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Maurice Ravel

Saturday, December 3, 2016


My Classical Notes

November 25

Albrecht Mayer’s Oboe

My Classical NotesI am very fond of music for wind instruments. There is some great music composed for the Oboe by many composers such as Mozart. And Albrecht Mayer has been playing principal Oboe for the Berlin Philharmonic for many years, as well. Now we have a new recording that features Mr. Mayer’s artistry. The album is called ‘Vocalise’, and the selections are as listed below: Bach, J S: Magnificat in D major, BWV243: Esurientes implevit bonis, arr. Andreas N. Tarkmann Sinfonia Varsovia Debussy: Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque), with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Fauré: Pavane, Op. 50, with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Hahn, R: A Chloris, with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Handel: Trio Sonata, HWV 393 in G minor, with Jakub Haufa (violin), and Monika Razynska (harpsichord) Lascia ch’io pianga (from Rinaldo), with the Sinfonia Varsovia Sarabande from Suite in D minor, HWV437 Solomon: Will the Sun Forget to Streak? Verdi prati (from Alcina) Humperdinck: Abendsegen ‘Abends will ich schlafen gehn’ (Hänsel und Gretel) Marcello, A: Adagio from Oboe Concerto in D minor, with the New Seasons Ensemble Marcello, B: Se morto mi brami Mozart: Ma che vi fece, o stelle…Sperai vicino il lido, K368, with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Claudio Abbado conducting. Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte, with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Schumann: Romance in A major, Op. 94 No. 2, with Markus Becker (piano) Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Winter, RV297: Largo Weismann, J: Variations for oboe and piano, Op. 39: Var. IV – Lento, molto tranquillo, with Markus Becker (piano) All performed by Albrecht Mayer (oboe) Here is Mr. Mayer in the Oboe concerto by Richard Strauss:

Tribuna musical

December 1

Diemecke and the Phil: strong and weak points in two concerts

Enrique Arturo Diemecke has been at the helm of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic for twelve years, a long period, and maybe it´s time to evaluate globally his good and bad points. For some people feel –and I agree- that it would be fruitful to change Principal Conductor. On the plus side: fantastic memory; technical capacity; affinity with the Postromantic repertoire, particularly Mahler. On the minus side: a clownish personality aggravated each year by irritating and often mediocre and unnecessary comments; programming that isn´t inclusive enough ( some examples: almost no Schönberg-Berg-Webern; few good after WWII choices; neglect of composers such as Hindemith, Martinu or Milhaud; almost no relevant USA music, although he has worked there for decades); less subscription concerts than we should have (not 15 but at least 18); too much hogging: this year nine out of fifteen concerts are conducted by him; and too little presence of important colleagues, Argentine and foreign. In this visual and light society, many like the showman aspects that trivialize concertgoing; but such recent visits as the mature Nagano and the young Bringuier demonstrate that you can be vital, perceptive and communicative without lowering standards of behavior. I believe we need another sort of Principal Conductor: one with Diemecke´s strong points but one that corrects the weak ones. There are a lot of fine conductors nowadays and a hunt should be on to find somebody that accepts the experience of working here. Diemecke has led the Flint, Mich, Orchestra for 27 years; doesn´t anyone wonder why a man of such technical capacity hasn´t moved to a higher-rank USA orchestra? Or to a good European one? I do, and think that his personality is the problem. Let him come as guest, for he has quite a following, and his better concerts are quite enjoyable. The tenth subscription concert was rather good, though it started with a crossover Mexican piece too often played here, the Danzón Nº 2 by Arturo Márquez, "danced" by Diemecke on the podium (he premièred it here fifteen years ago). Then, an homage to Ginastera by one of his historic interpreters, the veteran pianist Luis Ascot: the Concerto Nº1, Op.28, a tough score of his Neo-expressionist period, premièred in 1961 both in Washington and BA by Joao Carlos Martins and conductor Howard Mitchell. Ascot has always been a Ginastera champion and has played this concerto often in his international career. Now there´s a sense of strain and intent concentration, but by and large his was a true voice, and was well supported by the conductor. Feted by the audience, he played two quiet encores: Liszt´s Consolation Nº3 and Ginastera´s "Canción al árbol del olvido" ("Song to the tree of oblivion"). The concert ended with a very good reading of Mussorgsky´s "Pictures from an exhibition" in Ravel´s unparalleled orchestration. Here Diemecke was at his best, giving its true character to every fragment of this extraordinary score, and there were brilliant solos (saxophone, trumpet) as well as powerful brass ensembles. I wasn´t happy with the following concert, too short and strangely made up of two concerti and a famous Ravel piece, "La Valse". I love Poulenc´s Two-Piano Concerto, one of his best scores, particularly as they are played by the Labèque sisters; the artists brought over on this occasion are first-rate: Jean-Philippe Collard, a masterful French pianist whose white mane tells of a long career documented by splendid records, such as the two Ravel Concertos; and our Marcela Roggeri, who lives in Paris and visits us regularly. The concerto hardly lasts twenty minutes; in what was an exciting interpretation, I question some harshness from the orchestra and an excessively brusque rhythmic accent, almost machinistic at times, though played with stamina and clarity, apart from minor misadjustments. The charming encore was Poulenc´s waltz-musette "L´embarquement pour Cythère" ("The embarkation for Cytherea"), vaguely based on Watteau´s lovely painting. I didn´t enjoy the South-American première of Pascal Dusapin´s Cello Concerto, of course well played by the Finnish specialist Anssi Karttunen, who was the first to execute 135 contemporary pieces! I found the music arid, though in some moments there are interesting sonic effects. There was an encore which I couldn´t place. Finally, "La Valse" was played grossly, without the refinement that most of it needs; this was Diemecke in poor form. For Buenos Aires Herald




My Classical Notes

November 18

Music for Humor and Fun

One of the magical things about music is that it can represent a huge variety of purposes for a lot of different people. In this recording titled “In Jest”, the purpose is light-hearted fun and enjoyment dating back to,composers of the past and the present. In Jest – Comic Art Songs from baroque to contemporary: Aboulker: L’Inconstante L’Archet Bernstein: Piccola Serenata Bizet: La Coccinelle Bolcom: Amor George Brahms: Vergebliches Ständchen, Op. 84 No. 4 Bridge: So perverse Debussy: Fantoches Gershwin: Blah Blah Blah Goldins: Lomir singen Hoiby: The Serpent Mozart: Die Alte K517 Der Zauberer, K472 Poulenc: Violon Purcell: What can we poor females do?, Z429 Ravel: Sur l’Herbe Rosenthal, Manuel: La souris d’Angleterre Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre (song) Satie: La statue de bronze Schubert: Die Männer sind méchant, D866 No. 3 Wolf, H: Ich hab in Penna einen Liebsten (No. 46 from Italienisches Liederbuch) Mein Liebster ist so klein (No. 15 from Italienisches Liederbuch) Nein, junger Herr, so treibt man’s nicht, fürwahr (No. 12 from Italienisches Liederbuch) All presented by Julia Kogan (coloratura soprano), with Tyson Deaton (piano) This is an exciting, varied program of fun and colourful songs ranging from baroque composer Henry Purcell to the preset day American composer William Bolcom. Featuring the award-winning soprano Julia Kogan, In Jest is a great example of the art of the coloratura soprano. Kogan shows off her virtuosic flare in a myriad of unforgettable songs. Here are some highlights from this collection:



Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

November 18

Andris Nelsons delivers double snub to Bayreuth

The Boston Symphony conductor won’t be back in Bavaria any time soon after last summer’s disastrous falling out with the powers-that-be. Nelsons has committed twice as much time to Tanglewood in 2017 and – adding insult to injury – he will put on a first Rhinegold with the BSO, possibly the start of a Ring. He will spend four weeks in Tanglewood, and they look jam-packed. From the press release: In what promises to be one of the highlights of the 2017 Tanglewood season, and a significant event in the world of opera, Mr. Nelsons will lead the first BSO concert performance of the complete Das Rheingold, the first of the four dramas that make up Wagner’s masterpiece Der Ring des Nibelungen. The performance will feature Thomas J. Mayer as Wotan, Sarah Connolly as Fricka, and Jochen Schmeckenbecher as Alberich, among other eminent and prestigious singers known the world over for their acclaimed performances of Wagner’s music. Mr. Nelsons will also conduct BSO Artistic Partner Thomas Adès’s Three Studies from Couperin, on a program with music of Haydn and Ravel, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 with Daniil Trifonov as soloist. Kristine Opolais joins Mr. Nelsons and the BSO for a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 on a program with Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, with teenaged violinist Daniel Lozakovich in his BSO debut; Ms. Opolais will also be featured in a Nelsons-led opera gala program with baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. For his first Tanglewood Opening Night concert, Mr. Nelsons will lead the BSO in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, with soloists Malin Christensson and Bernarda Fink. Mr Nelsons leads the BSO’s season-closing concert, beginning the program with Ives’s “The Housatonic at Stockbridge,” from Three Places in New England, prior to the traditional performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy. It’s Andris’s birthday today. He’s 38. Way to go.

Maurice Ravel
(1875 – 1937)

Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was a French composer of Impressionist music known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire. Ravel's piano compositions, such as Jeux d'eau, Miroirs, Le tombeau de Couperin and Gaspard de la nuit, demand considerable virtuosity from the performer, and his orchestral music, including Daphnis et Chloé and his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, uses a variety of sound and instrumentation. Ravel is perhaps known best for his orchestral work Boléro (1928), which he considered trivial and once described as "a piece for orchestra without music."



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