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Saint-Saens

This tag is associated with 22 posts

An elephant never forgets how to play the piano

If only Saint-Saens had seen this. Carnival of the Animals could have been so much more LITERAL.

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The Concert Roundup Will Be Represented by the Flute


  • No Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert this week.
  • But never fear – the National Symphony Orchestra is offering two! Remember our boy Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who is always hanging in my apartment? Well, he’s hitting the piano for some MacMillan (June 20) or, if you prefer, Saint-Saens (June 21 & 22). Plus Lutoslawski and – SQUEE! – Grieg‘s Peer Gynt! Yay! June 20 – 22. [ See it! ]
  • Alternatively, the NSO is offering this as a kid’s concert, but DEFY LABELS, I say, because: PROKOFIEV‘S PETER AND THE WOLF! I think I speak for all of us when I say “Peter, don’t just stand that way!June 22. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: Singer-songwriter and bassist Owen Danoff. [ See the calendar! ]

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

A Concert Roundup, Where We Lay Our Scene

  • Look, up in the sky! It’s Tchaikovsky! No, it’s Berlioz! No, it’s PROKOFIEV! Which is my ridiculous and convoluted way of saying that this week the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, which, if you weren’t aware, is better than anyone else’s. So yay for that! Also a piece by Prangcharoen and Saint-Saens‘ third piano concerto. May 23 & 24 at the Meyerhoff; May 25 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • The National Symphony Orchestra breaks out the NSO Pops to play with Trey Anastasio of Phish. No. Really. I promise I’m not making this up. Apparently he composes? And there’ll be some orchestrations of Phish songs? Interesting. Hey Trey, d’you feel like being interviewed by a plucky young blogger? May 22. [ See it! ]
  • The NSO is also performing a free Memorial Day concert at the Capitol building on Sunday with the usual assortment of military music ensembles and patriotic music. May 26. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: fiddler Rickie Simpkins; a discussion of arts and their impact on the development of the adult brain. [ See the calendar! ]

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

Concert Roundup Has Beef Jerky

I know this is a lot to get through. If you get hungry later, I have beef jerky.*

  • Oh! Oh oh oh! Yes! Good! The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is performing Saint-Saens‘ organ symphony this week! I love that piece, especially the bit where it’s in Epcot! Plus an organ concerto by Poulenc and the famous Dukas Sorcerer’s Apprentice. March 14 & 17 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Or! If you’d rather just the Saint-Saens‘ organ symphony, the BSO presents another one of their Off the Cuff concerts, wherein conductor Marin Alsop and the organist, Felix Hall, go in depth on the history and musicality of this super-amazing piece. March 15 at Strathmore; March 16 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • If you’re in the market for something lighter and more holiday-themed, the National Symphony Orchestra busts out the NSO Pops this week for a concert with The Chieftains, who I am assured are Irish so it all fits thematically for the weekend. “The Wearing O’ the Green” is part of the program so I believe it. March 14 – 16. [ See it! ]
  • This week at StrathmoreJazz singer Integriti Reeves; Bach Choir of Bethlehem performing Mendelssohn‘s Elijah, cutting-edge classical ensemble NOW Ensemble; choral music by the Eric Whitacre Singers. [ See the calendar! ]

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

* This is an inside joke with my IRL friends and you can feel free to ignore it. And/or wish you knew me IRL so that you, too, could enjoy off-handed comments about dried beef.

The perfect time for a danse macabre

Good morning! How’s your hurricane experience going? Pretty good over here so far! Don’t worry – last week was bad, so logically this week has to be good, right? It’s Halloween week, too! And in that spirit:

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…

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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?

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! ]

Composer Cagematch! Round 3: Grieg vs. Brahms

I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

And by “shocked” I of course mean “not remotely surprised.” How about you? Are you beyond flabbergasted that, in this late-round fight, Tchaikovsky took down Copland? Although in fairness, I do want to point out that I never expected Copland to advance past his first-round competition against Dvorak, so a round of applause for a solid competitor, who still loses so that’s the last we’ll be thinking about him.

Now let’s finish up round three with a match that should be similarly fraught with suspense. But first I just wanted to point out that when criminals in this world appear and break the laws that they should fear and frighten all who see or hear the cry goes up both far and near for

EEEEEEEEEEEDVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD GRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEG

(As a side note, he choreographed Saint-Saens a whole new danse; he’s also in a corner.)

And in this corner, he proved Mahler to be no titan! It’s

JOOOOOOHAAAAAAAAANNEEEEEEEEEEEEEES BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHMS

Battle… FIGHT!

P.S. When Polly’s in trouble I am not slow. It’s hip, hip, hip and away I go!

CAMEL SAYNT-SAYENS!

Because whoever heard of a man named Camille?

Everyone knows about my extreme loyalty to Disney, but I gotta say, Warner Brothers sure has done classical music proud. Ya got your golden magic slingshot, your three little pigs, and now a, shall we say, singular production of Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. Which, if you didn’t know, he was rather ashamed of. I wonder if this is why?