Browsing: Orchestral

21C Music Festival – five days of newly-minted music during which audiences have an opportunity to experience fresh new sounds and ideas from the greatest musical minds of today – moves from May to January with the sixth edition of the festival. From January 16 to 20, this edition will celebrate the American minimalist composer Terry Riley, with his music being performed in three of the concerts, including one that he will headline, titled Terry Riley: Live at 85! Additionally, more than a half of the works presented during the festival will be receiving premieres – 6 world, 1 North American, 10 Canadian, 4 Ontario, and 1 Toronto, by 10 Canadian composers. Other highlights include the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s…

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REVIEW: of works by composers David Lang and Gregg Kallor – The Mile-Long Opera by Lang, performed on the High Line; and sketches from The Frankenstein Suite, plus the monodrama “The Telltale Heart,” by Kallor, performed in the Catacombs of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. Some uncanny musical surprises graced unusual locations both above and below New York City street-level during the early part of Halloween month. Here’s a diary retrospective. Going the Extra Mile Beginning at twilight on six consecutive evenings (October 3 through 8; viewed October 7), Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer David Lang and a host of collaborators presented a unique choral…

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REVIEW: of Opera Philadelphia’s “Festival O18” (September 20-30, 2018) – a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor, composed by Gaetano Donizetti with libretto by Salvadore Cammarano; the world premiere of Sky on Swings, composed by Lembit Beecher with libretto by Hannah Moscovitch; the premiere of Ne quittez pas (a “reimagined” La voix humaine of Francis Poulenc, with a new prologue featuring numerous of the composer’s art songs); the premiere of Glass Handel, an immersive concert experience featuring countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo performing music by George Frideric Handel and Philip Glass; and Queens of the Night: Blythely After Hours, an opera/rock…

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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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