Saturday, January 18, 2020

Today's Birthdays

César Cui (1835-1918)
Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)
John Laurence Seymour (1893-1986)
Berthold Goldschmidt (1903-1996)
Anthony Galla-Rini (1904-2006)
John O'Conor (1947)
Anthony Pople (1955-2003)
Christoph Prégardien (1956)

and

Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869)
Rubén Darío (1867-1916)
A. A. Milne (1882-1956)
Oliver Hardy (1892-1957)

FYI: Roget's "Thesaurus" has never been out of print since it was first published in 1852.

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1958, "What Does Music Mean?", broadcast, the first of a series of televised New York Philharmonic "Young People's Concerts" on CBS-TV hosted by Leonard Bernstein. The series continued until 1972, with 53 different programs hosted by Bernstein

Friday, January 17, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
John Stanley (1712-1786)
Johann Gottfried Müthel (1728-1788)
François‑Joseph Gossec (1734-1829)
Henk Badings (1907-1987)
Oscar Morawetz (1917-2007)
Annie Delorie (1925-2009)
Donald Erb (1927-2008)
Jean Barraqué (1928-1973)
Sydney Hodkinson (1934)
Dame Gillian Weir (1941)
Anne Queffélec (1948)
Augustin Dumay (1949)
Nancy Argenta (1957)
Gérard Pesson (1958)

and

Anne Brontë (1820-1849)
William Stafford (1914-1993)
Luis López Nieves (1950)
Sebastian Junger (1962)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Ivor Novello (1893-1951)
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).

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Violinist Josefowicz tears it up with Scheherazade.2

Violinist Leila Josefowicz delivered a riveting and incisive performance with the Oregon Symphony (January 11) of John Adams’s Scheherazade.2, playing the extremely demanding music from memory. Wow! With her fingers flying all over her instrument, she created a searing impression of a strong-willed woman who fights to find her own path to freedom in spite of the constraints from her culture and the men in control of it.

Scheherazade.2 was inspired by the famous tale from the Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, but not in the way that you might think. Instead of another musical retelling of the story, Adams found a way to express his reaction to how women are treated cruelly in the tales and by how many cultures still regard and deal with women badly. So, with Scheherazade.2, the soloist is the young woman who escapes the clutches of men and their restrictions to arrive at a safe place.

Adams wrote the 50-minute piece for Josefowicz in 2014, and she has performed it many times since, including last fall with the composer on the podium of the Philadelphia Orchestra. For her appearance with the Oregon Symphony, she collaborated with German conductor Alexander Liebreich, who made his United States debut with this concert.

Over the course of its four movements Scheherazade.2 held sway with Josefowicz digging into gnarly passages, rising above the fray of the orchestra. She led the audience in a journey that started with “Tale of the Wise Young Woman- Pursuit by the True Believers,” followed by “A Long Desire (Love Scene), then “Scheherazade and the Men with Beards,” and concluded with “Escape, Flight Sanctuary.” Along the way, she maintained a defiant tone that skillfully defied the ominous and threatening sounds from the orchestra, which included a cimbalom (a Hungarian hammered dulcimer) played expertly by Chester Englander. Josefowicz fearless playing and the evocative nature of the piece drew loud cheers from all corners of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question, deftly shaped by Liebreich, ushered in the second half of the evening with its provocative message. Principal trumpet Jeffrey Work expressed wonderfully subtle statements from off-stage while the woodwinds (led by principal flutist Martha Long) responded with an agitated flurry of rebuttals.

That piece segued seamlessly into Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra with its iconic opening passage in full glory. The orchestra excelled throughout with dynamic phrasing and a terrific ensemble sound. Lush strings, polished brass, spritely harp and flute, jocular clarinets, pummeling timpani… there were numerous exciting passages that made the piece especially gratifying. Concertmaster Sarah Kwak’s topped everything off with her lovely solos. Liebreich really got into the piece with emphatic conducting. It would be great to see him back on the podium again someday in the future.

Today's Birthdays

Ludwig von Köchel (1800-1877)
Jean de Reszke (1850-1925)
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
Louis Quilico (1925-2000)
Zuzana Ruzickova (1927-2017)
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)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Christoph Graupner (1683-1760)
Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (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)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

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)