Friday, January 31, 2020

Schwarz and Schwarz bring out the best in Vancouver Symphony concert

The Vancouver Symphony turned in one of its finest performances ever on Sunday evening (January 26) with Gerard Schwarz on the podium at Skyview Concert Hall. Schwarz, the former music director of the Seattle Symphony, elicited a polished sound from the ensemble that resulted in a glowing Tchaikovsky Fourth Symphony, a vibrant Tower’s Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, and a poignant Dvořák Cello Concerto with his son Julian as the soloist.

It is extremely rare to have a conductor and his offspring at the professional level as featured performers in a concert. I cannot think of another example. In any case, the Schwarz duo was a real treat in and of itself, because they collaborated so well with the orchestra in the Dvořák. Schwarz fils commanded a strong opening and deftly made the theme softer when it came around a second time. He played the second movement with loving attention to detail. He wonderfully expressed the emotional heart of the piece, and his beautiful cadenza seemed to reach deeper even though it was accompanied by a heavy rainfall that pummeled the roof.

The orchestra accompanied Julian with terrific sensitivity. Orchestral entries were focused. Ensemble efforts were well-balanced, such as the woodwind choir in the second movement.

Julian acknowledged the tremendous applause with an encore, Dvořák’s Silent Woods. Its somber and dreamy melody resonated well – without interference from the stormy weather.

The orchestra delivered a thrilling performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The horns radiated a golden, majestic sound. The strings created a lively ensemble sound. The woodwinds contributed brilliantly, and the percussion added plenty of vim and vigor to wrap things up in the final movement. The reoccurring “fate motif” was stirring. Schwarz’s firm and crisp directions summoned the superb playing, and there were a lot of smiles on the musicians faces after the finale.

The concert opened with Joan Tower’s Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman. The orchestra fearlessly dug into the piece and made a striking, bold statement even though it lasted only five minutes. Glissandos, wiggly brass sounds, snapping tones, a chime-like tones, and an unrelenting motoric drive combined to make a forceful and positive impression. I’d like to hear another one of her fanfares. And it would be great to see both Schwarzes return some day in the near future.

Grosvenor gives stellar performance of Chopin's 2nd with the OSO

Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto received a superb performance by Benjamin Grosvenor and the Oregon Symphony (January 25) at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The young Brit (age 27) has earned accolades internationally, and they are absolutely well-founded. His playing of the Chopin featured a terrific sonic balance with the leading line always in the forefront, but never too much or too little. Runs up and down the keyboard had a natural flow and the trickiest passages were delivered immaculately.

Grosvenor’s unaffected, graceful style and awesome pianism especially conveyed the poetic heart of the piece in the second movement, Larghetto. Principal bassoonist Carin Miller Packwood used the softest of tones to create some remarkable duets with him. Guest conductor Eun Sun Kim, who is the newly appointed music director of the San Francisco Opera, took extra care to be in sync with Grosvenor at all times.

Enthusiastic applause showered the concert hall, and Grosvenor responded an immaculate rendition of Liszt’s Transcendental Etude No. 5 even though his fingers seemed to be constantly flying across the keyboard. That earned him another round of cheers from all corners of the hall.

The performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 sparkled now and then, but wasn’t totally compelling. Kim kept everything on track and impressively signaled a lot of cues, but she showed a limited range of conducting styles. So, dynamic contrasts made the piece less exciting than it could have been. Be that as it may, there were a number of lovely solos by members of the orchestra, including concertmaster Sarah Kwa, John Cox (French horn), and Alicia DiDonato Paulson (flute).

Texu Kim’s Spin-Flip suggested an imaginary ping pong game complete with zings, slaps, knocks, taps, and whacks that ricocheted about the orchestra. The wah-wahing brass seemed to mimic the noise of onlookers. It was a fun, short piece that held court with a bit of tension, a well-placed pause in the action, and a suspended spinning sound at the very end.

Today's Birthdays

François Devienne (1759-1803)
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Caroline Miolan‑Carvalho (1827-1895)
Ernest John Moeran (1894-1950)
Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940)
Nathan Milstein (1904-1992)
Benjamin Frankel (1906-1973)
Alan Lomax (1915-2002)
Jaap Schröder (1925-2020)
Odetta (1930-2008)
Philip Glass (1937)
Stephen Cleobury (1948)
Donna Summer (1948-2012)
George Benjamin (1960)
Jennifer Higdon (1962)

and

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Zane Grey (1872-1939)
John O'Hara (1905-1970)
Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)
Charles Martin Loeffler (1861-1935)
Walter Damrosch (1862-1950)
Mitch Leigh (1928-2014)
Lynn Harrell (1944)
Silvia Marcovici (1952)
Gerald Finley (1960)

and

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)
Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989)
Shirley Hazzard (1931-2016)
Richard Brautigan (1935-1984)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Georg Christoph Wagenseil (1715-1777)
Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871)
Frederic Hymen Cowen (1852-1935)
Frederick Delius (1862-1934)
Havergal Brian (1876-1972)
Blanche Selva (1884-1942)
Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
Myer Fredman (1932-2014)
Malcolm Binns (1936)
Cho-Liang Lin (1960)

and

W. C. Fields (1880-1946)
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)
Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1826 was the premiere of Schubert's String Quartet in D minor, "Death and the Maiden," as a unrehearsed reading at the Vienna home of Karl and Franz Hacker, two amateur musicians. Schubert, who usually played viola on such occasions, could not perform since he was busy copying out the parts and making last-minute corrections.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni (1757-1821)
Ferdinand Herold (1791-1833)
Alexander Mackenzie (1822-1892)
Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982)
Vittorio Rieti (1898-1994)
Michael Head (1900-1976)
Ronnie Scott (1927-1996)
Acker Bilk (1929-2014)
Sir John Tavener (1944-2013)
Richard Danielpour (1956)

and

Colette (1873-1954)
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
Claes Oldenburg (1929)
David Lodge (1935)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Juan Crisostomo Arriage (1806-1826)
Edouard Lalo (1823-1892)
Jerome Kern (1885-1945)
Jack Brymer (1915-2003)
Skitch Henderson (1918-2005)
Helmut Zacharias (1920-2002)
Fritz Spiegl (1926-2003)
John Ogdon (1937-1989)
Jean-Philippe Collard (1948)
Emanuel Pahud (1970)
James Ehnes (1976)

and

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
Dmitry Mandeleyev (1834-1907)
Mikhail Baryshnikov (1948)

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (1732-1795)
Maria Augusta von Trapp (1905-1987)
Stéphane Grappelli (1908-1997)
Jimmy Van Heusen (1913-1990)
Warren Benson (1924-2005)
Jacqueline du Pré (1945-1987)
Frédéric Lodéon (1952)
Mikel Rouse (1957)
Gustavo Dudamel (1981)

and

Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905)
Seán MacBride (1904-1988)
Jules Feiffer (1929)
Christopher Hampton (1946)
Ellen DeGeneres (1958)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1790, Mozart's opera, "Così fan tutte," was premiered in Vienna at the Burgtheater.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Jan Blockx (1851-1912)
Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954)
Julia Smith (1905-1989)
Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994)
Alfred Reed (1921-2005)
Etta James (1938-2012)
Russell Peck (1945-2009)

and

Robert Burns (1759-1796)
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Friday, January 24, 2020

Gerard Schwarz to lead Vancouver Symphony - in The Columbian newspaper

My preview of the Vancouver Symphony's concerts this weekend featuring conductor Gerard Schwarz and his son, cellist Julian Schwarz, appeared in The Columbian newspaper and is viewable online here. On tap is the Dvorak Cello Concerto, Tower's "Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman," and Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony.

Today's Birthdays

Farinelli (Carlo Maria Broschi) (1705-1782)
Frederick II the Great (1712-1786)
Muzio Clementi (1752-1832)
E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822)
Evelyn Barbirolli (1911-2008)
Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008)
Gottfried von Einem (1918-1996)
Leon Kirchner (1919-2009)
Neil Diamond (1941)
Yuri Bashmet (1953)
Warren Zevon (1947-2003)

and

William Congreve (1670-1729)
Edith Wharton (1862-1937)
Desmond Morris (1928)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Muzio Clementi (1752-1832)
Rutland Boughton (1878-1960)
Django Reinhardt (1910-1953)
Milton Adolphus (1913-1988)
Eli Goren (1923-2000)
Cécile Ousset (1936)
Teresa Zylis-Gara (1936)
John Luther Adams (1953)
Mason Bates (1977)

and

Stendhal (1783-1842)
Edouard Manet (1832-1883)
Derek Walcott (1930-2017)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1894, Czech composer Antonin Dvorák presents a concert of African-American choral music at Madison Square Concert Hall in New York, using an all-black choir, comprised chiefly of members of the St. Philip's Colored Choir. On the program was the premiere performance of Dvorák's own arrangement of Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home," which featured vocal soloists Sissierette Jones and Harry T. Burleigh.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Claude-Bénigne Balbastre (1727-1799)
Charles Tournemire (1870-1939)
Hans Erich Apostel (1901-1972)
Robin Milford (1903-1959)
Rosa Ponselle (1897-1981)
Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013)
William Warfield (1920-2002)
Leslie Bassett (1923-2016)
James Louis ("J.J.") Johnson (1924-2001)
Aurèle Nicolet (1926-2016)
Uto Ughi (1944)
Myung-whun Chung (1953)

and

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781)
Lord Byron (1788-1824)
August Strindberg (1849-1912)
Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948)
Howard Moss (1922-1987)
Joseph Wambaugh (1937)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day, in 1907, the Metropolitan Opera production of R. Strauss' opera "Salome," with soprano Olive Fremstad in the title role, creates a scandal. The opera is dropped after a single performance, and not staged at the Met again until the 1930s.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Oregon Symphony makes Alex Ross list for performance of the decade

Alex Ross, classical music critic of the New Yorker magazine, listed the Oregon Symphony's performance at Carnegie Hall in 2011 as one of the very best concerts that he heard during the last ten years. So, it's about time to bring the orchestra back to the Big Apple for another appearance.

(Thanks to Charles Noble for finding this article.)

Today's Birthdays

Henri Duparc (1848-1933)
Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977)
Webster Booth (1902-1984)
Placido Domingo (1941)
Richie Havens (1941-2013)
Edwin Starr (1942-2003)
Suzanne Mentzer (1957)
Frank Ticheli (1958)

and

Louis Menand (1952)

Monday, January 20, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630)
Ernest Chausson (1855-1899)
Julius Conus (1869-1942)
Józef Hofmann (1876-1957)
Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) (1889-1949)
Walter Piston (1894-1976)
Eva Jessye (1895-1992)
Yvonne Loriod (1924-2010)
David Tudor (1926-1996)
Antonio de Almeida (1928-1997)
Iván Fischer (1951)

and

George Burns (1896-1996)
Alexandra Danilova (1903-1997)
Federico Fellini (1920-1993)
Edward Hirsch (1950)
Tami Hoag (1959)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Louis‑Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749)
George Frederick Bristow (1825-1898)
Fritz Reiner (1885-1963)
Paul Dessau (1894-1979)
Edith Piaf (1915-1963)
Dalton Baldwin (1931)
Phil Ochs (1940-1976)
William Christie (1944)
Marianne Faithfull (1946)
Olaf Bär (1957)
Steven Esserlis (1958)
Rebecca Saunders (1967)

and

Italo Svevo (1861-1928)
Constance Garnett (1861-1946)

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)

Saturday, January 11, 2020

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.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Winter classical music recommendations in The Oregonian

My list of 12 concerts (mid January through March) appeared in today's edition of The Oregonian and is available online here.  There are, of course, many other excellent concerts, but I found this selection to provide a lot of intriguing variety.

(Note that this posting had a faulty link, which has now been corrected.)

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)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Today's Birthdays

John Knowles Paine (1839-1906)
Rudolf Bing (1902-1997)
Herva Nelli (1909-1994)
Henriette Puig‑Roget (1910-1992)
Pierre Pierlot (1921-2007)
Joan Baez (1941)
Scott Walker (1944)
Jimmy Page (1944)
Waltraud Meier (1956)
Hillevi Martinpelto (1958)
Nicholas Daniel (1962)

and

Karel Čapek (1890-1938)
Kurt Tucholsky (1890-1935)
Richard Halliburton (1901-1939)
Brian Friel (1929-2015)
Michiko Kakutani (1955)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Jean Gilles (1668-1705)
Lowell Mason (1792-1872)
Sigismond Thalberg (1812-1871)
Hans von Bülow (1830-1894)
Jaromir Weinberger (1896-1967)
Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
Giorgio Tozzi (1923-2011)
Robert Starer (1924-2001)
Benjamin Lees (1924-2010)
Elvis Presley (1935-1977)
Zdeněk Mácal (1936)
Robert Moran (1937)
Evgeny Nesterenko (1938)
Elijah Moshinsky (1946)
Paul Dresher (1951)
Vladimir Feltsman (1952)

and

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)
Bronislava Nijinska (1891-1972)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1923, the first broadcast in England of an opera direct from a concert hall took place, Mozart's "The Magic Flute" via the BBC from London.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Clara Haskil (1895-1960)
Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
John Brownlee (1900-1969)
Nicanor Zabaleta (1907-1993)
Günter Wand (1912-2002)
Ulysses Kay (1917-1995)
John Lanigan (1921-1996)
Jean-Pierre Rampal (1922-2000)
Tommy Johnson (1935-2006)
Iona Brown (1941-2004)
Richard Armstrong (1943)

and

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
Hugh Kenner (1923-2003)
Nicholson Baker (1957)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1955, Marian Anderson made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Ulrica in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Mascera" (A Masked Ball). She was the first African-American singer to perform as an opera soloist on the Met stage. Subsequent distinguished African-American singers who performed as members of the Met company included Robert McFerrin, Sr. (Bobby McFerrin Jr.’s father), Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo, Kahtleen Battle and Jessye Norman.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Max Bruch (1838-1920)
Xaver Scharwenka (1850-1924)
Georges Martin Witkowski (1867-1943)
Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915)
Karl Straube (1873-1950)
Earl Kim (1920-1998)
David Bernstein (1942)
Alexander Baillie (1956)

and

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)
Wright Morris (1910-1998)
E. L. Doctorow (1931-1915)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1733, this notice appears in the Leipzig newspaper Nachtricht auch Frag u. Anzeiger: "Tonight at 8 o'clock there will be a Bach Concert at the Zimmermann Coffeehouse on Catharine Street". This presumably featured secular vocal works, chamber music and concertos performed by the Leipzig Collegium, an ensemble directed by J.S. Bach.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755)
Constanza Mozart (1762-1842)
Peter Wolle (1792-1871)
Frederick Converse (1871-1940)
Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951)
Nicolai Roslavets (1881-1944)
Reginald Smith-Brindle (1917-2003)
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-1995)
Laszlo Heltay (1930)
Alfred Brendel (1931)
Maurizio Pollini (1942)

and

Stella Gibbons(1902-1989)
Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990)
W. D. Snodgrass (1926-2009)
Umberto Eco (1932-2016)
Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1938)
Charlie Rose (1942)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Some thoughts to ponder for the New Year

My wife, Kathryn, would like readers to ponder these thoughts:

Demographics

Instead of asking gender identification what if the question were:

How trustworthy are you?

Instead of asking about race what if the question were:

How kind is your heart?

Instead of asking about income what if the question were:

How generous are you?

Today's Birthdays

Giovanni Pergolesi (1710-1736)
Johann Friedrich Agricola (1720-1774)
Josef Suk (1874-1935)
> Frank Wess (1922-2013)
Grace Bumbry (1937)
Joseph Turrin (1947)
Margaret Marshall (1949)
Ronald Corp (1951)
Peter Seiffert (1954)
Boris Berezovsky (1969)

and

Sir Issac Newton (1642-1727)
Jacob Grimm (1785-1863)
Louis Braille (1809-1852)
Augustus John (1878-1961)
Doris Kearns Goodwin (1943)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1950, RCA announces it will produce long play records as Columbia did two years earlier (RCA had unsuccessfully attempted to compete with Columbia's new 33.3-rpm LPs by issuing some of their classical catalog as multiple disc 45-rpm sets).

Friday, January 3, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Victor Borge (1909-2000)
Ronald Smith (1922-2004)
Sir George Martin (1926-2016)
H. K. Gruber (1943)
David Atherton (1944)

and

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this date in the year 1843 in Paris, the comic opera “Don Pasquale” by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti received its first performance.

also:

On this day in 1925, German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwängler made his American debut, conducting the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Frantisek Xaver Brixi (1732-1771)
Mily Balakirev (1837-1910)
Michael Tippett (1905-1998)
Barbara Pentland (1912-2000)
Gardner Read (1913-2005)
Irina Arkhipova (1925-2010)
Alberto Zedda (1928-2017)
Peter Eötvös (1944)
Janet Hilton (1945)
Vladimir Ovchinnikov (1958)
Tzimon Barto (1963)
Robert Fertitta (1970)
Eric Whitacre (1970)

and

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
Christopher Durang (1949)
Lynda Barry (1956)

and from the Composer's Datebook:

On today’s date in 1843, Richard Wagner’s opera “The Flying Dutchman” had its premiere performance in Dresden.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Charles Racquet (1598-1664)
Frederick William Gaisberg (1873-1951)
Edwin Franko Goldman (1878-1956)
Artur Rodzinski (1892-1958)
Erich Schmid (1907-2001)
Trude Rittmann (1908-2005)
Milt Jackson (1923-1999)
Richard Verreau (1926-2005)
Maurice Béjart (1927-2007)
Bernard Greenhouse (1916-2011)
Alberto Portugheis (1941)

and

E. M. Forster (1879-1970)
J. D. Salinger (1919-2010)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1585, composer Giovanni Gabrieli became the second organist at St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. His uncle, the composer Andrea Gabrieli, was the first organist.

On this day in 1908, Gustav Mahler made his conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, leading a performance of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde."