Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today's Birthdays

John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951)
Sergueï Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)
Guiomar Novaes (1895-1979)
Geraldine Farrar (1882-1967)
Roman Maciejewski (1910-1998)
George Malcolm (1917-1997)
Joseph Rouleau (1929)
Osmo Vänskä (1953)
Markus Stenz (1965)

and

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
Linus Pauling (1901-1994)
Stephen Spender (1909-1995)
Zero Mostel (1915-1977)
Frank Gehry (1929)
John Fahey (1939-2001)
Stephen Chatman (1950)
Colum McCann (1965)
Daniel Handler (1970)

and from the Composers Datebook

On this date in 1882, the Royal College of Music is founded in London.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918)
Lotte Lehmann (1888-1976)
Marian Anderson (1897-1993)
Elizabeth Welch (1904-2003)
Mirella Freni (1935)
Morten Lauridsen (1943)
Gidon Kremer (1947)
Frank-Peter Zimmermann (1956)

and

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
John Steinbeck (1902-1968)
Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990)
Ralph Nadar (1934)
N. Scott Momaday (1934)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Anton (Antoine) Reicha (1770-1836)
Alfred Bachelet (1864-1944)
Emmy Destinn (1878-1930)
Frank Bridge (1879-1941)
Witold Rowicki (1914-1989)
Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino (1928)
Lazar Berman (1930-2005)
Johnny Cash (1932-2005)
David Thomas (1943)
Guy Klucevsek (1947)
Emma Kirkby (1949)
Richard Wargo (1957)
Carlos Kalmar (1958)

and

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
John George Nicolay (1832-1901)
Elisabeth George (1949)


and from the New Music Box:
On February 26, 1917, the Victor Company issues the earliest known jazz recording featuring the Livery Stable Blues and the Dixieland Jass Band One-Step performed by the Original Dixieland Jass (sic) Band.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Portland Opera kicks of its new winter series with passionate Monteverdi madrigals

Photography by Cory Weaver | Courtesy Portland Opera
Even though his music is 400 years old, Claudio Monteverdi’s madrigals can still strike a chord with contemporary audiences, because they wonderfully explore love with all of its thorns and fragrance. The intimacy of the madrigals made them a good fit for “Songs of Love and War,” which Portland Opera staged at its newly christened Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre on Friday (February 17). The music was evocatively conveyed by members and alumna of Portland Opera Resident Artists program under the direction of Christopher Mattaliano, and the production was the first in the company’s inaugural Vino e Voce series.

From the age of 40 to the end of his life, Monteverdi wrote nine books of madrigals. “Songs of Love and War” featured eighteen selections from Books 7, 8, and 9 plus two songs from his “Scherzi Musicali.” The selections were grouped under an arc of themes, starting with “The Dance of Courtship and Seduction” and ending with “Acceptance with Pleasure – Whatever the Cost.” The three themes in the middle were “Sensual Pleasure and Fantasy,” “Unrequited and Forbidden Love,” and “Lessons Learned or Not.”

Photography by Cory Weaver | Courtesy Portland Opera
Within that framework, each madrigal could be experienced as a separate episode. In “O mio bene” the men longed for love. In “Bel pastor” the women tried to extract a promise of how much the men will love them. There were sensual moments punctuated by statements, such as “Love mixes flame and ice,” that have lost nothing in the last 400 years.

Photography by Cory Weaver | Courtesy Portland Opera
Still, it was difficult to avoid imagining the characters in a story that had continuity For example, the bass might pursue the mezzo in one song, but he might be involved with someone else in the next, and that would then be followed by something completely different.

All of the action took place on top of and around an extremely large bed, which was placed in the center of the hall surrounded by the audience on all four sides. Sopranos Lindsay Ohse and Antonia Tamer, mezzo Kate Farrar, bass James Harrington, baritone Ryan Thorn, and tenor Aaron Short flirted, frolicked, fumed, and fought with élan. They impeccably expressed the content and emotion of each piece with ardent singing, and their ensemble numbers were remarkably well balanced.

Photography by Cory Weaver | Courtesy Portland Opera
But with the singers running around in satin pajamas and nightgowns for 90 minutes, the production became a bit one-dimensional. Besides the super-large bed, the only other prop was a large satin sheet. Since the text referred once in a while to flowers and food, a bouquet or a picnic basket would have been a nice diversion.

The chamber orchestra, sequestered in one corner of the hall, sounded terrific. It consisted of Dylan Rieck (cello), Hideki Yamaya (theorbo and Baroque guitar), and Nicolas Fox, who conducted the entire enterprise from the harpsichord.

Because most of Portland Opera productions have been moved to the summer, the new Vino e Voce series marks a brave attempt by Mattaliano and company to redefine opera for the winter months. “Songs of Love and War” was a good start.
Photography by Cory Weaver | Courtesy Portland Opera

Today's Birthdays

Armand-Louis Couperin (1727-1789)
Antoine Reicha (1770-1836)
Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)
Dame Myra Hess (1890-1965)
Victor Silvester (1900-1978)
Davide Wilde (1935)
Jesús López-Cobos (1940)
George Harrison (1943-2001)
Lucy Shelton (1944)
Denis O'Neill (1948)
Melinda Wagner (1957)

and

Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919)
Karl Friedrich May (1842–1874)
Anthony Burgess (1917-1993)
John C. Farrar (1896-1974)

And from the New Music Box:
On February 25, 1924, the first issue of the League of Composers Review was published. Under the editorial leadership of Minna Lederman, this publication—which soon thereafter changed its name to Modern Music (in April 1925)—was the leading journalistic voice for contemporary music in America for over 20 years and featured frequent contributions from important composers of the day including Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, John Cage, Marc Blitzstein, Henry Cowell, Lehman Engel, and Marion Bauer. Its final issue appeared in the Fall of 1946.

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1682,Italian composer Alessandro Stradella, age 37, is murdered in Genoa, apparently in retaliation for running off with a Venetian nobleman's mistress.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Preview of Vancouver Symphony concerts with David Shifrin in today's Columbian

David Shifrin will play a couple of clarinet concertos with the Vancouver Symphony this weekend. My preview of the concert, including an interview with Shifrin about the music, is in today's issue of The Columbian newspaper.

Today's Birthdays

Antoine Boësset (1587-1643)
Samuel Wesley (1766-1837)
Arrigo Boito (1842-1918)
Luigi Denza (1846-1922)
Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940)
Michel Legrand (1932)
Renato Scotto (1934)
Jiří Bělohlávek (1946)

and

Wilhelm (Carl) Grimm (1786-1859)
Winslow Homer (1836-1910)
George Augustus Moore (1852-1933)
Mary Ellen Chase (1887-1973)
Weldon Kees (1914-1955)
Jane Hirshfield (1953)
Judith Butler (1956)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1955, Carlisle Floyd's opera "Susannah" received its premiere at Florida State University in Tallahassee. According to Opera America, this is one of the most frequently-produced American operas during the past decade.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Portland Symphony Choir on the hunt for a new Artistic Director

From the choir's web site:

For over 70 years, Portland Symphonic Choir has been creating beautiful music under the direction of just five artistic directors. Dr. Steven Zopfi joined Portland Symphonic Choir as artistic director in 2003 and we have enjoyed 14 great years under his baton, performing choral masterworks both old and new. As Carlos Kalmar of the Oregon Symphony once said of Dr. Zopfi, “…the Choir has made remarkable progress under your artistic leadership; it is a pleasure to collaborate with you.”

In addition to his work with PSC, Dr. Zopfi is an accomplished Director of Choral Activities at the University of Puget Sound (located 150 miles north of Portland). Recently, the university completed a major rescheduling effort which resulted in an unresolvable scheduling conflict with PSC’s rehearsal needs. While the university-wide change is being made for good reasons, it unfortunately will prevent Dr. Zopfi from continuing his position with PSC after this season. With this in mind, we are now activating our search for the next artistic director of Portland Symphonic Choir.

The Board of Directors is working diligently to ensure a successful search and transition process. As the great Robert Shaw once said, “as soon as we find each other, we invite the miracle to begin”—this sentiment will be at the heart of our search.
Click HERE to view the job posting.

Today's Birthdays

John Blow (1649-1708)
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Sir Hugh Roberton (1874-1952)
Albert Sammons (1886-1957)
Dave Apollon (1897-1972)
Elinor Remick Warren (1905-1991)
Martindale Sidwell (1916-1998)
Hall Overton (1920-1972)
Régine Crespin (1927-2007)

and

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) - blogger of the 17th Century
W. E  B. Du Bois (1868-1963)
Karl Jaspers (1883-1969)
William L. Shirer (1904-1993)
John Camp (1944)

Tidbit from the New York Times obit: In the early 1930s, Shirer and his wife shared a house with the guitarist Andres Segovia.

From The Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1940 that Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics to “This Land Is Your Land."

The melody is to an old Baptist hymn. Guthrie wrote the song in response to the grandiose “God Bless America,” written by Irving Berlin and sung by Kate Smith. Guthrie didn’t think that the anthem represented his own or many other Americans’ experience with America. So he wrote a folk song as a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” a song that was often accompanied by an orchestra. At first, Guthrie titled his own song “God Blessed America” — past tense. Later, he changed the title to “This Land Is Your Land,” which is the first line of the song.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-1890)
York Bowen (1884-1961)
Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890-1963)
Joseph Kerman (1924-2014)
George Zukerman (1927)
Steven Lubin (1942)
Lowell Liebermann (1961)
Rolando Villazón (1972)

and

George Washington (1732-1799) Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
Edward Gorey (1925-2000)
Gerald Stern (1925)
Ishmael Reed (1938)
Terry Eagleton (1943)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Gould Piano Trio and clarinetist Robert Plane to perform at Grace Memorial Episcopal

From the press release:

The Gould Piano Trio and Robert Plane (clarinet) will give a concert at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church on Thursday March 30 at 7:30. They have soloed individually with orchestras all over the world, have 25 CDs as a trio, the pianist has made 17 solo recordings, and collectively they are pretty impressive.

They will play:

• Beethoven’s Kakadu Variations, op 121A (1824)
• Zemlinski’s Clarinet trio (1896)
• Bartok’s Contrasts for Clarinet, Violin and piano Sz. BB 116 (1938)
• Brahms Piano trio No 2 op 87 in C Major (1880)

Violinist Lucy Gould plays a Guanerius filius from 1703, and cellist Alice Neary an Alessandro Gagliano from 1710. Pianist Ben Frith, “achieved international recognition by sharing top prize in the 1986 Busoni International Piano Competition, and 1st prize in the 1989 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, making his debut at the Edinburgh Festival in 1992 with Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations.”

Plane's recording of Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto won Classic CD Magazine’s ‘Best Concerto Recording’ Award and was selected as BBC Radio 3’s recommended version in ‘Building a Library’, whilst his recording of Bax Sonatas was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award. His recording of Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the End of Time’ with the Gould Trio was praised by BBC Music Magazine as the ‘best modern account’ of this monumental work.

The Gould Piano Trio is brilliant - played Wigmore Hall London, England (the UK’s chamber hall equivalent of Carnegie Hall)in February, and Portland in March!

Tickets, which are selling briskly, go for $30. You can get them online at Grace Memorial.

Today's Birthdays

Carl Czerny (1791-1857)
Leo Delibes (1836-1891)
Charles Marie Widor (1844-1945)
Kenneth Alford (1881-1945)
Nina Simone (1933-2003)
Elena Duran (1949)
Simon Holt (1948)

and

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)
W. H. Auden (1907-1973)
Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)
Ha Jin (1956)
Chuck Palahniuk (1962)
David Foster Wallace (1962-2008)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Final concert of Arvo Pärt Festival sounds the search for the eternal

Although the fast pace of modern life and technology has made many people addicted to anything short and shocking, there are still those who search for things that are slower and deeper. They stuffed Kaul Auditorium to the brim last Sunday (February 12) for the final concert of the Arvo Pärt Festival and were rewarded with superb performances by Cappella Romana and the Third Angle New Music Ensemble. The program, led by Alexander Lingas, featured music by Pärt, James MacMillan, and John Tavener that drew inspiration from ancient hymns. Even the secular piece by Thanos Mikroutsikos shared a meditative sentiment that fit naturally with the others. It is too bad that Kaul Auditorium does not have some reverberation. A little bit of reverb would have warmed up the sound even more and added the extra bit of awe.

The twenty-five singers of Cappella Romana filled the hall with a gorgeous sound, starting with “Da pacem Domine” (“Give peace, Lord”), which Pärt wrote in response to the train bombings in Madrid in March of 2004. Divided into four parts, the men and women delivered the somber text with well-balanced, resonating, sustained yet bell-like tones (including some subterranean notes for the basses) that placed everyone in a meditative spell alongside the feeling of unending expansiveness.

Another hypnotic piece was MacMillan’s “Who are these angels?” Apparently, MacMilan wrote some of the music when he was 17 years old and then refashioned it in 2009. The men sang a Latin text attributed to Augustine that probes mankind’s mortality with a series of questions. The women responded with the refrain “Who are these angels and how shall I know them?,” singing with a purity of tone and zero vibrato that was absolutely ethereal and tranquil. The string quartet fluttered about, ascending to some very high notes and delicate, free-range glissandi that suggested an angelic response. An additional highlight was a brief, yet beautiful solo by violist Adam LaMotte.

Pärt’s“Alleluia-Tropus” (2008) received its U.S. premiere at this concert. Sung in Church Slavonic, the music featured a joyful refrain of “Alleluias.” Written as a dismissal hymn for St. Nicholas, the final “Alleluia” created a sense of suspension because it was sustained for a long time.

“Funeral Canticle,” composed by Tavener in 1996 in memory of his father, was used in Terrance Malick’s film “The Tree of Life.” The solos, sung in Byzantine Greek by John Boyer, featured microtonal adjustments that sounded very Middle Eastern. Each verse that the choir sang started with a simple melody that morphed into harmonically intertwined passages. Overall, the text gave me the sense of someone climbing stairs that went higher and higher.

Slowly descending and ascending lines were also expressed in Mikroutsikos “Slow Motion,” an orchestra-only piece. The music paralleled the austere and plaintive call of the other pieces on the program but without the religious context.

The final piece on the program, Pärt’s “Te Deum” (“Thee, O God, we praise”), began with an otherworldly drone from the wind harp, played from a recording. The choir sounded magnificent with excellent dynamics, including impressive double-fortes, for example, with the words “pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae” (“Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory”). Other highlights of the piece included crystalline lines from the women and a lovely solo by soprano Catherine van der Salm. The final “Sanctus” was light and feathery. The singers were supported with sensitively by the orchestra, which included the big chords from the prepared piano (Susan DeWitt Smith) that punctuated the end of a couple of passages.

For those who missed the concert, the good news is that the a cappella pieces from the program will be part of a new recording by Cappella Romana. Kudos to the ensemble and to producer Mark Powell for bringing such powerful music to Portland.

Today's Birthdays

Johann Peter Salomon (1749-1815)
Charles‑Auguste de Bériot (1802-1870)
Mary Garden (1874-1967)
Robert McBride (1911-2007)
Ruth Gipps (1921-1999)
Christoph Eschenbach (1940)
Barry Wordsworth (1948)
Cindy McTee (1953)
Riccardo Chailly (1953)
Chris Thile (1981)

and

Russel Crouse (1893-1966)
Louis Kahn (1901-1974)
Ansel Adams (1902-1984)
Robert Altman (1925-2006)
Richard Matheson (1926-2013)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)
Louis Aubert (1877-1968)
Arthur Shepherd (1880-1958)
Grace Williams (1906-1977)
Stan Kenton (1912-1979)
Timothy Moore (1922-2003)
George Guest (1924-2002)
György Kurtág (1926)
Michael Kennedy (1926-2014)
Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (1932-1988)
Smokey Robinson (1940)
Penelope Walmsley-Clark (1949)
Darryl Kubian (1966)

and

André Breton (1896-1966)
Carson McCullers (1917-1967)
Amy Tan (1952)
Siri Hustvedt (1955)
Jonathan Lethem (1964)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Giovanni Battista Vitali (1632-1692)
Pietro Giovanni Guarneri (1655-1720)
Gustave Schirmer, Jr. (1864-1907)
Marchel Landowski (1915-1999)
Rolande Falcinelli (1920-2006)
Rita Gorr (1926-2012)
Yoko Ono (1933)
Marek Janowski (1939)
Marlos Nobre (1939)
Donald Crockett (1951)

and

Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916)
Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957)
Wallace Stegner (1909-1993)
Jack Gilbert (1925-2012)
Len Deighton (1929)
Toni Morrison (1931)
George Pelecanos (1957)

Friday, February 17, 2017

New stellar violinist to give recital

From the press release:

Darrell Hanks Studio Concerts presents Tomas Cotik Solo Violin

February 18th, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Hailed by Michael Tilson Thomas as “an excellent violinist,” Tomas Cotik is internationally recognized as a soloist, chamber musician, and professor. A much sought after recording artist, Dr. Cotik is currently involved in more than fourteen CD recordings for Naxos and Centaur Records, which have received over a hundred reviews and the highest praises from some of the best-known publications. He forms a Duo with pianist Tao Lin and was a member of the acclaimed Amernet, Delray, and Harrington string quartets. Committed to passing on his passion for music, Dr. Cotik taught at the University of Miami, Florida International University, and West Texas A&M University. He was appointed assistant professor of Violin at Portland State University in 2016.

Tickets: *Reserved: $20 *highly recommended Door: $25

Telemann, Bach & Piazzolla

Today's Birthdays

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881)
Sr. Edward German (1862-1936)
Leevi Madetoja (1887-1947)
Andres Segovia (1893-1987)
Marian Anderson (1893-1993)
Paul Fetler (1920)
Ron Goodwin (1925-2003)
Fredrich Cerha (1926)
Lee Hoiby (1926-2011)
Anner Bylsma (1944)
Karl Jenkins (1944)

and

Ronald Knox (1888-1957)
Jack Gilbert (1925-2012)
Chaim Potok (1929-2002)
Ruth Rendell (1930-2015)
Mo Yan (1955)

From the New Music Box:

On February 17, 1927, a sold-out audience attends the world premiere of The King's Henchman. an opera with music by composer, music critic and future radio commentator Deems Taylor and libretto by poet Edna St. Villay Millay, at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The New York Times review by Olin Downes on the front page the next morning hailed it as the "best American opera." The opera closed with a profit of $45,000 and ran for three consecutive seasons. It has not been revived since and has yet to be recorded commercially. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Charles Avison (1709-1770)
 Willem Kes (1856-1934)
Selim Palmgren (1878-1951)
Maria Korchinska (1895-1979)
Alec Wilder (1907-1980)
Machito (1908-1984)
Sir Geraint Evans (1922-1992)
Eliahu Inbal (1936)
John Corigliano (1938)
Sigiswald Kuiljken (1944)

and

Nikolai Leskov (1831-1895)
Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918)
Van Wyck Brooks (1886-1963)
Richard Ford (1944)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Michael Praetorius (1571-1621)
 Jean‑François Lesueur (1760-1837)
Friedrich Ernst Fesca (1789-1826)
Heinrich Engelhard Steinway (1797-1871)
Robert Fuchs (1847-1927)
Marcella Sembrich (1858-1935)
Walter Donaldson (1893-1947)
Georges Auric (1899-1983)
Harold Arlen (1905-1986)
Jean Langlais (1907-1991)
Norma Procter (1928)
John Adams (1947)
Christopher Rouse (1949)
Kathryn Harries (1951)
Christian Lindberg (1958)

and

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947)
Art Spiegelman (1948)
Matt Groening (1954)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Seattle Symphony receives Grammy

The 2017 Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album for classical music went to the Seattle Symphony for its recent recording of music by Henri Dutilleux. For more information, read this report in The Seattle Times.

Today's Birthdays

Pietro Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676)
Alexander Dargomizhsky (1813-1869)
Ignaz Friedman (1882-1948)
Jack Benny (1894-1974)
Wyn Morris (1929-2010)
Steven Mackey (1956)
Renée Fleming (1959)

and

Frederick Douglass (1814-1895)
Carl Bernstein (1944)

And from the Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1895, Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London. He wrote the first draft in just 21 days, the fastest he’d ever written anything.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Third Angle traverses spiritual paths with Pärt-infused concert

Photo credit: Jacob Wade
Before any music was played, the words projected onto the back wall of an intimate concert hall stated “Silence is the pause in me when I am near God.” That is not the typical kind of statement that one sees on any wall in Portland, Oregon, but it really set the tone for the concert given by Third Angle New Music Ensemble that I heard on Thursday, February 9th of Studio 2. The words were quoted from the great Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, whose spiritually-inspired music was celebrated during a week-long festival in Portland, sponsored by Cappella Romana. Third Angle’s program, cleverly entitled Pärt and Pärcel,” featured three works by Pärt plus works by two young Estonian composers: Marianna Liik, and Tõnu Kõrvits.

Pärt’s music often uses a style that he calls Tintinnabulation in which the notes of a triad are maintained in slow arpeggios or drones while other voices unfold melodies on the notes of the scale. One of his most famous pieces, “Spiegel im Spiegel” (Mirror in the Mirror”), as played by violinist Ron Blessinger and pianist Susan DeWitt Smith showed off this style perfectly, creating a slow moving yet almost weightless atmosphere with notes rising and falling around each other until they beautifully faded away.

Featuring the Tintinnabuli-style, “Fratres” (“Brethren”), was also given a mesmerizing performance by cellist Marilyn de Oliviera and pianist Smith. De Oliviera wonderfully negotiated a whipsaw series of notes while Smith evoked chime-like tones from the piano. The combination sounded ancient and contemporary at the same time and was breathtakingly serene.
Photo credit: Jacob Wade
Pauses played a big part at the beginning of Pärt’s “Mozart-Adagio,” a piece that fuses his Tintinnabuli-style with a theme from the “Adagio” movement of Mozart’s Sonata in F Major (K. 280). Performed with grace by Blessinger, de Oliviera, and Smith, the “Mozart-Adagio” was a delightfully arresting, especially the places where dissonant notes met.

Pärt’s fame and influence is probably unavoidable for any young composer growing up in Estonia. “Kulgemine” (“Wending”), written in 2012 by Marianna Liik for piano and electronics was very atmospheric, tending away from warm colors to something cooler. Perhaps the bell-like tones that Smith created at the keyboard added to that effect. The electronically-generated sounds became loud and fairly threatening – as if a huge cloud had rolled into the room. By the time it dissipated the music acquired an hypnotic, timeless quality so that the end-effect was similar to Pärt’s.

To close the concert, Blessinger, de Oliviera, and Smith played Tõnu Kõrvits’s “Head ööd (“Good Night”). The piece had a melancholic undercurrent that slipped from sighs to anguished shudders. Sometimes the air would clear and the mood would lighten a bit – with feathery-light moments suggesting a pleasant journey ahead.
Photo credit: Jacob Wade
All of the instrumentalists deserved kudos for their sensitive playing, yet Smith was the real anchor for the evening. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait long for another round of Pärt. Blessinger, Artistic Director of Third Angle, will give us the pärticulars in the near future.

All Classical's special V-day fundraiser

From the press release:



All Classical Portland brings you its first ever Love-Fest Fundraiser!
A full-on, “no holds barred” celebration of the music YOU love, the day promises to be thoroughly joyful and entertaining. All Classical Portland needs your financial support like never before, so tune in and consider re-upping your support of this service.  Whatever extra you can afford to give to show your love on this day of appreciation is the right amount, whether it’s an extra $5 in the kitty, or $500. Just as you would give a gift to a loved one on Valentine’s Day, give to All Classical Portland in honor of love, music, cultural community, your partner, your parents, sister, brother or grandchild… make a dedication while you’re at it!
All day on Tuesday, February 14th you can contribute by calling 1-888-899-5722, or donate online at allclassical.org.

Today's Birthdays

Fernando Sor (1778-1839)
Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938)
Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938)
Tennessee Ernie Ford (1919-1991)
Eileen Farrell (1920-2002)
Yfrah Neaman (1923-2003)
Colin Matthews (1946)
Peter Gabriel (1950)
Raymond Wojcik (1957-2014)
Philippe Jaroussky (1978)

and

William Roughead (1870–1952)
Ricardo Güiraldes (1886-1927)
Grant Wood (1891-1942)
Georges Simenon (1903-1989)
Elaine Pagels (1943)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1914, ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) is formally organized in New York City, with composer Victor Herbert as its first director.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812)
Roy Harris (1898-1979)
Franco Zeffirelli (1923)
Mel Powell (1923-1998)
Paata Burchuladze (1951)

and

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
Max Beckmann (1884-1950)
Judy Bloom (1938)

And courtesy of the New Music Box:

On February 12, 1924 at New York's Aeolian Hall, self-named 'King of Jazz' Paul Whiteman presented An Experiment in Modern Music, a concert combining "high art" and "hot jazz." The concert featured newly commissioned works from Victor Herbert, Jerome Kern, Edward MacDowell, Irving Berlin, Ferde Grofé, and Rudolf Friml, but the highlight of the program was the world premiere performance of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Rudolf Firkušný (1912-1994)
Sir Alexander Gibson (1926-1995)
Michel Sénéchal (1927)
Cristopher Dearnley (1930-2000)
Jerome Lowenthal (1932)
Gene Vincent (1935-1971)
Edith Mathis (1938)
Alberto Lysy (1935-2009)
Christine Cairns (1959)

and

Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
Philip Dunne (1908-1992)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909-1993)
Pico Iyer (1957)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1841, was given the first documented American performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 at the New York's Broadway Tabernacle, by the German Society of New York, Uri Corelli Hill conducting.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Johann Melchior Molter (1696-1765)
Adelina Patti (1843-1919)
Jean Coulthard (1908-2000)
Joyce Grenfell (1914-2001)
Cesare Siepi (1923-2010)
Leontyne Price (1927)
Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004)
Roberta Flack (1937)
Barbara Kolb (1939)

and

Charles Lamb (1775-1834)
Boris Pasternak (1890-1960)
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)
Åsne Seierstad  (1970)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1921, Charles Ives hears Igor Stravinsky's "The Firebird" Ballet Suite at an all-Russian program by the New York Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Also on the program were works of Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninoff (with Rachmaninoff as piano soloist). Walter Damrosch conducted.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841)
Franz Xaver Witt (1834-1888)
Alban Berg (1885-1935)
Harald Genzmer (1909-2007)
Hildegard Behrens (1937-2009)
Ryland Davies (1943)
Paul Hillier (1949)
Jay Reise 1950)
Marilyn Hill Smith (1952)
Amanda Roocroft (1966)

and

Amy Lowell (1874-1925)
James Stephens (1882-1950)
Brendan Behan (1923-1964)
J.M. (John Maxwell) Coetzee (1940)
Alice Walker (1944)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1893, Verdi's opera, "Falstaff," was first performed in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala. This was Verdi's last opera.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Jacob Praetorius (1586-1651)
André Grétry (1741-1813)
Osian Ellis (1928)
John Williams (1932)
Elly Ameling (1933)
Gundula Janowitz (1937)
Margaret Brouwer (1940)
Stephen Roberts (1948)
Irvine Arditti (1953)

and

Jules Verne (1828-1905)
Kate Chopin (1850-1904)
Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
Neal Cassady (1926-1968)
John Grisham (1955)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this date in 1880, German opera composer Richard Wagner writes a letter to his American dentist, Dr. Newell Still Jenkins, stating "I do no regard it as impossible that I decide to emigrate forever to America with my latest work ["Parsifal"] and my entire family" if the Americans would subsidize him to the tune of one million dollars.

extra note: Dr. Jenkins moved to Dresden, Germany and practiced there most of his life. He invented porcelain enamel.   

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dvorak's New World Symphony is fresh and new in the hands of the Oregon Symphony

Yefim Bronfman
Monday evening at the Schnitz saw the Oregon Symphony perform Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Dvorak's famous 'New World' Symphony, as well as a Beethoven concerto and a striking new work by Sebastian Currier.

Called Microsymph, an accurate title, Currier's work consisted of five short movements for a total of about 12 minutes. Short, expressive and engrossing, here is a sample of the impressions each movement left behind:

quickchange: Hectic, repercussive, tumltuous, like busy traffic that suddenly detoured into a mystic silent alleyway. minute waltz: Chuffing 'cuckoo, cuckoo,' discordant yet sweet horns. adagio: Elegiac, hypnotic--the ability--nay, necessity-- of drawing in the listeners' imagination in the shortest possible time was on display. nanoscherzo: Tootling, mechanical, tock-ticking. kaleidoscope: Brass squawking, imploring, cajoling, sighing unison chonking, secret whispering between sections. This piece was imaginative and bold, and the OSO handled it like champs.

Pianist Yefim Bronfman joined for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. in G Major. This much more quiet, subdued work seemed to be right in Bronfman's wheelhouse. The orchestral opening was suitably grandiose yet not overblown, and Bronfman's brilliant runs of thirds were shining and crisp at the outset. The delicacy of his touch was almost surprising--nothing was ever overstated. The orchestra succeeded at the incredibly difficult task of allowing the gentility of the pianist's touch to yet shine through the orchestral texture. Kalmar's sense of balance was superb, and the orchestra followed. The numerous trills needed to be kept fresh and varied in the latter movements, and Bronfman again did not disappoint, going on further to display an entirely different timbre for each individual voice within contrapuntal sections to a truly marvelous effect. This concerto, so different from some of Beethoven's more iconic works, was fresh and lively in Bronfman's hands.

The second half consisted of Dvorak's iconic symphony, labeled 'From the New World.'  The genesis of what might be thought of as an 'American' sound for classical music, the OSO did not shy away from the bold statements to be found herein. The grandiose opening theme built in the brass until it was like towering thunderheads piling up over a far landscape. The strings sang a prairie lullaby with tenderness and rusticity, tossed gently between the strings and solo flute.  In the second movement the woodwind choir played the tender theme with such warmth and care that it enfolded the listener in a womb of calm and repose. The explosive exposition of the fourth movement featured controlled power from the brass--pushing the absolute limit without going over the edge. The delicate tremolando from the violins, the saltando theme when violas were the only strings playing, the powerful, sawing theme from the low strings--all were executed to perfection.

The transportative nature of the music at this concert lay not in the compositions alone, but in the interpretation--superb execution by elite players is required to complete the effect. Kalmar's reading was as expansive and wide-ranging as the music required to bring its meaning to fruition. This is what the OSO can deliver when they are at their best--and Monday night they were indeed.

Today's Birthdays

Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927)
Ossip Gabrilovich (1878-1936)
Eubie Blake (1883-1983)
Claudia Muzio (1889-1936)
Quincy Porter (1897-1966)
Lord Harewood (1923-2011)
Maruis Constant (1925-2004)
Stuart Burrows (1933)
Wolfgang van Schweintz (1953)

and

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957
Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)
Gay Talese (1932)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Henry Litolff (1818-1891)
Karl Weigl (1881-1949)
Andre Marchal (1894-1980)
Claudio Arrau (1903-1991)
Stephen Albert (1941-1992)
Paul Esswood (1942)
Bob Marley (1945-1981)
Bruce J. Taub (1948)
Matthew Best (1957)
Sean Hickey (1970)

and

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
Eric Partridge (1894-1979)
George Herman "Babe" Roth (1895-1948)
Mary Douglas Leakey (1913-1996)
Deborah Digges (1950-2009)
Michael Pollan (1955)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Oregon Symphony lineup for 2017-2018 season continues multimedia concerts and intriguing old/new and familiar/unfamiliar programs

from the press release:

MUSIC DIRECTOR CARLOS KALMAR AND THE OREGON SYMPHONY ANNOUNCE GROUNDBREAKING 2017/18 SEASON
 
New season highlights social and environmental issues; continues multi-media concerts;
explores new territory with four commissions/world premieres
and 14 other Oregon Symphony premieres; and delivers another major recording.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) – Music Director Carlos Kalmar and President Scott Showalter have announced the details of the Symphony’s 2017/18 Season. In the new season, titled “A New Dimension,” the Oregon Symphony focuses on three social themes: immigration, environment, and homelessness.
 
Scott Showalter, for whom the new season marks his fourth as Symphony President and CEO, highlighted the importance of the just-announced season: “Our SoundSights series in 2016/17 has received international attention, but we aren’t stopping there. We’re building our programs unlike any other orchestra – artistically thrilling, yet unique to our region.”
 
The Sounds of Home Series
 
The groundbreaking Sounds of Home series, like its predecessor SoundSights series, is comprised of three subscription concerts, each with a visual component. But Sounds of Home goes further – into a new dimension – focusing the power of music on the subject of home. The series explores three specific issues critical to our home community and the wider world: immigration, the search for a home; the environment, our collective home; and homelessness, the need for a home.
 
The series will feature collaborations with other arts organizations and also with social service and environmental agencies, whose work addresses one or more of the series’ themes. The Oregon Symphony aims to create a citywide conversation around such timely societal issues and to use its concerts to highlight its partner organizations and their work.     
 
“The goal,” Showalter continued, “is for people not only to enjoy great music, but also to cause them to reconsider classical music and our greater world in new ways. Why should an arts organization address social issues? I say that we must – especially in these uncertain times. This is the future.”
 
Mayor Ted Wheeler, the Honorary Chair of the Sounds of Home series, said, “The Oregon Symphony is taking an impressive civic leadership position, drawing attention to issues that all of us in Portland care about. I encourage organizations and individuals to get involved. Their work will help our city, already strong in the arts, to become even stronger.”
 
The three Sounds of Homes concerts are:
 
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
[Immigration]
November 4, 5, 6, 2017
*Kirill Gerstein, piano
 
*Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
*Schoenberg: Piano Concerto
Chris Rogerson: commissioned work
 
With a focus on immigration – the search for home – this program adds a powerful theatrical element to the musical experience, with short plays by MacArthur “Genius” Grant-winning playwright Luis Alfaro and original, incidental music by Chris Rogerson. This concert highlights the important role of immigrants in making the music we enjoy today: Gershwin was a first-generation immigrant, and both Schoenberg and Carlos Kalmar found new homes in America.
 
Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring
[Environment]
January 13, 14, 15, 2018
*Elina Vӓhӓlӓ, violin
 
Haydn: Symphony No. 70
*Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Stravinsky: Rite of Spring
 
There’s no place like home, as the emphasis shifts to the environment – our collective home – with a concert that features commissioned video work by New York-based stage and multimedia designer Matthew Haber to accompany Stravinsky’s monumental Rite of Spring.
 
Joshua Bell
[Homelessness]
*Joshua Bell, violin
**Measha Brueggergosman, soprano
 
Hindemith: News of the Day Overture
*Bernstein: Serenade
**Gabriel Kahane: commissioned work
 
The world’s most famous violinist once performed in the subway, where he was largely ignored and virtually anonymous. His social experiment is a fitting backdrop for a concert that explores the idea of homelessness – the need for a home – with a commission by Gabriel Kahane.
 
Other Season Highlights
 
With its music being shared ever more widely around the world, thanks to American Public Media’s SymphonyCast and Performance Today, as well as broadcasts by All Classical Portland, and with the current 2016/17 season poised to set another all-time high in ticket sales and contributions, the Symphony will maintain the 20% increase in the number of classical concerts established last season.
 
During the newly announced season, the Symphony will record another CD on the PentaTone label, following the success of its recent CDs which have garnered three Grammy Award nominations in the last five years. The CD will focus on winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Music and include Gould’s Stringmusic, Piston’s Symphony No. 7, and Hanson’s  Symphony No. 4 (Requiem).
 
Music Director Carlos Kalmar, commenting on the season, which marks his 15th at the artistic helm, said: “This is the most ambitious season I’ve ever done in my career, bar none! It will appeal to classical music lovers and, no doubt, to new audiences as well. And, with the Sounds of Home series, we will have a bigger impact on our community than ever before.”
 
The subscription series begins on September 23, 2017 and closes on May 21, 2018. It includes 48 performances of 16 Classical subscription concerts (up from 40 performances in 2015/16), 8 performances of 4 Pops subscription concerts, and 3 performances of 3 Kids subscription concerts, for a total of 59 performances of 23 different subscription concerts.
 
The season opens on September 16, 2017 with a Special Concert featuring renowned social justice/media mega-star and former Star Trek castmember George Takei, who will emcee the opening night concert and narrate Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. The season also includes two other Special Concerts: the Oregon Symphony joins forces with Pink Martini for a New Year’s Extravaganza, which includes the final “Ode to Joy” movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony  on December 30 and 31, 2017; and pianist Yuja Wang returns for a recital performance on May 3, 2018. The three Special Concerts are now available only to renewing and new subscribers.
 
Every season, the Oregon Symphony performs between 20 and 30 concerts beyond its subscription series. These Special Concerts – under the Oregon Symphony Presents banner – span a wide range of genres. Patrons can expect the full slate of these Special Concerts to be announced in May.
 
 
2017/18 Classical Concerts:
 
Percussionist Colin Currie returns for his third year as the Oregon Symphony’s Artist in Residence, a position that involves performing onstage as well as working around the community. Currie is an extraordinary classical music ambassador, deploying  an array of percussion instruments, including his own body, to perform and teach in venues throughout the region.
 
Audience Favorites
The season includes many classical favorites like Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Brahms’ First Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique,” Verdi’s Requiem, and Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, among many others.
 
Premieres
In addition to those favorites, the season enjoys four commissioned works and their associated world premieres from Andy Akiho, Marc-Anthony Turnage, Chris Rogerson, and Gabriel Kahane. In addition to those, the season is spiced with 14 other Oregon Symphony premieres, including Balakirev’s Islamey, da Ponte’s The Rising Sea, Adams’ Absolute Jest, Kokkonen’s Symphonic Sketches, Glanert’s Concertgeblaas, Piston’s Symphony No. 7, Hanson’s Symphony No. 4, Connesson’s Supernova, and Hindemith’s News of the Day Overture, among others.
 
Returning Soloists
2017/18 audiences will enjoy the return of some of the world’s best-known classical artists, performers who have won audiences’ favor for previous appearances, including pianists André Watts, Garrick Ohlsson, Kirill Gerstein, Natasha Paremski, and Francesco Piemontesi; violinists Joshua Bell, Augustin Hadelich, Elina Vӓhӓlӓ, Vadim Gluzman, and Oregon Symphony concertmaster Sarah Kwak; percussionist Colin Currie; and cellist Johannes Moser
                                                                                                             
Debuting Soloists
Guest artists making their Oregon Symphony debuts include the St. Lawrence String Quartet; Benjamin Beilman, violin; Measha Brueggergosman, soprano; Lilli Paasikivi, mezzo-soprano; Dimitri Pittas, tenor; and Raymond Aceto, bass.
 
Debuting Conductors
Leading the orchestra for the very first time are conductors Baldur Brönnimann, Johannes Debus, Leo Hussain, David Danzmayr, and Jérémie Rhorer.
 
 
2017/18 Pops Concerts:
The popular Jeff Tyzik continues his tenth year as Principal Pops Conductor, curating and conducting the Pops Series. The 2017/18 Pops Season includes eight performances of four separate Pops concerts, spanning the musical spectrum.
 
The Pops Season gets off to an entertaining start in October with the Magic Circle Theatre Company and Phantoms of the Orchestra; A Pops Holiday concert with the Pacific Youth Choir and vocalist Ashley Brown (Broadway’s Mary Poppins) celebrates the festive season in November; in February, just before the 2018 Oscars, we celebrate the man with the greatest number of statues to his name with John Williams at the Oscars; and the Pops season concludes with The Hot Sardines in April.
 
 
2017/18 Kids Concerts:
 
Young audiences are an important part of the Oregon Symphony family. This year’s Kids Concerts, conducted by Associate Conductor Norman Huynh, feature kid-favorite Pam Mahon as narrator and performer in programs designed especially for the young and the young at heart: Star Wars Spectacular in November with the Pacific Youth Choir and Dance West; Dinosaurs! in January; and Along the Oregon Trail in March, again with the Pacific Youth Choir and Dance West.
 
 
A complete list of 2017/18 concerts can be viewed at: www.orsymphony.org/season
 
A 2017/18 season brochure can be viewed at: www.orsymphony.org/seasonbrochure
 
Subscription Details
 
Oregon Symphony subscribers will receive their renewal packets beginning today and have until March 31 to renew their seats or request seating changes. New subscribers may purchase their season tickets beginning immediately.
 
Tickets to the George Takei, Pink Martini, and Yuja Wang Special Concerts are available at this time only to patrons renewing their subscriptions or purchasing new subscriptions.
 
Tickets to all Oregon Symphony series concerts will go on sale to the general public in August.
 
Classical Series subscriptions are priced as follows:
                                                               
8-concert series, beginning at $168
16-concert series, beginning at $320
 
Pops Series subscriptions begin as low as $84 for all four concerts.
 
Kids Concert Series subscriptions begin as low as $27 for all three concerts.
 
Subscriptions may be renewed or purchased online at OrSymphony.org; by phone at 503-228-1353; or in person/by mail at 909 SW Washington, Portland.
 
For more information, go to www.orsymphony.org or call the Ticket Office at 503-228-1353.

Todays Birthdays

Ole Bull (1810-1880)
Christian Gottlob Neefe (1748-1798)
Ricardo Viñes (1875-1943)
Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969)
Jussi Björling (1911-1960)
Sir John Pritchard (1921-1989)
Luc Ferrari (1929-2005)
John Poole (1934)
Ivan Tcherepnin (1943-1998)
Josef Protschka (1944)
Phylis Bryn-Julson (1945)

and

Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron (1934)
John Guare (1938)
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)
Christopher Guest (1948)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1887, Verd's: opera "Otello" premiered in Milan at the Teatro all Scala, with the composer conducting (and cellist Arturo Toscanini in the orchestra).

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Eustache du Caurroy (1549-1609)
Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795)
Aristide Cavaillé‑Coll (1811-1899)
Yrjo Kilpinen (1892-1952)
Bernard Rogers (1893-1968)
Erich Leinsdorf (1912-1993)
Jutta Hipp (1925-2003)
Martti Talvela (1935-1989)
François Dumeaux (1978)

and also

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
Gavin Ewart (1916-1995)
Betty Friedan (1921-2006)
Robert Coover (1932)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Superb near-all-Russian program played by Oregon Symphony with violinist Jackiw

The Oregon Symphony performed a near-all-Russian program last weekend with works by Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky providing the main meal and the young American composer Sean Shepherd adding a Russian-inspired appetizer. I heard the concert on Saturday (January 28) at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with violinist Stefan Jackiw, making a return appearance as the featured soloist. He and the orchestra, led by music director Carlos Kalmar, sounded as good as ever, and each piece received a radiant interpretation.

Jackiw gave an impeccable performance of Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto. His playing transcended the numerous technical challenges of the piece, especially when he had to transition between lightening quick and slow-moving passages. He impressively elicited a lovely very high melodic line against the tic toc the orchestra in the second movement and followed that with a wonderfully loosey-goosey slightly-off kilter delivery in the third. His short duet with the double basses right before winding up the piece on a high note an extra delight.

I never thought that Stravinsky would write sentimental music, but he did just that with the “Divertimento” that he created from his ballet “Le baiser de la fée” (“The Fairy’s Kiss”). The performance by the orchestra contained an intoxicating intermingling of Stravinsky takes on Tchaikovsky like themes. As soon as a Tchaikovsky-inspired riff appeared, it would take on a Stravinsky-ish quality, such as a quirky rhythmic pulse or an odd flight of fancy.

The orchestra created many finely etched and lushly lyrical moments, and there were many highlights that showed off the principals. Flutist Martha Long and clarinetist James Shields delivered lovely plaintive solos. John Cox whipped through one of the squirreliest passages for French horn that I’ve ever heard. Trombonist Daniel Cloutier’s solos were strong yet never strident. Concertmaster Sarah Kwak and her first desk colleagues Chien Tan, Joël Belgique, and Nancy Ives played a delightfully brief quartet excursion. Ives teamed up with harpist Jennifer Craig to create a tender and affectionate mood, and Ives extended that sentiment later when the orchestra re-entered to stagger off the beat into a punchy finale.

The Stravinsky was followed by Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” Fantasy Overture, which the orchestra played with élan. The opening measures, graced by Craig’s harp, sounded like a flower opening through the mist. Crisp attacks and the slashing sounds from the violins evoked the fight between the Montagues and the Capulets. The hushed melody of the love theme was superbly played. Kudos to bassoonist Carin Miller Packwood and Kyle Mustain on English horn for their keenly expressive contributions.

Shepherd wrote “Magiya” (“Magic”) in 2013 for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States. It’s a one-movement work that lasts around seven minutes, but in those seven minutes a lot happens. The music takes off quickly and the pace never slows down. Brilliant and spikey sounds emerge from all corners of the orchestra. Chattering violins, near-bell-like sounds flashed, creating an auditory illusion and misdirection. Somehow the piece ended in a delightful cacophony, and before I knew it, I wanted to hear it again. Fortunately the orchestra recorded the piece for a future CD.

In his prefatory remarks for the concert, Kalmar included a rare personal note about his parents becoming refugees after fleeing the Nazis and the unifying power of music. His statement was an eloquent rebuttal to the travel ban on Muslims that was issued by the Trump administration, and it received thunderous applause and cheers.

Today's Birthdays

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594)
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847)
Priaulx Rainier (1903-1986)
Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975)
Blas Galindo Dimas (1910-1993)
Jehan Alain (1911-1940)
Helga Dernesch (1939)

and

Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
Georg Trakl (1887-1914)
Norman Rockwell (1894- 1978)
Alvar Aalto (1898-1978)
James Michener (1907-1997)
Simone Weil (1909-1943)
Richard Yates (1926-1992)
Paul Auster (1947)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1844, Berlioz's "Roman Carnival" Overture, in Paris was premiered at the Salle Herz, with the composer conducting.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Louis Marchand (1669-1732)
Leo Fall (1873-1925)
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)
Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987)
Stan Getz (1927-1991)
Skip Battin (1934-2003)
Martina Arroyo (1937)
Sir Andrew Davis (1944)
Ursula Oppens (1944)
Eliane Aberdam (1964)

Also

James Joyce (1882-1941)
James Dickey (1923-1997)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Francesco Stradivari (1671-1743)
Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768)
 Johan Joachim Agrell (1701-1765)
Victor Herbert (1859-1924)
Julius Conus (1869-1942)
Clara Butt (1872-1936)
Sándor Veress (1907-1999)
Mozart Camargo Guarnieri (1907-1993)
Renata Tebaldi (1922-2004)
Ursula Mamlok (1928-2016)
Michael G. Shapiro (1951)

and

Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
S. J. Perelman (1904-1979)
Muriel Spark (1918- 2006)
Galway Kinnell (1927-2014)