Author Topic: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)  (Read 433681 times)

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Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5320 on: March 13, 2018, 05:17:44 AM »
I enjoyed it a good bit.  The Parker Quartet played like a finely-tuned machine, with the proper ferocity and precision (and restraint, when required).  The composers each provided very brief introductions to their works from the stage.  Although I had checked out each of the pieces beforehand to know what to expect, it was still quite unfamiliar to me overall, and it was good to experience something different from the normal concert.

I should mention that the majority of the audience seemed quite appreciative.

Hans Tutschku is a German composer who works extensively in electroacoustic music; he heads Harvard's electronic music department.

Many thanks! (And adding the Parker to the apparently-inexhaustible list of string quartets today.)

--Bruce
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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5321 on: March 13, 2018, 05:22:37 AM »
Hans Tutschku is a German composer who works extensively in electroacoustic music; he heads Harvard's electronic music department.

Somehow, I had missed that! Hans managed the "effects" at the Nono concert in which Triad participated a few years ago.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5322 on: March 13, 2018, 05:26:28 AM »
Thread Duty:  In Symphony Hall this Saturday:


(Obviously, the first I shall ever have heard the Bernstein live.)

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6, Pathétique
BERNSTEIN Symphony No. 3, Kaddish

Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
Tamara Willson, soprano
Laila Robins, narrator
Tanglewood Festival Chorus,
    James Burton, conductor
The Choir of St. Paul's Harvard Square,
    John Robinson, conductor
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline NikF

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5323 on: March 18, 2018, 02:11:39 PM »
Picked up the programme for the RSNO new season. Two tickets for the opening night have already been purchased, but I'm considering buying a season ticket.

Wennäkoski: Flounce
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2
Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Cond. - Thomas Søndergård
Piano - Francesco Piemontesi
RSNO
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pjme

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5324 on: March 19, 2018, 04:16:23 AM »
Please report us back!  :)

Last Friday, in Brussels / BOZAR: Alexander Nemtin's go at The "Prefatory action" to Mysterium - based on sketches by Scriabin.

First of all: I was happy to witness the performance, even if this "Prefatory action / Acte préalable" raises a lot of questions.
 Belgian musicologist Francis Maes writes in the program notes: "Nemtin's composition has a double meaning. It is both a tribute to and a respectful treachery against Scriabin's project. An homage because it pays tribute to an exceptional composer, treachery because Scriabin never thought of the Prefatory action as a concert piece proper."
Undoubtedly, Nemtin's efforts and devotion are more than just a "labour of love". He gave almost 30 years of his life studying and (re)working (on) Scriabin's sketches.
In 1996 the cycle was complete:

Universe (1972 - this part apparently uses most of the original material - lasts ca. 40 mins.)
Mankind (1976-1980) ca. 50 mins.
Transfiguration (1996) ca. 65 mins.

It is unclear to me how Nemtin managed to expand those ca 50-60 pages of sketches into a mammoth composition lasting ca. 2hrs40. He used some piano works, but most of it surely must be of his own invention.

General impression: almost three hours of mostly very densely orchestrated music, shifting restlesly from climax to climax makes for a very long sit. There was an interval after part two - many people did not return for Transfiguration...

"Prefatory action" sounds most of the time as a vastly enlarged, pumped up version & combination of Poème de l'extase and Promethée, poème du feu. But it remains, IMHO, amorphous.
Alexander Gindhin effortlessly worked his way through a myriad of scintillating notes, arpeggios and trills, soprano Nadezhda Gulitskaya was a superhuman onde Martenot / Theremin and the Hungarian Radio Chorus was able to switch in a split second from silky "Sirènes" to growling Maenads or Scythian warriors on a killing raid.

Brass and heavy percussion (tam tam and bass drum) had a field day. The poor guy at the triangle surely has RSI in his wrists today, fighting an uneven battle against the thundering timpany and the cymbals. Even the prominent/important tubular bells part was often drowned out. Compliments must go to the first trumpet : many dangerously exposed, high lying motifs and not one false note (I think!). I was underwhelmed by the organ contributions. I only heard a lot of deep booming pedal-sounds .

Stanislav Kochanovsky was impressive: cool and assured. Yet it may have been the first time he conducted this work.
The Belgian National Orchestra "au grand complet" was definitely on a high. I have no idea how many rehearsals the musicians were offered, but they seemed to cope well with instructions as :
"de plus en plus triomphant", "écroulement formidable", grandiose et énigmatique", "giubiloso", "joie sublime extatique", "quasi niente", "terrifiant", "doux, frémissant", "dans un vertige" and other "épanouissements de forces mystérieuses"...!! (from the score - Messiaen and Miklos Rozsa, eat your heart out!).

Scriabin spent ten years dreaming of an impossible, utopian project : Mysterium. He dreamed of a week long mystery play, to be performed at a sacred site in India. Not only would both artists and audience "merge" and be emotionally drawn into the rite, it would initiate a process, culminating in some sort of apocalyps and usher in a new era for humanity.... on a different spiritual level! Scriabin self would be more than just a composer. He would become a priest, a godlike creature using art that had the power to change the world. And, yes, Scriabin was serious about this all.

Scriabin's sources of inspiration are fascinating : symbolism, Nietsche, Wagner, Debussy...and Helena Blavatsky's (guru and charlatan!) theosophy:

"In Blavatsky’s views, the consciousness of the material body evolved to the universal spirit, or from rupa to atma, in the terminology of Hinduism. This movement
runs parallel with the development of the cosmos, from the material to the divine plane. This occurs in cycles of seven planes. That is why Scriabin originally conceived his Mysterium as an event that would take place for seven days and nights. Blavatsky predicted that mankind would achieve the level of astral body (linga sharira) but that the higher levels  would only occur in a distant future. Scriabin hoped to correct her. His Mysterium would accelerate the entire cosmic transformation and abolish the
material existence. Was there no resistance against Scriabin’s rather idiosyncratic theories? From 1909, he was in regular contact with mystical symbolists. His closest friend was the poet Vyacheslav Ivanov. Like Scriabin, Ivanov believed in the transformative power of art. He did not agree with his premise that one single artwork could cause a cosmic upheaval, however. Ivanov started to doubt Scriabin’s mental well-being. “Scriabin is unstable... there is something wrong with him, he has a serious spiritual condition.”

Anyway, Scriabin was sufficiently lucid enough to realise that Mysterium would remain an utopia. He started thinking about a work - The Prefatory Action - that would guide, would ease in mankind to the next level. Alas, since he died in 1915, he wasn't able to finish this Gesamtkunstwerk

I almost forget to mention the "light design". The program notes of the concert do not clearly indicate who worked on this version of the "tastiera per luce". Nor is it clear if Scriabin mentioned a "luce" in his sketches for the Prefatory action. In order to prevent "a collective epileptic attack", the (Belgian?)designers opted for a "slow luce". They tried "to make a light plan that was almost fully justified on a musicological level, as well as being aesthetically satisfying and having a logical structure."
Large spots of coloured light were projected onto the walls of the hall (red for "life and will", blue for "eternity" etc.). Not bad or annoying, but the intensity of the music managed, for me at last, to swallow everything else....

Still, an interesting experience - a strange and intriguing composition that invites to read more about an important period in the history of art and philosophy. And I will listen again to more and real Scriabin.
P.


Offline André

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5325 on: March 19, 2018, 06:02:21 AM »
Very interesting article, pjme, you should submit it for publication !

Listening to « real » Scriabin is indeed all that’s feasible for us mere mortals... :)

Offline NikF

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5326 on: March 20, 2018, 10:45:22 AM »
My season ticket enquiry revealed that it doesn't cover the chamber music series of the RSNO, so these are purchased separately.


Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 1
Schubert: Piano Quintet in A major

Piano - Benjamin Grosvenor
Members of the RSNO

---

Beethoven: Trio in C major
Françaix: Divertissement for Wind Trio
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasilerias No.6 for Flute and Bassoon
Devienne: Trio in B flat, Op. 61 No. 5
Ibert: Cinq pieces en trio

Flute - Katherine Bryan
Members of the RSNO

---

Bartok: Contrasts
Milhaud: Suite for Clarinet, Violin and Piano
Khachaturian: Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano

Violin - Tamás Fejes
Members of the RSNO

The makings of some pleasant Sunday afternoons. I'm especially looking forward to my first time hearing the Op.25 performed live.
"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5327 on: March 20, 2018, 02:47:55 PM »
That clarinet, violin, piano trio concert looks like good fun, NikF! It's a great little ensemble to compose for and very satisfying to hear in performance. I hope you enjoy!

Offline NikF

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5328 on: March 20, 2018, 03:02:03 PM »
That clarinet, violin, piano trio concert looks like good fun, NikF! It's a great little ensemble to compose for and very satisfying to hear in performance. I hope you enjoy!

Thanks, jessop. I get a lot from live performances, and that one is something I'm certainly looking forward to.
"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5329 on: March 21, 2018, 08:29:27 AM »
This Saturday:

Bernstein: Symphony No. 2 "Age of Anxiety" (Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4
Boston Symphony Orchestra, cond. Nelsons
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline Ainsi la nuit

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5330 on: March 21, 2018, 05:19:11 PM »
I'm hearing Bruckner's 5th symphony live for the first time next week, played by the Helsinki Philharmonic under the direction of John Storgårds, the orchestra's previous chief conductor. It's going to be a real treat, since it's one of the few remaining Bruckner symphonies I haven't been able to catch in a concert yet - and to add some more frustration into that, I already had a ticket some time ago to a concert with it in the programme, only to miss it because of some silly, but important, real life obligation. Sigh! Anyhow, I'm looking forward to that a lot. Bruckner always shakes me to my very core, especially in a concert setting.

I'm a bit jealous about Mahlerian's concert in the post above this one; both items are works that I enjoy tremendously. Shostakovich's 4th is - in my humble opinion, obviously - his most directly expressive work, a stunning statement by a still-young composer. I don't think he ever wrote a finer symphony, even though the 14th and the 15th are very strong contenders in my eyes. As for the Bernstein, I've only recently gotten to know it but it's a fascinating work, if not quite as brilliant as the Serenade for violin and orchestra. Enjoy!

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5331 on: March 23, 2018, 05:41:36 AM »
This Saturday:

Bernstein: Symphony No. 2 "Age of Anxiety" (Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4
Boston Symphony Orchestra, cond. Nelsons

Well . . . ditto  8)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5332 on: March 23, 2018, 05:42:58 AM »
As for the Bernstein, I've only recently gotten to know it but it's a fascinating work, if not quite as brilliant as the Serenade for violin and orchestra. Enjoy!

Interesting; I am inclined to prefer The Age of Anxiety slightly.  But I am in complete agreement that these are two of my very favorite Bernstein scores.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline listener

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5333 on: March 25, 2018, 01:58:48 AM »
last night, Vancouver Symphony, Bramwell Tovey cond.
BERNSTEIN: West Side Story - Symphonic Dances
MAHLER: Symphony no.4   Tracey Dahl soprano
  -  a lot of contrasts this evening
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5334 on: March 25, 2018, 08:10:23 AM »
This Saturday:

Bernstein: Symphony No. 2 "Age of Anxiety" (Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4
Boston Symphony Orchestra, cond. Nelsons

Fantastic concert.  Based on both the number of people in the audience and the wide swath of demographics represented therein, one would never imagine that some consider the symphony moribund.  Nelsons provided alert and nuanced interpretations, especially of his beloved Shostakovich, and stayed away from the podium dancing of his earlier days in Boston.

I had not realized before attending the concert how well the two works were paired, and they did truly seem to complement each other.  Forgetting the obligation to program Bernstein's music as frequently as possible during this centenary year, it truly was an appropriate and meaningful choice that placed these two specific works, of all others in their respective composers' oeuvres, in dialogue.

The Bernstein proceeded through its pensive introduction at a deliberate pace.  Nothing was to be rushed, and the beautiful tone of the Boston Symphony's clarinets provided an apt emotional response to both score and (in spite of the composer's protestations) program.  The entry of Thibaudet's piano seemed to promise an answer to the questions posed by the opening, but it too was searching through the composer's variations without a theme (shades of Shostakovich's finale).  The dirge that followed the opening part built up gradually to a fearsome climax (on a 12-note chord like Shostakovich's in the first movement) before launching into forced merriment.  Finally, an offstage upright piano, in dialogue with a trumpet onstage, ushered in the final section, where an affirmation of faith concluded the work in a grand manner.

When the Shostakovich Fourth began, its opening was attacked with relentless brutality.  Nelsons began the symphony at a quick pace, and the fearsome machinery of the work came to life, sometimes seeming to grind to halt, sometimes lurching back into motion from near-stasis.  Many of the subtle touches in the development of the movement were given loving attention, from the bass clarinet solo to those few celesta chords presaging the coda of the finale.  Naturally, the fierce string fugato coming near (but, teasingly, not at) the end of the development was given particular attention and played with frightening precision here, and the 12-note chord that prepared for the return of the opening (followed by the second theme, not the first) was equally terrifying.  And in spite of the violent writhing which characterized portions of the movement, and which Nelsons attacked with abandon, the architecture of the whole was both solid and clearly articulated; no other composer save Alban Berg responded to the Mahler's Sixth as intelligently as Shostakovich in this movement.

The clarity and relative simplicity of the scherzo provides the clearest anchor in this work for those who have yet to come to terms with its "difficult" outer movements, and yet even here the counterpoint twists the simple diatonic motifs into dense thickets, and the often grotesque, shrill instrumentation that was one of Shostakovich's hallmarks and a crucial part of his inheritance from Mahler meant that even this movement could not be respite for those looking to escape the work's relentless drive.  The Boston Symphony's percussion and harps closed the movement with the eerie and obsessive repetition of a pattern that sounds like nothing so much as a clock winding down.

If socialist realism can be said to have any actual content as a doctrine rather than exist as an excuse for condemning works of art simply because this or that individual dislikes them, then it consists in forthrightness, optimism, and accessibility.  Shostakovich's finale provides all of these things before subverting them just as rapidly.  Nelsons began the movement at a slow trudge, its dirge coming as the other side of the opening movement's march.  The upwards-rising motif that would dominate the outer portions of the movement outlines the so-called Viennese trichord, a perfect fourth followed by an augmented fourth, and I have to wonder whether this symbol of the Second Viennese School was used with an awareness of this heritage.

Fanfares of affirmation rang out all too insistently, and the relatively benign searching continuation that followed did not yet intimate anything of the madness to come, but soon enough the lower strings began to repeat a vehemently attacked minor third, and the stream-of-consciousness that forms the interior part of the finale began.  Like the Bernstein variations earlier, there is no primary theme forming the backbone of this section; Shostakovich takes up some element of the immediately preceding music and continues to develop from there.  Here we encounter a sequence of popular forms of all kinds, their apparent cheerfulness at odds not only with the music that preceded them but also with the harmony and the instrumentation which distorted their visage.

Gradually a simple, wistful theme develops out of the waltz material and the relentless onslaught of moods and characters comes to a standstill.  The low strings repeat an ostinato taken from the scherzo of Mahler's Second (signifying the drudgery of life, remember), and the timpani lead to a peroration that seems to imply a C major conclusion to the work.  Nelsons and the Boston Symphony played out to the fullest here, letting the clashes come to the fore when the march theme from the beginning of the movement collides with the fanfares.  Then the music died down and the long, agonizing coda began.  It had never felt so long in any recording as it did here in performance, as the last scraps of the march in the trumpet echoed in the immobile static texture, as did the waltz in the strings.  When the celesta entered, one was sure that there would be no final resurgence of the triumphal material, no final affirmation as Bernstein hands to us directly.  The silence that followed the question at the ending was remarkable, and the audience sat rapt with attention until Nelsons finally put down his hands.
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline Judith

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5335 on: March 25, 2018, 11:53:35 PM »
Been to. (Don't know if there is a separate thread. Please let me know if there is and feel free to move)

Yesterday evening
Leeds Town Hall

City of Leeds Youth Orchestra
Conducted by Dougie Scarfe

Britten Symphonic Suite Gloriana
Puccini Fantasy on themes from La Boheme
Holst The Planets

The whole performance was amazing. Lovely to support knowing that they will be tomorrows musicians:)

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5336 on: March 26, 2018, 11:21:52 PM »
tonight  Vancouver Symphony
MOZART: Violin Concerto #5 in A 'Turkish"
Pinkas Zukerman violin and conductor       first of the only two Mozart works being played this season
R. STRAUSS: Don Quixote
Amanda Forsyth cello  Zukerman, viola    Bramwell Tovey cond.
presented with subtitles - very effective.     Tenor tuba and bass clarinet seated together as they share similar lines
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Offline knight66

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5337 on: March 31, 2018, 02:55:05 PM »
On the 4th April I am off to catch the cinema live broadcast of the Royal Opera House Macbeth, iy is getting rave reviews, so I am looking forward to real drama.

The following night it is live Strauss Ariadne from Scottish Opera in Edinburgh.

Mike
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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5338 on: April 01, 2018, 05:10:23 PM »
Flying into chicago later in the month, will take in 3 concerts: Muti conducting Ravel and Tchaikovsky, Pollini playing Chopin, and a vocal ensemble doing Orff and LvB.  REALLY looking forward to these.
It's all good...

Offline king ubu

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #5339 on: April 08, 2018, 12:54:07 AM »
... Pollini playing Chopin ...

Just Chopin, or Schumann/Chopin - he was on tour in Europe with a Schumann/Chopin programme, it was quite amazing actually (although he didn't pull it all off in the manner he expected).
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Und do die roten röslein stan:
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Kannstu nit, ich wills dich lern.
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