Monday, November 24, 2008

Piano found in Harwich woods

"Don't know it, Sarge, but maybe you could hum a few bars, over..."

The windswept shores of Cape Cod can be a less than hospitable environment this time of year, no less so for the Baldwin piano left in the woods of the bucolic - but now quite cold - town of Harwich, Mass., last Saturday. A Baldwin piano in "perfect working condition" (though, I'm guessing, a trifle out of tune) with a matching bench was found set up as if to play in the conservation area of Bells Neck (see photo above). No word as to whether the piano had been rained on or become a home for wildlife.

Judging from the photo the instrument is clearly a spinet - an Acrosonic, perhaps? They are the workhorse of the Baldwin line, you know.

Read the full article from The Cape Cod Times: Police seek clues in piano mystery.

UPDATE: See and hear the mysterious Harwich piano

Dresden Staatskapelle concert reviewed by Globe

The Boston Globe's David Weininger reviewed Wednesday's Celebrity Series performance by the Dresden Staatskapelle with conductor Fabio Luisi and piano soloist Rudolf Buchbinder.

Read Dresden orchestra takes note of the past.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dresden Staatskapelle encore


The encore played November 19 at Symphony Hall by the Dresden Staatskapelle was Overture to Oberon by Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber.

Boston through a visitor's eyes: Dresden Staatskapelle's photo gallery


Member of Dresden Staatskapelle cuts up with Uncle Sam

Photographer Matthias Creutziger has been taking pictures for the Dresden Staatskapelle throughout their US tour. He has posted photo galleries for all of the cities visited online and offered us access to the images for Boston. Check out the Boston gallery.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder recorded at WGBH studios today


Recording engineer Antonio Oliart, host Cathy Fuller and Alan McLellan of WGBH radio study the score as pianist Rudolf Buchbinder (background) records Beethoven's Sonata No. 8. The recording will be aired on December 30. Buchbinder performs Beethoven's Concerto No. 1 tonight (November 19) for the Celebrity Series of Boston at Symphony Hall with the Dresden Staatskapelle.

Note to students: rush tickets available tonight


Conductor Fabio Luisi

Student rush tickets will be available for tonight's Celebrity Series concert by the Dresden Staatskapelle, conductor Fabio Luisi and piano soloist Rudolf Buchbinder. Student rush sales begin at 5:00pm and end at 7:00pm at the Symphony Hall box office.

Student rush details

Concert details

Eichler reviews Bartok concert for Globe

Boston Globe classical music critic Jeremy Eichler reviewed Sunday afternoon's performance by the Takács Quartet with the Hungarian folk music ensemble Muzsikás and vocalist Márta Sebestyén for today's edition. Read Bartok's music meets its muse.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Congatulations, Dustin! Most Valuable: Pedroia

Dresden Staatskapelle under Luisi reviewed in Chicago

Conductor Fabio Luisi in action

The Dresden Staatskapelle, conducted by Fabio Luisi with piano soloist Rudolf Buchbinder will perform for the Celebrity Series in Boston tomorrow night (November 19). The Symphony Hall concert will feature Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Brahms' Symphony No. 4. Good seats are still available and student rush tickets will be sold prior to the performance.

The Staatskapelle received two reviews in Chicago's daily papers. First, today's Chicago Sun-Times weighed in. Here is a taste:

"I did hesitate a bit in the middle movements of the 1885 Brahms Fourth
Symphony in E minor. Op. 98, wondering if Luisi was getting too cerebral, but
when he took apart and put back together the great closing movement passacaglia
before our eyes and ears, he had won me and the audience over to his ideas.

And this is Luisi's most important gift: In addition to his technical
abilities, his tremendous focus and his palpable energy (his players are on the
edges of their seats much of the time), he has
ideas about the music he
plays -- not eccentric, but deep ones. And whether he is presenting a narrative
(as with Strauss) or showing us how Brahms solved a musical problem, he conveys
a wonderful mixture of thought and art."

Read all of Staatskapelle in a class by itself with Strauss' 'Don Juan' tone poem.

The Chicago Tribune review: At 460, Dresden orchestra looks to its rich past.

I do love that headline, "At 460..." That's a lot of candles to put on a cake.

Gergiev conducts Kirov in Prokofiev opera; soon, Boston with the London


Conductor Valery Gergiev

Maestro Valery Gergiev conducted the Kirov Orchestra and Chorus of the Maryinsky Theater on Sunday in a concert performance of Prokofiev's opera, Love for Three Oranges; The New York Times review appeared today: A Brisk Prokofiev Comedy, Without Opera Heroics.

Gergiev conducts the London Symphony Orchestra with piano soloist Alexei Volodin at Boston's Symphony Hall March 25 in a program of Beethoven's "Emporer" Concerto and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 for the Celebrity Series of Boston (who else?).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mobile blogging backstage at Rob Kapilow's What Makes It Great?

Between soundcheck and performance, Boston Musica Viva bassist Carolyn Davis Fryer stays warmed up - November 15, 2008. More to come on this front as I learn just exactly how to do this . . .


Friday, November 14, 2008

Boston City Hall is #1 on ugly building list

While it's nice to be recognized, this . . . isn't what you want. Boston City Hall made #1 on Virtual's ugly building list.

Kind of makes me want to defend the ol' slab o' concrete.

Rob Kapilow on NPR's Weekend Edition and at Jordan Hall

This just in from Rob Kapilow's crack media team:

"Tomorrow morning (Saturday, November 15), tune in to NPR’s Weekend
Edition* to hear Rob Kapilow, in discussion with Susan Stamberg,
talking about one of the most famous songs to come out of America’s Great
Depression: “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”, written by Jay Gorney with lyrics
by Yip Harburg.

And in a few weeks’ time, on December 23, Rob can be heard
on American Public Media’s
Performance Today* discussing Handel’s
Hallelujah Chorus – and just what makes that perennial holiday favorite so
great …

* check local listings for broadcast times"

You can hear and see Rob in the flesh tomorrow evening at NEC's Jordan Hall, where he will be plumming the depths (plumming the heights?) of J.S. Bach's Double Concerto for Two Violins. Joining him will be Boston Musica Viva and violinists Jennifer Frautschi and Chee Yun.

Did I mention student rush tickets are available at the Jordan Hall box office? Um, they are.

Globe preview of Takacs/Muzsikas performance: Bartok's roots music


Muzsikás with vocalist Márta Sebestyén

David Weininger wrote about this Sunday's unique Bartók program at Jordan Hall featuring the Takács Quartet, the Hungarian folk music ensemble Muzsikás and vocalist Márta Sebestyén. The Celebrity Series has done a lot of interesting programs with the Takacs, but none more interesting than this one. Here's a bit to whet your appetite:

"Not only do these joint concerts provide the Takács with a way to
delve into Bartók's roots; Dusinberre says that their presence affects
the whole concert experience, especially in the Fourth Quartet. 'I'm a
bit jealous of those guys on stage, because they don't have music in
front of them, they're standing up. They're very fluid and vital in the
way they communicate with each other. So our challenge during that
program is very much to feed off their vitality and energy.

course we have energy of our own,' he continues, 'but I think we're
inspired to take more risks and play more on the edge than we might do
in a usual concert. It helps us to play with more abandon and just kind
of let our hair down.'"

Read all of Back to Bartok's musical roots.

Advance student rush tickets are available for this performance, by the way. You can get them at the Jordan Hall box office while they last.

And here is a link for the program notes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Márta Sebestyén performing with Muzsikás: Hungarian hoedown

Vocalist Márta Sebestyén performing with Muzsikás. All I can say is Bela Bartók knew a good groove when he heard one.

Both Sebestyén and Muzsikás will join the Takacs Quartet this Sunday, November 16 at Jordan Hall.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gerald Arpino, 1923-2008


Apologies for the delay, but I wanted to be sure and note the passing of Gerald Arpino, co-founder, dancer, chief choreographer and Associate Director of the Joffrey Ballet, who passed away on October 29. The Celebrity Series presented The Joffrey Ballet 3 times - in 1977, '79 and '82 - during Arpino's tenure as Associate Director.

Chicago Tribune

BBC News

Staten Island News

Chicago Public Radio

Friday, November 7, 2008

The lowly stick now in Toy Hall of Fame


It occurs me that I am playing right into the hands of some PR flack at the National Toy Museum (or somewhere) and you have probably already seen this somewhere else by now, but this item appeals to my sense of the ridiculous. The National Toy Hall of Fame has selected "the stick" for entry into its hallowed halls. Here is the story from the Associated Press.

Marsalis, Bostridge and Hocker, some links of note

1. Jazz trumpeter (that really doesn't cover his significance in my view, but I'll go with it) Wynton Marsalis and educator Davey Yarborough of Washington D.C.'s Duke Ellington School for the Arts talked with CNN about jazz education: Changing kids' lives through jazz. The Celebrity Series brings Wynton and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Boston on March 15 at Symphony Hall.

2. Tenor Ian Bostridge (making his Celebrity Series debut April 3) has written a piece for The Times (UK) on the letters of composer Benjamin Britten. The article begins with this line from Britten:

"O dear, o dear, how I sometimes wish I were respectable & dead, & that
people wouldn’t get so cross."

Read all of The Court of Benjamin Britten.

3. Apparently, the El Paso Golf Club in Kappa, Illinois is getting a bit cross with young Curt Hocker, the twenty-two year-old golfer who has achieved golf's near impossible hole-in-one at his local course, not once, not twice, but five times.

The problem comes with the "hole-in-one insurance" his club membership affords him; instead of honoring the tradition that the lucky golfer buys a round of drinks for the entire clubhouse, the El Paso Golf Club picks up the tab per his membership agreement - each and every time. Five rounds and counting. Here is the story from Fox Sports. It's a pity to think of a life peaking so early.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wall Street Journal profiles violinist Christian Tetzlaff

Violinist Christian Tetzlaff will give a duo performance with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes on January 31. The performance will mark only his second appearance on the Celebrity Series, but his performances with Andsnes are only a part of his busy U.S. concert season. David Mermelstein has written a profile on Tetzlaff covering his various projects:

"Over the years, Mr. Tetzlaff has adopted a less-is-more philosophy
concerning his artistry, refining his playing, which was always lean,
to that which is elemental. Speaking of the last time he and Mr.
Andsnes performed Schubert's 'Rondo Brillant,' which they will revisit
on this tour for the first time in 15 years, he recalled: 'Everything
seemed much more complicated back then.'"

Read all of Portrait of the Violinist as a Very Serious Musician.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jeremy Eichler reviews the Tokyo String Quartet


Tokyo String Quartet

Jeremy Eichler reviewed last Saturday evening's performance at Jordan Hall of the Tokyo String Quartet for today's Boston Globe:

"With every personnel change, a quartet dies and is reborn under the
same name. In this case, the sheer intensity and excitement that the
Oundjian-era super group used to project is irretrievably gone. But
this current configuration has charms of its own, and it has finally
achieved an important degree of continuity with the earlier sound. Yes,
we're a different foursome, Saturday's recital seemed to say, but we're
still the Tokyo String Quartet."

Read all of: After musical chairs, a quartet remembers its essence.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Renee Fleming in WNO's "Lucrezia Borgia"

Renée Fleming and Vittorio Grigolo, in
the Washington National Opera's
Lucrezia Borgia

Soprano Renee Fleming will give her fourth Celebrity Series recital at Symphony Hall on April 19. At the moment, Ms. Fleming is performing the title role of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia at the Washington National Opera, with no less than Placido Domingo conducting. Opera gossip junkies may remember that Lucrezia Borgia was the role in which ten years ago Ms. Fleming was said to have been booed at Milan's La Scala. New York Times critic, Anthony Tommasini, sets the record straight on this tiny historical tidbit, then goes on to review the performance: In a Man's World, Poison Is Her Best Revenge.

Other reviews of the production:

Washington Post (Anne Midgette)

Washington Times

Lar Lubovitch interviewed by Time Out New York


Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in Little Rhapsodies

The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company brings its 40th Anniversary Tour to Boston December 12 & 13 (it is also the company's Celebrity Series debut). Gia Kourlas interviewed choreographer Lar Lubovitch for this week's Time Out New York. In this snippet, Lubovitch talks about his work, Jangle, which is on the Boston program:

"[TONY:] Talk about the new work, Jangle.

{LUBOVITCH:] It’s to Bartok, and it’s subtitled “Four Hungarian Dances.” It is about a way of dancing, described by Bartok’s music, and it’s very Slavic; he often quotes folk tunes and gypsy melodies. Bartok’s music reaches a very wide range but there’s an area of it that’s very evocative of Slavic folk dance, and more than anything that’s really what this dance seeks to do: to paint an image of Bartok’s Slavic dance-inspired music. What the costume designer and I discussed was having these people look like they were walking down a street in Budapest in about 1936, and that there were street musicians on a corner, and that they spontaneously danced as a crowd gathered and were drawn into a unplanned street party."

There is quite a bit more of this interview available here.