Monday, January 16, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Niccoló Piccinni (1728-1800)
Daisy Kennedy (1893-1981)
Ernesto Halffter (1905-1989)
Roger Wagner (1914-1992)
Ernesto Bonino (1922-2008)
Pilar Lorengar (1928-1996)
Marilyn Horne (1934)
Richard Wernick (1934)
Gavin Bryars (1943)
Brian Ferneyhough (1943)
Katia Ricciarelli (1946)

and

Robert Service (1874-1958)
Anthony Hecht (1923-2004)
William Kennedy (1928)
Susan Sontag (1933-2004)
Mary Karr (1955)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (1980)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1942, Britten's "Diversions on a Theme" for Piano Left Hand, was premiered by pianist Paul Wittgenstein, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy conducting.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Ivor Novello (1883-1951)
Elie Siegmeister (1909-1991)
Malcolm Frager (1935-1991)
Don "Captain Beefheart" Van Vliet (1941-2010)
Aaron Jay Kernis (1960)

and

Molière (1622-1673)
Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872)
Andreas William Heinesen (1900-1991)
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1941 Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time" was premiered at Stalag VIII-A, a German prisoner of war camp in Görlitz (Silesia), with the composer at the piano and fellow-prisoners Jean Le Boulaure (violin), Henri Akoka (clarinet) and Etienne Pasquier (cello).

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Vintage Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg inspires Oregon Symphony in spirited Vivaldi

The icy weather forced Saturday evening’s concert to be rescheduled for Monday (January 9th) at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, but it did not dampen the spirits of violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, who led the Oregon Symphony in a vivid performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” Standing in the center of the all-string ensemble, Salerno-Sonnenberg took on the role of soloist and conductor- chief-inspirer, firing up her colleagues with intensity and immaculate playing that was focused, highly nuanced, and filled with brilliant articulation even on the fastest passages. The attention to detail and dramatic scope also applied to the treatment that Salerno-Sonnenberg and forces gave to Rodion Shchedrin’s “Carmen Suite” (after Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen) , which rounded out the second-half of the program.

Salerno-Sonnenberg has a big following in Portland. She has appeared with the orchestra many times, and her many fans showered her with cheers right from the first moment that she stepped onto the stage. That she rearranged her schedule to accommodate the delayed performance spoke volumes about her generous character.

repertoire, you would think that the musicians might have shrugged and turned in a ho-hum performance, but Monday night’s concert was anything but that. You could hear flowers blooming, winds blowing, birds singing as if it were happening right in the concert hall – and that was just for the “Spring” movement. The other movements were equally evocative with the sun blazing, slashing rain, insects buzzing about, farmers dancing, hunters and their hounds, and frigid snow.

Salerno-Sonnenberg employed an amazing array of movements to convey the tempos and sudden attacks, motioning with her head and shoulders, turning to the violins or to the violas and cellos as needed. She achieved a mind meld of sorts with the orchestra and that made the music so tangible . Several duets and trios involved Salerno-Sonnenberg and violinists Sarah Kwak and Inés Voglar Belgique, violist Joël Belgique, and cellist Nancy Ives. Ives wonderfully anticipated her subtle changes in tempo in many extended passages that featured just the two of them.

After intermission, a chamber ensemble consisting of the orchestral strings and percussion gave a splendidly sensitive interpretation of the “Carmen Suite.” This time, Salerno-Sonnenbergj led from the concertmaster chair (with Kwak next to her). She would indicate starting tempos with her hand and used body language (or an occasional free hand) to signal important cutoffs to the percussionists. The battery (including Niel DePonte, Michael Roberts, Sergio Carreno, and Jonathan Greeney) played a vast array of instruments with immaculate precision. The famous melodies from the opera were delivered in unusual ways (for example, the low strings used pizzicatos to play the toreador song) that tickled the ears.

It was a good thing that the orchestra’s president and CEO, Scott Showalter, mentioned in his introduction that the next day was her birthday. So, the after her final bow, the orchestra and crowd serenaded her with a rousing and heartfelt Happy Birthday. That was a great way to cap off the evening.

Today's Birthdays

Ludwig von Köchel (1800-1877)
Jean de Reszke (1850-1925)
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
Louis Quilico (1925-2000)
Zuzana Ruzickova (1927)
Siegmund Nimsgern (1940)
Mariss Jansons (1943)
Kees Bakels (1945)
Nicholas McGegan (1950)
Ben Heppner (1956)
Andrew Manze (1965)

and

John Dos Passos (1896-1970
Emily Hahn (1905-1997)
Maureen Dowd (1952)

and from the Composers Datebook:

Today in 1900, Puccini's "Tosca," was given its premiere in Rome at the Teatro Constanzi.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Christoph Graupner (1683-1760)
Gottfried Heinrich Stölze (1690-1749)
Vassili Kalinnikov (1866-1901)
Richard Addinsell (1904-1977)
Daniil Shafran (1923-1997)
Renato Bruson (1936)
Paavo Heininen (1938)
William Duckworth (1943-2012)
Richard Blackford (1954)
Wayne Marshall (1961)
Juan Diego Flórez (1973)

and

Horatio Alger (1832-1899)
Lorrie Moore (1957)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1945, Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 was premiered by the Moscow State Philharmonic, with the composer conducting.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Reinhard Keiser (1674-1739)
Jacques Duphly (1715-1789)
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948)
Pierre Bernac (1899-1979)
William Pleeth (1916-1999)
Leo Smit (1921-1999)
Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
Salvatore Martirano (1927-1995)
Anne Howells (1941)
Viktoria Postnikova (1944)
Lori Laitman (1955)

and

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
Jack London (1876-1916) 
Haruki Murakami (1949)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Alban Gerhardt to play at All Classical's Thursdays @ Three

Provided that he can get to the radio station, the great cellist Alban Gerhardt will play at All Classical's Thursdays @ Three. This should be a tremendous treat that listeners will enjoy immensely. I think that I saw on his blog that he is a skier. So he might get some cross-country skies and some bungee chords for his cello and make his way over the snow-laden streets and over the river to 89.9. He is scheduled to play Dutilleux's Cello Concert (entitled "A Whole Distant World") in this weekend's concerts with the Oregon Symphony.

Today's Birthdays

Christian Sinding (1856-1941)
Reihold Glière (1875-1956)
Maurice Duruflé(1902-1986)
Mark DeVoto (1940)
York Höller (1944)
Drew Minter (1955)
Alex Shapiro (1962)

and

William James (1842-1910)
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)
Alan Paton (1903-1988)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1925, Copland's Symphony for Organ and Orchestra was premiered at Aeolian Hall in New York City by the New York Symphony conducted by Walter Damrosch, with Nadia Boulanger the soloist.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Jean Martinon (1910-1976)
Sidney Griller (1911-1993)
Dean Dixon (1915-1976)
Milton Babbitt (1916-2011)
Max Roach (1924-2007)
Sherrill Milnes (1935)
Rod Stewart (1945)
James Morris (1947)
Mischa Maisky (1948)
Rockwell Blake (1951)
Charles Norman Mason (1955)
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (1961)

and


Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)
Philip Levine (1928-2015)
Stephen E. Ambrose (1936-2002)