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Concert Roundup, Mostly

I shall complete this! I swear!

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra wants you to know that they consider Dvorak and Brahms lyrical. I know this because this week’s concert is titled “Lyrical Dvorak and Brahms.”  For the former, his eighth symphony gets the nod, and in the case of the latter, it’s the second piano concerto. November 15 & 16 at the Meyerhoff; November 17 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • I can’t seem to get the National Symphony Orchestra page to load, and according to downforeveryoneorjustme.com it’s not just me. I’ll have to check back later, but never fear, I’ll update this page in a couple hours! Or as soon as the page goes back up. You know. EDITED TO ADD: Okay, the site is back! And you have two choices of concert to boot! First is an educational presentation/concert hybrid wherein conductor Vasily Petrenko explores Shostakovich‘s fourth symphony on November 16. Or if you prefer, on November 15 & 17 you can get the Shostakovich plus Tchaikovsky‘s famous violin concerto, although minus the multimedia presentation. [ See the Shostakovich! ] [ See the Tchaikovsky too! ]
  • The American University orchestra has a series of concerts this weekend, but more on that tomorrow! 😀
  • This week at Strathmore: jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller. [ See the calendar! ]

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

Early Concert Roundup Consort

Edited to add that I really should’ve edited this intro before I published. Oh well. Hi!

  • A nifty lineup this week at the Baltimore Symphony OrchestraTchaikovsky‘s fourth symphony, Bartok‘s third piano concerto, and selections from Dvorak‘s Slavonic Dances. Really can’t argue with any of that (unfortunately; I’m so much wittier in opposition). October 19 & 21 at the Meyerhoff; October 20 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • Speaking of the BSO, they’re still looking for people to sign on to their Ambassador program, wherein you receive points for sharing BSO-related content on your social networks; these points can then be turned in for prizes. [ Learn more! ]
  • No National Symphony Orchestra concert this week.
  • The Bach Sinfonia starts of the season with everyone’s favorite Music for the Royal Fireworks by Handel, plus works by Avison, Boyce, and BondOctober 21. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: late Renaissance and early Baroque music with Guido’s Ear, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, D.C.-area songwriters. [ See the calendar! ]

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

There Are Many Blogs, But There Is Only ONE Concert Roundup

Ludwig in the house!

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra demonstrates that they are both wise and learned by played Beethoven‘s – well, hell, I could finish that sentence with anything, but in this case it’s his third symphony, “Eroica.” Also Schumann‘s violin concerto performed by Kolja Blacher and Rebel‘s The Elements: Chaos. But mostly Beethoven. October 4 at Strathmore; October 5 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • The National Symphony Orchestra demonstrates that they are neither wise nor learned by performing the overture to Tchaikovsky‘s Romeo and Juliet. Oh, that was mean – lots of stupid people like it. I mean people like it! Oh, Piotr, you know I love you. Also a selection from Wagner‘s Tristan und Isolde, some Lieberson, and more Tchaikovsky, to cleanse the palate. October 4 – 6. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: traditional Mexican music and dance, classical Indian music, and – please turn off your cell phones – the incomparable Patti LuPone. [ See the calendar! ]

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

Drop it like it’s hot, Mr. Perlman

You simply cannot begin to imagine the extent of my supreme joy when Stephen Colbert announced that his guest tonight was Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman. Or maybe you can – everyone loves Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman!

EDIT: I very much apologize for my inability to get the embed code to work, but I am SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED about these videos that I’m just going to post the links. Okay? Again, I’m really sorry, but it’s Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman, people!

You should know that when Colbert said “Drop it like it’s hot” I laughed and clapped a little.

Please turn on your cell phones

I’m pretty sure this is what Tchaikovsky always had in mind anyway.

O Say Can You See The Concert Roundup?

Annnnnnd we’re back.

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra busts out their annual Star-Spangled Spectacular, full of all the sorts of music you might expect from a concert so titled: Tchaikovsky, Sousa, the works – and fireworks at the end! July 3 & 4 at Oregon Ridge. [ See it! ]
  • This week the National Symphony Orchestra is at Wolf Trap, taking a break from the whole classical thing. July 6 features “Broadway ROCKS!”, which I can only assume is exactly what it sounds like. July 7 is the music of John Williams, to which I say ::mimes the universal sign for “I’m watching you::. [ See the Broadway thing! ] [ See the John Williams thing! ]
  • Nothing at Strathmore this week, but don’t forget that there are more free Wednesday concerts on the horizon.

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


  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


  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


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


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


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


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

The machines will never replace us (not on my watch)

In the concert hall, how do you tell the seasoned sophisticates from the plebes? Easy! It’s all about knowing when to clap. Everyone knows that you hold your applause to the very end of the piece; that’s just how it’s done.

Last week I attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s concert featuring NADJA-SALERNO SONNENBERG, in which she played the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. She received a standing ovation.

After the first movement.

And no one minded, because she bloody well brought the house down, with her swaying and her stomping and her passionate frenzy of notes, but also with her smiles and winks and a playful spirit, just her and her buddy Piotr knocking out a few bars for the joy of it. She got a second, full-audience standing ovation after the third and final movement, because she’s NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG and don’t you forget it.

But she’s by no means the only big-name concert violinist out there. I would even wager she’s not among THE most famous. A big deal, certainly, but somewhat less educated people might think first of, say, Pinchas Zuckerman, or for your more modern sensibilities, Hilary Hahn.

Hmmm. That’s odd. I’ve been to live performances by both, and on neither occasion were there multiple, spontaneous standing ovations.(This is the part of the post where I start to duck and move. I’m looking at you, CMcGo, aka Mr. Hahn.)

I talked about this with my mother the other day, and she pointed out that both Hahn and Zuckerman are considered classicists, concerned with perfection and purity of form and note. To which I say: BOOOOOOORING. If you want perfection, program it into a computer. Who decided classical music has to be clean enough for surgery? And who decided that the only acceptable facial expressions are those of intensity or in some cases anger? Why can’t a soloist hunker down into the music and really ENJOY it? And, like, y’know, grin and stuff?

The BSO followed NADJA with a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and again I say: it was too clean. This is music for pagan ritual; is it wrong to expect some rawness? I want a Rite that bleeds at the edges, but it seemed a study of caution as the watchword. No thank you. Bring back NADJA. Bring back classical music with some individual personality.

So! I now invite your rebuttal. Do you think my acknowledged hero-worship of NADJA colors my opinion of her performance? Do you think Hilary Hahn is a goddess (CMcGo) and intend to murder me for my sins against her? Do you think perfection should be the goal after all? And if you do, answer me this: then why SHOULDN’T we just program our music into a computer and call it a day?

Composer Cagematch! FINAL ROUND: Mozart vs. Beethoven

Well, I’m sure we’re all shocked.

Yes, Tchaikovsky did have a solid lead there for awhile. Yes, Brahms did get a vote. But was there any real doubt as to who would come to the ultimate ring?

I’m not going to offer an opinion here; longtime readers know exactly where I stand, anyway. Regardless, remember the purpose of the Composer Cagematch!, make like the lead in a chick flick, and choose the man who has your heart, not your head (and if you have to kiss the monitor, fine; just don’t tell me about it, ya weirdo).

So. It is down to you, and it is down to me. Because in this corner, he wouldn’t let Tchaikovsky escape from the seraglio! It’s


And in this corner, there are many princes, and none of them are Brahms! It’s


Choose wisely, young one. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance.

A Concert Roundup Just for Me


  • And here’s why: the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, ends its regular season with NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG OMG SQUEEEEEEEEE! That’s not enough; I’ll say it again. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Performing Tchaikovsky‘s violin concerto! ^_^ Also Kevin Puts‘ fourth symphony and – squeesqueesquee – Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring! SQUEEEEE! I am ten seconds away from combusting from excitementNADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG, PEOPLE! June 7, 8, & 10 at the Meyerhoff; June 9 at Strathmore and I’ll see you there!  [ See it! ]
  • The National Symphony Orchestra does not have NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG, but it does offer Claudio Bohorquez on the cello, Berlioz‘s Roman Carnival overture, the Lalo cello concerto in d minor, and Tchaikovsky‘s fifth symphony. June 7 – 9. [ See it! ]
  • Strathmore just announced their 2012-2013 season; you should check it out immediately! Classical highlights include Maurizio Pollini and Jennifer Koh. [ See the season! ]