Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing


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Free Concert Webcast:  Mussorgsky and More

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

On Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 3 PM EST (GMT -5), the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present a free live webcast.  The program will feature Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (Ravel prepared the orchestral version from the original solo piano version). The program will also feature the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s new work, Another Time, A Symphony of Songs on Four Poems by W. H. Auden.  Tenor Miles Mykkanen will perform in this work.  The conductor for the program will be Leonard Slatkin.

You can see the concert at https://livefromorchestrahall.vhx.tv/videos/pictures-at-an-exhibition.


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Free Concert Webcast Tonight:  Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and More

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“I shall not alter a single note,” I answered, “I shall publish the work exactly as it is!”

So said Tchaikovsky after receiving blistering criticism from pianist Nikolai Rubinstein after hearing Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto a few days after the composition was completed. [1]  Rubinstein, who is known for debuting Balakirev’s insanely difficult Islamey, [2] deemed the concerto “unplayable” and “vulgar.”

It would appear Tchaikovsky was vindicated.  The first piano concerto met with great audience acclaim at its debut in Boston, and has become one of Tchaikovsky’s most popular works.  Rubinstein later came around, both playing and conducting the work he once vilified.

Tonight at 8PM EST (GMT -5) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present a free live concert webcast, which will include Tchaikovsky’s concerto.  The concert will feature conductor Dalia Stasevska and pianist Simon Trpčeski.  You can see the webcast at dso.org/live or on Facebook Live.  Here’s the program:

Julia Wolfe  Fountain of Youth (described by the composer as “a sassy, rhythmic, high energy swim”) [3]

Tchaikovsky  Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23

Sibelius  Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39.

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  1. Warrack, John, Tchaikovsky.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973 pp 78-79.
  2. Nikolai Rubinstein, wikipedia.org, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Rubinstein.
  3. https://juliawolfemusic.com/music.


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Beethoven’s String Quartets: A Delight for the Eye and Ear

Portrait of Beethoven wearing tie-dye t-shirt, holding manuscript

Perhaps you have listened to Beethoven’s string quartets, or seen performances, recorded or live.  Now, you can see them in a new way.

I have highlighted the work of Stephen Malinowski in previous posts (here, for example).  He takes classical works and adds visualizations that reflect various aspects of the music, showing how voices interweave, pitches shift, and more.  Malinowski calls them animated graphical scores, and they provide great insights into the musical structure.  They can draw attention to aspects of the music you might miss otherwise.  They are also mesmerizing.

Malinowski collaborated with the Alexander String Quartet, who performed individual Beethoven string quartet movements that were then given visualizations.  Afterwards, they set a spectacular goal: record and visualize all of Beethoven’s string quartets in honor of Beethoven’s upcoming 250th birthday.

Wow.

It was hard to select a single movement to highlight here.  Should I pick the Cavatina from String Quartet No. 13 (whose visualization reminds me of stained glass, or butterfly wings), a piece that I have discussed previously on this blog?  Or the “Heiliger Dankesang” movement of String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor?  I decided to give you a little morsel, the lighthearted, even playful, Scherzo from String Quartet No. 1.

I’m sure you will enjoy the wonderful performances of the Alexander String Quartet and Malinowski’s visualizations of Beethoven’s music.  Here is the YouTube playlist of the string quartets. Here you can find Malinowski’s notes and background information on the quartets.  If you’d like more technical or musical details, including notes on the visualization of works by other composers, start here.  You might also want to see if your favorite piece has been visualized at the YouTube channel.

Enjoy!

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Image attribution: Portrait of Beethoven wearing tie-dye t-shirt. Portrait of Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Tie-dye by MpegMan at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATieDyeShirtMpegMan.jpg. Mash-up by C. Gallant.


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Free Live Concert Webcast: Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Jeremy Denk

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On September 15, 2019 at 2:00 PM CST (GMT -5) the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will present a live webcast of a performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor featuring pianist Jeremy Denk.

Don’t miss this great program, which will also include Rossini’s Overture to La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder) and Schubert’s Symphony No. 2.

Also be sure to check out the SPCO’s extensive concert library.

You can see the webcast here.


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Free Opera Webcasts: La bohème and Hamlet

stick guy singing opera on a television with a viking helmet for an antenna

It’s September!  Which means that orchestras and operas are opening their new seasons.

On OperaVision on 6 September, 2019 at 19:00 CET (GMT -2, EDT-6), the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai will produce Puccini’s La bohème.  US East Coast folks, that’s 1:00 PM.

On 13 September, 2019 at 19:00 CET, OperaVision will present Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  The performance will include a nod to film noir, as OPERA2DAY’s production will integrate film into the opera to explore the inner workings of Hamlet’s mind.  Interesting!

The performances will be available afterwards on the website for a limited time (typically six months).  Previously presented operas can also be found on the website.


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Free Opera Webcasts: Il trovatore and the Marriage of Figaro

stick guy singing opera on a television with a viking helmet for an antenna

Two classic operas will be presented on OperaVision in the next week.

First, on July 6, 2019 at 21:00 CET (GMT -2; 3PM EDT) the Teatro Real in Madrid will present Verdi’s Il trovatore.

Next, on July 9, 2019 at 20:00 CET (GMT -2; 2PM EDT) the Royal Opera House in London will present Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Go to the OperVision link above to view the performances.  If you will not be able to watch the operas at these times, they will be available for on-demand viewing shortly thereafter for a limited time.  Follow this link to see the operas currently available in the library.

Enjoy!


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Live Concert Webcasts: La traviata, Bruckner, Brahms and More

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Today, May 24, 2019, at 19:00 CET (2 PM EDT, UTC -1), OperaVision will present Verdi’s La Traviata from the Icelandic OperaYou can see it here.

Tomorrow, May 25, 2019 at 8PM EDT (GMT -4), the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3Kent Nagano will conduct, and the program will feature pianist Beatrice RanaYou can see it here.

On May 31, 2019 at 10:45 AM (GMT -4) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present Brahms’s Symphony No. 4.  Also on the program is Webern’s Passacaglia, and Haydn’s Concerto for Two Horns.  You can see it here.