Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing


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Free Live Webcast: Vivaldi, Mahler, Brubeck

Guitarist Sharon Isbin, photo by J. Henry Fair

Guitarist Sharon Isbin, photo by J. Henry Fair

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 8:00 EDT (GMT -5) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present a live concert webcast featuring guitarist Sharon Isbin.  The program will include Vivaldi’s Concerto for Lute and Orchestra in D major (R. 93), and new music from Chris Brubeck, Affinity: Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra.  You can read the program notes for the Brubeck concerto here.  Chris Brubeck is the son of jazz great Dave Brubeck.  You can see the webcast at this link.

The program will conclude with a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No 10 as completed by musicologist Deryck Cooke.  Leonard Slatkin will conduct.  Mahler had completed a draft of the symphony, but most of it was not orchestrated at the time of his death.  Mahler fans may be interested in this 1960 BBC broadcast recording featuring a lecture by Cooke and a performance of his first (incomplete) version of the symphony’s reconstruction.

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Image attribution: Photograph of Sharon Isbin by J. Henry Fair via http://www.sharonisbin.com/photos.html.


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Free Concert Webcast: Berlioz, Sergei Prokofiev, and a New Concerto by Gabriel Prokofiev Featuring Branford Marsalis

Today, March 24, 2017, at 8PM EDT (GMT -5) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present a free concert webcast.  You can see the webcast here.  The program includes Love Scene from Romeo and Juliet by Berlioz, and the Suite from Romeo and Juliet by Sergei ProkofievAndrey Boreyko will conduct.

Also on the program is a new commissioned work by Gabriel Prokofiev, British composer and DJ, who is also the grandson of Sergei Prokofiev.  His Saxophone Concerto will feature soloist Branford MarsalisYou can read a little more about the composition here.

References

  1. https://gabrielprokofiev.com/
  2. http://www.branfordmarsalis.com/


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Mozart Mania: Over 8 Hours of Free Webcasts Now Available!

Mozart

More Mozart than you can shake a baton at!

More Mozart than you can Handel!

Ok, I’ll stop now.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has made all six programs of its MozartFest concert series available on YouTube until March 3, 2017.  That’s over eight hours of music available for your viewing and listening enjoyment.  Here’s the link for the “Mo-Fest BingeFest playlist.”

Here’s what you can see.

Overtures!

to Cosi fan Tutte

to Don Giovanni

to La Clemenza di Tito

to The Marriage of Figaro

to The Magic Flute

to The Abduction from the Seraglio

Concertos!

Bassoon Concerto

Flute Concerto

Concerto for Flute and Harp (exquisite!)

Horn Concertos 1, 2, 3, and 4

Oboe Concerto

Symphonies!

No 35, “Haffner”

No 36, “Linz”

No. 38, “Prague”

No. 39

No. 40

No. 41, “Jupiter”

But wait, there’s more!

Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Concertone

Sinfonia Concertante

You can also see works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Bruckner, Schumann, Tchaikovsky and more on the Detroit Symphony Orchestra channel.  Click the Videos tab to see what’s available.


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Free Live Webcast: Joshua Bell and the National Symphony Orchestra

 

Joshua Bell

On February 11, 2017 at 8:00PM EST (GMT-5), medici.tv will present a concert by Joshua Bell and the National Symphony Orchestra.  The live webcast is free.  Here is the link.

The program will include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole.  The latter will include a dance performance by the Dance Heginbotham dance company.

The performance will also be streaming on the medici.tv Facebook channel.

If you won’t be able to watch the live webcast, it will be available on demand at medici.tv for 90 days.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._7_(Beethoven)
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphonie_espagnole
  3. “Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5481664


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More Free Mozart from the Motor City

Today, Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3:00PM EST (GMT -5) you can see another free live webcast from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s MozartFest.  You can watch it here.  Here’s the program:

Overture to Cosi fan Tutte

Bassoon Concerto

Horn Concerto No. 4

Symphony No. 40

The pre-concert talk (2:00PM) will be “Mozart, Wind Players, and Concertos.”


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Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4

Beethoven

The other night I decided to listen to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.1

Wow.

Let me tell you more about this incredible piece of music.

Beethoven wrote Piano Concerto No. 4 (Op. 58) in 1805-6, and it was first performed at a private concert in 1807.  It was not performed at a public concert until December 1808.2   But what a concert!  Here’s what was on the program:3

Symphony No. 5

Symphony No. 6

Choral Fantasy

Piano Concerto No. 4

Ah, perfido!, a concert aria

Mass in C (excerpts)

The audience spent four hours in a freezing cold theater listening to this concert of a lifetime–it would be the last time that Beethoven would perform as a soloist.

A feature that distinguishes this concerto from many others is that the piece begins with the piano alone.  This would have been totally unexpected for the audience.  And when the orchestra finally comes in to state the first theme, they do not come in playing in the announced key (G major), but an unexpected key (B major).

But you might be saying to yourself, “Yeah, sure, but what makes it so great?  Where’s the wow factor?”

Aside from doing the unexpected, Beethoven takes you on a wild ride.  In the second movement, it is as if the orchestra and pianist are facing off against each other–how will that struggle end?  And it has exciting, demanding piano writing.  Watch the pianist’s hands. Then recall this quote from composer Johann Friedrich Reichardt, who attended the first public performance:3

[Beethoven] played with astounding cleverness and skill, and at the fastest possible tempi.

Wow.

(Of course, then I think, imagine how long the concert would have been if he hadn’t!)

The references below will give you detailed descriptions of the concerto’s three movements.  But you might be tempted to just jump in and listen.

This link will take you to a YouTube page where you can find great performances of this piece by many prominent pianists and orchestras.  The list extends for pages.  Here I’d like to highlight the performance of pianist Mitsuko Uchida and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons at the 2013 Proms Festival.  I hope you will enjoy it!

References

  1. Since inquiring minds will want to know, I listened to (and watched) pianist Jonathan Biss and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on the DSO Replay subscription streaming service. Phenomenal performance!
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Concerto_No._4_(Beethoven)
  3. http://www.laphil.com/philpedia/music/piano-concerto-no-4-g-major-op-58-ludwig-van-beethoven


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Free Concert Webcast: Emanuel Ax and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Play Beethoven, Elgar

Pianist Emanuel Ax

Pianist Emanuel Ax. Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Here’s another free webcast from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra!  On December 11, 2016 at 3PM (GMT -5) pianist Emanuel Ax will be featured in a program of Beethoven and Elgar. Leonard Slatkin will conduct.  Here’s the program:

Beethoven:  Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus

Beethoven:  Piano Concerto No. 2

Elgar:  Symphony No. 1

If you can’t see the webcast at that time, the DSO offers an reasonably-priced alternative. For a donation to the orchestra of $50 or more, you can access DSO Replay, their catalog of previous webcasts, for a year.  There are over 100 works available, viewable on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices, in high-definition, and more than 26 new concerts are added during the season.  Find out more about DSO Replay here.