Author Topic: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)  (Read 528513 times)

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Offline toledobass

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #680 on: May 15, 2008, 08:14:07 AM »
Tonight at Carnegie:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Bernard Haitink, Principal Conductor
Kelley O'Connor, Mezzo-Soprano

Ravel: Menuet antique 
Peter LiebersonNeruda Songs 
Mahler: Symphony No. 1

--Bruce


I really can't imagine taking upon the daunting task of singing those songs. 

Allan

Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #681 on: May 15, 2008, 11:17:03 AM »
I really can't imagine taking upon the daunting task of singing those songs. 

Allan

True, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's touching version will be hard to forget (if that's what you meant).   :'(  The songs are so good, though, they should really become concert hall staples.

--Bruce
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Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #682 on: May 16, 2008, 07:58:01 AM »
Tonight:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Bernard Haitink, Principal Conductor

Haydn: Symphony No. 101 in D Major, "The Clock"  
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 43 

Can't wait for the Shostakovich, especially!

--Bruce
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karlhenning

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #683 on: May 16, 2008, 08:21:30 AM »
If I may say so, Bruce: yowza!

Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #684 on: May 16, 2008, 08:32:40 AM »
I feel very lucky to have heard the Shostakovich 4 live fairly recently (last December) and came away thinking this might--repeat, might--be his greatest symphony.  I have Haitink's studio recording (which I haven't heard in a long time) but have never heard him do it live. 

Also, the way the orchestra was playing last night... :o...quite, quite impressive.

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M forever

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #685 on: May 16, 2008, 10:36:50 AM »
I didn't make it to the concert last night because I had food poisoning! As it turned out, the fruit salad I had for breakfast in the hotel wasn't "the healthy choice" after all  :o

Fortunately, since I also had a lot of work to do and wasn't sure if I would make it in any case, I didn't buy a ticket, although I know there was some risk it might be sold out. I checked availability of seats regularly, and it got fairly close. But then I couldn't go anyway.

So, how was the bass thing in the third movement? How different did it sound to the way we normally hear it, with one bass? Did they play all with mutes on? Did they manage to play that really in tune? I am not asking because I doubt they can, but that passage is simply very difficult to get in tune. It is not really difficult, but it lies really awkwardly on the fingerboard.

Fortunately, I am feeling better today and I am still in town, so I just bought a nice ticket (parquet 24 H) for tonight, so now I am looking forward to that! My first time in Carnegie Hall!

I actually heard DSCH4 live very recently, maybe 6 weeks or so ago, with the BSO conducted by Mark Elder. Elder made a little speech before the concert, he talked about the music and said that the BSO hadn't played the piece in 25 years. They certainly played it technically very well, but Elder and the orchestra didn't connect so well, so while his conducting was very "animated", the performance was rather stiff and angular. This was only the second time I ever heard it live, the other time was in the mid-late 80s with the RSO Berlin conducted by Rostropovich - a devastating performance. Back then, the music still had very contemporary rather than just historical relevance. The iron curtain was still up, and in Berlin, we were right on the edge of the Eastern Block - the Philharmonie at that time was only a few hundred feet from the Wall -, so hearing that message from the other side of the iron curtain was particularly intense.

Offline MishaK

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #686 on: May 16, 2008, 03:24:55 PM »
I feel very lucky to have heard the Shostakovich 4 live fairly recently (last December) and came away thinking this might--repeat, might--be his greatest symphony.  I have Haitink's studio recording (which I haven't heard in a long time) but have never heard him do it live. 

A little birdie tells me that the DSCH 4 from this past week's Chicago concerts may make it onto a future CSOResound release.  ;)

I didn't make it to the concert last night because I had food poisoning! As it turned out, the fruit salad I had for breakfast in the hotel wasn't "the healthy choice" after all  :o

Ouch! Hope you feel better.

They certainly played it technically very well, but Elder and the orchestra didn't connect so well

What orchestra does Elder connect with? Your above description could be applied to the concerts I heard him give here. We seem to be getting a disproportionate amount of Elder here in Chicago lately. He's doing a whole Dvorak festival for the last several weeks of next season.

M forever

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #687 on: May 16, 2008, 08:29:32 PM »
Sorry to hear that!  ;) Well, there aren't that many really good conductors around anymore, so I guess orchestras have to take what they can get...Elder reminded me a lot of Eschenbach in his clumsy gesturing which didn't really transmit to the orchestra.

Anyway, the concert tonight was very good. Not really special, but very solid and good. The orchestra played very well on the whole, especially the violins and the basses pleased with crisp and finely chiseled playing although the middle string sections were competent, but rather pale and didn't fill out the sound very well. The result was a slender and well articulated, but anemic string sound. The brass was basically very good, but while they actually sounded very good in pianos, the pressed and thinnish sound they produce in f and ff may be relatively "loud", but it fails to fill the room. The sound more pokes at you from behind the orchestra than really coming at you in a broad wave of sound. A couple of weeks ago, I heard the Orchestre National de France, and with about half the brass section (they played Tchaikovsky 5), they managed to fill the room much more with glowing, well projecting brass sound. There was some very exquisite woodwind playing, although the bassoon with its very prominent and extended solo part in the last movement failed to really project with its rather choked sound.

Musically, it was an evening of solid, it slightly understated music making. The Haydn (101, "The Clock") was reasonably refined and there was some very finely articulated playing from the strings in the slow movement, but overall, it was more a powdered wig cliché kind of Haydn, the kind which substitutes real insights into the music with just general niceness and some "sensitive" touches here and there. It was obvious that while Haitink knew what should come next, he hadn't really reflected on the many fine details in the score, so they all just kind of jogged past the listener.

In the Shostakovich, he also let the music pretty much speak for itself, or rather, play the orchestra for itself. Haitink is without doubt an immensely experienced and professional conductor who avoids random and vain effects, and in a world in which there are many posers on the podium, we have to respect that. But then, at 78, he doesn't seem to have gained or be interested in realizing the kind of detail insights other well aged maestros have/had. The music was well executed and he contributed his tried and tested small repertoire of gestures to the orchestra playing although that didn't have much of an effect. He has exactly 1.5 facial expressions - the cheese face (#1) and then the cheese face with a flicking of the neck (#1.5) which apparently indicates that he wants things somehow animated. Then he has about 2.5 conducting gestures - the wrist flick, the note-quite-so-flicked-wrist, and for the left hand, the little fist which he shakes in the air from time to time. Whether he did that or not, did not have any noticeable effect on the orchestra. He didn't seem to know the piece too well either, or maybe he has forgotten much about it, since he had his head in the score for extended periods of time and gave a number of wrong entries and dynamic indications (professionally ignored by the orchestra members who came in at the right time anyway and delivered). The very long, subdued coda almost fell apart but the orchestra members, especially the basses and the timpani, kept the pulse alive he failed to provide.

Still, a rather pleasant evening, if not exactly the kind of flattening experience one would expect from hearing live this incredibly original and daring, very disturbing and multilayered work.

My most positive impression was Carnegie Hall. A wonderful hall with a really stylish, elegantly understated look and slightly glassy and reverberant, but still very good acoustics.

On the whole, I still think Haitink is good for the orchestra. While I wasn't really overwhelmed by anything I have heard from him in a long time, on disc or in recent live concerts (Bruckner 7 in Chicago last year, Schubert 9 with the BSO 2 months ago, and tonight's concert), it still has to be respected that what he does with the orchestra is basically solid, honest musical work. I talked with some members of the bass section who I have known for many years. One of them I hadn't met since the mid-90s and when I mentioned that we had last met when they came to Berlin with Barenboim, he said "I am glad Barenboim is gone!" and everybody nodded...
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 08:39:39 PM by M forever »

Lilas Pastia

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #688 on: May 16, 2008, 09:02:17 PM »
A very interesting and unusually detailed report from our man in Carnegie Hall. For me it brings to the fore a few questions:

- Is it wise to program a Haydn symphony with one of the repertoire's acknowledged juggernauts ? Is it possible for an orchestra/conductor/evening to do both justice? Which one comes up short in the process ?

- What leads to programming decisions anyway: musical logic, the need for contrast ? the complementary nature of the programmed works? Or what else? I would have imagined a Honegger symphony or Stravinsky concerto (violin? piano?) to be more appropriate and at least of no detrimental influence on the patrons' attendance.

- What is it that leads a world-renowned conductor to expose himself to artistic scrutiny in a specialists' piece such as the Shostakovich 4th ? (or Mahler 7, or Bruckner 5 ?)
Quote
at 78, he doesn't seem to have gained or be interested in realizing the kind of detail insights other well aged maestros have/had
. It would seem that some elderly baton wielders age better than others, buth then again , don't the lesser mortals know who they are, and where their limitations lie ? I've seen/heard many concerts in which a mismatch of conductor and repertoire was obvious right from the evening program, and none has ever proved me wrong. Either I (the concertgoer) am prejudiced, or the concert programmer (MD?) is misguided.

- Season after season I scrutinize the MSO'S program and I rarely come up with more than a couple interesting evenings. Recently I scrutinized the Amsterdam, Cologne, Liège and Brussels seasons, and I count myself lucky to have found a program that could hold my interest for a whole evening. Is it surprising to find more interest in "What are you listening to" threads than in the "concerts you attended" ones ?


Greta

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #689 on: May 17, 2008, 10:38:34 PM »
Lilas, programming could be it's own whole thread, and I think has been...

Haydn 101 and Shostakovich 4 do seem odd bedfellows, and Haitink has never really clicked with me personally, though I do respect his musicmaking.

Speaking of pairings, I was looking at the offerings in Houston next year, and saw two interesting programs in September. One, absolutely charming, is Stravinsky's Violin Concerto (Gil Shaham) and Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin, bookended by Mozart's Symphony 29, and last the "Haffner" No. 35. I'm already looking forward to that one. The program makes a lot of good sense. The concert after that though - is Mozart's PC No. 21....and DSCH No. 13 'Babi Yar'...with Yevgeny Yevtushenko coming to read his famous poem "Babi Yar". That, I'm not sure what to think about.

I won't be there then though, but in Atlanta, and am looking forward to seeing the ASO on their opening weekend...but, I see it's Brahms 1st, LvB PC 3, and the Stokie/Bach C minor Passcaglia and Fugue. Kind of a disappointing program. In fact, looking at Atlanta's season, it looks shockingly like Houston's in programming. A parade of warhorses, paired with a token palatable contemporary work and tradiational concerto being the usual setup. A a few choral spectaculars and a big Mahler thrown in. It almost seems that somehow a "standardized American orchestra season" has fallen into place...

But, anyway, I saw a nice concert this evening, getting back to topic. I went to the Houston season finale, the Spanish themed program, and it was mostly quite good. Falla's El Amor Brujo, which I was totally not familiar with, I liked a whole lot and it got a great performance, save the awful singer who was just distracting and could barely be heard. Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain I'd heard live once before, and I liked it much more than I remembered, with its grace and pastel washes of sound.

The disappointment though was Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. I admit I was only familiar with the melody from the 2nd mvmt, and the piece as a whole just seemed very long and samey throughout. The guitarist was Eliot Fisk, who seemed very good, but he never quite jived with the orchestra tempo wise, they didn't connect. Fisk offered two impressive encores though, one a Bach partita.

Last was clearly what they had been waiting for, they lit into a red-blooded Capriccio Espagnol that was played extremely well and musically, with fine ensemble communication and great solo contributions, especially from their young concertmaster who has grown immensely over her first year here.  Nice to end the season with some sparks.

I'm not subscribing next year as I don't know if I'll be in this vicinity the whole season, but next year looks great, some fun programs and good guest artists to boot.

Shame with all the moolah down here the orchestra still has to play in that dated soundtrap called Jones Hall though...high time for some new digs. ;)

Lilas Pastia

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #690 on: May 18, 2008, 04:03:35 AM »
It's very much a situation that repeats itsdelf around the musical world. Next season here in Montreal I think there's only one concert that really interests me. The rest is made up of halfs only. Woul would want to pay a day's wages for half a concert ? :P. And in a dated soundtrap on top of that :-\ (yes, we have that, too, here.)

Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #691 on: May 20, 2008, 08:09:57 AM »
Thursday night, this interesting program.  They did the Carter in 2005, but of course it's worth hearing as often as anything else they might play!  I like Biss more each time I hear him, and with the size of the ensemble the Tchaikovsky will probably be larger than life.

The MET Orchestra
James Levine, Music Director and Conductor
Jonathan Biss, Piano

Carter: Variations for Orchestra 
Schumann: Piano Concerto 
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 

--Bruce
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Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Solitary Wanderer

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #692 on: May 20, 2008, 02:46:20 PM »
NZSO next Friday:

TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto
SCHOLES Bonk for Percussion and Orchestra (World Premiere)
BRAHMS Symphony No 1

DMITRI SITKOVETSKY Conductor
BAIBA SKRIDE Violin
BRUCE McKINNON Percussion

Tchaikovsky’s much-loved Violin Concerto, written during the spring of 1878 in Switzerland after an Italian sojourn, displays eloquent lyricism and southern warmth. Brahms, conscious of the comparison, was not pleased when conductor Hans von Bülow praised the C minor Symphony as “Beethoven’s Tenth”. Guaranteed a future by its muscularity, performances of Brahms’s First underline the truth of contemporary critical assessment in Vienna, which reported it to be “an inexhaustible fountain of sincere pleasure”.

Had the Brahms #1 a few years ago, but always great to have it again.

Should be great  :)
'I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.' ~ Emily Bronte

Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #693 on: May 22, 2008, 08:05:23 AM »
On Saturday night, this concert by the Boston-based Xanthos Ensemble, playing at an interesting venue here called Roulette.  Founded in 2005, the group is in residence at the Boston Conservatory.

Charles Wuorinen: New York Notes 
Derek Charke: What Do the Birds Think? 
Mario Davidovsky: Flashbacks  
Pierre Boulez: Dérive 
Donald Hagar: Missing Time 
Daniel Knaggs: Three Nature Songs (2008) 
Pozzi Escot: Aria IV 

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Monsieur Croche

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #694 on: May 22, 2008, 08:05:21 PM »
It's still quite some time away (July 13), but perhaps I'll be attending this concert:

Messiaen and the French Connection

Vaughan Williams - Blake Songs
Messiaen - La Mort du Nombre
Messiaen - Theme and Variations for Violin and Piano
Messiaen - Louange a l'immortalite de Jesus (from the Quartet for the End of Time)
Chen Qigang - Dance (allegedly Messiaen's last student).
Leong Yoon Pin - Sketches

The concert would include a multimedia spectacle specially choreographed to music. Now that sounds both ominous and fascinating at the same time!

Offline Brian

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #695 on: May 22, 2008, 08:12:54 PM »
Derek Charke: What Do the Birds Think? 
--Bruce
Poor quality but:


M forever

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #696 on: May 24, 2008, 12:27:29 PM »
Tonight I am going to the Boston Pops Film Night with John Williams. I am not that much into film music, but Williams has contributed some very classic scores to a lot of movies I like, and I think it will be interesting to see him live at least once (and he isn't getting younger either, so who knows how long he will still be in action).

Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #697 on: May 26, 2008, 10:56:09 AM »
Next Sunday, this fascinating concert by the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein.  I have never heard anything by Panufnik or Langgaard live.

Toru Takemitsu: Cassiopeia
Andrzej Panufnik: Symphony No. 5, "Symphony of the Spheres" (US Premiere)
Rued Langgaard: Music of the Spheres (US Premiere)
György Ligeti: Apparitions
György Ligeti: Atmosphères

--Bruce
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Offline edward

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #698 on: May 26, 2008, 11:00:43 AM »
I'm very envious. (Though no doubt you envy the all-Scelsi concert I'm going to on Thursday.)

It's astonishing for those of us who've known and loved it for years to see such a great work as Langgaard's Music of the Spheres getting its US premiere only now.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #699 on: May 26, 2008, 11:09:25 AM »
I'm very envious. (Though no doubt you envy the all-Scelsi concert I'm going to on Thursday.)

 :o You got that right!  Do report back, please.  What will you be hearing?

It's astonishing for those of us who've known and loved it for years to see such a great work as Langgaard's Music of the Spheres getting its US premiere only now.

Yes, more than a little surprising (speaking as someone who only recently discovered the piece, and how wonderful it is).  I can't recall seeing anything by Langgaard even programmed recently.  He appears to be completely off concert planners' radar.  I'm not super-excited by the conductor--he's a much better programmer and scholar--but still, to hear it live should be interesting.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

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Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY