DSO Live

DSO Live
SATURDAY, MAY 27: Los Angeles: 05:00 PM – Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM | SUNDAY, MAY 28: London: 01:00 AM – Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome: 02:00 AM – Moscow, Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 03:00 AM – Beijing: 08:00 AM – Tokyo: 09:00 AM

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dmitri Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor – Nicola Benedetti, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Søndergård (HD 1080p)














Italian-Scots violin soloist Nicola Benedetti performing Dmitri Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, Op.77, with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård. Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall on April 27, 2017.



As many know, Shostakovich wrote two violin concertos. But his work list suggests two separate versions of the First, the Op.77 and the Op.99. The Violin Concerto No.1 was originally completed in 1948, but withheld for seven years by the composer, owing to the oppressive climate for artists in the Soviet Union at the time. Any new work might have drawn the wrath of Stalin and his cronies in the arts. Shostakovich returned to the score in 1955 and then assigned the higher opus number to it. Actually, the only documented change he made came not as a result of second thoughts, but as a matter of consideration for the soloist. During rehearsals in 1955, the virtuoso violinist David Oistrakh requested of Shostakovich that the opening statement of the fourth movement's main theme be given to the orchestra, so that the soloist could take a rest following the long cadenza which leads right into the finale, and Shostakovich agreed to make the change.

The First Violin Concerto begins as a dark work, full of that gloom and dread that pervade so many of Shostakovich's serious works. The first movement Nocturne starts off with an ominous theme that is both inwardly reflective and filled with foreboding. Midway through, a thinly veiled Dies Irae appears as the music becomes more tense. Yet, a climactic release never quite arrives and the suggested conflicts remain unresolved.

The second movement is a rather diabolical Scherzo that contains some interesting allusions, first to the third movement of the Tenth Symphony (1953) and later to the first movement of the Second Piano Concerto (1957). The violin and woodwinds scurry about to deliver the playful yet menacing material, but gradually the character of the movement becomes more sarcastic, eventually breaking into a hallucinatory folk dance. The latter part of the Scherzo sounds less acidic, the diabolic and sarcastic elements surrender to the driving, insistent energy.

The third movement is a Passacaglia that has a chorale-like quality at the outset, as the woodwinds deliver a mournful theme. The violin enters playing the main theme, one of the composer's loveliest and warmest creations. Shostakovich's 1943 Eighth Symphony's fourth movement also featured a passacaglia, though of a decidedly grimmer character. Here, there is tension, but also much beauty. The latter third of the movement is taken up by a brilliant cadenza, which leads directly into the brief finale, a Burlesque of a mostly festive nature. The mood is similar to that of the faster music in the Tenth Symphony's finale, though there are no clear thematic references. While the work ends triumphantly, its manic qualities suggest a discomfort by the composer, as though the happy resolution might have been disingenuous.

Shostakovich eliminated trumpets and trombones from the orchestration of this Concerto, and his writing is otherwise sensitive to the limited tone of a solo violin playing amid a large ensemble. A typical performance of this work lasts about 35 minutes.

Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)



Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

♪ Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, Op.77 (1947-1948)

i. Nocturne (Moderato)
ii. Scherzo (Allegro)
iii. Passacaglia (Andante)
iii(a). Cadenza
iv. Burlesque (Allegro con brio – Presto)

Nicola Benedetti, violin

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Thomas Søndergård

Gothenburg Concert Hall, April 27, 2017

(HD 1080p)















Italian-Scots violinist Nicola Benedetti followed in a long line of British Isles teenagers hailed as revitalizers of classical music. In advance of making any recordings whatsoever, she was signed to a six-album contract by the Universal label in January 2005 and assigned to its prestigious Deutsche Grammophon imprint, with a paycheck reportedly in excess of one million pounds (over $1,880,000). Benedetti diverged from predecessors like Vanessa-Mae and singer Charlotte Church, however, in that she stuck to traditional classical repertory and did not try to cross over into the pop world.

Born in 1987 in West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland, Benedetti was the daughter of a prosperous Italian-born manufacturer of plastic cases for first-aid kits. When she was four, she tagged along with her eight-year-old sister Stephanie to a violin lesson and then took up the instrument herself; the two sisters remained close confidantes, and Stephanie has been active as an orchestral musician. Nicola attended the Yehudi Menuhin School in England's Surrey region, an institution whose music programs have recently produced Nigel Kennedy and other top-flight players. She gave performances at several top British concert halls, later moving to London to study with violinist Maciej Rakowski. When Benedetti was 14, she won a Prodigy of the Year contest on England's Carlton Television network. A hint of her potential crossover appeal came when she drew a crowd of 10,000 at the rock-oriented Glastonbury Festival's "classical extravaganza" in the summer of 2003. She told London's Independent newspaper, however, that "I have not ruled out different types of music but I was trained as a classical musician. I don't want to compromise what I do and what I love". At another stratum of British journalism, she told the Mirror that "I'm not really into clubbing and I've never smoked or drunk much – and I won't wear anything tarty".

Benedetti took a big step toward mainstream classical stardom when she won the BBC's Young Musician of the Year award in May 2004, performing Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No.1 and becoming the first Scot to take home the BBC prize. Over that summer she was featured on the cover of BBC Music, and she appeared with the Scottish Symphony and other top groups. With money and publicity coming her way, she was in a position to make the most of her talents. The Times of London forecast a promising future for the youngster, noting that "her poised handling of the whirlwind of fame and honeyed blandishments that came her way last year suggests that her youthful passion in performance is balanced offstage by a healthy streak of that quintessential Scottish trait – prudence". This led her to eventually slow down her performance schedule so that she could further her musical studies and her technique, confident that she would be a better overall musician for it, and determined to play what she loves. By the following decade, Benedetti's schedule was as full as ever, taking in a 2010 debut at the BBC Proms; chamber music recitals with her trio (Leonard Elschenbroich, cello; Alexei Grynyuk, piano) at European festivals; chamber and concerto performances in North America and Europe in 2011; a 2011 release on Decca (Italia); and visits to schools in the United Kingdom to encourage new talent. Released to coincide with a trio of performances at the 2012 BBC Proms, The Silver Violin – a collection of music made famous by the world of cinema – consolidated Benedetti's position as one of the most popular British violinists of her generation.

Source: James Manheim (allmusic.com)







































More photos


See also

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts

&

Dmitri Shostakovich

Symphonies


Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.7 in C major "Leningrad" – hr-Sinfonieorchester, Marin Alsop (HD 1080p)

George Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F major | Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.5 in D minor – Yuja Wang, London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas


Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.5 in D minor – BBC Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner


Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.13 in B flat minor "Babi Yar" – Sergei Aleksashkin, Groot Omroepmannenkoor, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Dima Slobodeniouk


Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 in C minor – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, David Afkham


Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.14 in G minor – Makvala Kasrashvili, Evgeny Nesterenco, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Rudolf Barshai (Audio video)


Concertos


Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1 in E flat major – Alexander Warenberg, Symphony Orchestra of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Judith Kubitz


Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1 in E flat major, & Symphony No.1 in F minor | Benjamin Britten: Sinfonietta, Op.1 – Steven Isserlis, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Teodor Currentzis (HD 1080p)


Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.2 – Truls Mørk, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Francois Xavier Roth


Dmitri Shostakovich plays the end of his First Piano Concerto (1940)

Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.2 in F major – Dmitri Shostakovich, Orchestre National de France, André Cluytens (Audio video)


Dmitri Shostakovich: Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings in C minor – Dmitri Shostakovich, Orchestre National de France, André Cluytens (Audio video)



Chamber Music


Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Trio No.2 in E minor – Delta Piano Trio (HD 1080p)


Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Trio No.1 in C minor – Janine Jansen, Torleif Thedéen, Eldar Nebolsin



Piano Works


Dmitri Shostakovich: 3 Fantastic Dances, 5 Preludes & Fugues – Dmitri Shostakovich (Audio video)



Song Cycles


Dmitri Shostakovich: Song-cycle: From Jewish Folk Poetry – Tatiana Sharova, Ludmila Kuznetsova, Alexei Martynov, Russian State Symphony Orchestra, Valeri Polyansky (Audio video)


Movies


Shostakovich Against Stalin: The War Symphonies – A Documentary by Larry Weinstein – Netherland Radio Philharmonic, Kirov Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (HD 1080p)

Dmitri Shostakovich: Katerina Izmailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), 1966 – A film by Mikhail Shapiro – Galina Vishnevskaya, Konstantin Simeonov

The New Babylon (Novyy Vavilon), 1929 – A film by Grigori Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg – Music by Dmitri Shostakovich (HD 1080p)


Film Music

Dmitri Shostakovich: Film music from New Babylon – Russian State Symphony Orchestra, Valeri Polyansky (Audio video)


Texts (in Greek)


Μουσική υπό διωγμό: οι πολιτικές διώξεις του Σοστακόβιτς – Μέρος Α


Μουσική υπό διωγμό: οι πολιτικές διώξεις του Σοστακόβιτς – Μέρος Β


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

James Ivory and the making of a historic Gay Love Story

James Ivory. Photo by Tim Knox













For many gay men coming of age in the eighties and nineties, James Ivory's "Maurice" was revelatory: a first glimpse, onscreen or anywhere, of what love between men could look like.

By Sarah Larson

The New Yorker – May 19, 2017

In an interview for the 2004 Criterion Collection DVD of the first film by Merchant Ivory Productions, "The Householder" (1963), James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, gray-haired and wearing similar oxford shirts, sit together in a muralled room in their 1805 Federal-style house in Claverack, New York, and companionably bicker about how they met. It was in 1961, at the Indian Consulate in Manhattan, at a screening of Ivory's short documentary about Indian miniature paintings, "The Sword and the Flute". Ivory says that they met on the steps. "He accosted me", he says. Merchant invited Ivory for coffee.

"You were in the screening room", Merchant says.

"No!" Ivory says. "You met me on the steps. I remember very well". They debate; Ivory smiles. "You looked around –"

"No, I didn't look around!" Merchant says. "My eyes always focus on the right things."

"It's chemistry", their friend Saeed Jaffrey says in the video. "When I first introduced them to each other, I knew that the chemistry was there, and it has remained all through these years."

Merchant died in 2005. "He was my life's partner", Ivory told me, when I visited him on a recent Friday at the house in Claverack. "From the beginning right on down to his final day. I lived openly with him for forty-five years, in New York and wherever else we were" – Manhattan, London, Paris. "That says what it says."

Merchant grew up Muslim in Bombay and went to grad school at New York University. Ivory, the son of a sawmill owner, grew up Catholic in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He will be eighty-nine in June. He travels frequently. Upstate, he drives a car; in the city, he rides the subway. He walks with a cane. He seems to remember everything from every movie he has made. He described to me how, in 1963, he and Merchant visited the novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, whom they had never met, at her house in Old Delhi, and convinced her to work with them on adapting "The Householder". The partnership continued throughout their lives. Jhabvala and her husband eventually moved to the East Side apartment building that Merchant and Ivory lived in while in Manhattan; she often stayed at the house in Claverack. Her daughter later got married there. Jhabvala's highly literate screenplays, Merchant's showmanship, finagling, and charm, and Ivory's sensitive, exquisite direction resulted in gorgeous, emotionally realistic films, made in India, the United States, Italy, the U.K., and beyond. The films, featuring exquisite costumes and shot on location, sometimes in friends' houses, appeared to have cost a fortune but were made for relatively little. "We've never had the grandest kind of English people in our movies", Ivory said, about the stereotype of their films being aristocratic. "I mean, the English are famous for their nice houses." From the sixties onward, Merchant Ivory averaged about a movie a year, both original and adapted screenplays, from work by Jhabvala, Henry James, Cheever, and others. In 1985, they turned to E. M. Forster. Merchant fell in love with "A Room with a View". In the film, we watch the ingénue Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter), in Italy and Edwardian England, fall for the unconventional George Emerson (Julian Sands), and, for a time, suffer the absurdity of being engaged to the priggish Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis). To blow off steam, she plays Beethoven, thunderously. Mr. Beebe (a pipe-smoking Simon Callow), an amiably omnipresent vicar, says things like "If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting, both for us and for her".

"A Room with a View" is probably best remembered for Lucy and George's swooning first kiss, set to Puccini, in a field of poppies. But its exuberant spirit is also embodied in another memorable scene, in which Lucy's brother, Freddy (Rupert Graves), George, and the Reverend Beebe head into the woods, to a sun-dappled lake, strip naked, and jump in, whooping and splashing and wrestling; they get out and run around, leaping and bouncing; then they get caught. At the world première, at the Paris, in New York, the audience's laughter was so loud, Callow said, that you couldn't hear the dialogue. You hadn't seen that kind of male nudity onscreen before. "And you haven't seen it since!" Ivory told me. "A Room with a View" was nominated for eight Oscars and won three. "It changed our whole lives, that film", Ivory said. "We could probably have done anything we wanted then." They made "Maurice" – a story about love between men. (A newly restored 4K print of "Maurice", currently showing in New York, will soon open in cities nationwide.)

E. M. Forster wrote "Maurice" in 1913 and 1914; it was published in 1971, after his death. "A happy ending was imperative", Forster wrote, in 1960. "I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows... I dedicated it ‘To a Happier Year’ and not altogether vainly." Ivory saw it as a natural successor to "A Room with a View". "It was the same author, same period, same country", he told me. "Same situation, really. You had muddled young people living a lie." Maurice Hall falls in love with his schoolmate Clive Durham; Clive loves Maurice, but fearfully, and then spurns him. In the end, Maurice finds happiness with Alec Scudder, a gamekeeper on Clive's estate.

"As for the subject matter, there wasn't the slightest hesitation about it", Ivory said. "I didn't feel that I should worry. And neither did Ismail." But Jhabvala called the novel "sub-Forster and sub-Ivory", Ivory said – she thought "Maurice" was a minor work – and didn't want to write the screenplay. Ivory wrote it himself, with the help of Kit Hesketh-Harvey, a former BBC music and arts producer who had studied Forster and attended the same schools that Forster had. Julian Sands, originally cast as Maurice, dropped out, and was replaced by James Wilby; Hugh Grant played Clive; Rupert Graves played Alec Scudder. Graves was worried he couldn’t pull it off, because "he'd never played a working-class type", Ivory said. "Which is ridiculous, because he left home at sixteen to join the circus."

The book dares to imagine a better world – but only just. Maurice suffers throughout, and his happy ending is a bold and unlikely gift. Forster didn't publish the novel in his time because of obscenity laws. ("If it ended unhappily, with a lad dangling from a noose or with a suicide pact, all would be well, for there is no pornography or seduction of minors", he wrote. "But the lovers get away unpunished and consequently recommend crime.") In 1987, attitudes were the problem. Gay romance onscreen, especially at the multiplex, was rare. Happier endings were rarer still. A Times piece called "A Gay ‘Love Story’", about the novelty of the film's subject matter, imagined skeptics' responses to the film – "Is so defiant a salute to homosexual passion really to be welcomed during a spiraling aids crisis?" – and reassured readers that it was about love, not "bathhouse promiscuity".

One of the film's most tender scenes takes place in a room at Cambridge. Maurice sits in a chair; Clive sits on the floor, and Maurice strokes his hair. "They've obviously never embraced before", Ivory said. The scene is nearly silent except for the creaking of a chair. "The sound of that wicker chair is so sexy", Ivory said. "It's a fantastic sound. It just happened."

In both "A Room with a View" and "Maurice", the awkwardness of human intimacy is heightened by the constraints of upper-middle-class manners in Edwardian England. "A Room with a View" includes both some of the most stiffly unsexy kisses ever filmed, between Lucy and Cecil, as well as true barn-burners, between Lucy and George. In "Maurice", the moments of liberation are all the more euphoric. Before shooting, Graves and Wilby agreed to make their love scenes convincing. "Rupert said, ‘Let's go for it. Let's give 'em a real kiss’" Ivory said. "And they did – the sort of thing you don't really see in movies with male lovers. It just never happens." Male nudity makes a welcome reappearance, too. "I have always felt that people who have made love should be able to get up and move freely around the room", Ivory told the Times in 1987. "They do so in foreign films, but in Anglo-Saxon pictures they rarely do. And it seems to me so phony and ridiculous... Why should we subscribe to basically Victorian ideas about morality?"

Maurice and Scudder meet late in the story; Scudder can feel like a heartening deus ex machina. "But you also feel that they're going to make up for it somehow", Ivory said. "They're young, and they're going to make up for it."

The house in Claverack, bought in 1975, has nineteen rooms, with high ceilings and huge windows. Its eleven acres have a pond and several small buildings; "A Room with a View" was edited in a former apple-storage barn. At one point during my visit, Ivory brought me into the parlor where the interview with Merchant from the "Householder" DVD had taken place. The murals, which Ivory commissioned, are of imagined Hudson Valley landscapes circa 1800. He opened a cabinet topped with baftas to reveal a collection of elegant dioramas, one of them in a former pralines box. He handed them to me one by one and let me look through each tiny doorway: into an 1820 New Orleans boudoir; a 1761 Mt. Pleasant, Philadelphia, drawing room. He made them when he was thirteen.

That weekend, in a convivial Forsterian scenario, he had three houseguests. All of them had worked on Merchant Ivory films. Jeremiah Rusconi, the art director for "The Europeans", has also directed, over the years, the restoration of the house; now a restoration consultant, he currently lives there. Melissa Chung, a friend who began working for Merchant Ivory as a production assistant right out of Yale, in 1992, is there most weekends. That day, she and Benoît Pain (camera loader, "Le Divorce"), both in black-and-white striped Breton shirts, made lunch, as Ivory directed ("Have we started the asparagus?"). The group ate around a table in a sunny, windowed porch bursting with geraniums.

"Led by the maestro – the captain of our ship", Chung said.

"I invented this pepper soup", Ivory said. It was a bright-red purée. "But Melissa, and Benoît, too, knows all about hollandaise."

This year, Ivory had a hand in another gay coming-of-age romance – "Call Me by Your Name", directed by Luca Guadagnino. Ivory adapted the screenplay from the novel by André Aciman, in which Elio (Timothée Chalamet), seventeen, is wary of, then attracted to, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a twenty-four-year-old scholar who's assisting Elio's professor father at the family's Italian villa for the summer. The film has the Italian-countryside pleasures of "A Room with a View", and mirrors that and "Maurice" 's journeys from awkwardness to connection and joy. But it's also set in the eighties – so, like Clive, our hero's first love marries a woman and breaks his heart.

For many gay men coming of age in the eighties and nineties, "Maurice" was revelatory: a first glimpse, onscreen or anywhere, of what love between men could look like. One man recently told me that until "Maurice" he'd seen same-sex attraction only in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". "So many people have come up to me since ‘Maurice’ and pulled me aside and said, ‘I just want you to know you changed my life’", Ivory said. One such man got off a bus and ran up to Ivory on the street, then ran away. The lifetimes of Merchant and Ivory spanned generations in which the cultural landscape changed slowly but radically; they both came from milieux in which being openly gay wasn't common or acceptable. "Such things were unthinkable, I think, to people of my parents' generation", Ivory said. "If you grew up in a small town somewhere – I didn't know about such things till I went to college." Did he struggle with it?

"I didn't", he said, looking content. "I didn't. For some reason, in the same way it was not a struggle to give up my religion. You know, a lot of people give up their religion, but, oh, my goodness, they go through such agonies. I never did." He laughed a little. "As I was telling someone, I always had this attitude about myself – Well, if I do it, it's O.K. And my friend said, ‘Jim, that's the attitude of a serial killer’". He laughed again. "I guess I had such a high opinion of myself that I really couldn't do wrong." Another way to look at it might be that happiness, once found, is definitively the right answer. With the right partner, you can create the world that you want to live in – and as an artist you can show us what it looks like.

Source: newyorker.com/culture/persons-of-interest


James Ivory and Ismail Merchant at a New York hotel on July 27, 1999.
Photo by Mark Lennihan
















Sunday, May 21, 2017

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue & Summertime – Fazıl Say, Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie, Alexander Shelley (HD 1080p)














The Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie is one of nothern Germany's most aspiring young musicians projects. Young and talanted musicians from all over Germany come together to create their very own sound and play energetic and innovative concerts – music from our future! On July 31, 2015 the Junge Norddeutsche celebrated their fifth anniversary at the Laeiszhalle Hamburg.

Turkish virtuoso pianist and composer Fazıl Say plays George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Summertime", with Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie under English conductor Alexander Shelley.



George Gershwin (1898-1937)

♪ Rhapsody in Blue (1924)


♪ Summertime (1934)

Fazıl Say, piano


Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie

Conductor: Alexander Shelley

Laeiszhalle Hamburg, July 31, 2015

(HD 1080p)















Late at night on 3 January 1924, George Gershwin, his brother Ira and lyricist Buddy DeSylva were having a game in the Ambassador Billiard Parlor at 52nd Street on Broadway, when an item in the amusement section of the New York Tribune caught Ira's attention. It was about a concert of new American music to be given by Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Band at Aeolian Hall on 12 February – Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

"George Gershwin is at work on a jazz concerto", ran the article, "Irving Berlin is writing a syncopated tone poem..."

It was all news to George. His musical comedy, Sweet Little Devil, was set to open in just three weeks. And now he had to write a concerto by 12 February as well?

Paul Whiteman was the most popular bandleader of the 1920s and enjoyed the title "King of Jazz" – although this was no jazz band; rather it was a large dance orchestra that used jazz musicians from time to time.

But Whiteman twisted Gershwin's arm that all he had to do was supply a piano score. Ferde Grofé, Whiteman's brilliant in-house arranger, would be able to orchestrate the work tailored to the band's line-up.

While he was on the train to Boston for rehearsals of his musical, Gershwin sketched out a framework for the new piece, which he began writing on 7 January. Over the next few days, while he also made last-minute changes to ready Sweet Little Devil for its New York opening on 24 January, the genius completed a two-piano score.

What Gershwin produced was not a "jazz concerto" but a rhapsodic work for "piano and jazz band" incorporating elements of European symphonic music and American jazz with his inimitable melodic gift and keyboard facility.

Gershwin's original title for it was American Rhapsody. But, by chance, Ira had been to an exhibition of Whistler's paintings and saw the painter's Nocturne In Blue And Green of the Thames at Chelsea. Why not call the new piece Rhapsody In Blue instead, he suggested. The title would reflect the European and American influences. Also at Ira's suggestion, George contrasted the syncopated character that dominates the tune with an expressive romantic theme the composer had previously improvised at a party.

The Rhapsody, with its composer as soloist, was premièred in front of a packed house that included such musical luminaries as the composer Rachmaninov , the violinist Fritz Kreisler and the conductor Leopold Stokowski.

Despite not yet having written down much of the piano part, Gershwin scored a triumphant success with the work which today is hailed as a landmark in American music.

Source: Jane Jones (classicfm.com)















With his extraordinary pianistic talents, Fazıl Say (born January 14, 1970 in Ankara) has been touching audiences and critics alike for more than twenty-five years, in a way that has become rare in the increasingly materialistic and elaborately organised classical music world. Concerts with this artist are something different. They are more direct, more open, more exciting; in short, they go straight to the heart. Which is exactly what the composer Aribert Reimann thought in 1986 when, during a visit to Ankara, he had the opportunity, more or less by chance, to appreciate the playing of the sixteen-year-old pianist. He immediately asked the American pianist David Levine, who was accompanying him on the trip, to come to the city's conservatory, using the now much-quoted words: "You absolutely must hear him, this boy plays like a devil".

Fazıl Say had his first piano lessons from Mithat Fenmen, who had himself studied with Alfred Cortot in Paris. Perhaps sensing just how talented his pupil was, Fenmen asked the boy to improvise every day on themes to do with his daily life before going on to complete his essential piano exercises and studies. This contact with free creative processes and forms is seen as the source of the immense improvisatory talent and the aesthetic outlook that make Fazıl Say the pianist and composer he is today. He has been commissioned to write music for, among others, the Salzburg Festival, the WDR, the Dortmund Konzerthaus and the Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festivals. His work includes compositions for solo keyboard and chamber music, as well as solo concertos and large-scale orchestral works.

From 1987 onwards, Fazıl Say fine-tuned his skills as a classical pianist with David Levine, first at the Musikhochschule Robert Schumann in Düsseldorf and later in Berlin. This formed the aesthetic basis for his Mozart and Schubert interpretations, in particular. His outstanding technique very quickly enabled him to master the so-called warhorses of the repertoire with masterful ease. It is precisely this blend of refinement (in Bach, Haydn, and Mozart) and virtuoso brilliance in the works of Liszt, Mussorgsky and Beethoven that gained him victory at the Young Concert Artists international competition in New York in 1994. Since then he has played with all of the renowned American and European orchestras and numerous leading conductors, building up a multifaceted repertoire ranging from Bach, through the Viennese Classics (Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven) and the Romantics, right up to contemporary music, including his own piano compositions.

Guest appearances have taken Fazıl Say to countless countries on all five continents; the French newspaper Le Figaro called him "a genius". He also performs chamber music regularly: for many years he was part of a fantastic duo with the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Other notable collaborators include Maxim Vengerov, the Borusan Quartet of Istanbul and the cellist Nicolas Altstaedt.

From 2005 to 2010, he was artist in residence at the Dortmund Konzerthaus; during the 2010/2011 season he held the same position at the Berlin Konzerthaus. Say was also a focal point of the programme of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in the summer of 2011. There have been further residencies and Fazıl Say festivals in Paris, Tokyo, Meran, Hamburg, and Istanbul. During the 2012/2013 season Fazıl Say was the artist in residence at the Hessischer Rundfunk in Frankfurt am Main and at the Rheingau Musik Festival 2013, where he was honoured with the Rheingau Musik Preis. In April 2015 Fazıl Say gave a successful concert with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, New York, that was followed by a tour with concerts all over Europe. In 2014 he was the artist in residence at the Bodenseefestival, where he played 14 concerts. During their 2015/2016 season the Alte Oper Frankfurt invited him to be their artist in residence.

His recordings of works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin and Stravinsky have been highly praised by critics and won several prizes, including three ECHO Klassik Awards. In 2014, his recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3 and Beethoven's Sonatas Op.111 and Op.27 No.2 "Moonlight" was released, as well as the CD "Say plays Say", featuring his compositions for piano.

Source: fazilsay.com



















































More photos


See also


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.21 in C major – Fazıl Say, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Peter Oundjian (HD 1080p)

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata for violin & piano No.9 "Kreutzer" – Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Fazıl Say (HD 1080p)

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue – Yuja Wang, Camerata Salzburg, Lionel Bringuier

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.21 in C major – Fazıl Say, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Peter Oundjian (HD 1080p)














Turkish virtuoso pianist and composer Fazıl Say plays Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto No.21 in C major, K.467, with hr-Sinfonieorchester under Canadian violinist and conductor Peter Oundjian. Recorded at Alte Oper Frankfurt, on April 28, 2017.



Elvira Madigan, byname of Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major, K.467, three-movement concerto for piano and orchestra by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the best known of his many piano concerti. It was completed on March 9, 1785. Its wide recognition is in large part due to the Swedish film Elvira Madigan (1967), in which its lyrical second movement was featured and from which it derives its byname.

Mozart wrote the first of his many piano concerti at age 11 and the last one mere months before his death at age 35. This circumstance makes the piano concerto perfectly suited to the study of the development of Mozart's style and demonstrates how the Classical style as a whole came into being. His earliest piano concerti are close adaptations of Baroque sonatas, whereas his final few works in the genre hint at the passion and power that would become popular in the Romantic era.

Mozart completed his Concerto No.21 only a month after his previous concerto. He would write four more in the next 21 months. Because Mozart wrote them for his own concert performances in Vienna, he did not write down the solo cadenzas that he improvised during performance, and, as a result, modern concert pianists have had to either create their own cadenzas or use those created by others.

Piano Concerto No.21 is among the most technically demanding of all Mozart's concerti. The composer's own father, Leopold Mozart, described it as "astonishingly difficult". The difficulty lies less in the intricacy of the notes on the page than in playing those many notes smoothly and elegantly. Mozart made the challenge look easy, as newspapers of his time attest, though his letters reveal the hard work behind those performances.

The piece's first movement, Allegro maestoso, is an exuberant, extroverted lead-in to an internal, quietly satisfying second movement, Andante. The third movement, Allegro vivace assai, reveals Mozart at his high-spirited, irrepressible best.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

♪ Piano Concerto No.21 in C major, K.467 (1785)

i. Allegro Maestoso
ii. Andante
iii. Allegro vivace assai

Fazıl Say, piano

hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Conductor: Peter Oundjian

Alte Oper Frankfurt, April 28, 2017

(HD 1080p)















With his extraordinary pianistic talents, Fazıl Say (born January 14, 1970 in Ankara) has been touching audiences and critics alike for more than twenty-five years, in a way that has become rare in the increasingly materialistic and elaborately organised classical music world. Concerts with this artist are something different. They are more direct, more open, more exciting; in short, they go straight to the heart. Which is exactly what the composer Aribert Reimann thought in 1986 when, during a visit to Ankara, he had the opportunity, more or less by chance, to appreciate the playing of the sixteen-year-old pianist. He immediately asked the American pianist David Levine, who was accompanying him on the trip, to come to the city's conservatory, using the now much-quoted words: "You absolutely must hear him, this boy plays like a devil".

Fazıl Say had his first piano lessons from Mithat Fenmen, who had himself studied with Alfred Cortot in Paris. Perhaps sensing just how talented his pupil was, Fenmen asked the boy to improvise every day on themes to do with his daily life before going on to complete his essential piano exercises and studies. This contact with free creative processes and forms is seen as the source of the immense improvisatory talent and the aesthetic outlook that make Fazıl Say the pianist and composer he is today. He has been commissioned to write music for, among others, the Salzburg Festival, the WDR, the Dortmund Konzerthaus and the Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festivals. His work includes compositions for solo keyboard and chamber music, as well as solo concertos and large-scale orchestral works.

From 1987 onwards, Fazıl Say fine-tuned his skills as a classical pianist with David Levine, first at the Musikhochschule Robert Schumann in Düsseldorf and later in Berlin. This formed the aesthetic basis for his Mozart and Schubert interpretations, in particular. His outstanding technique very quickly enabled him to master the so-called warhorses of the repertoire with masterful ease. It is precisely this blend of refinement (in Bach, Haydn, and Mozart) and virtuoso brilliance in the works of Liszt, Mussorgsky and Beethoven that gained him victory at the Young Concert Artists international competition in New York in 1994. Since then he has played with all of the renowned American and European orchestras and numerous leading conductors, building up a multifaceted repertoire ranging from Bach, through the Viennese Classics (Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven) and the Romantics, right up to contemporary music, including his own piano compositions.

Guest appearances have taken Fazıl Say to countless countries on all five continents; the French newspaper Le Figaro called him "a genius". He also performs chamber music regularly: for many years he was part of a fantastic duo with the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Other notable collaborators include Maxim Vengerov, the Borusan Quartet of Istanbul and the cellist Nicolas Altstaedt.

From 2005 to 2010, he was artist in residence at the Dortmund Konzerthaus; during the 2010/2011 season he held the same position at the Berlin Konzerthaus. Say was also a focal point of the programme of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in the summer of 2011. There have been further residencies and Fazıl Say festivals in Paris, Tokyo, Meran, Hamburg, and Istanbul. During the 2012/2013 season Fazıl Say was the artist in residence at the Hessischer Rundfunk in Frankfurt am Main and at the Rheingau Musik Festival 2013, where he was honoured with the Rheingau Musik Preis. In April 2015 Fazıl Say gave a successful concert with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, New York, that was followed by a tour with concerts all over Europe. In 2014 he was the artist in residence at the Bodenseefestival, where he played 14 concerts. During their 2015/2016 season the Alte Oper Frankfurt invited him to be their artist in residence.

His recordings of works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin and Stravinsky have been highly praised by critics and won several prizes, including three ECHO Klassik Awards. In 2014, his recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3 and Beethoven's Sonatas Op.111 and Op.27 No.2 "Moonlight" was released, as well as the CD "Say plays Say", featuring his compositions for piano.

Source: fazilsay.com



















































More photos


See also

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue & Summertime – Fazıl Say, Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie, Alexander Shelley (HD 1080p)

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata for violin & piano No.9 "Kreutzer" – Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Fazıl Say (HD 1080p)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

John Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man. Seven Poems of Bob Dylan | Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.9 in D minor – Hila Plitmann, UMS Choral Union, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin – Friday, May 19, 2017, 08:00 PM EDT (UTC-4) / Saturday, May 20, 2017, 03:00 AM EEST (UTC+3) – Live on Livestream

Hila Plitmann. Photo by Marc Royce
















From its powerful opening passage to the triumphant "Ode to Joy" with full choir (University Musical Society Choral Union), experience Beethoven's iconic Ninth Symphony with Rachelle Durkin (soprano), Abigail Nims (mezzo-soprano), Sean Panikkar (tenor), Peixin Chen (bass) and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. The program also presents the first DSO performances of Grammy Award winning American composer John Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man, setting original music to seven poems by Bob Dylan and featuring the return of soprano Hila Plitmann (star of David Del Tredici's Final Alice, 2012).

Friday, May 19
Los Angeles: 05:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM

Saturday, May 20
London: 01:00 AM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome: 02:00 AM
Moscow, Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 03:00 AM
Beijing: 08:00 AM
Tokyo: 09:00 AM

Live on Livestream



John Corigliano (b.1938)

♪ Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (2003) (DSO premiere)

1. Prelude: Mr. Tambourine Man
2. Clothes Line
3. Blowin' in the Wind
4. Masters of War
5. All Along The Watchtower
6. Chimes of Freedom
7. Postlude: Forever Young

Hila Plitmann, soprano


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

♪ Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 "Choral" (1824)

i. Allegro ma non troppo
ii. Molto vivace
iii. Adagio molto e cantabile
iv. Presto – Allegro assai
v. Recitative – Allegro assai

Rachelle Durkin, soprano
Abigail Nims, mezzo-soprano
Sean Panikkar, tenor
Peixin Chen, bass

UMS Choral Union

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

(HD 720p)

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

Friday, May 19, 2017, 8:00 PM EDT (UTC-4)
Saturday, May 20, 2017, 03:00 AM EEST (UTC+3)

Live on Livestream


Photo by Marc Royce
Grammy award-winning soprano Hila Plitmann is a glittering jewel on the international music scene, known worldwide for her astonishing musicianship, light and beautiful voice, and the ability to perform challenging new works. She regularly premieres works by today's leading composers while maintaining a vibrant and extraordinarily diverse professional life in film music, musical theatre, and song writing.

The Los Angeles Times calls her a performer with "tremendous vocal and physical grace", while Entertainment Today raves, "Plitmann has a vocal instrument that is simply unreal in its beauty". USA Today quotes "Her emotional interpretation of ‘Blowin' in the Wind’ unleashes startling fury and despair". Of her extensive soundtrack work as a soloist for the Hollywood blockbuster The DaVinci Code, CNN says: “Plitmann's glissandi sail above the petty pulpits of earthly doctrine with an ethereal ease that argues for Plitmann's pairing with [Kathleen] Battle or Dawn Upshaw".

When originating the role of Exstasis in Eric Whitacre's groundbreaking electro-musical Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings at the Boston Court Theatre in Pasadena, Hila sang, acted, danced and fought in long martial arts battles nightly for a seven week sold-out run, a tour-de force performance that prompted Backstage West to call her, "brilliant, eliciting strong empathy and singing gorgeously", and Theatre Mania to declare she "fights like a warrior and sings like the angel she portrays". For her work in the show she received nominations for Best Actress in a Musical from the Los Angeles Ovation Awards and The L.A. Ticketholder Awards.

Hila has worked with many of today's leading conductors, including Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Esa Pekka Salonen, Andrew Litton, Giancarlo Guerrero, Steven Sloane and Carl St Clair. She has appeared as a headliner with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and numerous other orchestras and ensembles in the United States and abroad.

In constant demand as a singer of new and contemporary music, Hila has been involved in a great many world premieres, including: Paul Revere's Ride with the Atlanta Symphony, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici; Esa-Pekka Salonen's Wing on Wing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of the composer; Mr. Tambourine Man written by Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano with the Minnesota Orchestra; the world premiere of Gerard Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby, a song cycle written for her by Pulitzer Prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis; Richard Danielpour's Towards a Season of Peace with Pacific Symphony; and Frank Zappa's orchestral staged version of the 200 Motels with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Additional previous performances to note are and Philip Glass' The Civil WarS with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Grant Gershon conducting); Thomas Adès' The Tempest Suite with the Boston Symphony Orchestra & with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Adès conducting); David Del Tredici's Final Alice with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra (all conducted by Leonard Slatkin). Other collaborations include performances of Salonen's Sappho Songs with the Stockholm Symphony Orchestra (Salonen conducting); Selection of Bernstein and Golijov with the Seattle Symphony (Joana Carneiro conducting); Paola Prestini's Oceanic Verses with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Singers at the Barbican Centre; A selection of Barbara Streisand songs with the Hamburg Symphony (Stuart Barr conducting), and the New York premiere of Eric Whitacre's Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings at Carnegie Hall.

Among future engagements are a recording of Xiaoyang Ye's Symphony No.3, with the Royal Philhamonic Orchestra (José Serebrier conducting); George Benjamin's Into the Little Hill as part of the Mostly Mozart music festival at Lincoln Center (Benjamin conducting); The world premiere of Mark Adamo's Opera Becoming Santa Claus, with the Dallas Opera; Michael Daugherty's Labyrinth of Love with the University of Michigan symphonic band, and the world premiere Paola Prestini's opera Gilgamesh in Boston, as part of the Ouroboros Trilogy Opera Project.

Hila has accumulated an impressive catalogue of professional recordings, appearing on the Decca, Telarc, Naxos, Signum, CRI, Reference Recordings and Disney labels. Some of her latest discography encompasses Richard Danielpour's Toward A Season of Peace (Pacific Symphony) and Corigliano – Conjurer/Vocalise (Albany Symphony), both released to critical acclaim on Naxos; The Ancient Question... A Journey Through Jewish Songs, was released to critical acclaim in December 2012 (Signum Classics); Both David Del Tredici's Paul Revere's Ride (Telarc), and Hans Zimmer's The Da Vinci Code (Decca) received Grammy nominations, and in 2009 Hila won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Performance for her work on the Naxos recording of John Corigliano's song cycle Mr. Tambourine Man with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Hila can also be heard on the soundtrack of the film New York, I Love You, singing a song written by composer Paul Cantelon.

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Hila received both her Bachelor's and Master's of Music degrees, with high honors, from the Juilliard School of Music, and has been awarded the coveted Sony ES Prize for her outstanding contribution to the vocal arts. She currently lives in London with her husband, composer Eric Whitacre, and their son. She has a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Source: hilaplitmann.com


Photo by J. Henry Fair
John Corigliano, (born Feb. 16, 1938, New York, N.Y., U.S.), American composer who drew from eclectic influences to create music that was generally tonal, accessible, and often highly expressive. Corigliano, who composed works for orchestra, solo instruments, and chamber groups, as well as operas, choral works, and film scores, won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Symphony No.2 for String Orchestra.

Corigliano's father was concertmaster (1943-1966) of the New York Philharmonic, and his mother was a piano teacher. In his teens he began analyzing the scores of compositions while listening to recordings, and he demonstrated an ability to transpose and harmonize. Corigliano graduated (1959) from Columbia University in New York City and also studied at the Manhattan School of Music. He then worked for radio stations, assisted composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein in the production of his Young People's Concerts, produced recordings, and did orchestrations for pop albums. Corigliano later taught at institutions in New York City, including the Juilliard School (from 1991). In 1991 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In 1964 Corigliano's first major work, Sonata for Violin and Piano, won the chamber music competition at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. It received its premiere two years later at New York City's Carnegie Hall. Among his other compositions are Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1977); Pied Piper Fantasy (1982), a concerto commissioned by flutist James Galway; Symphony No.1, completed while Corigliano was composer in residence (1987-1990) with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the opera The Ghosts of Versailles, which was commissioned by New York's Metropolitan Opera and premiered there in 1991; String Quartet (1995); A Dylan Thomas Trilogy (1999); and Circus Maximus, a symphony for three wind bands that had its premiere at the University of Texas in 2005. The Red Violin, his third film score, won an Academy Award in 2000; a piece based in part on the score, The Red Violin Concerto, was recorded by violinist Joshua Bell and the Baltimore Sympony Orchestra in 2007.

Source: britannica.com


When Sylvia McNair asked me to write her a major song cycle for Carnegie Hall, she had only one request; to choose an American text.

I have set only four poets in my adult compositional life: Stephen Spender, Richard Wilbur, Dylan Thomas (whose major works generated the oratorio A Dylan Thomas Trilogy) and William M. Hoffman, collaborator with me on, among other, shorter pieces, the opera The Ghosts of Versailles. Aside from asking Bill to create a new text, I had no ideas.

Except that I had always heard, by reputation, of the high regard accorded the folk-ballad singer/songwriter Bob Dylan. But I was so engaged in developing my orchestral technique during the years when Dylan was heard by the rest of the world that I had never heard his songs.

So I bought a collection of his texts, and found many of them to be every bit as beautiful and as immediate as I had heard-and surprisingly well-suited to my own musical language. I then contacted Jeff Rosen, his manager, who approached Bob Dylan with the idea of re-setting his poetry to my music.

I do not know of an instance in which this has been done before (which was part of what appealed to me), so I needed to explain that these would be in no way arrangements, or variations, or in any way derivations of the music of the original songs, which I decided to not hear before the cycle was complete. Just as Schumann or Brahms or Wolf had re-interpreted in their own musical styles the same Goethe text, I intended to treat the Dylan lyrics as the poems I found them to be. Nor would their settings make any attempt at pop or rock writing. I wanted to take poetry I knew to be strongly associated with popular art and readdress it in terms of concert art-crossover in the opposite direction, one might say. Dylan granted his permission, and I set to work.

I chose seven poems for what became a thirty-five minute cycle. A Prologue: Mr. Tambourine Man, in a fantastic and exuberant manner, precedes five searching and reflective monologues that form the core of the piece; and Epilogue: Forever Young makes a kind of folk-song benediction after the cycle's close. Dramatically, the inner five songs trace a journey of emotional and civic maturation, from the innocence of Clothes Line through the beginnings of awareness of a wider world (Blowin' in the Wind), through the political fury of Masters of War, to a premonition of an apocalyptic future (All Along the Watchtower), culminating in a vision of a victory of ideas (Chimes of Freedom). Musically, each of the five songs introduces an accompanimental motive that becomes the principal motive of the next. The descending scale introduced in Clothes Line resurfaces as the passacaglia which shapes Blowin' in the Wind. The echoing pulse-notes of that song harden into the hammered ostinato under Masters of War; the stringent chords of that song's finale explode into the raucous accompaniment under All Along the Watchtower; and that song's repeated figures dissolve into the bell-sounds of Chimes of Freedom.

Several years after composing the vocal/piano score I orchestrated the work. Since I did not want the soprano to have to sing in an "operatic" manner (with these Dylan texts), I specified that she be amplified. This way, she can project her voice over the orchestra while remaining intimate in her sound. The work is dedicated to Mark Adamo.

John Corigliano


Mr. Tambourine Man, John Corigliano's 35-minute song cycle for amplified soprano and orchestra, had a unique genesis. Corigliano took texts from songs by Bob Dylan, and treated them purely as poetry, without using or referring to Dylan's music. He professes not to even know the Dylan originals, but frankly, it's a little hard to believe that anyone who didn't spend the 1960s in an isolation chamber could have avoided hearing "Blowin' in the Wind" somewhere along the line.

Corigliano's experiment pays off because the texts are indeed terrific, and his thoughtful and evocative settings are persuasive interpretations of Dylan's lyrics. His music makes no reference to the folk tradition in which Dylan writes. These are clearly art songs with an entirely different set of aesthetic parameters, but particularly in the more reflective movements, Corigliano's settings have a haunting melancholy that evokes a sensibility of American populism not too far from Dylan's in its depth of feeling and emotional impact. He gives "Forever Young" a strophic setting that's wonderfully melodically memorable; its simplicity and transparency make it achingly poignant. There's a homespun Ivesian flavor to Corigliano's wistful and mysterious setting of "Clothes Line". "Blowin' in the Wind", perhaps the hardest sell because Dylan's original is so distinctive, succeeds because it brings a new twist to the text; it quietly begins with a sense of smoldering anger and grows in intensity as the cumulative power of the unanswerable questions builds, until it erupts in an outcry of full-blown rage before subsiding into resigned sadness.

Hila Plitmann's remarkably pure and expressive voice and emotionally direct and unmannered performance make her the ideal interpreter for this material.

Source: Stephen Eddins (allmusic.com)


Leonard Slatkin conducting the DSO. Photo by Richard Termine
















Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125, byname the Choral Symphony, orchestral work in four movements by Ludwig van Beethoven, remarkable in its day not only for its grandness of scale but especially for its final movement, which includes a full chorus and vocal soloists who sing a setting of Friedrich Schiller's poem "An die Freude" (Ode to Joy). The work was Beethoven's final complete symphony, and it represents an important stylistic bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods of Western music history. Symphony No.9 premiered on May 7, 1824, in Vienna, to an overwhelmingly enthusiastic audience, and it is widely viewed as Beethoven's greatest composition.

Beethoven's Symphony No.9 was ultimately more than three decades in the making. Schiller's popular "Ode to Joy" was published in 1785, and it is possible that Beethoven made his first of multiple attempts to set it to music in the early 1790s. He clearly revisited the poem in 1808 and 1811, as his notebooks include numerous remarks regarding possible settings. In 1812 Beethoven determined to place his setting of "Ode to Joy" within a grand symphony.

Ten more years passed before that symphony's completion, and during that time Beethoven agonized over the composition's every note. His notebooks indicate that he considered and rejected more than 200 different versions of the "Ode to Joy" theme alone. When he finally finished the work, he offered to the public a radically new creation that was part symphony and part oratorio – a hybrid that proved puzzling to less-adventuresome listeners. Some knowledgeable contemporaries declared that Beethoven had no understanding of how to write for voices; others wondered why there were voices in a symphony at all.

The story of the premiere of Symphony No.9 is widely told and disputed. Beethoven had steadily lost his hearing during the course of the symphony's composition, and by the time of its premiere he was profoundly deaf. Although he appeared onstage as the general director of the performance, kapellmeister Michael Umlauf actually led the orchestra with the conductor's baton, taking tempo cues from Beethoven. According to one account of the event, the audience applauded thunderously at the conclusion of the performance, but Beethoven, unable to hear the response, continued to face the chorus and orchestra; a singer finally turned him around so that he could see evidence of the affirmation that resounded throughout the hall. Other accounts maintain that the dramatic incident occurred at the end of the second movement scherzo. (At the time, it was common for audiences to applaud between movements.) Whenever the applause occurred, that it passed unnoticed by Beethoven makes clear that he never heard a note of his magnificent composition outside his own imagination.

Symphony No.9 broke many patterns of the Classical style of Western music to foreshadow the monolithic works of Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, and other composers of the later Romantic era. Its orchestra was unusually large, and its length – more than an hour – was extraordinary. The inclusion of a chorus, moreover, in a genre that was understood to be exclusively instrumental, was thoroughly unorthodox. The formal structure of the movements, while generally adhering to Classical models, also charted new territory. For example, the first movement, although in Classical sonata form, confounds listeners first by rising to a fortissimo climax in the harmonically unstable exposition section and then by delaying a return to the home key. The scherzo, with all its propulsive energy, is placed as the second movement, rather than the customary third, and the third movement is a mostly restful, almost prayerful adagio. The last movement builds from a gentle beginning into a brazen finale, while recalling some of the themes from earlier movements; once the "Ode to Joy" theme arrives, the musical form essentially becomes that of variations within a broader sonata-form structure.

Despite some sharp initial critique of the work, Symphony No.9 has withstood the test of time and, indeed, has made its mark. In the world of popular culture, the symphony's menacing second movement in brisk waltz time provided a backdrop for some of the most tense and twisted moments in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess' psycho-thriller novel A Clockwork Orange (1962). The choral fourth movement accompanies a triumphant soccer (football) scene in Peter Weir's film Dead Poets Society (1989). In the realm of technology, the audio capacity of the compact disc was set at 74 minutes in the early 1980s, purportedly to accommodate a complete recording of Beethoven's Symphony No.9.

Symphony No.9 has also been used to mark monumental public events, among the most moving of which took place on Christmas Day 1989 in Berlin. There, in the first concert since the demolition of the Berlin Wall just a few weeks earlier, American conductor Leonard Bernstein led a group of musicians from both the eastern and western sides of the city in a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No.9 with a small but significant alteration: in the "Ode to Joy" the word Freude was replaced with Freiheit ("freedom"). A performance of the choral finale of the symphony – with simultaneous global participation via satellite – brought the opening ceremony of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, to a powerful close.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)












See also

Live on Livestream: All Past Events