Saturday, 21 June 2008
Friday, 20 June 2008
Today's Birthdays in Music: June 20 (Offenbach, Pelletier)
Dorothy Bond sings and Moira Shearer dances "Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille" (The Doll Song) from Les Contes d'Hoffmann
1896 - Wilfrid Pelletier, Montreal, Canada; conductor and pianist
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Today's Birthdays in Music: June 19 (Rothenberger, J. Stamitz)
Anneliese Rothenberger (Sophie) and Kerstin Meyer (Octavian) sing the final duet from Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier (1969)
1717 - Johann Stamitz, Deutschbrod, Bohemia; composer and violinist
Sinfonia "La melodia germanica" Nº 3, 1st mvt. (Joven Camerata Filarmónica)
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Today's Birthdays in Music: June 18 (Marton, Pleyel)
Biography & pictures
Éva Marton sings "In questa reggia" from Puccini's Turandot (Vienna, 1983; José Carreras as Calaf)
1757 - Ignaz Pleyel, Ruppersthal, Austria; pianist, composer, music publisher, piano manufacturer
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Lorraine and the gentlemen's clubs
No need to say more about the Bach, but Handel's Hercules was completely unknown to me and I revelled both in the musical invention and in Lorraine's fine articulation. The track that leaped out at me from the headphones was an aria titled 'Resign thy club' and I kept having to rub my ears to make sure I was hearing right.
Handel paid great attention to the words he set. 'Resign thy club' is supposed to tell Hercules give up the fighting and come home to mummy. But I couldn't help wondering if Handel here wasn't signalling an in-joke to his patrons who spent their evenings in the London gentlemen's clubs tht run along Pall Mall. If they happened to take a little snooze in act two, a call to resign from the Atheneum would be sure to stir them in the stalls.
Anyone know more about this aria?
Well, believe that if you like. Rattle was recently re-elected chief conductor by a political manoeuvre and a narrow margin that some of his opponents in the orchestra are continuing to question. As for the Far East raves, did anyone look at the ticket prices? They were ten times above the means of ordinary Japanese, Korean and Chinese working people, even more expensive than in Berlin.
A tour by the Berlin Phil in the Far East is an occasion for Asian corporate society to congratulate itself on cultural refinment, and for the orchestra to augment its copper-bottomed salaries and expense account.
These issues will understandably not be raised in Alan Yentob's egregious series, a corner of television that is notorious for soft-focus, cuddly profiles of 'Al's Pals' and is the BBC's only documentary insight into the arts.
Notwithstanding all these reservations, the inclusion of Rattle and Berlin at this stage seems strangely off the pace, given that their progress has stagnated while a new conducting generation is striking sparks in London, Liverpool, L.A., Birmingham, Toulouse and Paris. That's where the current action is. The BBC has lost its nose for cultural reporting.
Today's Birthdays in Music: June 17 (Gounod, Stravinsky)
"Le veau d'or" from Gounod's Faust, sung by Bryn Terfel (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 2004)
1882 - Igor Stravinsky, Oranienbaum, Russia; composer
Musical Times commentary
Petrushka, Scene I (Bolshoi Ballet)
Gil Shaham plays Stravinsky's Violin Concerto, 4th mvt.
Dawn Upshaw, as Anne Truelove, sings "No Word From Tom" from The Rake's Progress
Stravinsky conducts the Lullaby and Final Hymn from the Firebird Ballet Suite (New Philharmonia Orchestra, London, 1965)
Monday, 16 June 2008
Today's Birthdays in Music: June 16 (Hadley, Boskovsky)
Jerry Hadley sings "Che Gelida Manina" from Puccini's La Bohème
1909 - Willi Boskovsky,Vienna, Austria; conductor, violinist
Vienna New Year's Concert 1974: Boskovsky and the Vienna Philharmonic play Ohne Sorgen (Carefree), Polka by Josef Strauss
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Today's Birthday in Music: June 15 (Grieg)
Leif Ove Andsnes plays Grieg's Piano Concerto, 1st mvt. (2002 Promenade Concert, London, Leonard Slatkin conducting)
"Prelude" from the Holberg Suite (Kristiansand Symfoniorkester from Lindesnes Lighthouse, Norway)
Edvard Grieg plays "To Spring" Lyric Piece op.43 no.6 (1903 recording)