.

Metro Stop: Federal Triangle
Walk south on 12th Street, and cross Constitution Avenue to the Natural History
Museum on the left. (NOT on the National Mall side.)

Ticket prices for students: $10*
Rush tickets are available for purchase starting at
5:30 p.m. on November 19th at the door
.
*Valid student ID required when purchasing and redeeming tickets.  Two tickets per student ID, per concert.  No refunds or exchanges available.  Subject to availability.