Livestream

Livestream

Friday, February 23, 2018

Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique | Maurice Ravel: Tzigane | Camille Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor | Guillaume Connesson: Flammenschrift – Benjamin Beilman, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin – Saturday, February 24, 2018, 08:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / Sunday, February 25, 2018, 3:00 AM EET (UTC+2) – Live on Livestream

Benjamin Beilman (Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi)
















"Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip; you wind up screaming at your own funeral." — Leonard Bernstein

Part symphony, part psychedelic episode, Berlioz guides us through encounters with budding passion, festive parties, the despair of unrequited love, and ultimately, execution and hideous revelries ushering us into the underworld. The lines between reality and hallucination blur among the sounds of pleading winds, relentless brass, and foreboding percussion.

American violinist Benjamin Beilman performs Camille Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, Op.28, and Maurice Ravel's Tzigane.


Saturday, February 24
Los Angeles: 05:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM
Brasília: 11:00 PM

Sunday, February 25

London: 01:00 AM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw: 02:00 AM
Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 3:00 AM
Moscow, Ankara: 04:00 AM
Beijing, Manila: 09:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 10:00 AM

Live on Livestream


The DSO thanks violinist Benjamin Beilman for stepping in for Renaud Capuçon for the final two programs of the French Festival. Mr. Capuçon is unable to appear due to illness.



DSO's FRENCH FESTIVAL – CONCERT SIX

Guillaume Connesson (b. 1970)

♪ Flammenschrift (2016)


Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

♪ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, Op.28 (1863)*



Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

♪ 
Tzigane, M.76 (1924)*



Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)

♪ Symphonie fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste, H.48 / Op.14 (1830)


i. Rêveries – Passions (Daydreams – Passions)

ii. Un bal (A ball)
iii. Scène aux champs (Scene in the Country)
iv. Marche au supplice (March to the Scaffold)
v. Songe d'une nuit de sabbat (Dream of a Witches' Sabbath)


Benjamin Beilman, violin*

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

(HD 720p)


Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit


Saturday, February 24, 2018, 08:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / Sunday, February 25, 2018, 3:00 AM EET (UTC+2)


Live on Livestream


Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi
Born in 1989, American violinist Benjamin Beilman is winning plaudits across the globe for his compelling and impassioned performances, his deep rich tone and searing lyricism and is quickly establishing himself as one of the most significant artists of his generation. The New York Times has praised his "handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence [which] showed why he has come so far so fast". Reviewing his latest recording, The Strad said "Beilman imbues every idea with a scorching expressive imperativeness... soaring aloft with ear-ringingly pure intonation... then lacerating our sensitivities with hectoring explosions of sound".

In Europe Beilman has performed with many of the major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Zurich Tonhalle and in 2016-2017 made his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras and the Orchestre National de Capitole de Toulouse. In the US recent highlights have included a return San Francisco Symphony, and debuts with Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and Nashville Symphony orchestras. In 2016-2017 he returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform with Nézet-Séguin both in subscription concerts at Kimmel Center and at Carnegie Hall, and with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he performed the world premiere of In Silence by Elizabeth Ogonek, as part of CSO's MusicNOW series. Conductors that Beilman has worked with include Gabel, Nesterowicz, Valčuha, Shani, Urbanksi amongst others.

Beilman performs regularly in recital and chamber music, appearing at halls such as Wigmore Hall, Stockholm Concert Hall, Louvre (Paris), Rudolfinum (Prague), Philharmonie (Berlin) and at festivals including Verbier, Aix-en-Provence Easter, Colmar, Moritzburg, Heidelberg and in 2017 he made his debut at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in the Robeco Summer Concerts in trio with Louis Schwizgebel and Narek Hakhnazaryan. In the US Beilman performs regularly at Carnegie Hall and is a frequent guest artist at festivals such as Music@Menlo, Marlboro, Seattle Chamber Music; further afield he made a ten-city recital tour of Australia in 2016 with Andrew Tyson and looks forward to recitals in SE Asia in the coming seasons.

Highlights of Beilman's 2017-2018 season include his Australian concerto debut with the Sydney Symphony where he performs Jennifer Higdon's Concerto, debuts with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony, Houston Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and his return to the London Chamber Orchestra. In recital he returns to Wigmore Hall with Boris Giltburg, makes his recital debut in Seoul and in the US he premieres a new work written for him by Frederic Rzewski, commissioned by Music Accord, at the Boston Celebrity Series and elsewhere. In chamber music, he returns to Heidelberg Spring Festival and to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Beilman has received several prestigious awards including a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a London Music Masters Award. In 2010 he won the First Prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and as First Prize Winner of the 2010 Montréal International Musical Competition and winner of the People's Choice Award, Beilman recorded Prokofiev's complete sonatas for violin on the Analekta label in 2011. In 2016 he released his first disc for Warner Classics titled Spectrum, featuring works by Stravinsky, Janacek and Schubert.

Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy. He plays the "Engleman" Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Source: intermusica.co.uk


Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi
















Camille Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, Op.28

The Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Op.28, is one of Saint-Saëns' few genuine showpieces. It was composed for his friend, the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), for whom he had already written the Violin Concerto in A major, Op.20 (1859), and for whom he would eventually create the Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61 (1880). Whereas the Op.20 Violin Concerto was written when the violinist was only 24 years of age, the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso is deliberately challenging – a testimony to the mature master's technique. Sarasate's frequent programming of the work did a great deal for its popularity in the years after its publication (1870); its appeal was wide enough, in fact, that both George Bizet and Claude Debussy made arrangements of it – the former for violin and piano, and the latter for piano, four hands.

As one would expect from the title, the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso begins with a slow section, marked Andante malinconico and characterized by a plaintive falling leap and rising arpeggio. Becoming gradually more animated, the introduction culminates in a scintillating mini-cadenza that leads into the Rondo proper (Allegro ma non troppo). When the violin enters, it states a theme that has a Spanish flavor, stemming from syncopation and chromatic inflections. The melody spins out into wild arpeggios and gigantic leaps before the orchestra begins a bridge to the contrasting theme, marked con morbidezza. This lyric melody is especially entrancing because it is in 2/4 time, played simultaneously with the continuing 6/8 time of the orchestra. The Rondo theme returns quietly in the solo violin before an orchestral outburst that is a reprise of the earlier bridge passage. The oboe takes the final statement of the rondo theme, which becomes fragmented and developed until the beginning of the brilliant coda, which is mainly a showcase for Sarasate's technical ability.

Source: John Palmer (allmusic.com)



Maurice Ravel: Tzigane, M.76

While a good part of Ravel's energies during the period 1920-1925 were spent on the opera L'Enfant et les sortilèges, the composer did find time to produce a handful of smaller-scale works, most notably the Sonata for violin and cello (1920-1922) and Tzigane, a virtuosic, gypsy-inflected vehicle for solo violin and piano. Though Ravel did not complete Tzigane until spring 1924, the idea of composing such a work came to him many years earlier, on the occasion of his introduction to the enormously gifted Hungarian violinist Jelly d'Aranyi. D'Aranyi had given a private London performance of the Sonata for violin and cello in the early 1920s, and after the concert had so impressed Ravel with her stock of gypsy tunes and bravura technique that he kept her playing until the sun rose the following day. By April 22, 1924, Tzigane was ready, and a few days later, it was premiered in London by d'Aranyi and pianist Henri Gil-Marchex. (True to form, Ravel continued to tinker with the piece for several weeks after the first performance.) During the summer of the same year Ravel made an orchestral version of the piano part; he also allowed for the substitution of the piano by a luthéal (a piano with a sound-modifying mechanism placed on its soundboard). Neither of these incarnations, however, entirely captures the nuances of the original.

Tzigane opens with an extended solo for the violin (Lento, quasi cadenza), buried in the middle of which is a theme characterized by a dotted-rhythm, falling-fifth figure which serves as the melodic meat for much of the work. The piano (or harp, in the orchestra version) enters with its own chromatic mini-cadenza as the soloist's fiery technical gestures and robust double stops subside into flickering double tremolos and a pair of unaccompanied trills that usher in the main body of the piece. The remainder of Tzigane is worked out in a clearly sectional manner. After a restatement of the falling-fifth idea by the violin, the piano produces its own little theme, a staccato tune that makes thorough use of the typically "gypsy" interval of an augmented second. Some time later, a bombastic Grandioso breaks in. After a brief pause, the violin resumes in sixteenth note perpetual motion, colored by such features as Paganini-like left-hand pizzicato. The musical line accelerates and decelerates time and again until it finally achieves unstoppable momentum. The work comes to an end with three incisive chords (marked pizzicato, but often played with the bow).

Source: Blair Johnston (allmusic.com)



Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste, H.48 / Op.14

Symphonie fantastique, H.48 / Op.14, in full "Symphonie fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste", English "Fantastic Symphony: Episode in the Life of an Artist", orchestral work by French composer Hector Berlioz, widely recognized as an early example of program music, that attempts to portray a sequence of opium dreams inspired by a failed love affair. The composition is also notable for its expanded orchestration, grander than usual for the early 19th century, and for its innovative use of a recurring theme – the so-called ideé fixe ("fixed idea" or "obsession") – throughout all movements. The Symphony premiered in Paris on December 5, 1830, and won for Berlioz a reputation as one of the most progressive composers of the era.

After completing medical studies at the behest of his father, who was a doctor, Berlioz rebelliously pursued music and literature, for which he had harboured passions since childhood. In the fall of 1827, at age 24, he attended the opening night of Shakespeare's Hamlet, performed in Paris by an English theatre company. Because his formal education had exposed him only to Latin and Greek, Berlioz understood little of the language. Nevertheless, he was transformed by the experience and recalled it in his memoirs: "Shakespeare, coming upon me unaware, struck me like a thunderbolt".

On that night, however, Berlioz was fascinated by more than the work of the revered English poet: he was enchanted by Harriet Smithson, the young Irishwoman who played Ophelia. That enchantment soon turned to obsession as Berlioz haunted the stage door and inundated Smithson with love letters only to have his advances ignored. Motivated by the pain of unilateral love, Berlioz began after three years to compose an elaborate quasi-autobiographical piece of program music, a symphony that would depict a disconsolate lover driven to the brink of suicide by his lady's indifference. That work became Symphonie fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste, or simply Symphonie fantastique.

Berlioz declared in his memoirs that the music portrays the dreams of a young man who, in the aftermath of a failed love affair, has taken an overdose of opium. The first movement, which begins gently but increases in intensity, is intended to depict the delights and despairs of love. The second movement, an elegant waltz, evokes a ball where the lover again encounters the woman he can never possess, now in another man's arms. The idyllic strains of the third movement portray his attempt to escape his passions by traveling to the countryside, but, as memories of the unattainable woman return to his thoughts, the tone grows sombre. The composition takes a highly dramatic turn in the ponderous fourth movement, when the young man imagines that he has murdered his beloved and is about to be executed for the crime. The music depicts his march to the guillotine, where his last thought is of the woman he loves. In the final movement, he is in hell at a witches' sabbath over which his beloved herself presides, surrounded by echoes of the ancient hymn Dies irae ("Day of Wrath"), from the Catholic requiem mass.

Aside from its pioneering role as a symphony with a program – that is, with a story to tell – Symphonie fantastique is remarkable for its use of the idée fixe, which surfaces in every movement and unites the entire work. The recurring theme is essentially the tune of the beloved, representing in its varying moods the woman's ever-changing image in her lover's eye. Berlioz's idée fixe paved the way for the development of similar compositional devices in the mid-19th century, including the thematic transformations associated with the works of Franz Liszt and the leitmotifs of Richard Wagner's operas. Symphonie fantastique also constituted the largest-scale symphony composed by anyone to that time, with its five movements spanning nearly an hour and a dauntingly large orchestra that employed new wind instruments – such as the ophicleide (predecessor of the tuba) and the valve trumpet – as well as doubling on the harp and timpani parts.

Although the lover and the beloved are nowhere united in Symphonie fantastique, Berlioz, against all odds, eventually achieved the union in life. Two years after the piece's premiere, when the composer was planning another Paris performance of the massive symphony together with its new choral sequel entitled Lélio, or Le Retour à la vie (1832; "The Return to Life"), he arranged for an English newspaper correspondent to attend the concert with Smithson as his guest. The unsuspecting actress was not warned about what music was on the program, nor was she aware that Berlioz himself would be there. She took the shock reasonably well and was observed to be reading the composer's descriptive program notes closely and paying keen attention to the music. The performance was well received, and soon afterward Smithson consented at last to meet Berlioz. The following year, on October 3, 1833, the two were married. Their marriage, however, was not a happy one, and the couple separated less than a decade later.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)













More photos


See also


Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Lionel Bringuier (HD 1080p)

Live on Livestream: All Past Events

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Claude Debussy: La mer, & Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune | Camille Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor | Henri Rabaud: La procession nocturne – Benjamin Beilman, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin – Friday, February 23, 2018, 10:45 AM EST (UTC-5) / 05:45 PM EET (UTC+2) – Live on Livestream

Benjamin Beilman (Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi)
















In La Mer, Claude Debussy captures the elemental essence of the seas and expresses it through music; the transparent stillness of morning, the darkness of murky depths, and the power of surging tides through orchestral waves of sound. La Mer is a towering achievement, both in his career and in symphonic literature. Though written more than 100 years ago, it continues to influence musical portrayals of the sea to this day.

American violinist Benjamin Beilman performs Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op.61.


Friday, February 23
Los Angeles: 07:45 AM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 10:45 AM
Brasília: 01:45 PM
London: 03:45 PM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw: 04:45 PM
Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 05:45 PM
Moscow, Ankara: 06:45 PM
Beijing, Manila: 11:45 PM

Saturday, February 24
Tokyo, Seoul: 00:45 AM

Live on Livestream

The DSO thanks violinist Benjamin Beilman for stepping in for Renaud Capuçon for the final two programs of the French Festival. Mr. Capuçon is unable to appear due to illness.



DSO's FRENCH FESTIVAL – CONCERT FIVE

Henri Rabaud (1873-1949)

♪ La procession nocturne, Op.6 (1910)


Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

♪ Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op.61 (1880)*

i. Allegro non troppo
ii. Andantino quasi allegretto
iii. Molto moderato e maestoso – Allegro non troppo


Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

♪ Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1894)


♪ La mer / The Sea (1903-1905, rev. 1908)

i. De l'aube a midi sur la mer
ii. Jeux de Vagues
iii. Dialogue du Vent et de la Mer


Benjamin Beilman, violin*

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

(HD 720p)


Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit


Friday, February 23, 2018, 10:45 AM EST (UTC-5) / 05:45 PM EET (UTC+2)


Live on Livestream



Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi
Born in 1989, American violinist Benjamin Beilman is winning plaudits across the globe for his compelling and impassioned performances, his deep rich tone and searing lyricism and is quickly establishing himself as one of the most significant artists of his generation. The New York Times has praised his "handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence [which] showed why he has come so far so fast". Reviewing his latest recording, The Strad said "Beilman imbues every idea with a scorching expressive imperativeness... soaring aloft with ear-ringingly pure intonation... then lacerating our sensitivities with hectoring explosions of sound".

In Europe Beilman has performed with many of the major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Zurich Tonhalle and in 2016-2017 made his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras and the Orchestre National de Capitole de Toulouse. In the US recent highlights have included a return San Francisco Symphony, and debuts with Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and Nashville Symphony orchestras. In 2016-2017 he returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform with Nézet-Séguin both in subscription concerts at Kimmel Center and at Carnegie Hall, and with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he performed the world premiere of In Silence by Elizabeth Ogonek, as part of CSO's MusicNOW series. Conductors that Beilman has worked with include Gabel, Nesterowicz, Valčuha, Shani, Urbanksi amongst others.

Beilman performs regularly in recital and chamber music, appearing at halls such as Wigmore Hall, Stockholm Concert Hall, Louvre (Paris), Rudolfinum (Prague), Philharmonie (Berlin) and at festivals including Verbier, Aix-en-Provence Easter, Colmar, Moritzburg, Heidelberg and in 2017 he made his debut at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in the Robeco Summer Concerts in trio with Louis Schwizgebel and Narek Hakhnazaryan. In the US Beilman performs regularly at Carnegie Hall and is a frequent guest artist at festivals such as Music@Menlo, Marlboro, Seattle Chamber Music; further afield he made a ten-city recital tour of Australia in 2016 with Andrew Tyson and looks forward to recitals in SE Asia in the coming seasons.

Highlights of Beilman's 2017-2018 season include his Australian concerto debut with the Sydney Symphony where he performs Jennifer Higdon's Concerto, debuts with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony, Houston Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and his return to the London Chamber Orchestra. In recital he returns to Wigmore Hall with Boris Giltburg, makes his recital debut in Seoul and in the US he premieres a new work written for him by Frederic Rzewski, commissioned by Music Accord, at the Boston Celebrity Series and elsewhere. In chamber music, he returns to Heidelberg Spring Festival and to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Beilman has received several prestigious awards including a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a London Music Masters Award. In 2010 he won the First Prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and as First Prize Winner of the 2010 Montréal International Musical Competition and winner of the People's Choice Award, Beilman recorded Prokofiev's complete sonatas for violin on the Analekta label in 2011. In 2016 he released his first disc for Warner Classics titled Spectrum, featuring works by Stravinsky, Janacek and Schubert.

Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy. He plays the "Engleman" Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Source: intermusica.co.uk

















Camille Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op.61

Saint-Saëns composed a number of concertos, among them two for cello, five for piano, and three for violin. As he had the Violin Concerto in A major, Op.28 (1859), and the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Op.28 (1863), Saint-Saëns composed the Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op.61, for the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908). Sarasate gave the first performance of the work at one of the composer's many Monday soirées in 1880, the year Saint-Saëns completed the piece.

As in all the pieces Saint-Saëns composed for Sarasate, the Violin Concerto No.3 frequently allows the soloist to display technical prowess; however, the piece requires refined musicality, as well. The Third Concerto stands out among Saint-Saëns' works in the genre because it reverts to a format with three clearly separated movements.

The Concerto begins without an orchestral introduction; instead, only quietly rumbling chords that provide a harmonic background for the harsh violin theme can be heard. As the first movement progresses, it reveals itself as a very dramatic essay, contrasting passionate, effusive sections with more gentle passages. With a basic outline of sonata form, the movement features a first theme that conveys a sense of yearning and searching through numerous accents and an apparent lack of direction. After a few flashy flourishes from the soloist, the full orchestra powerfully re-states parts of the main theme, creating a transition to the contrasting, lyrical secondary theme. Fragmentation and thematic transformation propel the movement toward a rousing conclusion.

For the second movement, Saint-Saëns composed a barcarolle in which the violin and woodwinds exchange material. The key, B flat major, is striking in that it is a half step below that of the first movement. The melodies are Italianate in this 6/8 time movement, marked Andantino quasi Allegretto. Judging from Sarasate's own compositions, the second movement of Saint-Saëns' Concerto is well suited to the violinist's elegant style. The excellent close features a violin line of harmonics that climbs to the stratosphere and seems to disappear.

Surprisingly, a slow introduction, which one might expect to open the first movement of a symphony or concerto, precedes the finale. Marked Molto moderato e maestoso, the introduction, with its coarse violin part alternating with busy orchestral passages, avoids the key of the movement, B minor. After reaching the dominant, the tempo shifts to Allegro non troppo and the movement begins. Throughout the finale, the orchestra is more involved in the musical argument than it is in the previous movements. The opening, leaping theme with triplets contrasts with a rising scale that is the secondary idea, and at the center of the movement can be heard an elegant, cantabile section in G major in which the orchestra takes a leading role. Occasionally the movement takes on a "gypsy" flavor before a return of the leaping theme leads to a change to B major, a brief, chorale-like passage for the orchestra and flashy conclusion in the new key.

Source: John Palmer (allmusic.com)



Claude Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, known in English as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is a symphonic poem for orchestra by Claude Debussy, approximately 10 minutes in duration. It was first performed in Paris on December 22, 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret. The flute solo was played by Georges Barrère.

Debussy's work later provided the basis for the ballet Afternoon of a Faun choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and a later version by Jerome Robbins.

The original orchestral version was completed in 1894, and Debussy reworked it for performance on two pianos in 1895. The work is considered a quintessential example of musical Impressionism, a compositional style popular at the turn of the 20th century that was influenced by the artistic school of the same name.

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is a musical evocation of Stéphane Mallarmé's poem Afternoon of a Faun, in which a faun – a half-man, half-goat creature of ancient Greek legend – awakes to revel in sensuous memories of forest nymphs.

Debussy begins with a sinuous flute melody evocative of a graceful female form. Gently swelling phrases for strings, harp, and horns are soon added. The music proceeds without abrupt shifts; themes blend into each other, slowly rising and falling. The middle section features clarinet and oboe solos before the flute gradually retakes the spotlight. In the final moments, airy touches of percussion from finger cymbals are heard.

Source: en.wikipedia.org | Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)



Claude Debussy: La mer / The Sea

Claude Debussy's most concentrated and brilliant orchestral work, La Mer, is one of the supreme achievements in the symphonic literature. It is a work of such imagination that it stands apart from traditions and influences, and its modernity can still be felt today, more than 100 years after it was first composed.

The sea Debussy knew, from his childhood visits to Cannes and later travels in Italy, was the Mediterranean. It's a civilized sea, and Debussy caught its moods in all their richness. He subtitled La Mer "Three Symphonic Sketches", and the names of the movements provide us with verbal suggestions to stimulate our own sense of imagery.

"From Dawn to Midday on the Sea" explores the sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic changes of atmosphere and lighting that accompany the progress of morning on the water.

"Play of Waves" draws the imagination to the spheres of light and motion. One senses the rocking of the waves, the unexpected shifts of current, the iridescent glint of sunlight on the surface of the water and the mysterious depths teeming with life.

"Dialog of the Wind and the Sea" is at once ominous and urgent: One feels close to the sea's danger, as the orchestra heaves and swells in great washes of sound. A moment of suspenseful calm is reached before a great, final buildup shows the sea in stormy triumph, dazzling and full of elemental force.

Source: npr.org












More photos


See also


Live on Livestream: All Past Events


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor "Tragic" – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach (HD 1080p)













Christoph Eschenbach's insight into Gustav Mahler's music results in transparency, flow and musical splendour. Qualities that also elevates the Sixth Symphony to new heights, this fateful music with its heart-rending eruptions gives us a glimpse of death, but at the same time celebrates life. This is how Mahler reflects the existential conditions through music. Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall on December 1, 2017.



As with his Fifth Symphony, this work is exclusively instrumental. It is also Mahler's most "Classical" symphony in its form and layout. Although the Sixth Symphony has no specific program, much has been written about the "tragic" aspects of the work that gave rise to its subtitle, which, by the way, was withdrawn by Mahler before publication. The prevailingly dark mood is not unusual for Mahler, but there is no transformation into a glorious ending or peaceful resignation. It is his only symphony to end unremittingly in the minor. As for the autobiographical elements, it is known from Alma Mahler's memoirs that it may have been Mahler himself upon whom three hammer strokes of fate fall in the Finale, which seems strangely prophetic of the following year when Mahler lost his Vienna Opera position, lost his daughter, and was diagnosed with heart disease. The song quotes, Ländlers, country tunes, bird calls, and military marches are all gone. In their place is a powerful and stark contrapuntal texture, certainly not devoid of soaring melodies and lush harmonies, but lacking in the referential styles of the early symphonies. The entire symphony is unified by a motto theme that consists of a major moving to minor triad over a characteristic rhythm. It carries particular significance in the Finale, as it is linked with the aforementioned hammer strokes of fate. Many commentators believe this to be Mahler's most cohesive and tautly organized symphony.

Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig. (Not too fast. Vigorous, but marked). This is a standard sonata form with repeated exposition. The opening theme is harsh and march-like, while the sweeping second subject, written specifically as a portrayal of Mahler's wife, Alma, is in sharp contrast. The themes are developed imaginatively, and the movement closes triumphantly with the "Alma theme".

Scherzo. Wuchtig. (Forcefully). This movement is usually performed second, but Mahler seems to have always placed it after the Andante. This is the first of Mahler's really diabolical scherzos. It is a bizarre, grotesquely stamping dance full of percussive strokes and shrieking woodwinds. This alternates with a strange little trio to which Mahler gives the marking Altväterisch (Old-fashioned). It is full of rhythmic ingenuity in its timid and hesitant manner.

Andante moderato. (Moderately moving). Alma reported in her memoirs that this pastoral and nostalgic movement was a musical depiction of their children at play. It is simple in form, and rather yearning and plaintive in mood.

Finale. Sostenuto. (Sustained). This huge sonata-form movement is one of Mahler's most epic in scope and conception. It nearly dwarfs the rest of the Symphony and certainly represents its cornerstone, both structurally and emotionally. It opens with an impressionistic sweep that extends out to the somber introduction. After this, the main material is a powerful march that three times rises to exultation, only to be overcome by the motto theme and each of the three hammer strokes. The movement concludes with a long and mournful coda, unremitting to the end.

Source: Steven Coburn (allmusic.com)



Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

♪ Symphony No.6 in A minor "Tragic" (1903-1904)

i. Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig
ii. Andante moderato
iii. Scherzo. Wuchtig
iv. Finale. Allegro moderato

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach

Gothenburg Concert Hall, December 1, 2017

(HD 1080p)















Born in 1940 in Breslau, Germany (today Wroclaw, Poland), Christoph Eschenbach studied piano with Professor Eliza Hansen and won in his young age numerous piano competitions. In 1965 the first prize of the Clara Haskil competition in Luzern was the original event of his soloist carrier. In demand worldwide by famous concert halls and orchestras, he met George Szell who invited him to tour with the Cleveland orchestra. In the same period Christoph Eschenbach developped a great artistic collaboration with Herbert von Karajan as well.

Successful conducting studies passed in Hamburg and the influence of Szell and Karajan, the two mentors, naturally led him to initiate his carrier as a conductor. He began in 1972, and made his debut in the USA in 1975 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.


Nowadays Christoph Eschenbach is in demand as a distinguished guest conductor with the finest orchestras and opera houses throughout the world (Vienna, Berlin, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Shanghai, Rome, Milan, Dresden, Leipzig, Münich, Amsterdam, etc.) as well as prestigious festivals (Salzbourg, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Saint Petersbourg, Granada, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, etc.).


His grand classic repertoire is ranging from J.S. Bach to music of our time and reflects his commitment to not just canonical works but also to the music of the late-20th and early-21st-century.


In the field of opera, he has conducted Cosi fan tutte at Covent Garden in 1984 and at the Houston Opera, as well as the Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, Der Rosenkavalier, Lohengrin, Parsifal (staged by Robert Wilson), Salome and Elektra, (staged by Andrei Serban), Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival and at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg. In November 2001, Arabella at the New York Metropolitan and Don Giovanni (staged by Peter Stein) in 2004 for the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Lyric Opera. During the 2005-2006 season, he has conducted at the Théâtre du Châtelet a production of Wagner's Ring des Nibelung, staged by Robert Wilson. In December 2010 he has conducted with great success Mathis der Maler by Paul Hindemith at the Opera Paris Bastille. More recently, he inaugurated the Mozart / Da Ponte cycle at the Salzburg Summer Festival with Cosi fan tutte in 2013 and Don Giovanni in 2014. That same season, he has also conducted Idomeneo at the Vienna State Opera.


Christoph Eschenbach has been the Music Director of the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft in Zurich from 1982 to 1986, of the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 1999 and of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg from 1998 to 2004. After ten years as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris from September 2000 to August 2010, and four years for the Philadelphia Orchestra, from September 2003 to 2008, he became in September 2010 Music Director of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as the Washington National Symphony.


To his important discography as a pianist should be added numerous recordings at the head of the Houston Symphonic Orchestra, the Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra (Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Saint-Saëns, Bartók), the Orchestre de Paris with Berlioz, Bruckner, Dusapin, Berio, Ravel, Dalbavie, Zemlinsky, Roussel (the Complete Symphonies), Beethoven (the Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4, nominated for the 2009 Grammy Awards) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Bruckner: Symphony No.6, Beethoven: Missa Solemnis, Messiaen: Des Canyons aux Etoiles). The Complete Symphonies by Mahler recorded with the Orchestre de Paris is watchable in streaming on his website. His last recording with the Washington NSO was issued for the 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center. After the recent release of Die schöne Müllerin, the Schwanengesang and the Winterreise recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Christoph Eschenbach and Matthias Goerne are continuing their fructuous collaboration and regularly perform in recitals of voice and piano, presenting the cycles of Lieder by Schubert, Brahms and Schumann.


For Christoph Eschenbach, to transmit and to discover are fundamental activities, this is why he regularly holds master-classes (Manhattan School of Music, Kronberg Academy, CNSM of Paris) and collaborates with summer academies and youth orchestras such as the Schleswig Holstein Academy Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, the Curtis Institute... Christoph Eschenbach has received the 2014 Grammy Award for his recording of works by Hindemith performed with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and the violinist Midori.


He had the honor to be named Chevalier of the French Légion d'Honneur in January 2003, Officer of the National Order of Merit in May 2006 and decorated with the Order of Merit of the Federal Rebublic of Germany. He has been made French Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and has received the Leonard Bernstein award of the Pacific Music Festival. In June 2015 he received the Ernst von Siemens music Awards (described as the "Nobel Price for Music") in honour of his life's dedication to music.


Source: christoph-eschenbach.com







































More photos


See also


Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor – Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Christoph Eschenbach (HD 1080p)

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor "Tragic" – Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Dima Slobodeniouk (HD 1080p)

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Camille Saint-Saëns: Le carnaval des animaux | Paul Dukas: L'apprenti sorcier | Erik Satie: Gymnopédies Nos. 1 & 3 | Jacques Offenbach: Gaîté Parisienne – Christina and Michelle Naughton, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin – Sunday, February 18, 2018, 03:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / 10:00 PM EET (UTC+2) – Live on Livestream

Christina and Michelle Naughton
















The French flair for illustration through music turned Mickey into an infamous young sorcerer, conjures up a zoological tour of the animal kingdom, and drifts into Satie's ambient soundscapes. A program of picturesque music concludes with a celebration of the spirt of Paris in Offenbach's Gaite Parisieine, complete with the flourish and high-stepping energy of Can-Can dancers on stage in Orchestra Hall!

The award-winning piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton will perform Camille Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals.


Sunday, February 18
Los Angeles: 12:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 03:00 PM
Brasília: 06:00 PM
London: 08:00 PM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw: 09:00 PM
Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 10:00 PM
Moscow: 11:00 PM

Monday, February 19

Beijing: 04:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 05:00 AM

Live on Livestream



DSO's FRENCH FESTIVAL – CONCERT FOUR

Paul Dukas (1865-1935)

♪ L'apprenti sorcier / The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1897)


Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

♪ Le carnaval des animaux / Carnival of the Animals (1886)


i. Introduction et marche royale du Lion (Introduction and Royal March of the Lion)
ii. Poules et Coqs (Hens and Cocks)
iii. Hémiones (animaux véloces) (Wild Asses)
iv. Tortues (Tortoises)
v. L'Éléphant (The Elephant)
vi. Kangourous (Kangaroos)
vii. Aquarium
viii. Personnages à longues oreilles (Personages with Long Ears)
ix. Le coucou au fond des bois (The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods)
x. Volière (Aviary)
xi. Pianistes (Pianists)
xii. Fossiles (Fossils)
xiii. Le Cygne (The Swan)
xiv. Finale


Erik Satie (1866-1925)

♪ Gymnopédies (1888)

i. Gymnopédie No.1
ii. Gymnopédie No.3


Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)

♪ Gaîté Parisienne / Parisian Gaiety (1938)


Christina and Michelle Naughton, piano duo

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

(HD 720p)


Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit


Sunday, February 18, 2018, 03:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / 10:00 PM EET (UTC+2)


Live on Livestream


















Christina and Michelle Naughton have been hailed by the San Francisco Examiner for their "stellar musicianship, technical mastery, and awe-inspiring artistry". The Naughtons made their European debut at Herkulesaal in Munich, where the Süddeutsche Zeitung proclaimed them "an outstanding piano duo". They made their Asian debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, where the Sing Tao Daily said of their performance "Joining two hearts and four hands at two grand pianos, the Naughton sisters created an electrifying and moving musical performance". An appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra led the Philadelphia Inquirer to characterize their playing as "paired to perfection", while the Saarbrücker Zeitung exclaimed "this double star could soon prove to be a supernova". They have captivated audiences throughout the globe with the unity created by their mystical musical communication, as featured by the Wall Street Journal in their own words "There are times I forget we are two people playing together".

The Naughtons open their 2017-2018 season with recital appearances at the La Jolla Music Society and the Ravinia Festival. Additional engagements include the duo's Lincoln Center debut as well as appearances at the Gilmore Festival, Rockefeller Evening Concerts, Purdue Convocations, Portland Piano International, Society of the Four Arts, Sharon Lynn Wilson Center, Virginia Arts Festival and the National Gallery. Orchestral season highlights include performances with the Detroit, St Louis, San Diego, Midland and Puerto Rico Symphonies. The duo will also be seen in recital and orchestral engagements throughout New Zealand, Brazil, Belgium and Spain.

The Naughtons opened their 2016-2017 season with their debut at The Royal Concertgebouw playing Mozart's Double Piano Concerto with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Other season highlights included performances across the United States with the Milwaukee, Madison and San Antonio Symphonies in addition to recital engagements at the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Grand Tetons Festival, the Gardner Museum, Big Arts in Sanibel Island and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. The duo was seen in recital and orchestral engagements throughout Germany, Spain and Portugal including an appearance at the Ruhr Piano Festival.

In February of 2016 the Naughtons released their debut record on the Warner Classics label titled "Visions", featuring the music of Messiaen, Bach and Adams. The album received much critical acclaim with The Washington Post hailing them as one of the "greatest piano duos of our time".

Highlights from the Naughtons' 2015-2016 season included performances presented by the New World Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall, at the Classic Festival and the Bonlieu Scène Nationale in Annecy, France, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and at the Grand Teton Music Festival. In addition to recital tours of Latin America and China, the sisters appeared with the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfonica do Estado Sao Paulo, the Netherlands Philharmonic, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the Frankfurter Opern, and Museumsorchester and the Atlanta Symphony.

Previous orchestral engagements include appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston, Milwaukee, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nashville, Virginia, Hawaii, Maryland, Toledo, Delaware, El Paso, Napa Valley, Wichita, Tulsa, Gulf Coast, and Madison Symphonies; the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland's Red Orchestra, Chicago's Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, and Erie Philharmonic; as well as with ensembles such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic in Belgium, Solistes Europeens Luxembourg, Hamburg Chorus, Kiel Philharmonic, and Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock. Past and future seasons feature collaborations under the batons of conductors such as Stephane Deneve, Edo deWaart, Charles Dutoit, JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Emanuel Krivine, Cristian Macelaru, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Michael Stern and Leonard Slatkin.

Christina and Michelle's recitals have included venues in America such as the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, New York City's Naumburg Orchestral Concert Series at the Historic Naumberg Bandshell (Central Park) and Le Poisson Rouge, the Schubert Club in St Paul, Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Wharton Center, Houston's Cullen Theater, South Orange Performing Arts Center, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Ramsey Hall in Athens, and Rockefeller University; as well as on series such as the Fortas Chamber Music Festival, Detroit Chamber Music Series, Harriman Jewell Series,  Steinway Society-The Bay Area, Artist Series of Sarasota, UAB Piano Series, Chamber Music San Francisco Series,  Louisville's Speed Museum Series, Kingston Chamber Music Festival.

European recital highlights for the Naughtons include the Parc Du Chateau de Florans at France's La Roque d'Antheron Festival, the Sociedad de Conciertos de Valencia in Spain, Zurich's Tonhalle,  Prague's Strings of Autumn Festival, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Rheingau Musik Festival, Dresden's Musikfestpiele, Kissinger Sommer, Berlin's Kammermusiksaal, Munich's Herkulesaal, Dusseldorf's Tonhalle, in Hannover's Kleiner Sendesaal, Ingoldstadt's Konzertverein, Reutlingen's Freidrich-List-Halle, Pullach's Burgerhaus, Concert Series in Ludwigshafen, on the Homburg-Saar series, the Bremen Music Festival, Nohant Festival Chopin and Festival Berlioz La Cote de Saint Andre, Casa da Musica Porto, Fundacion Juan March, Auditoria Teluda Moraira and Enclave de Camera in Ourense, Spain.

Recital engagements in Asia and South America have included appearances at the Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall, Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall in China, Pallacio de las Bellas Artes, Biblioteca de Luis Angel and Sala Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The Naughtons recorded their first album in the Sendesaal in Bremen Germany; which was released  worldwide in Fall 2012 by label ORFEO. The album has been praised by Der Spiegel Magazine for "stand(ing) out with unique harmony, and sing(ing) out with stylistic confidence", and described by ClassicsToday as a "Dynamic Duo Debut". Their performances have been broadcast on American Public Media's Performance Today, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, New York's WQXR, Chicago's WFMT, Philadelphia's WHYY,  Boston's WQED, Atlanta's WABE, Hong Kong's RTHK, Latvia's Latvijas Radio 3, Netherland's Radio 4 Concerthuis; and Germany's Bayerischen Rudfunks, Nordwest-RadioBremen, WDR and NDR Radio.

Born in 1989 in Princeton, New Jersey, to parents of European and Chinese descent; Christina and Michelle are graduates of Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where they were each awarded the Festorazzi Prize. They are Steinway Artists and currently reside in New York City.

Source: christinaandmichellenaughton.com

















Paul Dukas: L'apprenti sorcier / The Sorcerer's Apprentice

On January 3, 1897, the premiere of Dukas' great Symphony in C met with a cool reception. An impressive Beethovenian overture, Polyeucte (inspired by Corneille's play), had been heard in 1892, the year in which Dukas began his career as a critic, covering productions of Wagner operas in London. Behind him lay an undistinguished apprenticeship at the Paris Conservatoire and a year's military service. Older colleagues, d'Indy and Saint-Saëns foremost, recognized his talent. The latter tapped him to orchestrate Guiraud's uncompleted Frédégonde, and edit several operas for a new Rameau edition, despite the fact that he lacked a public profile. That literally changed overnight on May 18, 1897, with the premiere of The Sorcerer's Apprentice; it became one of the most popular orchestral works ever penned, long before Disney's animated version for the 1940 film Fantasia.


The public has always responded avidly to pictorial and literary associations in music. In matching Goethe's laconic ballad Das Zauberlehrling with an orchestral showpiece, Dukas found unmistakable musical equivalents for the events of the poem, and did so with formal concision. Teasingly called a scherzo by its composer, this resourceful, brilliantly orchestrated work is cast as a compact sonata movement with four themes that are tenuously alluded to in a brief introduction depicting an aura of mystery as the old sorcerer leaves his atelier. Quietly descending thirds in the strings suggest magic – and later the water that magic summons – yielding to the softly enunciated broomstick theme on clarinets. The apprentice makes a sudden appearance in a skittering, vacillating rush before quiet descends again, and the commanding theme of the master's spell is heard as if from a distance, on muted brass. With startling abruptness, the spell motif rings out on trumpets combined with the broomstick motif pizzicato. The magic has been worked and the introduction ends with a single tympani stroke. The exposition proper begins now as the lurching broomstick theme gradually shudders to strident, march-like life, drawing in the descending minor thirds signifying water and sorcery. Development proceeds relentlessly with the enchanted broomstick filling the apprentice's bath, which overflows, becoming an inundation. Despite his frantic cries and the partial enunciation of the spell motif – or the apprentice has forgotten the words – the broomstick heedlessly continues. To a mighty climax, he seizes an axe and cuts the broom in two. For a moment this seems to have worked. But slowly, shudderingly, "two" brooms – the theme in canon – begin to draw water, initiating the recapitulation. Tension escalates even more alarmingly, but this time the climax is capped by the authoritative pronouncement of the spell motif, signaling the master's return, at which a crashing orchestral tutti brings all to a halt. The mysterious quiet of the beginning returns as the waters dissipate and the apprentice's theme, now supplicating, is heard twice before a triplet rush to the final "once upon a time" chord.


The indebtedness of the stormier parts of The Sorcerer's Apprentice to the Ride of the Valkyries has been noted a number of times, while the adroit use of Wagner-like motifs is self-evident. Nietzsche referred to Wagner as "the old Sorcerer" – it is not too much to see in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, a masterpiece demonstrating that Dukas had not only learned "the lessons of the Master", but cunningly combined them with the French penchant for formal clarity.


Source: Adrian Corleonis (allmusic.com)




Camille Saint-Saëns: Le carnaval des animaux / Carnival of the Animals

In 1885 Saint-Saëns wrote a witty, uncomplicated piece called Wedding Cake (1885), which to his chagrin became so popular that he gained a temporary reputation as a "light" composer. Because he wanted to be considered a composer of serious, substantial music, he suppressed Carnival of the Animals shortly after its premiere in the following year. However, this "zoological fantasy", one of the most successful examples of humourously themed music in the repertory, has become one of the composer's most popular works. Carnival of the Animals, cast as a suite of 14 short pieces, is scored for an ensemble comprising two pianos, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, and glockenspiel.

The work begins with a roar from the two pianos and low strings, an appropriate introduction to the "Royal March of the Lions". The crowing and pecking of strings effectively evokes the clamor of hens and roosters, while the depiction of tortoises takes the form of a sly musical joke: a drastically slowed-down version of the famous can-can from Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers (1858). Saint-Saëns continues to parody his countrymen when he uses the "Waltz of the Sylphs" from Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust (1846) in depicting elephants. Graceful and rapid leaps on the keyboard naturally describe kangaroos. Liquid, rippling sounds on the piano and a magical, serene melody characterize one of the loveliest sections of the work, a sound portrait of an aquarium. Sliding string figures give voice to mules, whose braying is sharply contrasted with the deeply mysterious beauty of the clarinet in its imitation of a cuckoo. This single bird becomes an entire aviary aflutter with airy flute solos and rapid keyboard passagework. Saint-Saëns admits pianists themselves into the menagerie, good-naturedly mocking their hours of practice with a passage that unfolds as a ponderous keyboard exercise. "Fossils" pays homage to those creatures which have suffered extinction with the suggestion of rattling bones in the xylophone, including a quotation from the composer's own Danse macabre (1874). This is followed by the most famous movement, one so lovely that the composer permitted its publication as a solo work. "The Swan" has become a staple of every cellist's repertoire and a favorite accompaniment for dance works. The brisk finale includes a spirited, exuberant reprise of all of the animals' themes.

Source: Joseph Stevenson (allmusic.com)



Erik Satie: Gymnopédies Nos. 1 & 3

Trois gymnopédies, three pieces for solo piano by French composer Erik Satie, written in 1888. The word gymnopédies was derived from a festival of ancient Sparta at which young men danced and competed against each other unencumbered by clothing, and the name was a (presumably) droll reference to Satie's gentle, dreamy, and far-from-strenuous piano exercises. (Satie is known to have introduced himself as a gymnopédiste.) The Trois gymnopédies are the best-known of Satie's piano pieces.

Satie's vision of the piano's strengths was minimalist and abstract. The mood of the three works is stately and serene, almost drifting from one moment to the next. Each of the three examines a common theme from a different perspective. Claude Debussy, who was an older contemporary and a friend, later orchestrated Gymnopédies No.3 and No.1.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)



Jacques Offenbach: Gaîté Parisienne / Parisian Gaiety

Jacques Offenbach died in 1880, yet it is his name that is attached to this ballet that first appeared in 1938. While the tunes in Gaîté Parisienne are his, much of the orchestration, as well as the arrangement of the numbers, was done by Manuel Rosenthal. The idea for the ballet was conceived by the talented trio of choreographer Leonid Massine, the well-known impresario Sol Hurok, and René Blum, director of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo, who together engaged the services of Rosenthal after they had selected the Offenbach tunes for him to use. The scenario they contrived was taken from Offenbach's operetta La Vie Parisienne.

The story concerns the seedy patrons of a Paris bistro called Tortoni's Restaurant, an actual business establishment. There are many amorous adventures in the ballet, with the story centering on two men: a baron who chases after a young woman selling gloves, and a Peruvian who pursues a relationship with a flower girl. It is all quite mischievous fun, colorfully packaged and brilliantly suited by the Offenbach/Rosenthal score. The premiere on April 5, 1938, at the Théâtre de Monte Carlo, was a great success and the music has been in the standard repertory ever since, often presented in "pops" concerts.

Much of the music in Gaîté Parisienne, of course, was already familiar when it was first presented, which may have aided its success. The popular "Can-Can", for example, is taken from Offenbach's operetta, Orpheus in the Underworld (1858; rev. 1874). The familiar Barcarolle, which closes the ballet, comes from the Tales of Hoffman (1881), his last operetta.

There is much other attractive music in Gaîté Parisienne, all of it in a light vein. There are two colorful polkas, five waltzes, a Ländler, and many other dances, most frothy and joyous, all quite tuneful and direct. In sum, this is unpretentious, well-crafted music, and while it will not appeal to those exclusively interested in serious listening, it is undeniably masterful within its genre. It should be noted that not all the music in the score is from Offenbach: Rosenthal himself wrote No.14, "The Duel". He was a young composer of modest success when he took on the project, and would later become better known as a conductor, for a time leading the French National Radio Orchestra and later the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Rosenthal himself recorded this score twice.

Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)












More photos


See also


Live on Livestream: All Past Events


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

George Gershwin: An American in Paris | Darius Milhaud: Un français à New York, & La création du monde | Francis Poulenc: Concerto pour deux pianos et orchestre in D minor – Christina and Michelle Naughton, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin – Friday, February 16, 2018, 08:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / Saturday, February 17, 2018, 3:00 AM EET (UTC+2) – Live on Livestream

Christina and Michelle Naughton















Composers Darius Milhaud and George Gershwin both found jazz in clubs and bars and swapped them for the concert hall. Here their two travelers trade places, as Gershwin's homesick American strolls the streets of Paris and dodges taxis to the sound of the blues, while Milhaud's Frenchman visits Times Square, Central Park, and Yankee Stadium.

The award-winning piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton will perform Francis Poulenc's Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in D minor.



Friday, February 16
Los Angeles: 05:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM
Brasília: 11:00 PM

Saturday, February 17
London: 01:00 AM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw: 02:00 AM
Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 3:00 AM
Moscow: 04:00 AM
Beijing: 09:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 10:00 AM

Live on Livestream



DSO's FRENCH FESTIVAL – CONCERT THREE

Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)

♪ La création du monde / The Creation of the World, Op.81a (1923)

i. Ouverture
ii. Le Chaos avant la création
iii. La Naissance de la flore et de la faune
iv. La Naissance de l'homme et de la femme
v. Le Désir
vi. Le printemps ou l'apaisement


Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)

♪ Concerto pour deux pianos et orchestre / Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in D minor, FP 61 (1932)

i. Allegro ma non troppo
ii. Larghetto
iii. Allegro molto


Darius Milhaud

♪ Un français à New York / A Frenchman in New York, Op.399 (1962)


George Gershwin (1898-1937)

♪ An American in Paris (1928)



Christina and Michelle Naughton, piano duo

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

(HD 720p)


Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit


Friday, February 16, 2018, 08:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / 
Saturday, February 17, 2018, 3:00 AM EET (UTC+2)

Live on Livestream



Christina and Michelle Naughton have been hailed by the San Francisco Examiner for their "stellar musicianship, technical mastery, and awe-inspiring artistry". The Naughtons made their European debut at Herkulesaal in Munich, where the Süddeutsche Zeitung proclaimed them "an outstanding piano duo". They made their Asian debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, where the Sing Tao Daily said of their performance "Joining two hearts and four hands at two grand pianos, the Naughton sisters created an electrifying and moving musical performance". An appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra led the Philadelphia Inquirer to characterize their playing as "paired to perfection", while the Saarbrücker Zeitung exclaimed "this double star could soon prove to be a supernova". They have captivated audiences throughout the globe with the unity created by their mystical musical communication, as featured by the Wall Street Journal in their own words "There are times I forget we are two people playing together".

The Naughtons open their 2017-2018 season with recital appearances at the La Jolla Music Society and the Ravinia Festival. Additional engagements include the duo's Lincoln Center debut as well as appearances at the Gilmore Festival, Rockefeller Evening Concerts, Purdue Convocations, Portland Piano International, Society of the Four Arts, Sharon Lynn Wilson Center, Virginia Arts Festival and the National Gallery. Orchestral season highlights include performances with the Detroit, St Louis, San Diego, Midland and Puerto Rico Symphonies. The duo will also be seen in recital and orchestral engagements throughout New Zealand, Brazil, Belgium and Spain.

The Naughtons opened their 2016-2017 season with their debut at The Royal Concertgebouw playing Mozart's Double Piano Concerto with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Other season highlights included performances across the United States with the Milwaukee, Madison and San Antonio Symphonies in addition to recital engagements at the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Grand Tetons Festival, the Gardner Museum, Big Arts in Sanibel Island and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. The duo was seen in recital and orchestral engagements throughout Germany, Spain and Portugal including an appearance at the Ruhr Piano Festival.

In February of 2016 the Naughtons released their debut record on the Warner Classics label titled "Visions", featuring the music of Messiaen, Bach and Adams. The album received much critical acclaim with The Washington Post hailing them as one of the "greatest piano duos of our time".

Highlights from the Naughtons' 2015-2016 season included performances presented by the New World Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall, at the Classic Festival and the Bonlieu Scène Nationale in Annecy, France, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and at the Grand Teton Music Festival. In addition to recital tours of Latin America and China, the sisters appeared with the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfonica do Estado Sao Paulo, the Netherlands Philharmonic, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the Frankfurter Opern, and Museumsorchester and the Atlanta Symphony.

Previous orchestral engagements include appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston, Milwaukee, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nashville, Virginia, Hawaii, Maryland, Toledo, Delaware, El Paso, Napa Valley, Wichita, Tulsa, Gulf Coast, and Madison Symphonies; the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland's Red Orchestra, Chicago's Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, and Erie Philharmonic; as well as with ensembles such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic in Belgium, Solistes Europeens Luxembourg, Hamburg Chorus, Kiel Philharmonic, and Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock. Past and future seasons feature collaborations under the batons of conductors such as Stephane Deneve, Edo deWaart, Charles Dutoit, JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Emanuel Krivine, Cristian Macelaru, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Michael Stern and Leonard Slatkin.

Christina and Michelle's recitals have included venues in America such as the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, New York City's Naumburg Orchestral Concert Series at the Historic Naumberg Bandshell (Central Park) and Le Poisson Rouge, the Schubert Club in St Paul, Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Wharton Center, Houston's Cullen Theater, South Orange Performing Arts Center, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Ramsey Hall in Athens, and Rockefeller University; as well as on series such as the Fortas Chamber Music Festival, Detroit Chamber Music Series, Harriman Jewell Series,  Steinway Society-The Bay Area, Artist Series of Sarasota, UAB Piano Series, Chamber Music San Francisco Series,  Louisville's Speed Museum Series, Kingston Chamber Music Festival.

European recital highlights for the Naughtons include the Parc Du Chateau de Florans at France's La Roque d'Antheron Festival, the Sociedad de Conciertos de Valencia in Spain, Zurich's Tonhalle,  Prague's Strings of Autumn Festival, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Rheingau Musik Festival, Dresden's Musikfestpiele, Kissinger Sommer, Berlin's Kammermusiksaal, Munich's Herkulesaal, Dusseldorf's Tonhalle, in Hannover's Kleiner Sendesaal, Ingoldstadt's Konzertverein, Reutlingen's Freidrich-List-Halle, Pullach's Burgerhaus, Concert Series in Ludwigshafen, on the Homburg-Saar series, the Bremen Music Festival, Nohant Festival Chopin and Festival Berlioz La Cote de Saint Andre, Casa da Musica Porto, Fundacion Juan March, Auditoria Teluda Moraira and Enclave de Camera in Ourense, Spain.

Recital engagements in Asia and South America have included appearances at the Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall, Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall in China, Pallacio de las Bellas Artes, Biblioteca de Luis Angel and Sala Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The Naughtons recorded their first album in the Sendesaal in Bremen Germany; which was released  worldwide in Fall 2012 by label ORFEO. The album has been praised by Der Spiegel Magazine for "stand(ing) out with unique harmony, and sing(ing) out with stylistic confidence", and described by ClassicsToday as a "Dynamic Duo Debut". Their performances have been broadcast on American Public Media's Performance Today, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, New York's WQXR, Chicago's WFMT, Philadelphia's WHYY,  Boston's WQED, Atlanta's WABE, Hong Kong's RTHK, Latvia's Latvijas Radio 3, Netherland's Radio 4 Concerthuis; and Germany's Bayerischen Rudfunks, Nordwest-RadioBremen, WDR and NDR Radio.

Born in 1989 in Princeton, New Jersey, to parents of European and Chinese descent; Christina and Michelle are graduates of Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where they were each awarded the Festorazzi Prize. They are Steinway Artists and currently reside in New York City.

Source: christinaandmichellenaughton.com

















Darius Milhaud: La création du monde / The Creation of the World, Op.81a

Milhaud discovered American jazz in a 1920 visit to London, where he encountered Billy Arnold's Novelty Jazz Band in a Hammersmith dance hall. By the time he arrived in New York two years later for a series of engagements, he was claiming that European composers, including himself, were strongly influenced by American jazz (even though the only evidence available consisted of very short pieces by the likes of Satie, Auric, and Stravinsky). In New York, he haunted Harlem clubs and bought as many jazz records as he could. Upon his return to Paris, Milhaud was primed to write a lengthy, jazz-inspired score and saw his chance in a collaboration with Swedish producer Rolf de Maré, designer Fernand Léger, writer Blaise Cendrars, and choreographer Jean Börlin. The subject was nothing less than the creation of the world, as seen through African myth. Léger based his scenery and costumes on African art, and Milhaud took his inspiration from the African American music then in the air: jazz. He created a score for 17 solo instruments, including saxophone, and made liberal use of syncopation and near-chaotic counterpoint with the feeling of jazz improvisation (all the notes were written out, however). The score falls into five sections performed without breaks, always underlined by percussion instruments (here including the piano) that evoke both African drums and American jazz styles. The more animated the music becomes, as in the fugal second section, the more frenetic, syncopated, and outwardly jazzy it grows. The slower, quieter passages early on have less to do with African or American styles, aside from the occasional blue note. Throughout, Milhaud makes liberal use of polytonality, as is the case with all his mature music. The curtain rises on darkness, through which can be dimly perceived in inchoate mass of human bodies. Soon, the African gods of creation, Mzamé, Mebère, and Nkwa materialize and through their incantations, various forms of life begin to emerge from the mass of bodies: trees, animals, and ultimately a man and woman. The couple performs a sassy, syncopated dance of creation; the music becomes gentler and the man and woman are left alone on-stage to welcome the first spring.

Source: James Reel (allmusic.com)



Francis Poulenc: Concerto pour deux pianos et orchestre / Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in D minor, FP 61

Poulenc composed this music in 1932, and played the first performance with Jacques Fevrier on September 5 during the Fifth International Music Festival in Venice, with Désire Defauw conducting the La Scala Orchestra from Milan. It is scored for double winds and brass plus piccolo, English horn, tuba, assorted drums, and reduced strings.

While Poulenc was studying with Koechlin, Serge Diaghilev commissioned him to write Les biches (colloquially "The Girls") for his Ballets Russes. Produced in 1924, this made Poulenc famous. He solidified his reputation in 1928 with the delectable Concert champêtre for harpsichord. The saucy-sentimental Two-Piano Concerto followed in 1932, commissioned by the Princesse Edmond de Polignac (herself a composer, but more famous as a Parisian hostess and patron of the arts). Songs apart, the Two-Piano Concerto has proved to be the composer's hardiest work, clearly influenced by Ravel's G major Concerto, which was premiered at Paris in January 1932 – especially its instrumentation and "blues" passages (in their very French way). Each of the three movements has a slow central section, part-bittersweet, part-sentimental, amounting to ABA form in the first and second, but a rondo-component in the finale.

The opening Allegro ma non troppo has a sonata-form exposition and recapitulation along with bits of once-popular chansons (like croutons in salad) that complement the composer's own jaunty first and second subjects. The slow, sighing central section replaces a development group before Poulenc returns to the boulevards and boites.

The Larghetto pays homage to Mozart throughout, at one point to the slow movement of the C major Piano Concerto, K.467. Piano I leads in effect a musette, as if on a toy piano. The middle section becomes more impassioned, building to a sonorous climax before calm is restored.

Returning to the mood of the first movement, the Allegro molto finale begins with percussive flourishes before it takes off like an Alfa-Romeo in a Grand prix through the avenues and allées of day-and-night Paris, past marching bands and music halls. There is, however, an interlude lyrique et romantique when the Alfa stops for a bedroom tryst, where perfume and perspiration mix with the smoke from Gauloises, after which the race resumes, even more racily.

Source: Roger Dettmer (allmusic.com)



George Gershwin: An American in Paris

After the stunning successes of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and the Piano Concerto in F (1925), Walter Damrosch, then conductor of the New York Philharmonic, was anxious to capitalize on the young composer's growing fame. He requested a work from Gershwin for a first performance in Carnegie Hall in mid-December of 1928. Gershwin had journeyed to Paris and was thoroughly immersed in the mood of the French capital. He brought back authentic Parisian taxi horns, which were used as an integral part of the work. The piece is a true tone poem, inspired by extra-musical considerations – the sights, sounds, and moods of Paris. Deems Taylor, the 1920s composer and critic, furnished a blow-by-blow program for the piece from which I quote a brief excerpt: "You are to imagine an American visiting Paris, swinging down the Champs-Elysées on a mild sunny morning in May or June... Our American's ears being open as well as his eyes, he notes with pleasure the sounds of the city. French taxicabs seem to amuse him particularly". Although he claimed not to have a program in mind when he wrote the work, Gershwin did sketch his own general scenario: "An opening section, in which an American visitor strolls about Paris and ‘absorbs the French atmosphere’, is followed by a rich blues with a strong rhythmic undercurrent", representing an episode of homesickness on the visitor's part. But the American overcomes his spell of depression and once again revels in the sights and sounds of Paris. "At the conclusion", according to the composer, "the street noises and French atmosphere are triumphant".

A three-part form is discernible in the composition. The slow middle section includes the famous "homesickness blues" solo by the trumpet, later interrupted by a Charleston-like, highly rhythmic figure also played by the trumpet. The harmonies in this work are spiced with stacked-third sonorities: ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth chords. Gershwin admitted that some influence of Debussy bore on the work, and indeed impressionistic passages can be heard in the section before the unforgettable bluesy trumpet solo. Readers interested in an in-depth analysis should consult Steven E. Gilbert's The Music of Gershwin (Yale University Press, 1995). While there are innumerable recordings of the work available, the most authentic one (although it lacks good sound) is the first one, made on February 4, 1929, with Nathaniel Shilkret conducting the Victor Symphony Orchestra (Victor 39563 and 39564; RCA AVM1-1740); this recording was available (as of 1999) in the Smithsonian Institution's 4-CD album titled I Got Rhythm: The Music of George Gershwin. Gershwin played the celeste part on this recording and obviously was present for the session, presumably indicating that Shilkret's interpretation was acceptable to the composer.

Source: Norbert Carnovale (allmusic.com)












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