Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Letter V Classical Radio this week

A program of arrangements and transcriptions, including Beethoven’s piano version of his Violin Concerto, Mahler’s string orchestration of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Quartet, Luciano Berio’s orchestration of Brahms’ Clarinet Sonata in F minor, Mozart’s “Prague” Symphony remade as a string quintet by Franz Theodor Schubert (Franz Schubert’s father), and two “Kreutzers” – the violin sonata by Beethoven and the string quartet by Janáček – as recast by the most prolific string orchestrator at work today, Richard Tognietti.

May 26
1-5 p.m. EDT
1700-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

J.S. Bach: Concerto in A minor, BWV 1065
(transcription of Vivaldi’s Concerto in B minor
for four violins)
Gerald Hambitzer, Robert Hill,
Christoph Anselm Noll
& Roderick Shaw, harpsichords
Cologne Chamber Orchestra/
Helmut Müller-Brühl (Naxos)

Brahms: Sonata in F minor, Op. 102, No. 1
(orchestration by
Luciano Berio)
Fausto Ghiazza, clarinet
Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra, Milan/
Riccardo Chailly (Decca)

Mozart: Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 503 (“Prague”)
(arrangement by Franz Theodor Schubert)
Vienna Schubert Ensemble (Camerata)

Mahler: “Songs of a Wayfarer”
(arrangement by
Arnold Schoenberg)
Susan Platts,
Smithsonian Chamber Players & Santa Fe Pro Musica/Kenneth Slowik

Beethoven: Piano Concerto in D major, Op. 61a
(arrangement of Violin Concerto by Beethoven)
Ronald Brautigam, piano
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Parrott (BIS)

Past Masters:
Johann Strauss II:
“Wine, Women and Song”
(arrangement by Alban Berg)
Boston Symphony Chamber Players
(Deutsche Grammophon)
(recorded 1977)

Schubert: Quartet in D minor, D. 810 (“Death and the Maiden”)
(orchestration by Gustav Mahler)
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra/Iona Brown (Chandos)

Schubert: “Ständchen”
(transcription by
Franz Liszt)
Frederic Chiu, piano (Harmonia Mundi)

Beethoven: Sonata
in A major, Op. 47
(orchestration by
Richard Tognietti)
Camerata Bern/
Antje Weithaas (Avi)

Janáček: Quartet No. 1 (“Kreutzer Sonata”)
(orchestration by Richard Tognietti)
Australian Chamber Orchestra/Richard Tognietti (Chandos)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Atlantic Chamber Ensemble reviewed

My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, performing at St. Luke Lutheran Church:


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jackson Ward concerts moved

Because of weather conditions forecast for the weekend, the Richmond Symphony concert under its Big Tent outdoor stage in the Celebrate Jackson Ward festival has been rescheduled to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 22 in Abner Clay Park, Brook Road at Leigh Street in central Richmond.

The symphony will be joined by a festival chorus and members of Elegba Folklore Society and Virginia Repertory Theatre. The program includes works by Florence Price, James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hammerstein and others.

Festival concerts scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 21 will be staged indoors at Richmond Alternative School, 119 W. Leigh St., next door to Clay Park.

Admission is free for all festival events.

UPDATE (May 22): Richmond Symphony spokesman Scott Dodson writes that the orchestra cannot participate in the May 22 concert if the temperature remains under 65 degrees, because of potential damage to musical instruments. With or without the symphony, the 6 p.m. show will go on with Elegba, Virginia Rep and the Celebrate Jackson Ward Chorus, and other events of the final day of the festival will go on as scheduled.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Letter V Classical Radio this week

May 19
1-5 p.m. EDT
1700-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Josef Mysliveček: Concertino in E flat major
Concerto Köln/Werner Ehrhardt
(DG Archiv)

Past Masters:
Dvořák: Cello Concerto
in B minor
Pierre Fournier, cello
Berlin Philharmonic/
George Szell
(Deutsche Grammophon)
(recorded 1961)

Three Romances, Op. 94
Katherine Needleman, oboe
Jennifer Lin, piano (Genuin)

Haydn: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major
Shai Wosner, piano
Danish National Symphony Orchestra/
Nicholas Collon (Onyx)

Brahms: Sonata in E flat major, Op. 102, No. 2
Paul Neubauer, viola
Gilbert Kalish, piano (Music@Menlo)

Ben Johnston: Quartet No. 7
Kepler String Quartet
(New World Records)

Past Masters:
Mozart: Symphony No. 29 in A major, K. 201
English Chamber Orchestra/Benjamin Britten
(recorded 1971)
Webern: Quartet,
Op. 28
Emerson String Quartet
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Frescobaldi: “Fantasia terza, sopra un soggetto solo”
Gustav Leonhardt, harpsichord (Philips)

Schubert: Sonata
in B flat major, D. 960
András Schiff, fortepiano (ECM)

Poulenc: Theme and Variations
Aleck Karis, piano (Bridge)

Monday, May 16, 2016

CDs off the wall

Tim Jonze, writing for The Guardian, recounts the trauma of selling off his collection of nearly 1,000 compact discs, rendered obsolete by digital streaming services such as Spotify and music storage on his computer’s hard drive.

“Cracked plastic cases that contained magic and memories! Waving goodbye to them was surely going to break my heart,” Jonze laments:


Readers of a certain age will remember similar angst about ditching their vinyl records.

Vinyl, of course, came back into vogue. CDs, lacking several of vinyl’s advantages – sufficient size to accommodate arresting album art and readable liner notes, playability even when damaged – aren’t likely to make a comparable comeback.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Richmond Symphony reviewed

My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony’s season finale, with the Richmond Symphony Chorus joining the orchestra in “Daphnis et Chloé” by Maurice Ravel:


Friday, May 13, 2016

'Appalachian Spring' in full bloom

A symphonic orchestration of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” including all the music that the composer scored originally for a chamber ensemble, premiered this week in Dallas and will be performed in June by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop conducting.

The new completion was prepared by David Newman, working under the auspices of the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

The original score was for 13 instruments because the orchestra pit of Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress in Washington, site of the work’s 1944 premiere, could not accommodate a larger ensemble. The more commonly performed “Appalachian Spring” Suite for full orchestra, prepared by Copland in 1945, cuts about seven minutes of music, which the composer considered to be “primarily choreographic,” from the original score.

The chamber version went largely unheard until Copland led a recording of it for Columbia Masterworks (now Sony Classical) in 1973. Subsequently, that original score has been widely performed and recorded.

A partial restoration of the complete score for full orchestra was prepared for Eugene Ormandy, who recorded it in 1955 with the Philadelphia Orchestra for Columbia. That version also was recorded by Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for EMI in the 1980s.

But a complete symphonic version of the score has waited until now, Jane Levere reports on the website of New York’s WQXR radio:


(via http://www.artsjournal.com)

Marin Alsop conducts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, with the Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers, in David Newman’s symphonic completion of Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” on a program with Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé” Suite No. 2 and Thomas Adès’ “Polaris,” at 8 p.m. June 11 at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD. Tickets: $35-$99. Details: (877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office); http://www.strathmore.org