Monday, November 30, 2009

Classical WGBH radio to switch to 99.5 FM tomorrow

Tomorrow is DAY 1 of WGBH's classical radio format switch from 89.7 FM to 99.5 FM. Get the details here.

Charles Ives gets a green light

"Never you mind what the Ladies' Committee says, my opinion is that God gets awfully tired of hearing the same thing over and over again."

-John C. Griggs, Choirmaster at New Haven (CT)'s Centre Church to organist Charles Ives

Charles Ives' first string quartet leads off the Emerson String Quartet's program this Friday at Jordan Hall.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Samuel Barber: composing in, football out

"Dear Mother: I have written to tell you my worrying secret. Now don’t
cry when you read it because it is neither yours nor my fault. I
suppose I will have to tell it now, without any nonsense. To begin with
I was not meant to be an athlete. I was meant to be a composer, and
will be I’m sure. I’ll ask you one more thing .—Don’t ask me to try to
forget this unpleasant thing and go play football.—Please—Sometimes
I’ve been worrying about this so much that it makes me mad (not very)."

-Samuel Barber, at age 9

The Emerson String Quartet will perform Samuel Barber's Adagio for String Quartet, Opus 11, and selections by Ives, Janacek and Shostakovich on Friday, December 4 at Jordan Hall. The performance will not be followed by a game of touch football (as far as we know), but you are welcome to organize one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recent previews & reviews: Vega, Sondheim and the Berlin Phil

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic at Symphony Hall on Sunday (Photo: Monika Rittershaus)

Suzanne Vega (November 6, Sanders Theatre)

The Boston Phoenix (Carrie Battan)

An Evening With Stephen Sondheim (November 14, Sanders Theatre)

The Hub Review (Thomas Garvey)

Berlin Philharmonic, Sir Simon Rattle, conducting (November 15, Symphony Hall)

The Boston Globe (Jeremy Eichler)

The Hub Review (Thomas Garvey)

The Boston Phoenix (Lloyd Schwartz)

The Boston Herald (Ed Symkus)

Real pain for my SPAM friends #326

SPAM, while annoying, does have its pleasures. I love the ambiguity of today's spam comment:

"your blog too enjoyful."

Is it so enjoyful that they just can't stand it?

Is it "just too much, man?"

I don't really want to know the answer any more than I want to try the ant-herpes product they're hawking...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Boston Globe talks with Sir Simon Rattle

Sir Simon Rattle

David Weininger of the Globe had a chat with Berlin Philharmonic conductor Sir Simon Rattle in advance of the orchestra's appearance at Symphony Hall this Sunday:

"Rattle is especially glad to be reconnecting with Boston. He nourishes
fond memories of the orchestra - 'I had the best time there, I tell
you' - and especially of Symphony Hall. He found the 2007 concert [by the Celebrity Series with Ben Heppner and Thomas Quasthoff] so
satisfying that 'all of us in Berlin felt, we have to play there again.'"

Read all of For Rattle, things look up as he looks ahead.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mark Morris looks out his window

Mark Morris looking out his window

For New Yorkers, peeking in other people's windows has long been a subject for open-minded consideration, a fact of life to be considered rather than an embarassment (or at least for some). “Out My Window NYC,” a new series of photographs by Gail Albert Halaban, and “The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York,” a book of drawings by
Matteo Pericoli that asks well-known New Yorkers to describe what they
see from their windows, both take on the subject of what New Yorkers see out their windows. Mark Morris, this blog discovered, participated in the project:

"Mark Morris, the choreographer and dancer, whose view is included in 'The City Out My Window,' said he regards the building across from his
home on Third Avenue in Manhattan, where people are constantly moving
in and out, as something of a cineplex. 'There’s an empty apartment,
and I see the new people, some couple, come in,' Mr. Morris, 53, said. 'Then they cover the windows. Then you can’t tell from across the
street if they’re male or female — and they’re naked, which is always
interesting. Then a few weeks later, it’s empty again.'"

Read all of the  New York Times article, Window Watchers in a City of Strangers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Clara Schumann on Brahms' Symphony No. 3

Clara Schumann

"I have spent such happy hours with your wonderful creation ... that I should like at least to tell you so. What a work! What a [musical] poem! What a harmonious mood pervades the whole! All the movements seem to be of one piece, one beat of the heart, each one a jewel! From start to finish one is wrapped about with the mysterious charm of the woods and forests. I could not tell you which movement I loved the most."

-Clara Schumann to Johannes Brahms, responding to the two-piano score of his Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Opus 90

The Berliner Philharmoniker plays Brahms' Symphony No. 3 at Symphony Hall on Sunday, November 15.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Summer Sun, Winter Moon

Our own Rob Kapilow (well, he's been doing shows with us for quite some time, so he feels like family) undertook an interesting project a few years ago, a commission to create a work that is "a reflection of the enduring legacy of the Lewis and Clark expedition." But the commission from the St. Louis Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic and the Kansas City Symphony was not specific as to how this might be accomplished. For inspiration, Kapilow retraced Lewis and Clark's steps and began confronting what was for him a new world. Kapilow struggles with how to tell this new unexpected story, the story he finds most compelling, and which is largely untold; the story of Lewis and Clark from the perspective of today's native Americans.

Together with Blackfeet Indian poet and language preservationist Darrell Robes Kipp, Kapilow creates a symphony and discovers a world of which he previously knew nothing, Kipp writes the libretto for Kapilow's symphony, and discovers a new direction in his own work of tribal preservation and possibility. Thus do these two unlikely partners begin the process of bridging the divide between worlds begun at the time of Lewis and Clark.

The film about this process, Summer Sun, Winter Moon, is now being shown on PBS stations across the country. the next showing's in the Boston area will be on November 6 on WGBX World. A complete schedule of showing in other locations is available here.

There is also this brief video made by the Blackfoot teenager Jesse Desrosier. Jesse also appears in the film: Diary of Jesse Desrosier

On another note, Rob Kapilow performs two versions of his acclaimed What Makes It Great? program in the 2009-2010 season:

What Makes It Great? Mendelssohn Octet
What Makes It Great? The Music of Cole Porter