Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing


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Aurora Australis

Stick figure in parka looks up at Southern Lights

Since everyone seemed to like my matching of the Llandudno goats video to Prokofiev’s Montagues and Capulets, I’ve decided to bring you another mashup.
First, I saw this beautiful time-lapse footage of the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) over Antarctica. [1]  If the only thing you do is watch this video, your day may improve. The soundtrack for this video is a piece called Diana by Tony Anderson, and it works wonderfully with this video. If you enjoy the video, check out Timestorm Film’s YouTube channel for more videos (in particular, Nox Atacama. Wow.)

But I wanted to try something different.

I found this video of violinist Mari Samuelsen playing Max Richter’s November live in Beijing. If you only listen to this, your day may improve.

Now for the mashup. Open the two videos in separate tabs. Start the video of November. Once the orchestra starts to play, start the video of the Southern Lights in Antarctica, but mute its sound. The timing is not critical.

I think you will enjoy the result.

Wishing you peace and good health.

 

Extra note for Max Richter fans: If you are in the UK or Europe, BBC3 and the European Broadcasting Union will broadcast Max Richter’s Sleep, all eight hours of it, beginning 11PM London time on 11 April 2020. Read more about BBC’s Culture in Quarantine program here.  Not in Europe?  Need Sleep now?  You can find it here on YouTube.
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1. Clara Parkes is providing a daily moment of calm, with photos or videos to provide a moment of peace, or a smile, to your day. It is called The Daily Respite. Past days have included a photo of the Maine sky, a dog jumping into piles of leaves, the Llandudno goats, and today’s Southern Lights video. You can check it out at the website, or if you subscribe, it will be sent to your inbox each day. See details at the link above.

Image attribution: Drawing by C. Gallant (c) 2020.


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A virtual orchestra performance and more great free concerts

illustration of the seating chart of an orchestra with each instrument in its own box

Musicians can’t not make music.  And when creative people, well, get creative, wonderful things can happen.  What does an orchestra do when everyone has to stay home?

Watch the Toronto Symphony Orchestra play Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

Seeing this video made me think of a comment by artist Janet Cardiff, highlighted in my Virtual Choirs post.  She said that visitors to her sound installation would frequently walk directly up to a speaker projecting a singer’s voice, something that you could not do with a live choir.  The visitors literally got close to the music, hearing each singer’s voice in a way that you cannot do under normal circumstances.  In the Toronto Symphony Orchestra video, you can see, frequently close up, each musician, a view that you cannot get, certainly at live performances, and even in recorded concerts.  They are all wearing different clothing, you can see them as individuals. And there is something very warm in that.

I can only hope that the resourcefulness that is now being displayed during this crisis will not be forgotten once the crisis is past, and that we will find new ways to bring more music to more people in more venues, and find ways for musicians to be justly compensated for bringing their music directly to their listeners and viewers.

So, let’s hear some more music!

Here is an article from the CBC providing details on “6 cool classical concerts to watch right now.”

L’Orchestre symphonique de Montreal is streaming concerts from its archives every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00PM ET (GMT -4).

At this link you can see the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra perform Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto and his Sixth Symphony “Pastorale”. It is a top-notch performance.

If you find great performances or live concerts I haven’t discovered, be sure to share them with everyone in the comments.  Thanks!


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More Free Music!

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

The ranks of musical institutions and performers helping us all get through the current health crisis together are growing.  Here’s are my latest finds.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has now made its Replay archive of past concerts available for free.  Enjoy high-definition recordings with fantastic sound in the comfort of your own home.  Visit https://livefromorchestrahall.vhx.tv/browse to access the performances.  There, you can set up a free account, but it is not mandatory.  You can search the offerings by composer or time period.

Piano fans!  Igor Levit is giving nightly live “House Concerts” on Twitter (twitter.com/igorpianist).  See his Twitter feed for times and for other performances.  Boris Giltburg (https://twitter.com/BorisGiltburg) will also be offering Twitter performances. [Added note:  you don’t need a twitter account to see the concerts].

You also might want to check out the YouTube channel of Wigmore Hall, especially their Beethoven 250 Festival recordings.

Opera fans! The Teatro Regio in Turin is offering #operaonthesofa.  Check out their website for details, or go to their YouTube channel to check out the playlist.  The Vienna State Opera is also opening their archive of performances. To see the archive, you will need to set up a free account.  They are also livestreaming a different performance each night.  Livestreams begin at 17:00 or 19:00 CET (GMT +1), and those are available for 24 hours.

Also, check out WKAR’s schedule of livestream performances.  You can find it at https://www.wkar.org/post/list-live-streaming-concerts#stream/0.

 

Off topic, but if you need some calm, and something a little different, I’d like to suggest the live cams at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the National Aquarium.  You can watch fish, penguins, birds, jellyfish (oddly mesmerizing—nature’s lava lamp), or just the beautiful bay.  You can find a wide variety of animals and natural scenery on livecam at explore.org (I particularly recommend the Zen Cams).  Add your own classical soundtrack if you’d like!  Nature endures; spring is coming.


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Berlin Philharmonic Archive Free for 30 Days; Livestream Database

Globe with eighth note

The Berlin Philharmonic has an incredible collection of performances on its Digital Concert Hall website.  The video resolution is phenomenal and the audio is superb.

You can now access the entire archive of Berlin Philharmonic performances for free for 30 days.  Sign up by March, 31, 2020.

Go to this webpage to learn how.  You’ll need to set up a free account.  It is very easy, and there is no further obligation.

In addition to the concerts (searchable by composer, conductor, epoch, and more), there is a fine collection of films, and insightful interviews with performers, conductors, and producers.

 

Classical Music Communications has made available a database of live-streamed concerts, complete with dates, times, and links.  See the database here.

 

Wishing you good health and good music!


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Concert Cancelled?  See One in Your Own Home!

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

Due to the current health crisis, many concerts and other public events are being cancelled.  But you can still attend a concert in the comfort of your own home.  Casual dress code ok!

Check out the concert library offered by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  You’re sure to find a few favorites there: Jeremy Denk playing Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony , or Haydn’s Symphony No. 6, Morning, just to name a few.  There is also a large selection of audio-only performances for your listening pleasure.

Opera fans will love Operavision’s library of great performances, including Carmen, Tosca, and The Barber of Seville, among others.  At the current time, there are plans to broadcast live performances of several of Mozart’s operas this month, though the schedule may change as the current situation evolves.  Here’s the current schedule.

March 19, 19:00 CET (GMT +1, 2:00 EDT) Così fan tutte
March 21, 19:30 CET Le nozze di Figaro
March 24, 19:30 CET Don Giovanni
April 3, 19:00 CET La clemenza di Tito
April 10, 19:00 CET Die Entführung aus dem Serail
April 17, 19:00 CET Il sogno di Scipione

In addition to the old standby YouTube, you can also watch performances on Arte, the Gothenburg Symphony, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and BachTrack.com websites.

These are difficult times.  I hope the on-demand performances available at the above sites will add a soothing element to your day.

Be safe out there, folks! Wishing you all health and serenity.


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Live Concert Webcast Tonight:  Ravel, Mozart, Schumann and More!

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

Tonight, 1 February 2020 at 8PM EST (GMT -5) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present a live concert broadcast.  The concert will feature mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard. James Gaffigan will conduct.  You can see the program at dso.org/live.

Here’s the program:

Mozart: Overture from Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio)
Ravel: Shéhérazade
Alex Temple: Liebeslied
Schumann: Symphony No. 4

Enjoy!


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Paganini, Berlioz Live Concert Webcast and a Virtual Museum Tour

Globe with eighth note

Get ready for a whirlwind of a concert!

On Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 3:00 PM EST (GMT -5), the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present a live concert webcast.  The concert will feature Augustin Hadelich playing Paganini’s First Violin Concerto.

Here’s just a taste of the violinist’s Paganini flare:  Augustin Hadelich playing Paganini Caprice No. 5.

The second half of the concert will feature the wild ride of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie FantastiqueJader Bignamini, the DSO’s new music director, will conduct.  You can see the concert here.

Paganini and Berlioz met in Paris, and became regular correspondents.  Both enjoyed guitar music, and Paganini gave Berlioz a guitar.  Both signed the guitar, which still exists and is at the Musée de la Musique in Paris. [1]   Berlioz donated the guitar to the museum when he was its curator.  And here it is:

Photograph of guitar signed by Paganini and BerliozCloseup photograph of signatures of Paganini and Berlioz on guitar

You can take a fascinating virtual tour of the museum at this link.  You can even download a museum map to facilitate your tour. Click the pictures; any picture with a compass on it will allow you to wander through the museum and view the exhibits.  Other pictures will provide slideshows with musical clips.  Enjoy!

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References

  1. Niccolò Paganini, Wikipedia.org, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niccol%C3%B2_Paganini.

Image attributions:  Globe with eighth note, C. Gallant, 2019.  Paganini, Berlioz guitar, Musée de la musique, Paris / A Giordan – http://mediatheque.cite-musique.fr/musee [Public domain] via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jean-Nicolas_Grobert_-_Early_Romantic_Guitar,_Paris_around_1830.jpg.


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Free Live Webcast: Mendelssohn and More!

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present a live concert webcast on December 6, 2019 at 10:45 AM EST (GMT -5).  The concert will feature Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, performed by violinist James EhnesJuanjo Mena will conduct.  You can see the concert at dso.org/live. Here’s the program:

Haydn  Symphony No. 44 in E minor, “Trauersinfonie”

Mendelssohn  Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 64

Schubert  Symphony No 9 in C major, D. 944, “The Great”

 


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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:  Tchaikovsky’s Fourth and More!

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

On Saturday, November 17 at 8:00 EST (GMT-5) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present a free live webcast of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.  John Storgårds will conduct.  The webcast will also feature violinist Pekka Kuusisto.  The webcast can be seen at https://www.dso.org/live.  Here’s the program.

George AntheilOver the Plains

Daniel Bjarnason: Violin Concerto

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

 

By the way, you should really read George Antheil’s bio.  It’s rare to find a composer who developed a radio guidance system for torpedoes (with actress Hedy Lamarr, no less; I am not making this up), and who was a friend of the poet Ezra Pound.