Saturday, February 22, 2020

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)

Friday, February 21, 2020

Preview of Brotons concerto for bass clarinet in The Columbian

My article about the Vancouver Symphony concerts this weekend appears in the online edition of The Columbian newspaper here. The concert will give the world premiere of Salvador Brotons' Bass Clarinet Concerto with guest artist David Gould. The orchestra will also play Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's “Celebration for Orchestra” and Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra."

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)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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)
Toshiro Mayuzumi (1929-1997)
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)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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)

Monday, February 17, 2020

Hadelich astonishes with awe-inspiring performance of Paganini's First Violin Concerto

Augustin Hadelich returned to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on February 8th to give another phenomenal performance. This time, he conjured the magic of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1, turning that flashy piece into an awe-inspiring artistic statement. His impressive control of dynamics allowed him to shape each line in intriguing ways, such as when he soared into the highest notes yet made them fade ever so slightly. Whispery clean lines that alternated with pizzicatos phrases looked mind-numbingly easy in his hands. The lyrical melody in the second movement had just the right amount of sweetness and tenderness, and he iced it perfectly with a section of eerie glissandi. In the final movement, his fingers raced alone like the wind and at one point he flawlessly produced tones that seemed to whistle. It was just amazing.

The audience immediately responded to Hadelich’s performance with a standing ovation that would have gone on for a long time, but Hadelich quieted everyone down by performing his transcription of Francisco Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra. Again, Hadelich stunned everyone by impeccably playing the piece. It looked like he used his bow to generate one line and the fingers of his left hand to create the other. However, he did it, it was truly astounding, and he received another standing ovation.

Gabriella Smith’s Bioluminescence Chaconne received its world premiere the night before by the orchestra in Salem. Commissioned by the Oregon Symphony and conducted in the series by Carlos Kalmar, this piece offered a lot for the ears. The music had a light, yet layered touch that generated a shimmering, glowing sound. With trumpets and trombones fading in and out, it was easy to imagine whales or other creatures of the sea swimming nearby and then disappearing into the background. A distinct rhythmic drive became more prominent with the percussion section laying it on a bit thickly and three piccolos adding their voices. I distinctly heard the chaconne when the timpani took its turn (all sections of the orchestra had a go on it). I felt that Smith took us on a luminescent journey. It would be terrific if the orchestra put in on a recording.

Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) offered a sonic excursion into the heavens. Lots of suspended sounds, an underlying buzz or drone, crescendos emanating from the low brass, random strikes from the percussion section, repeated glissandos in the strings, and a march-like section that suddenly cut away, did give the sense of spheres moving about somewhere in the galaxy. It was a piece that I would’ve liked to have heard again. Maybe the orchestra could add it to a future recording as well!

The orchestra delivered an incisive interpretation of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in the popular arrangement by Ravel. Each movement of the piece received a polished sound. Highlights included brilliant contributions on the trumpet (Jeffrey Work), French horn (John Cox), Carin Miller Packwood (bassoon), tuba and baritone (JáTtik Clark), and the guest saxophonist who absolutely sparkled in her playing. The one odd thing was that the “Ballet of the Chicks in Their Shells” didn’t generate any chuckles from the audience (like it usually does). Perhaps that was because it wasn’t spontaneous enough. In any case, there are mysteries about music that will probably remain a mystery.

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 (1920-2018)
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.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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)

Saturday, February 15, 2020

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 (1928-2017)
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)

Friday, February 14, 2020

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

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.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

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.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Rudolf Firkušný (1912-1994)
Sir Alexander Gibson (1926-1995)
Michel Sénéchal (1927-2018)
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.

Monday, February 10, 2020

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.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

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.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

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:

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.

Friday, February 7, 2020

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)

Thursday, February 6, 2020

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" Ruth (1895-1948)
Mary Douglas Leakey (1913-1996)
Deborah Digges (1950-2009)
Michael Pollan (1955)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Today's 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).

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Monica Huggett to retire from Portland Baoque next year

From the Press Release:

After more than 26 years leading Portland Baroque Orchestra (PBO), Monica Huggett plans to step down as Artistic Director following the 2020-2021 Season. Following her retirement, Monica will continue as Artistic Director Emeritus of PBO.

 

Monica Huggett was named PBO’s Artistic Director in 1994 after an exhaustive search. With Huggett at the helm, the orchestra expanded its programming in quantity, quality, and repertoire. During her tenure, the orchestra has grown to the third largest period performance orchestra in the country with over 25 concerts events a year including the popular holiday performances of Handel’s Messiah.

 

From age seventeen, beginning as a freelance violinist in London, Monica Huggett earned her living solely as a violinist and artistic director and, in 2008, was appointed inaugural artistic director of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program, where she continues as artistic advisor.

“PBO has been so fortunate to have Monica Huggett grow and shape the orchestra for the past 25 years,” said Abigail McKee, Executive Director. “Her incredible talent and leadership has brought limitless beauty to Portland, and her musicianship truly has shaped the world of Baroque performance. While this transition is bittersweet, we are so excited to see what she does next!”

Audiences will have opportunities to see Monica perform and lead the orchestra during the remainder of the 2019-2020 Season in February during Trousers & Tiaras: Gender Roles in Handel Operas, April’s Bach Sonatas concert, and English Echoes: Neoclassical Reflections on 17th Century England in May. Audiences will also have the opportunity to hear Monica revisit her definitive performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in PBO’s special benefit concert on March 21,2020, The Four Seasons in Celebration of Monica Huggett.

PBO’s 2020-2021 Season, Monica’s final season, will be announced in Spring of 2020. Next steps in Artistic Director succession will also be announced in the Spring.

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)

Monday, February 3, 2020

Today's Birthdays

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594)
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847)
Sidney Lanier (1842-1881)
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.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Oregonian preview of Gabriella Smith new piece for the Oregon Symphony

The Oregonian has published my preview of Gabriella Smith's latest creation, Bioluminescence Chaconne, which the Oregon Symphony commission for next weekend's concerts. I have found her music to be refreshingly engaging. Here is a link to the online copy of my piece. It will appear in the printed version soon.

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)

Saturday, February 1, 2020

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)