Sunday, October 23, 2016

Richmond Symphony reviewed

My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony with pianist Anton Nel, performing at Dominion Arts Center:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Letter V Classical Radio this week

This week, I trade time slots with Mark Lederway, my fellow WDCE highbrow. On Tuesday I’ll survey new and recent classical recordings – Brahms from violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Jeremy Denk; Mozart from fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra; Stravinsky from JoAnn Falletta and the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players; Tchaikovsky from Vasily Petrenko abd the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; Debussy from Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

Oct. 18
noon-4 p.m. EDT
1600-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Debussy: “Jeux”

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/
Michael Tilson Thomas
(SFS Media)

Piano Concerto No. 12
in A major, K. 414
Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano
Freiburg Baroque Orchestra/
Gottfried von der Goltz
(Harmonia Mundi)

Vijay Iyer: “Run”
J.S. Bach: Suite in C major, BWV 1009 – Prelude
Matt Haimovitz, cello

Dan Visconti: “Black Bend”
Fifth House Ensemble

“Märchenbilder,” Op. 113
Jodi Levitz, viola
Eric Zivian, fortepiano

Brahms: Piano Trio
in B major, Op. 8
(original version)
Joshua Bell, violin
Steven Isserlis, cello
Jeremy Denk, piano
(Sony Classical)

Stravinsky: “L’histoire du soldat” Suite
Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players/
JoAnn Falletta

Tchaikovsky: Symphony
No. 2 in C minor
(“Little Russian”)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/
Vasily Petrenko

George Onslow:
Quartet in D minor, Op. 45
Elan Quartet

Ginastera: Harp Concerto
Yolanda Kondanassis, harp
Oberlin Orchestra/Raphael Jiménez
(Oberlin Music)

Weekend concerts reviewed

My reviews for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of programs exploring Latin-American music by the Richmond Symphony at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland and the Sphinx Virtuosi and Catalyst Quartet at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center, and of the Parker Quartet with violist Kim Kashkashian, performing in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rennolds Chamber Concerts series:

CORRECTION (Oct. 18): The Catalyst Quartet’s management sends word that the ensemble’s first violinist, featured in Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas brasileiras” No. 5, was Suliman Tekalli. The print review credits a former member, who was listed in the Modlin Center brochure.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Nobel for music?

As Bob Dylan is tapped for a Nobel Prize in literature – not an unreasonable choice, at least for his song lyrics from the 1960s (e.g., “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”) – The New Republic’s Ryu Spaeth wonders why there isn’t a Nobel for music:

Gordon Ball, visiting associate professor of English at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA, writes for The Washington Post that since 1996 he has been writing to the Nobel Prize committee recommending Dylan for the literature prize. As have others:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Letter V Classical Radio this week

A hail and farewell edition:

– Remembering Neville Marriner, founder and longtime director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, who died at 92 on Oct. 2. We’ll hear three of his classic recordings with the academy, of works by Handel, Mozart and Vaughan Williams.

– Saluting Steve Reich, one of the most influential American composers of our time, who celebrated his 80th birthday on Oct. 3. We’ll mark that milestone with two of Reich’s finest works: “Tehillim,” his 1981 setting of Psalm texts (bracketed by contrasting Psalm settings of Anton Bruckner and Leonard Bernstein); and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet, played by eighth blackbird, the group that premiered the work on March 26, 2008 at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center.

Oct. 12
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Past Masters:

Handel: Concerto grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/
Neville Marriner
(recorded 1967)

Mozart: Piano Concerto
No. 21 in C major, K. 467
Alfred Brendel, piano
Academy of St. Martin
in the Fields/
Neville Marriner

Past Masters:
Vaughan Williams:
“Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis”
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/
Neville Marriner
(recorded 1972)
Bruckner: Psalm 150
Juliet Booth, soprano

Jean Rigby, mezzo-soprano
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Gwynne Howell, bass
Corydon Singers

& Orchestra/
Matthew Best

Steve Reich: “Tehillim”
Percussion Group

The Hague
Schönberg Ensemble/

Reinbert de Leeuw

Bernstein: “Chichester Psalms”
Elizabeth Franklin-Kitchen, soprano
Victoria Nayler, alto
Jeremy Budd, tenor
Paul Charrier, bass
Bournemouth Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/
Marin Alsop

Mendelssohn: Octet
in E flat major, Op. 20
Shanghai Quartet
Bartók Quartet

Steve Reich: Double Sextet
eighth blackbird

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Symphony's Come and Play

Registration is now underway for Come and Play, an annual event in which some 300 community musicians perform alongside members of the Richmond Symphony.

Come and Play will be staged on Nov. 20 at the Verizon Wireless Arena
of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center, Broad and Harrison streets.

Chia-Hsuan Lin,
the symphony’s associate conductor, will lead a rehearsal from 2:30 to 5 p.m., with the concert beginning at 6 p.m. Admission to the concert is free.

Repertory includes classical and pops selections, to be announced later.

Positions for community musicians are filled on a first-come, first-seated basis, with a limited number of openings in each instrumental section. Once sections are filled, applicants may join a waiting list. The registration fee is $6.

Come and Play, now in its 10th year, is presented in support of music education in Richmond area schools.

To register, or obtain more information, visit

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

No radio this week

After a medical procedure, I’m temporarily out of commission. Letter V Classical Radio is taking an enforced week off.