Browsing: Orchestral

Three composers are involved in this first co-production between Analekta and the Azrieli Music Prizes: Brian Current and Wlad Marhulets, winners of the 2016 Azrieli Commissioning Competition and Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music, respectively, and the American Lukas Foss. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Steven Mercurio, the choir by Miriam Nmcová. Soloists are soprano Sharon Azrieli, clarinetist David Krakauer and tenor Richard Troxell. In The Seven Heavenly Halls, Current offers his musical vision of the Zohar, the fundamental text of the Kabbalah. Tension in the orchestra, a tumult of voices, mystical flights of fancy and dense textures…

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Music lovers and musicologists alike are puzzled by the unorthodox opening of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1—the note A played on six octaves marked pianississimo (ppp). Not since the dissonance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony has a note caused such intrigue. The inclusion of thematic material from Mahler’s earlier biographical work Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) suggests that the First Symphony is a programmatic work of a highly personal nature. Indeed, Mahler said after its completion that it “had been inspired by a passionate love.” That passionate love could well have been the actress Johanna Richter, for whom the 23-year-old Mahler had written…

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Amid the excitement over a rediscovered rehearsal tape of the composer playing Symphonic Dances, there arrives a new account of two concertos with Rachmaninov’s favourite orchestra and the living pianist who most resembles him. Deutsche Grammophon has titled the album Destination Rachmaninov. Departure and furnished the cover with a portrait of the soloist, Daniil Trifonov, sitting in the kind of railway compartment that went out with shellac records. Do not be distracted by these marketing tricks. Trifonov opens with C minor concerto with quiet authority, each chord darker than the one before, Rachmaninov at his most morose. If this concerto had a…

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For Immediate Release, September 12, 2018 … The Azrieli Foundation presents an exhilarating evening of musical discovery, unveiling two world premiere works by the winners of the 2018 Azrieli Music Prizes. Inventive orchestral colour and virtuosic flair are on display for Israeli-born composer Avner Dorman’s Nigunim for Violin and Orchestra, while Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy explores a wealth of Sephardic music in her En el escuro es todo uno (In the Darkness All is One), a unique double concerto for harp and cello. Maestro Yoav Talmi conducts an expanded McGill Chamber Orchestra (MCO) for this varied programme, which includes two Hebrew songs…

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The one thing that keeps me from awarding this album the full five stars is that it is upside down. It opens with a perfectly decent performance of Bela Bartok’s first violin concerto by the Norwegian virtuoso Vilde Frang, with the Radio France philharmonic orchestra conducted by Mikko Franck. Frang, who is 32, has been performing since she was ten years old. Everything she does is perfectly lovely and agreeable. The first Bartok concerto, a youthful effusion of innocent love, is not going to change our lives. The octet, on the other hand, might. George Enescu was one of the great…

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Les Violons du Roy The 35th anniversary season of Les Violons du Roy will be Jonathan Cohen’s first as artistic director. For the opening concert on Sept. 29 at the Maison symphonique, he is joined by countertenor Anthony Roth Costello to perform works by Handel and Glass. On Nov. 3, Bernard Labadie, still music director of La Chapelle de Québec, will join the forces of two ensembles he founded to interpret Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. On Nov. 23 in Bourgie Hall, Cohen welcomes internationally acclaimed mandolinist Avi Avital. On Dec. 14, Mathieu Lussier presents a baroque program…

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REVIEW: of the Berkshire Opera Festival production of Giuseppe’s Verdi’s Rigoletto (August 25 at 1 p.m.; August 28 at 7:30 p.m. and August 31 at 7:30 p.m., at the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, Massachusetts). Sex, power, seduction, revenge, and a dazzling lightning storm. Verdi’s gutsy 1851 operatic melodrama, Rigoletto, gets a fascinating, stylish, and unflinchingly close study in the Berkshire Opera Festival’s new production, running through August 31 at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (viewed here at the August 25 opening). Under director Jonathon Loy (who is also the festival’s co-founder), Verdi’s tale of a deformed court jester who seeks…

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PROFILE/REVIEW: of the 2018 Glimmerglass Festival Season: Silent Night by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell; West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim; Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček; and The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini and Cesare Sterbini. “It’s remarkable how many important things happened in 1918,” observes Glimmerglass Festival artistic and managing director Francesca Zambello, speaking at a recent pre-show audience address in Cooperstown. “The end of World War I. The birth of Leonard Bernstein. And the premiere of this piece” – this last a reference to Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, which was…

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Two problematic symphonies by a tortured composer are despatched by the Boston Symphony and its Latvian conductor with near-nonchalance.  The 4th, withheld by the composer for quarter of a century after Stalin’s attack on Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, is ultra-Mahlerian in its orchestration and ironies and utterly daring in its refusal to toe the party line of relentless positivism. The key to the composer’s intentions eludes many conductors. Andris Nelsons adopts a kind of Baltic neutrality in downplaying the score’s emotional extremes in the hope he won’t get mauled by the Russian bear. It’s a fine performance, lacking only the…

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PREVIEW: of the 2018 dell’Arte Opera Ensemble Summer Festival Season, “Mozart & Salieri,” at New York City’s LaMaMa (66 East 4th Street), August 11 through 26; and INTERVIEWS: with company founder and artistic director, maestro Chris Fecteau, and dell’Arte 2018 creative team members Brittany Goodwin and Catherine O’Shaughnessy. This company is ready to rumble. Call it the Thrilla from Vienna: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, that most bruited matchup of 18th Century musical titans, is slated for a redux this month – this time in 21st Century New York, courtesy of the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. Grab a ringside seat.…

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