Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Letter V Classical Radio this week

July 31
noon-4 p.m. EDT
1600-2000 UTC
1700-2100 GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Mozart: “Cosí fan tutte” Overture
Concerto Köln/René Jacobs (Harmonia Mundi France)

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major
Leif Ove Andsnes,
piano & director
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
(Sony Classical)

Barber: “Capricorn” Concerto
Basel Chamber Orchestra/Christopher Hogwood (Arte Nova)

Vivaldi: Concerto in E flat major, RV 253
(“La Tempesta di Mare”)
Simon Standage, violin
The English Concert/Trevor Pinnock (CRD)

Tchaikovsky: “Souvenir de Florence”
Sarah Chang & Bernhard Hartog, violins; Wolfram Christ & Tanja Christ, violas; Georg Faust & Olaf Maninger, cellos (EMI Classics)

Liszt: “Études de Paganini”
No. 1 in G minor (“Tremolo”),
No. 2 in E flat major (“Octave”),
No. 3 in G sharp minor (“La Campanella”)
Marc-André Hamelin, piano (Hyperion)

Lalo: “Symphonie espagnole”
Maxim Vengerov, violin
Philharmonia Orchestra/Antonio Pappano
(EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Dohnányi: “Variations on a Nursery Song”
Erno Dohnányi, piano
London Symphony Orchestra/Lawrance Collingwood (EMI Classics)
(recorded 1931)

François-Adrien Boieldieu: “The Caliph of Baghdad” Overture
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Richard Bonynge (Decca)

Past Masters:
Rimsky-Korsakov: “Scheherazade”
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner
(RCA Victor)
(recorded 1960)

Saint-Saëns: “Samson et Delila” – Bacchanale
Montreal Symphony Orchestra/Charles Dutoit (London)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lockout looms at Met

New York’s Metropolitan Opera appears headed toward a management lockout of unionized musicians and stage workers. The company’s general manager, Peter Gelb, has sent letters to Met employees warning that if agreements are not reached on new contracts by July 31, work will be halted.

Management is seeking concessions from workers to head off what Gelb says is a looming financial crisis at the Met, whose revenues, especially ticket sales, have declined while expenses have risen.

The New York Times’ Michael Cooper reports:


Norman Lebrecht posts an interview with Gelb on the situation:


And a response from the Met’s musicians:


And from the company’s stage unions:


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Letter V Classical Radio this week

July 24
noon-4 p.m. EDT
1600-2000 UTC
1700-2100 GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Nielsen: “Maskarade” – Overture, “Cockerel’s Dance”
Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard (Dacapo)

Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44
Stefan Vladar, piano; Artis Quartet
(Sony Classical)

Kodály: “Hungarian Rondo”
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Sarasate: “Jota aragonesa”
Julia Fischer, violin; Milana Chernyavska, piano (Decca)

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467
Jan Lisiecki, piano
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/
Christian Zacharias
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Past Masters:
Dvořák: Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)
Smetana Quartet (Testament)
(recorded 1966)

Rossini: “William Tell” Overture
Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon)

Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat major, Op. 20
Daniel Hope, Lucy Gould, Sophie Basançon & Christian Eisenberger, violins; Pascal Siffert & Stewart Eaton, violas; William Conway & Kate Gould, cellos
(Deutsche Grammophon)

György Ligeti:
“Concert Romånesc”
Berlin Philharmonic/
Jonathan Nott (Teldec)

Bach-Busoni: Chaconne (from Partita in D minor, BWV 1004)
Awadagin Pratt, piano
(EMI Classics)

Schubert: Symphony No. 2 in B flat major
Staatskapelle Dresden/Herbert Blomstedt
(Berlin Classics)

C.P.E. Bach: Solo in G minor, Wq 135
Heinz Holliger, oboe; Ursula Holliger, harp; Rama Jucker, cello (Philips)

Monday, July 21, 2014

New site for 2014 Paley Festival

The 17th annual Richmond music festival of pianist Alexander Paley and friends will be presented Sept. 26-28 at a new location, St. Luke Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Paley and his wife and four-hands piano partner, Pei-Wen Chen, will be joined by clarinetist Charles West and cellist Rebecca Zimmerman for the fall festival of piano and chamber music.

The Paley Festival, first staged in 1998 in a book shop, subsequently has been presented in churches. St. Luke, located at the intersection of Chippenham Parkway and Custis Road, between Forest Hill Avenue and Huguenot Road, will be its first venue south of the James.

Paley will open the festival performing the 12 études of Chopin and two suites by the 18th-century French master Jean-Philippe Rameau. The pianist is currently in the process of recording the first full cycle of Rameau’s clavier suites on piano.

In the second program, Paley and Chen will play Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” in a rarely heard four-hands piano arrangement. In the finale, Paley, Zimmerman and West will play sonatas and trios of Beethoven and Brahms.

For more information, go to www.paleyfestival.info

The complete 2014 Paley Festival program schedule:

Sept. 26 (7:30 p.m.)
Alexander Paley, piano
Rameau: Suite No. 4 in A minor/major
Rameau: Suite No. 5 in G major/minor
Chopin: 12 études

Sept. 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Alexander Paley & Pei-Wen Chen, piano four-hands
Rossini: “The Barber of Seville”
(arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg)

Sept. 28 (3 p.m.)
Alexander Paley, piano
Charles West, clarinet
Rebecca Zimmerman, cello
Beethoven: Sonata in A major, Op. 69, for cello and piano
Beethoven: Trio in E flat major, Op. 38, for clarinet, cello and piano
Brahms: Sonata in F major, Op. 99, for cello and piano
Brahms: Trio in A minor, Op. 114, for clarinet, cello and piano

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Listening to the Proms

The BBC Promenade Concerts are under way, and will continue until the famed Last Night of the Proms on Sept. 13. BBC Radio 3 is streaming most of the concerts, here:


A guide to the full Proms season is here:


The times listed are five hours ahead of local time. For example, 8 p.m. London time is 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Review: 'Summer at CenterStage'

Barbara Gaden, cello
Russell Wilson, piano
July 17, Richmond CenterStage

In a program dedicated to the memories of Saul Kay, a Richmond Symphony violinist who died in 2004, and his wife, Grace Kay, who died in May, cellist Barbara Gaden and pianist Russell Wilson began with reminiscences, mainly of Saul Kay and his critical yet supportive way with fellow musicians.

I won’t attempt to channel him in this review – even Grace wouldn’t try that; but I couldn’t help wondering whether Gaden and Wilson, both longtime symphony colleagues, didn’t sense him listening over their shoulders, especially in their performance of the Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 38, of Brahms, a composer Saul Kay loved above most all others.

The greater degree of expression and sound projection, especially from the cellist, was marked in the Brahms, in comparison with a much less forceful performance of Beethoven’s “Seven Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ [‘In men who know the feeling of love’]” from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”

The compositions themselves account for much of the difference: Beethoven’s variations relegate the cello to a rather subsidiary role relative to that of a not especially assertive keyboard, while they are full-throated and nearly equal partners in the Brahms sonata. Gaden, moreover, sounded more inclined to make her instrument really sing in the Brahms.

Between the two cello-piano works, Wilson played Schumann’s Fantasy in C major, Op. 17, a sprawling, garrulous homage to Beethoven whose exclamatory expressions of passion naturally became the pianist’s interpretive focus.

“Summer at CenterStage” continues with violinist Ellen Cockerham and pianist Maria Yefimova playing Brahms’ Violin Sonata in G major, Op. 78, and Grieg’s Violin Sonata in G minor, Op. 45, at 6:30 p.m. July 24 in the Gottwald Playhouse of Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets. Tickets: $20. Details: (800) 514-3849 (ETIX); www.richmondsymphony.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Letter V Classical Radio this week

Previewing the BBC Promenade Concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall – this year running from July 18 to Sept. 13 – with vintage recordings by the festival’s founder, Henry J. Wood; some of this season’s featured artists in the works they will play; and a couple of staples from the festive Last Night of the Proms . . .

July 17
noon-4 p.m. EDT
1600-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Past Masters:
Elgar: “Pomp and Circumstance” March No. 1
London Philharmonic/Henry J. Wood
(Dutton Laboratories)
(recorded 1940)

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F major (“Pastoral”)
Tonhalle Orchestra, Zürich/David Zinman (Arte Nova)

Past Masters:
Elgar: “The Kingdom” Prelude
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Elgar
(EMI Classics)
(recorded 1933)

Past Masters:
Henry J. Wood: “Fantasia on British Sea Songs”
London Symphony Orchestra/Henry J. Wood (Dutton Laboratories)
(recorded 1939)

Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Czech Philharmonic/Jiří Bělohlávek (Decca)

Beethoven: “Missa Solemnis” – Gloria
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner (DG Archiv)

Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor
Joshua Bell, violin
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner (Decca)

Past Masters:
William Walton & Edith Sitwell: “Façade” (selections)
Edith Sitwell & Constant Lambert, reciters
chamber orchestra/William Walton (Symposium)
(recorded 1929)

Vaughan Williams: “Job – a Masque for Dancing”
London Philharmonic/
Vernon Handley (Classics for Pleasure)

Thomas Arne:
“Rule, Brittania”
Jamie MacDougall, tenor; Jennifer Smith, soprano
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale/
Nicholas McGegan (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

Hubert Parry: “Jerusalem”
(orchestration by Edward Elgar)
Choir of Winchester Cathedral; Waynflete Singers
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/David Hill (Argo)