Browsing: Orchestral

Fridrich Bruk: Symphonies 17 and 18 (Toccata) Some 15 years ago I was asked by one of the London orchestras to curate a series titled Other Russia, looking at the composers who fell or were pushed off the wayside under the Soviet Union. We were going to focus on the likes of Karamanov, Kancheli, Knaifel, Roslavets, Tishchenko, Ustvolskaya, Firsova and more. The scheme hit a brick wall when prominent conductors balked at unfamiliar repertoire and the orchestra feared a box-office frost, but it was a worthwhile exercise and one that some braver spirits should still take up. Among the names…

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Winnipeg, MB – February 14, 2018 – – In a press conference this morning, Terry Sargeant, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), announced that Russian-born maestro Daniel Raiskin will be the next Music Director of the WSO commencing August 1, 2018. The public’s first opportunity to see Maestro Raiskin in action will be at The Asper Foundation Opening Night Gala on September 17, 2018 and then at concerts throughout the WSO 2018-2019 season. “The Board believes that Daniel will prove to be an excellent Music Director for the WSO,” says WSO Board Chair Terry Sargeant.…

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The year 2017 will be remembered as a great one for Yannick Nézet-Séguin and his Orchestre Métropolitain — even in 2018. Their seven-concert whirlwind tour of Europe, starting in the Dortmund Konzerthaus on Nov. 26 and ending in the Paris Philharmonie on Dec. 3, has been nominated for a Grand Prix by the Conseil des arts de Montréal. The winner will be announced in March. As I noted in a dispatch from Paris, the tour was a success on every level: “Audiences were charmed by the newcomers. Playing standards were high. Above all, the tour was an apotheosis for an…

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This year, the Association des orchestres de jeunes du Québec (AOJQ) presents the 20th edition of its Quebec Festival of Youth Orchestras. The festival allows eight youth orchestras to be matched with four distinguished guest conductors, one of whom is Alain Trudel, who also happens to be the event’s spokesperson. In addition to performing onstage at the Salle André-Mathieu in Laval under the direction of their respective conductors, the orchestras will be grouped in pairs and will receive the guidance of a mentoring musician. They will then present the fruits of their labour during a gala concert held at the…

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Haydn: Symphonies No. 26 & 86 Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 Coro Harry Christophers, conductor Handel and Haydn Society Aisslinn Nosky, violin The British conductor Harry Christophers has his own record label, Coro, which turns out a stream of fine performances, mostly with his own group The Sixteen, and mostly unnoticed outside the shrinking pages of record magazines. Which is a pity, since some of them are very fine performances indeed. The latest release is with Christophers’ other group, the venerable Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, America’s oldest performing arts organization. It presents two Haydn works written 20 years…

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Stravinsky: Chant funèbre &c (Decca) Beware the lost leavings of great composers. Time and again we get hyped up about a long-forsaken missing score, only to be cruelly awakened by the reality of its insignificance. In some case, the composer mislaid the score with good reason. In others, it adds nothing to the sum of our knowledge. Anyone care to remember a few bars of Beethoven’s 10th symphony? Or Schubert’s? The present premiere release is an exception to that ignominious rule. Here’s the back story. In 1908 Igor Stravinsky, unknown and in his mid-20s, wrote a funeral ode for his…

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Did you catch Herbert Blomstedt and Maria João Pires with the Berlin Philharmonic on Saturday? All it took was a smartphone, a subscription to the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall and, optionally, a better-than-average pair of earbuds. I did it the old-fashioned way and do not regret the decision. Hearing one of the world’s most famous orchestras led by one of the world’s most venerable conductors in one of the world’s most illustrious concert halls added up to one of the best concert experiences imaginable. To risk another one-of qualification, the symphony on the program was one of my favorites,…

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Beyond the Score: Prokofiev Symphony No. 5  – Pure Propaganda? (A multimedia exploration) Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major Op. 100 (complete performance) Austin Symphony Orchestra/Peter Bay Long Center for the Performing Arts, Austin, TX, December 2, 2017   British composer, arranger, broadcaster, teacher and writer Gerard McBurney has developed quite a reputation for his music appreciation series “Beyond the Score,” which takes a single major work by a composer and provides a context for it drawing on letters, contemporaneous political events, excerpts from the work itself as well as from other works by the same composer. This “Beyond…

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Montreal’s second orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, got positive press for their concert at the Elbe Philharmonic Hall (Elbphilharmonie) last Friday (December 1, 2017). Joachim Mischke, Hamburg’s leading and most knowledgeable music critic, wrote a comprehensive and inspiring review about the event (Hamburg Abendblatt, December 4). Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was described as a bundle of energy who got the ball rolling in Pierre Mercure’s Kaléidoscope, demonstrating in detail the orchestra’s collective articulation accuracy. “Berlioz’s orchestral songs cycle Les nuits d’été became the finest moment, as the orchestra conjured nuances and played enchantingly discreet. But above all, contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux savored…

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