Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing


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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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Concert Cancelled?  See One in Your Own Home!

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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!

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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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Free Live Webcast: Mendelssohn and More!

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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 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.

______

  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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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 Concert Webcast: Beethoven, Prokofiev, and Currier

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On Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 8:00 PM EDT (GMT -4), the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will feature pianist Hélène Grimaud performing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto.  Also on the program are Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, and a new work, Divisions, a commemoration of World War I, written by Sebastian Currier.  Ludovic Morlot will conduct.  You can see the concert at www.dso.org/live or on Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/detroitsymphony).


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Free Concert Webcast Today: Beethoven’s Fifth and Brahms’s Violin Concerto

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In just two hours from now (10:45 EST, GMT -5), the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present the Brahms Concerto for Violin, featuring Christian Tetzlaff, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto.  You can see it at https://www.dso.org/live.

If you’ve already missed it, or if it doesn’t fit into your schedule, I’d like to mention that a $50 donation (or more) to the Detroit Symphony comes with a one-year subscription to Replay, the orchestra’s online library of concerts, which includes their last four seasons as well as the Brahmsfest, Mozartfest, and Frenchfest series of concerts, over 200 works to choose from, as well as artist interview and pre-concert lectures.

Enjoy!

 


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Free Concert Webcast:  Tchaikovsky’s Fourth and More!

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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.


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Live Concert Webcast: Beethoven, Haydn, and More

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On Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 9PM EDT (GMT-4) the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will present a live concert on its website.  It is also viewable on the SPCO’s app for Apple and Android.  Conductor Thomas Zehetmair and the orchestra will present the following program:

Ludwig van BeethovenRomance No. 1 for Violin (Eunice Kim, violin)

Jean-Féry Rebel: The Elements (this take on the creation of the world includes a movement, Chaos, which is strikingly modern even though it was written in 1737).

Claude Vivier: Zipangu

Franz Joseph HaydnSymphony No. 95 in C Minor

Here’s the link to watch the concert.

The concert will be added to the on-demand concert library thereafter (great collection, check it out), which is available on the website or via the SPCO app.