Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Notes on Hatto-mania

William Barrington-Coupe

I never met Joyce Hatto...have nothing against her...what her husband did is dismaying, disheartening, disreputable, disingenuous, distasteful, and disgusting, and apparently/supposedly it was done largely out of love and compassion...what her husband did makes me wonder if anyone else has ever done what her husband did...

I didn't want to add to Hatto-mania (but I guess I am) because so many others are covering the fiasco so very well. But I do want to pass on two items: 1. One needn't wonder about the authenticity of live performances (hint) 2. If you want to know how many or which recordings have been unmasked, the wikipedians are keeping a tally.

UPDATE: Wondering what the Sam Hill this post is about? Follow this link and catch up.

Evgeny Kissin announces April 29 recital program

Evgeny Kissin

Pianist Evgeny Kissin has announced the program for his April 29 recital at Symphony Hall.

Mr. Kissin will be performing at 7pm. Yep, that's seven o'clock in the evening - a bit unusual. Usually we present concerts at 3pm and call them matinees, or at 8pm and call them, well, concerts. I'm not sure what to call a 7pm recital on a Sunday...a matinert? a concertee? a matinital?

Evgeny Kissin's photo is by Boston University alum Sheila Rock.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Dawn Upshaw cancels February 25 recital

For Immediate Release

Jack Wright, jw@celebrityseries.org

Bank of America Celebrity Series Announces Cancellation
of Soprano Dawn Upshaw's February 25 Recital
at NEC's Jordan Hall

(Boston) Bank of America Celebrity Series, Martha H. Jones, President and Executive Director, today announced that soprano Dawn Upshaw has canceled her Sunday, February 25 recital at NEC's Jordan Hall. Ms. Upshaw is recovering from a cold she developed during last week's West Coast tour. The Celebrity Series is attempting to reschedule the recital to take place during the current (2006-2007) season; therefore ticket holders are requested to retain their tickets until further notice.

Within the next 2 weeks ticket holders will receive a letter regarding the possible reschedule date and explaining the options for exchange or refund. For more information call Bank of America Celebrity Series at (617) 482-2595.

Bank of America Celebrity Series is New England’s leading presenter of music, dance, and the performing arts from around the world. Founded in 1938, the Series incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in 1989. Each year, the Celebrity Series brings to Boston’s major concert halls performances by instrumental and vocal soloists, symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, dance companies, jazz and popular music performers, folk and ethnic performance groups, and other performing artists. The Celebrity Series’ Arts, Education and Community program was initiated in 1984. It reaches over 20,000 students annually through more than 130 activities each year at 225 Boston area schools and organizations, including AileyCamp Boston, a six-week summer dance program for Boston middle school students. For more information on Bank of America Celebrity Series, call (617) 482-2595 or visit us online at www.celebrityseries.org.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Peter and the Wolf Comes ALIVE!


Peter Frampton (yes, the Peter Frampton of Frampton Comes Alive! fame, see above) will provide the narration for Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with members of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra on March 3, the Cincinnati Post is reporting. Turns out he lives in the Cincinnati area. What? Think I'm making it up?

My question is, will he use that voice modulator thingy so he really sounds like a duck...?

Mark Morris on electronic media

Lies, all lies!

"Video is a lie. The compact disc is a lie. The internet is a lie. Television is a lie. I love them all. All are the past masquerading as the present. All are dead, electronically feigning life. They fool us into thinking that they are contemporaneous with our lives, that they are entertaining us and connecting us, right now, all together.

But they're not. Electronic media separate us, make us live in the past. Strip the electronic gloss from your Trinitron and you realize you're staring at the equivalent of crumbling parchment."

-Choreographer Mark Morris, excerpted from his address at the Midwest Arts Conference, Cleveland, Ohio, September 17, 1998. Source: Mark Morris Dance Group, Celebrating Twenty-five Years.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Take That, Adolf!" The Royal Ballet's formative years during WWII

Members of the Sadler's Wells Ballet leave Victoria Station for Holland in 1940

It has been nearly 8 months since The Royal Ballet visited Boston with Manon, but I've come across two articles from London papers on the Royal that I find too fascinating to pass up. The occasion for them is the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms exhibit, Dancing Through the War. The exhibit tells, through photographs, letters, descriptions and a short documentary film by Lynne Wake, the story of The Royal Ballet's intense and formative period during World War II. First from The Guardian:

"...in the spring of 1940, the dancers were given their most perilous mission. With Britain still battling Germany for the hearts and minds of mainland Europe, the Vic Wells Ballet was sent off on a propaganda tour of the Netherlands, France and Belgium. Before a cheering public wearing full evening dress, the dancers performed in The Hague on May 6. Four days later, German soldiers parachuted into the streets. In extreme danger, the company remained trapped in their hotel for three days before they could be smuggled out in the stinking hold of a cargo boat, crowded in among refugees and bombed most of the way home by German planes. Later, the Foreign Office admitted that, just days before the tour was due to start, they had become aware of Hitler's intention to invade; they had refused to cancel the tour for fear of compromising military intelligence." Read all of Take That, Adolf!

And from The Telegraph: As Bombs Fell, They Dance On

Friday, February 16, 2007

Ailey announces April program

Linda Celeste Sims in Alvin Ailey's Pas de Duke

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has announced they will perform the following works over the course of their April 26-29 engagement in Boston at Citi Performing Arts Center's Wang Theatre. To find out which pieces are being done on which days, visit the Ailey Boston performance page on our web site.

The Saturday April 28 performance is in honor of Renee Robinson’s
25th anniversary with the Company.

The River (1970)
Choreography: Alvin Ailey
Music: Duke Ellington

The Golden Section (1983) Boston Company Premiere
Choreography: Twyla Tharp
Music: David Byrne

Reminiscin’ (2005)
Choreography: Judith Jamison
Music: Various Artists

Portrait of Billie (1959)
Choreography: John Butler
Music: Billie Holiday

Pas de Duke (1976)
Choreography: Alvin Ailey
Music: Duke Ellington

Grace (1999)
Choreography: Ronald Brown
Music: Various Artists

Sweet Bitter Love (2000) (excerpt)
Choreography: Carmen de Lavallade
Music: Van McCoy

Existence Without Form (2006) Boston premiere
Choreography: Uri Sands
Music: Christian Matjias

Revelations (1960)
Choreography: Alvin Ailey
Music: Traditional

Macaulay named NY Times chief dance critic

Musical America is reporting that Financial Times theatre critic and former chief dance critic of The Times Literary Supplement, Alastair Macaulay, has been named the new chief dance critic for The New York Times. Macaulay will succeed John Rockwell, who is retiring.

Viewing MusicalAmerica.com stories requires a subscription, so I won't torture you by putting up a link. Once someone else covers the story, I'll post a link.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The word is out, Dawn is back

Dawn Upshaw sang a recital a week ago in Oregon. It was her first since completing treatment for breast cancer. David Stabler reviewed her performance for The Oregonian, read The Bald Soprano.

Other posts and current news on Upshaw's return to the stage can be found on The Standing Room.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Keep your shirts on, it isn't summer, yet

Yes, I know it was TRUCK DAY, yesterday, and I'm as excited as anyone that the Red Sox bats, Theo's guitar and those "Eat. Spit. Be Happy" buckets are all on their way to Ft. Myers in a jolly eighteen wheeler. But let me remind you that the home opener (it's Seattle, but don't distract me while I'm making my point) is 57 days away, and during that time there will be cold, and snow (um, maybe) and at least 15 reasons in March alone to hole up at a performance venue near you. So read up on the Grapefruit League in a newspaper or blog (or whatever) for the next 57 mornings and save some quality time for the ahts.

The Hub Review on Ohlsson

Thomas Garvey, author of the blog The Hub Review, reviewed Garrick Ohlsson's recital - our first official blog review, for those keeping score. Here's a tiny sample to tease you into his Ohlsson post, but I recommend taking a look at the blog in detail:

"In the closing piece of his program, the "Les Adieux" sonata (No. 26, the latest piece in the evening), Ohlsson again found an exquisite poise between sobriety and joy; the piece, inspired by the Austrian imperial family's flight from, and eventual return to, war-torn Vienna, is neatly balanced between resignation, anticipation, and celebration, and Ohlsson beautifully evoked all three voices, reaching his most blinding speeds yet in the final Vivacissimamente."

Read all of Classic sonata form

Globe reviews Garrick Ohlsson

Matthew Guerreri (of Soho the Dog fame) reviewed Garrick Ohlsson's recital of last Saturday for today's Boston Globe:

"Spinning out the slow movement's melody, Ohlsson used a velvet touch and a classical rubato: Rather than stretch the time, he judiciously let his hands slip ever so slightly out of phrase, creating a limpid atmosphere of compelling nobility."

Read Ohlsson's sure touch keeps Beethoven's pace

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ohlsson's encores

Garrick Ohlsson, on returning backstage after his final encore, seized his lapels and said, matter of factly and to no one in particular, "This is the best hall in the world for a piano recital." No one present actually said, "Aw, shucks," but I'm sure more than one felt the equivalent.

Mr. Ohlsson's encores were as follows:

1. Beethoven, First movement, Presto from Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major, Opus 79 "Cuckoo"

2. Beethoven, Third movement Prestissimo from Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Opus 10, no. 1

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Ode to a MINI Cooper

MINI's are for lovers

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more convertible:
From your power-operated soft canvas top,
to your supercharged 1.6-liter engine,
six-speed transmission, and lively handling,
you shake the darling buds of May
And though summer's lease hath all too short a date:
You can buy a raffle ticket instead!

Psst! We'll pay the taxes!

The MINI Cooper Raffle page

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Elmer Setzer, 1920-2006

Elmer Setzer, long-time first assistant principal second violinist for the Cleveland Orchestra died January 30 at the age of 86. Mr. Setzer made his last Celebrity Series appearance with the Cleveland Orchestra in February 1990, the year he retired. He joined the orchestra in 1949; his wife, Marie, who died in October, joined the orchestra in 1961. The couple was married for 61 years. Mr. Setzer leaves two sons, Marc, a choral director in North Carolina, and Philip, a violinist and member of the Emerson String Quartet, and three grandchildren.

Selections from the Cleveland Plain Dealer obituary:

"Setzer was a familiar and affable figure in the orchestra's life. He was always ready with a snappy quip, and he exulted in the company of his colleagues...[He] complemented his orchestra career with chamber-music performances in the Symphonia Quartet, composed of orchestra players. The group made the first recording of Glenn Gould's String Quartet, Op. 1...Aside from performing in the orchestra and string quartet, Setzer devoted himself to teaching young violinists at the Cleveland Music School Settlement. An avid Indians and Browns fan, he spent time in his South Euclid back yard playing ball with his sons."

Garrison Keillor on the sorrows of fame


For his column of February 1, Garrison Keillor clues us in to some of the sorrows and pitfalls of fame:

"Let us speak of the sorrows of fame. You are a hot young thing on a promotional tour for your book or movie or perfume, and the limo brings you to the small luxury hotel and the celebrity suite where you step into the bathroom and notice a wad of snot protruding from your left nostril. It is the size of the Hope Diamond. How long has this been hanging there?"

Read all of Satisfaction of real work is nothing to sneeze at.

The day after pianist Garrick Ohlsson gives his Jordan Hall recital on February 10, Garrison Keillor makes his Celebrity Series debut at Symphony Hall (that would be February 11). We haven't had this much Garr- confusion in the office since we presented the celebrated collaboration of Terry Garr and Jimmy Garrison...

Monday, February 5, 2007

"Dawn Upshaw: The dawn of a renewed voice"

Soprano Dawn Upshaw

Soprano Dawn Upshaw returns to the stage February 8 for the first time since her breast cancer diagnosis last August. she recently spoke with David Stabler of The Oregonian newspaper:

"Last summer's news didn't shock her, Upshaw said from her home in Westchester, N.Y. Eight years ago her sister was also stricken with breast cancer. Her sister is fine, now, but Upshaw knew she herself was at risk.

'I figured, someday, I'd get a call,' she says.

Surgery removed two tumors, followed by two months of chemotherapy, which wasn't as bad as she feared, she says. 'Nothing unbearable, nothing even close to being unbearable. But it wasn't fun.'"

Read the preview of Dawn Upshaw's Portland Oregon performance, Dawn Upshaw: The dawn of a renewed voice.

Seventeen days after she sings in Oregon, Upshaw will step onto the stage at Jordan Hall in Boston, something which, in this age of increased cancer survival rates, probably surprises few of us. But the collective relief is almost audible.

"Complexions Unfurls an Exquisite Frenzy"

Complexions Contemporary Ballet conquered the Tsai Center on Friday and Saturday nights. Both shows sold out and those of us seeing the company for the first time were pretty much blown away by the quality of the dancing. But never mind my obviously biased opinion, Karen Campbell's review of the company ran in today's Boston Globe:

"Complexions Contemporary Ballet barreled into the Tsai Center this weekend with one of the most physically gifted troupes to hit Boston in recent memory. Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson founded their company 12 years ago, and the two former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater stars have assembled a dynamite troupe of exquisitely lithe and limber dancers with open hips, whiplash limbs, deeply arched backs, and stylistic panache."

Read Complexions Unfurls an Exquisite Frenzy

28k and 478p

This blog just reached 28,000 page views, which is nice. I/it seems to be hitting those milestones more frequently now. But another number got my attention this morning. This post makes 478 posts since launching. How many posts would that be if I were a dog?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Daniel Bernard Roumain in the Inbox


Daniel Bernard Roumain is making headlines. I set up a Google Alert for his name, as I do for most artists coming to the Celebrity Series. Well, DBR is lighting up the board every day. He is compelling for a lot of reasons: his intelligence, his work for choreographer Bill T. Jones and for the Orchestra of St. Luke's, his genre-bending compositions and thoughtful socio-political content, and, as some would have it, perhaps even a window into "youth culture" and a future of "classical music." Or at least one future for the violin. If that last claim seems overblown consider that DBR is an accomplished violinist that is bringing orchestras and hip-hop DJs into the same musical moments. If it's true that orchestral music is still chewing on its relationship to jazz, then those claiming DBR represents the leading edge of orchestral blending begin to make sense.

I have not seen DBR in concert - though I have heard recordings and seen video footage - and, like many, I am still trying to get a handle on this remarkable artist.

If my Inbox is any indication, I will be posting a lot on DBR over the course of this season. There have been and continue to be a lot of articles written about him, and I'll be reading them along with you. Here is a sample from The Morning News in advance of his appearance at The Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas:

"'To this day, everything I do is an attempt to redefine and reimagine what black music can be. I don't make hip-hop, but I respond to hip-hop. When my music is atonal, it's not because I'm trying to be like other classical music; it's because I'm trying to be like Fishbone,' he said."

Read Composer Brings Responsibility to the Table.


Here's one more recent Roumain tidbit. Roumain has been named one of Crain's Forty Under Forty for 2007. Each year Crain's New York Business selects 40 outstanding individuals, who have made a major impact in their respective industries before the age of 40 - people like the President of Ann Taylor and the Director of Deloitte & Touche USA. Clearly, he isn't turning just the usual heads.

By the way, he's coming to Boston with his group, THE MISSION on March 31.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Australian Chamber Orchestra gets an impetuous violin

Richard Tognetti and the "Carrodus" violin

A rare 1743 Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù violin has been purchased by an anonymous donor and loaned on a long-term basis to the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The "Carrodus"—so called after a 19th-century English musician who once owned it—will be played by the ensemble's concertmaster and artistic director, Richard Tognetti. The violin has not been heard in concert in 50 years.

There were many articles on this story available online (Bangkok Post, anyone?), but Playbill Arts got the nod:

"The unnamed benefactor offered Tognetti a choice between the Carrodus and a 1733 Stradivarius. He chose the Carrodus Guarneri. 'It hasn't got the elegance and finesse that are the hallmarks of Stradivarius,' he told the ABC. 'Rather, it's got this impetuousness about it — it's darker, it's richer, it's more like a human voice.'"

Read Benefactor Buys $7 Million Guarneri Violin for Australian Chamber Orchestra from Playbill Arts.

You'll have your chance to hear the impetuous (impulsive? itchy? hopped up?) "Carrodus" violin when Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra visit Boston on April 22. You knew I would get a plug in, didn't you?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Complexions Contemporary Ballet preview

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

New York-based writer Valerie Gladstone previewed Complexions Contemporary Ballet for today's Boston Globe:

"'When Desmond and I started the company 13 years ago,' says Rhoden by phone, 'we hoped to be inclusive in every sense. We have a clear philosophy. First, we decided to have dancers of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds and dance techniques. Second, we were going to combine all kinds of dance -- jazz, ballet, and modern. And we were going to give other choreographers a chance to choreograph pieces for us. That's where we are right now.'"

Read all of Complexions is ready for new looks.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet performs tomorrow night (7:30pm) and Saturday (8:00pm) at the Tsai Performance Center at Boston University.