Friday, November 27, 2015
I've said it before and I'll say it again: "I love a good mistake." I have strong memories as a young musician of being fascinated when a clarinetist clonked a passage somewhere in the middle of the Met's broadcast of the Ring Cycle. In the midst of all those hours of fantastic playing, there was something particularly gratifying and life-affirming about hearing such a moment of humanity. (My family taped all four of the operas, and that's the moment I most remember watching and re-watching.) I also remember well a low-budget family VHS of a Russian production of The Nutcracker in which one of the partygoing dancers got caught on the wrong side of the closing stage curtain. (In retrospect, I suppose this could have been an intentional bit of comedy.) I can still hear exactly what the orchestra was playing at that moment, and any time I hear that bit of music again, I instantly see that poor Russian woman fighting her way under the big velvet monster. I've written many posts about this perverse attraction of mine. Here I discussed indelible memories of Suzuki students crushing a chord in Veracini; here I detailed a wide variety of memorable miscues, with a Mendelssohn misreading, a Dvorak missed shift, a Grieg misprint and a Ravel missed landing all taking a bow and making me smile. One of my worst-ever "can't stop laughing" struggles occurred years ago when I was turning pages for my piano teacher in a performance of the Franck Violin Sonata on a retirement home piano that needed retiring itself. During the performance of the manic second movement, I can still vividly remember the sight of old, broken ivories literally flying off the keyboard; I felt tears stream down my face as I tried to hold back laughter. Not surprisingly, notable in-concert mistakes make the rounds among musicians every now and then because they're so strangely compelling. There's Maria Pires surprised to hear the orchestra starting the wrong concerto, Christian Zacharias stopping because a cellphone interrupts his Haydn (isn't Haydn supposed to love surprises?), and the resourceful violist who took up a cellphone ring tune for a quick bit of improvisation. But those aren't mistakes made by the performers in the moment. Today, Jessica Duchen posted a video of a virtual Victor Borge routine breaking out at a violin recital due to a series of page-turning mishaps. In this performance by superstar violinist Christian Tetzlaff of the Brahms "F-A-E" Scherzo, Tetzlaff tries unsuccessfully to execute a quick page turn and comedy ensues.* There's so much to enjoy here that I couldn't resist making my own little annotated version. Original, unannotated video is here. What to Enjoy (I've now studied this thing like the Zapruder film): 0:18 Tetzlaff has less than two full measures (in a very quick tempo) to turn. He lifts the page with his bow hand, but the page flips back on him. It's on!0:20 Probably my favorite thing is that his bow has returned to the violin, so he now tries to resume Brahms while fixing the music with his left hand, which is, um, also important in violin playing. The first two notes he's supposed to play are a G-A above middle C. He gamely plays them both on the open A string while trying to restore order.0:21 He realizes the left hand isn't up to the task (it would have to reach far across his body to grab the page from the right) and that bowing isn't doing much good without the other hand, so he bails for a second and uses both hands to whip the page over...IMPORTANT POINT: The page turner is a very accomplished violinist who hears right away that something is amiss and looks up at Tetzlaff. 0:22 ...and the music goes crashing to the floor.0:23 It's almost as if the force of the music falling pulls Tetzlaff towards it, and so, while having immediately resumed playing (with what must be a heightened sense of scherzo energy), he stomp-marches over to the piano to look over the piano score. Pianist Lars Vogt looks amused, though it's hard to tell for sure given the video quality.Meanwhile, our intrepid page-turner, Anna Reszniak, is up in a flash and moves through the space vacated by Tetzlaff to pick up the music and reset it. She checks the pages and turns to what she must think/hope is the right place.0:30 Tetzlaff glances over at the violin stand and apparently doesn't see the right page, because he resumes playing from the piano score while Reszniak heads back to her position, looking back to see that something probably isn't quite right.0:33 - 0:53 Music by Brahms.0:53 The music has reached a low ebb before the final big buildup, and it's about time for Reszniak to turn the last page in the piano score. 0:56 She turns - and a loose page comes tumbling out. It's the final page, but at least Vogt has the left-side page still in front of him. He grins again. Suspense!0:58 Reszniak starts back towards Tetzlaff.0:59 Tetzlaff gracefully counters her, moving back with a little hop in his step to let Reszniak cross in front of him this time to retrieve the loose page. 1:02 She carefully places it back on the piano, as Tetzlaff crosses around her back towards the piano so he can see the music!1:04 Reszniak calmly turns the violin part to the right place and circles back to her seat as Tetzlaff counters back to his place at the violin stand. All is well as...1:10 ...the violin soars to the final big climax. The drama has been perfectly timed, and the unrehearsed footwork of Tetzlaff and Reszniak looks as effortless as the ice routines of Torvill and Dean.I enjoy all of this in part because I've been in such situations before and know well how strangely thrilling it is to have a sudden extra layer of difficulty putting everyone on red alert (like that time when the lights went out). Seconds feel like minutes and every sense is heightened. Teztlaff, especially, had to make multiple split-second decisions, all while negotiating Brahms's high-wire act. Actually, something kind of like this happened to me last Saturday night. I was accompanying a voice recital, reading the music from an iPad and using a pedal to turn pages. In a fairly straightforward song, I somehow turned a page ahead? Or perhaps panicked and turned back to fix what didn't need fixing? I actually don't remember exactly what happened, and I wasn't sure for a second (felt like a minute) if I needed to tap the screen to go back or forward. I sort of half-heartedly kept playing something semi-random with one hand while tapping the screen with the other, and can remember realizing that the soprano was half-glancing back at me. Then suddenly everything was fine again. Of course, any live performance involves an exciting combination of 1) relying on deeply rooted muscle memory and 2) reacting at a split-second level to what's going on around. In rehearsed performances, there's always the danger of falling too much into routine and losing the exhilaration of being in the moment, and though I'm sure Tetzlaff regrets having to leave out a few measures (and playing an eighth-note G with an open A), I wouldn't be surprised if he and Vogt (and the audience!) found themselves experiencing an extra gear of musical excitement in what is already a hard-driving piece. (We can be sure Reszniak's heart was beating a little faster, though she may have enjoyed the music least of all.) They were living out the desperate emotions that Brahms had encoded so long ago. As for me, I can't get enough of it, as you can see below. After all, there's humor in repetition. See also: My end is my beginning * I also wrote once about a clearly audible page turn I cherish in a Beaux Arts Trio recording of the Ravel trio - but the only "mistake" there was how loudly the turn sounded. Yeah, I made a video then, too:
A variety of the great Saxon master's most beloved works - in fact, all of his quintessential masterpieces are offered here, with the exception of some String Quartets and the Szenen aus Goethes Faust. We will fill these gaps soon, meanwhile, we can enjoy some of the most sublime moments of Schumann's art and of all Romanticism, including my beloved Symphonic Etudes (with the dreamlike IV and V Posthumous Variations above all) or the heartwarming Romanze No. 2 in F-Sharp - without a doubt some of the highest music ever conceived... Robert Schumann Symphonische Etüden Op.13 Johannes BrahmsPaganini-Variationen Op. 35 Jean-Yves Thibaudet, PianoDecca 444 338-2 (1994) Robert Schumann Piano Sonata No. 2 Op. 22 in G Minor Johannes BrahmsPiano Concerto No. 2 Op. 83 in E-Flat Major Sviatoslav Richter, PianoOrchestre de ParisLorin MaazelEMI 73248 2 (1963-1970)Robert Schumann Piano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Edvard GriegPiano Concerto Op. 16 in A Minor Claudio Arrau, PianoRoyal Concertgebouw OrchestraChristoph von Dohnányi Philips 456 566-2 (1963)Robert Schumann Piano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Edvard GriegPiano Concerto Op. 16 in A Minor Murray Perahia, PianoSymphonieorchester des Bayerischen RundfunksColin Davis CBS MK 44899 (1988)Robert Schumann Piano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Arnold SchoenbergPiano Concerto Op. 42 Maurizio Pollini, PianoBerliner PhilharmonikerClaudio Abbado DGG 427 771-2 (1989)Robert Schumann Carnaval Op. 9Humoreske Op. 20Noveletten Op. 21 Nos. 1 & 2 Vladimir Ashkenazy, PianoDecca 421 010-2 (1986)Robert Schumann Piano Quintet Op. 44 in E-Flat Piano Quartet Op. 47 in E-Flat Fantasiestücke Op. 73; Märchenbilder Op. 113Violin Sonata No. 2 Op. 121 in D Minor Martha Argerich, Alexandre Rabinovitch, PianoDora Schwarzberg, Lucy Hall, ViolinNatalia Gutman, Mischa Maisky, CelloNobuko Imai, Viola; Marie-Luise Neunecker, HornEMI 55484 2 (1995) Robert Schumann Romanzen und Balladen für Chor SWR Vokalensemble StuttgartRupert HuberHännsler Classics 93.256 (1998)Robert Schumann Das Paradies und die Peri Requiem für Mignon Barbara Bonney, Alexandra Coku, SopranoBernarda Fink, Mezzo-Soprano; Gerard Finley, BaritoneChristoph Prégardien, Neill Archer, TenorCornelius Hauptmann, BassThe Monteverdi ChoirOrchestre Révolutionnaire et RomantiqueJohn Eliot GardinerArchiv 457 660-2 (1997) Robert Schumann Davidsbündlertänze Op. 6Waldszenen Op. 82Fantasiestücke Op. 111 Andreas Haefliger, PianoSony SK 48036 (1991)Robert Schumann Davidsbündlertänze Op. 6Franz SchubertFantasie D. 760 in C Major "Wanderer-Fantasie" Anatol Ugorsky, PianoDGG 437 539-2 (1992)Robert Schumann Dichterliebe Op. 48Liederkreis Op. 24 Matthias Goerne, BaritoneVladimir Ashkenazy, PianoDecca 458 265-2 (1997)Robert SchumannLieder on Poems by H. Heine(incuding Liederkreis Op. 24 & Lyric Intermezzo) Thomas Hampson, BaritoneWolfgang Sawallisch, PianoEMI 55598 2 (1994)Robert SchumannDichterliebe Op. 48Ludwig van BeethovenAn die ferne Geliebte Op. 98(and Lieder by Robert Franz, Edvard Grieg, Carl Loewe) Thomas Hampson, BaritoneGeoffrey Parsons, PianoEMI 55147 2 (1993)Robert SchumannSymphonische Etüden Op.13Fantasie Op. 17 in C Major Vladimir Ashkenazy, PianoDecca F28L-28073 (1963)Robert SchumannSymphonische Etüden Op.13Arabeske Op. 18Papillons Op. 2 Vladimir Ashkenazy, PianoDecca 414 474-2 (1984)Robert SchumannFantasie Op. 17 in C MajorFranz Liszt5 Études d'exécution transcendante S.139 Evgeny Kissin, PianoRCA 68262 2 (1995)Robert SchumannWaldszenen Op. 82Romanzen Op. 28Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26Arabeske Op. 18 Maria João Pires, PianoDGG 437 538-2 (1994)Robert SchumannFrauenliebe und Leben Op. 42Liederkreis Op. 39 Jessye Norman, SopranoIrwin Gage, PianoPhilips 420 784-2 (1975)Robert SchumannFrauenliebe und Leben Op. 425 Lieder Op. 40 Anne Sofie von Otter, Mezzo-SopranoBengt Forsberg, PianoDGG 445 881-2 (1993)Robert SchumannKinderszenen Op. 15Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26Arabeske Op. 18 Stanislav Bunin, PianoDGG 445 181-2 (1988)Robert SchumannKreisleriana Op. 16Johannes BrahmsPiano Sonata No. 2 Op. 2 in F-Sharp Minor Hélène Grimaud, PianoDenon 73336 (1988)Robert SchumannKreisleriana Op. 16Fantasie Op. 17 in C Major Arthur Rubinstein, PianoRCA RD86258 (1964-1965)Robert SchumannKreisleriana Op. 16Fantasie Op. 17 in C MajorArabeske Op. 18 Jonathan Biss, PianoEMI 65391 2 (2006)Robert SchumannKreisleriana Op. 16Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133Allegro Op. 8 in B Minor Maurizio Pollini, PianoDGG 471 370-2 (2001)Robert SchumannKreisleriana Op. 16Humoreske Op. 20Johannes Brahms7 Fantasien Op. 116 Imogen Cooper, PianoBBC MM134 (1994)Robert SchumannKreisleriana Op. 16Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133Nachtstücke Op. 23Theme and Variations in E-Flat Major "Geister-Variationen" András Schiff, Piano Teldec 14566-2 (1997)Robert SchumannKreisleriana Op. 16Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 11 in F-Sharp Minor Murray Perahia, Piano Sony SK 62786 (1997) Robert SchumannSelected Lieder(including Dichterliebe, 2 Liederkreis,Myrthen, Der arme Peter) Peter Schreier, TenorChristoph Eschenbach, PianoHQ DDL - Teldec 24615429 (1995)Robert SchumannLiederkreis Op. 3912 Gedichte Op. 35 Matthias Goerne, TenorEric Schneider, PianoDecca 460 797-2 (1998)Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Richard StraussBurleske in D Minor Hélène Grimaud, PianoDeutsches Symphonie-Orchester BerlinDavid ZinmanErato 11727-2 (1995)Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Carl Maria von WeberKonzertstück Op. 79 in F Minor Alfred Brendel, PianoLondon Symphony OrchestraClaudio AbbadoPhilips 412 251-2 (1979)Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Cello Concerto Op. 129 in A MinorIntroduction and Allegro appassionato Op. 92 in G Major Jorge Bolet, Piano (Concerto) *András Schiff, Piano (Introduction) **Lynn Harrell, CelloRSO Berlin, Riccardo Chailly *Wiener Philharmoniker, Christoph von Dohnányi **Cleveland Orchestra, Neville Marriner (Cello Concerto)Decca 467 455-2 (1986-1982-1988) Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Introduction and Allegro appassionato Op. 92 in G MajorIntroduction and Allegro Op. 134 in D Minor Sequeira Costa, PianoGulbenkian OrchestraStephen GunzenhauserNaxos 8.550277 (1985)Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Kinderszenen Op. 15Waldszenen Op. 82Variationen über den Namen Abegg Op. 1 Clara Haskil, PianoThe Hague Philharmonic OrchestraWillem van OtterlooPhilips 420 851-2 (1951-1954-1955)Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Arabeske Op. 18 Evgeny Kissin, PianoWiener PhilharmonikerCarlo Maria GiuliniSony SK 52567 (1992)Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Piano Quintet Op. 44 in E-Flat Major Arthur Rubinstein, PianoGuarneri QuartetChicago Symphony OrchestraCarlo Maria GiuliniBMG/Amadeus AM33 (1967-1966)Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Piano Quintet Op. 44 in E-Flat Major Maria João Pires, PianoAugustin Dumay, Renaud Capuçon, ViolinGérard Caussé, Viola, Jian Wang, CelloChamber Orchestra of EuropeClaudio AbbadoDGG 463 179-2 (1999)Robert SchumannPiano Quintet Op. 44 in E-Flat MajorPiano Quartet Op. 47 in E-Flat Major Beaux Arts TrioSamuel Rhodes, Viola, Dolf Bettelheim, ViolinPhilips 420 791-2 (1975)Robert SchumannPiano Quintet Op. 44 in E-Flat MajorString Quartet Op. 41 No. 1 in A Minor Paul Gulda, PianoHagen QuartetDGG 447 111-2 (1994)Robert SchumannPiano Sonata No. 1 Op. 11 in F-Sharp MinorCarnaval Op. 9 Evgeny Kissin, PianoRCA 63886 2 (2001)Robert Schumann Frauenliebe und Leben Op. 42Clara SchumannSelected Lieder Barbara Bonney, SopranoVladimir Ashkenazy, PianoDecca 452 898-2 (1996)Robert Schumann Symphonische Etüden Op.13 Romanzen Op. 28 Waldszenen Op. 82 Franz Schubert Moments musicaux D. 780 Walter Gieseking, PianoUrania 22.252 (1951)Robert Schumann Symphonische Etüden Op.13 Domenico Scarlatti 7 Sonatas Claude Debussy Pour le Piano Emil Gilels, PianoErmitage 163-2 (1984)Robert Schumann Symphonische Etüden Op.13 Blumenstück Op. 19Davidsbündlertänze Op. 6Arabeske Op. 18 András Schiff, Piano Teldec 99176-2 (1995)Robert Schumann Symphonische Etüden Op.13 Fantasie Op. 17 in C Major Bunte Blätter Op. 99Arabeske Op. 18 Mikhail Pletnev, Piano HQ DDL - DGG 474 813-2 (2004) Robert Schumann Symphonische Etüden Op.13 Ludwig van Beethoven "Eroica" Variations Op. 35 in E-Flat Major Emanuel Ax, Piano Sony 8765-42086-2 (2012) Robert SchumannPiano Sonata No. 1 Op. 11 in F-Sharp MinorFrédéric Chopin Ballade No. 1 Op. 23 in G Minor Franz Liszt Après une lecture de Dante (Fantasia quasi Sonata) Hélène Grimaud, PianoBrilliant 92117/3 (1987) Robert Schumann Violin Concerto in D Minor Violin Sonata No. 1 Op. 105 in A Minor Violin Sonata No. 2 Op. 121 in D Minor Uto Ughi, ViolinSymphonieorchester des Bayerischen RundfunksWolfgang Sawallisch BMG/Amadeus AM088-2 (1993)Robert Schumann Violin Sonata No. 1 Op. 105 in A Minor Violin Sonata No. 2 Op. 121 in D Minor Gidon Kremer, ViolinMartha Argerich, PianoHQ DDL - DGG 419 235-2 (1986)Robert Schumann Waldszenen Op. 82 Piano Sonata No. 2 Op. 22 in G Minor Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133 Mitsuko Uchida, PianoDecca 478 5393 (2013)Robert Schumann Symphony No. 1 Op. 38 in B-Flat Major "Frühling" Symphony No. 4 Op. 120 in D Minor Manfred-Ouvertüre Op. 115 Berliner PhilharmonikerJames LevineDGG 435 856-2 (1992)Robert Schumann Symphony No. 2 Op. 61 in C Major Symphony No. 3 Op. 97 in E-Flat Major "Rhenish" Berliner PhilharmonikerJames LevineDGG 423 625-2 (1988)Robert Schumann Symphony No. 1 Op. 38 in B-Flat Major "Frühling" Symphony No. 2 Op. 61 in C Major Symphony No. 3 Op. 97 in E-Flat Major "Rhenish" Symphony No. 4 Op. 120 in D Minor Staatskapelle BerlinDaniel BarenboimTeldec 61179-2 (2003)Robert Schumann Symphony No. 1 Op. 38 in B-Flat Major "Frühling" Symphony No. 4 Op. 120 in D Minor Wiener PhilharmonikerRiccardo MutiPhilips 442 121-2 (1993)Robert SchumannSymphony No. 2 Op. 61 in C Major Symphony No. 3 Op. 97 in E-Flat Major "Rhenish" Wiener PhilharmonikerRiccardo MutiPhilips 446 714-2 (1995)Robert Schumann Symphony No. 1 Op. 38 in B-Flat Major "Frühling" Symphony No. 4 Op. 120 in D Minor Philharmonia OrchestraChristian ThielemannDGG 469 700-2 (2001)Robert Schumann Symphony No. 2 Op. 61 in C Major Konzertstück Op. 86 for 4 Horns & Orchestra Manfred-Ouvertüre Op. 115 Philharmonia OrchestraChristian ThielemannDGG 453 482-2 (1996)Robert Schumann Symphony No. 3 Op. 97 in E-Flat Major "Rhenish" "Genoveva"-Ouvertüre Op. 81 Ouvertüre, Scherzo und Finale Op. 52 Philharmonia OrchestraChristian ThielemannDGG 459 680-2 (1998)Robert Schumann Symphony No. 1 Op. 38 in B-Flat Major "Frühling" Symphony No. 2 Op. 61 in C Major Symphony No. 3 Op. 97 in E-Flat Major "Rhenish" Symphony No. 4 Op. 120 in D Minor Philadelphia OrchestraJames LevineLP Rip - RCA RL 03907 (1978) BONUS: Robert Schumann Symphonische Etüden Op.13 Vanessa Benelli Mosell, Piano RAI Digital Archives (Live Recording, Rome 12 March 2006) MUST-HAVE recording. The distinguished Tuscan pianist offers a truly Symphonic rendition of this masterpiece, thanks to a passionate approach, full-scale tone palette and amazing dynamics. Robert SchumannPiano Concerto Op. 54 in A Minor Maurizio Pollini, PianoFilarmonica della ScalaRiccardo MutiRAI Digital Archives (Live Recording, Milan 1 May 2000) Flac & Scans
Maria João Pires (Robert Torres photo) What looked on paper to be a bland, meat and potatoes kind of program (Schumann Manfred Overture, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23, and Brahms Symphony No. 1), the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Bernard Haitink managed to make surprisingly fresh and new on Thursday. It’s hard to imagine any orchestra anywhere matching this one for lush tone, polish, and agility. And if there’s a richer sound anywhere than that of the BSO cello and viola sections playing in octaves, I’d like to hear it. Schumann’s “Overture from Music for Byron’s Manfred, Op. 115 was fervid, and intense. Written in 1848 – 49, the work is Schumann’s musical response to Byron’s poem dealing with guilt and sorrow, and has all the colorful language of storminess of Romantic literature. The orchestra has doubtless played this work more times than they can count, but it had passion, conviction, and drama. Haitink’s no muss, no fuss conducting style was clear, without a lot of unnecessary shenanigans, yet elicited roiling waves of sound from the players. Most unfortunately, just as the music was sinking to an intense pianissimo close, some audience member found this the perfect time to cough triple forte. It didn’t destroy the moment, but it was annoying. Maria João Pires then came on to play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488. Written in 1786, while the composer was in the middle of an incredible streak of productivity (he repeatedly interrupted the composition of the opera to toss off a one act singspiel, The Impressario and a string of three piano concerti, of which this is the middle one). This beautiful, chamber music-like work featured some lovely solo winds, and delicately articulated string playing. As a whole it had the lightness and sweetness of champagne bubbles. Pires’s playing was confident, lyrical and received a well-earned standing ovation. A surprisingly brisk and delicate rendition of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68 crowned the evening. It is well-known that Brahms felt the heavy shadow of Beethoven over him for much of his life, delaying the writing of his first symphony until he was in his early 40s. The resultant work, with its pounding timpani representing the hammer of fate, a glorious continuation of German symphonic tradition, justified the hesitancy. Ofttimes Brahms is rendered ponderously with the density of fudge, but Haitink took all the movements at a considerably faster speed; melodies and countermelodies flowed and swirled into each other with an almost Mozartean defiance of gravity. It was an intriguing argument, which worked. Lending clarity to James Sommerville (file photo) Brahms’s ropy counterpoint, it made a surprisingly good complement to the earlier piano concerto. The real bite in the articulation of the menacing viola section interjection in the first movement, the crisp conducting of Haitink and the intense pizzicato unison section, the glorious horn section in the dramatic moments, and the exquisite concertmaster/principal horn duet, all stood out. Surely we have one of the finest horn players on the planet in James Sommerville. Overall, a glorious concert, demonstrating that even warhorses can be revelatory with the right hands pulling the reins. Elisa Birdseye, executive director of the Boston Chamber Ensemble, is an active freelance violist and principal violist of the New Bedford Symphony. Additionally, she has worked as the general manager of the New England Philharmonic and Boston Musica. The post BSO Warhorses Well Led appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .
August 20 2015: MTT conducts Schoenberg and Beethoven; Yuja Wang, piano August 21 2015: MTT conducts Schoenberg, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky; Yuja Wang, piano August 22 2015: MTT conducts Ives, Bartók, Mahler; Yuja Wang, piano August 27- September 14 2015: European Festival Tour September 24 2015: Opening Gala: MTT conducts TBA September 25-26 2015: MTT conducts Ravel, Chopin, Respighi; Daniil Trifonov, piano September 30- October 32015: MTT conducts Ted Hearne, Barber, Tchaikovsky; Susanna Phillips, soprano October 4 2015: András Schiff plays Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert October 7-10 2015: András Schiff conducts Mozart, Haydn, Schubert October 11 2015: Chamber Music with members of SFS October 13 2015: Manuel López Gómez conducts TBA; Lang Lang, piano October 21 2012: Susanna Mälkki conducts Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev; Christian Tetzlaff, violin October 18, 2015: Paul Jacobs, organ and Christine Brewer, soprano October 22-24 2015: Susanna Mälkki conducts Jukka Tiensuu, Chopin, Sibelius October 28-30 2015: Andrey Boreyko conducts Prokofiev, Bartók, Tchaikovsky; Gidon Kremer, violin October 31 2015: Halloween Concert November 1 2015: Donato Cabrera conducts SFS Youth Orchestra November 1 2015: Chamber Music with members of SFS November 4-6 2015: Yan Pascal Tortelier conducts Bizet, Ravel, Saint-Saëns; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano November 7 2015: Día de los Muertos Concert November 8 2015: Zubin Mehta conducts Israel Philharmonic Orchestra November 12-15 2015: MTT conducts Sibelius and Schumann November 18 2015: Leif Ove Andsnes plays Sibelius, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin November 19-22 2015: MTT conducts R. Strauss and Schumann; Laura Claycomb, soprano November 27-28 2015: The Nightmare Before Christmas November 29 2015: Chamber Music with members of SFS December 5 2015: Music for Families TBA December 6 2015: Deck the Hall Concert December 11-12 2015: It's a Wonderful Life December 11-12 2015: SoundBox December 13 2015: Donato Cabrera conducts SFS Youth Orchestra in Peter and the Wolf December 31 2015: New Year's Eve Concert January 9-10 2016: Itzhak Perlman conducts Beethoven and Mozart January 14-16 2016: Krzysztof Urbańsk conducts Kilar, Beethoven, Dvořák January 15-16 2016: SoundBox January 18 2016: Itzak Perlman, violin & Emanuel Ax, piano January 21-24 2016: Marek Janowski conducts Beethoven and Pfitzner January 24 2016: Pinchas Zukerman conducts Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Jonathan Biss, piano January 25 2016: Pinchas Zukerman conducts Royal Philharmonic Orchestra January 28-31 2016: Edwin Outwater conducts Weber, Saint-Saëns, Busoni, Hindesmith; Stephen Hough, piano February 5-6 2016: Masaaki Suzuki conducts Mendelssohn, Mozart, Stravinsky February 6 2016: Music for Families February 11-14 2016: Pinchas Zukerman conducts Elgar and Mozart February 12-13 2016: Vertigo February 13 2016: Chinese New Year Concert February 18-20 2016: Stéphane Denève conducts Nielsen, Guillaume Connesson, Prokofiev February 19-20 2016: SoundBox February 21 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS February 21-22 2016: Mikael Pletnev conducts Russian National Orchestra; Yuja Wang, piano February 25-27 2016: Herbert Blomstedt conducts Beethoven and Bruckner; Maria-João Pires, piano February 28 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS March 2-5 2016: Herbert Blomstedt conducts Mozart; Alexander Barantschik, violin March 5 2016: Music for Families March 6 2016: David Titterington, organ March 10-13 2016: Charles Dutoit conducts Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Fauré, Stravinsky; Nikolai Lugansky, piano March 13 2016: Igudesman and Joo: And Now Mozart March 17-19 2016: Charles Dutoit conducts Berlioz's Requiem; Paul Groves, tenor March 20 2016: Donato Cabrera conducts SFS Youth Orchestra March 20 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS March 20 2016: Jeremy Denk, piano March 23-26 2016: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial March 25-26 2016: SoundBox March 30- April 8 2016: MTT conducts Copland and Schumann April 3 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS April 6-10 2016: MTT conducts Schubert and Mahler; Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano and Simon O'Neill, tenor April 13-16 2016: US Tour April 20-23 2016: Pablo Heras-Casado conducts Rameau, Haydn, Biber, Beethoven; Ingrid Fliter, piano April 22-23 2016: SoundBox April 24 2016: Thierry Eschaich, organ April 26 2016: Hilary Hahn, violin April 27-29 2016: Pablo Heras-Casado conducts Bartók, Mason Bates, Ravel, Shostakovich April 30 2016: Music for Families May 6-7 2016: Alan Gilbert conducts New York Philharmonic May 12-14 2016: Juraj Valčuha conducts Prokofiev, R. Strauss, Webern May 12 2016: Yo-Yo Ma, cello and Kathryn Stott, piano May 15 2016: Donato Cabrera conducts SFS Youth Orchestra May 15 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS May 19-22 2016: MTT conducts Brahms and Schumann; Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano May 25-29 2016: MTT conducts On the Town June 2-4 2016: Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Shostakovich and Elgar; Alexey Stadler, cello June 5 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS June 8-12 2016: James Conlon conducts Britten, Mozart, Dvořák; Jan Lisiecki, piano June 16-19 2016: MTT conducts Stravinsky and John Adams; Thomas Hampson, baritone June 23-25 2016: MTT conducts C.P.E. Bach, Jörg Widmann, Brahms; Yefim Bronfman, piano June 26 2016: Chamber Music with members of SFS June 29- July 2 2016: MTT conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 2; Karina Gauvin, soprano and Kelley O'Connor, mezzo-soprano
No matter how far we travel in our quest to discover new music, sooner or later we have to come back to these supreme summits of the musical mind... A little heartfelt tribute, a few classic recordings I cherish dearly. Johann Sebastian Bach Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Teil 1 & 2 BWV 846-893 Walter Gieseking, Piano DGG 429 929-2 - 1950 Johann Sebastian Bach Six Partitas BWV 825-830 French Overture in B Minor BWV 831 Inventions and Sinfonias (2 & 3 parts-) BWV 772–801 Walter Gieseking, Piano DGG 453 980-2 - 1950 Johann Sebastian Bach Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Teil 1 BWV 846-869 Friedrich Gulda, Piano Philips 446 545-2 - 1972 Johann Sebastian Bach Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Teil 2 BWV 870-893 Friedrich Gulda, Piano Philips 446 548-2 - 1973 Johann Sebastian Bach Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Teil 1 BWV 846-869 Keith Jarrett, Piano ECM 1362/3 - 1988 Johann Sebastian Bach Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Teil 2 BWV 870-893 Keith Jarrett, Harpsichord ECM 1433/4 - 1990 Johann Sebastian Bach French Suites BWV 812-817 Keith Jarrett, Harpsichord ECM 1513/4 - 1993 Johann Sebastian Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988 Keith Jarrett, Harpsichord ECM 1395 - 1989 Johann Sebastian Bach English Suites BWV 806-811 András Schiff, PianoDecca 421 640-2 - 1988 Johann Sebastian Bach French Suites BWV 812-817 Italian Concerto in F Major BWV 971 French Overture in B Minor BWV 831 András Schiff, Piano Decca 433 313-2 - 1991 Johann Sebastian Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988 András Schiff, Piano Decca 417 116-2 - 1982 Johann Sebastian Bach Six Partitas BWV 825-830 András Schiff, Piano Decca 411 732-2 - 1983 Johann Sebastian Bach Six Partitas BWV 825-830 András Schiff, Piano ECM 2001/2 - 2007 Johann Sebastian Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue BWV 903 Four Duets BWV 802-5 Italian Concerto in F Major BWV 971 French Overture in B Minor BWV 831 András Schiff, Piano Decca 448 908-2 - 1991 Johann Sebastian Bach Keyboard Concertos BWV 1052-1058 Chamber Orchestra of Europe András Schiff, Piano Decca 425 676-2 - 1989 Johann Sebastian Bach French Suites BWV 812-817 Joanna MacGregor, Piano Sound Circus 901 - 1993 Johann Sebastian Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988 Angela Hewitt, Piano Hyperion 67305 - 1999 Johann Sebastian Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988 Charles Rosen, Piano Sony 48173 - 1969 Johann Sebastian Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988 Rosalyn Tureck, Piano DGG 459 599-2 - 1998 Johann Sebastian Bach Keyboard Concertos BWV 1052-54-56 Violin Concerto BWV 1042 Christophe Rousset, Harpsichord Jaap Schröder, Violin The Academy of Ancient MusicChristopher Hogwood Decca 448 178-2 - 1981/94/95 Johann Sebastian Bach Partita No. 1 BWV 825 English Suite No. 3 BWV 808 French Suite No. 2 BWV 813 Maria João Pires, Piano DGG 447 894-2 - 1995 Johann Sebastian Bach Partita No. 4 BWV 828 Partita No. 6 BWV 830 Italian Concerto in F Major BWV 971 Alexis Weissenberg, Piano DGG 423 592-2 - 1987 Johann Sebastian Bach Three Partitas for Solo Violin BWV 1002-4-6 Viktoria Mullova, Violin Philips 434 075-2 - 1993 Johann Sebastian Bach Three Partitas for Solo Violin BWV 1002-4-6 Three Sonatas for Solo Violin BWV 1001-3-5 Marco Rizzi, Violin Amadeus AM 148-2 - 2000 Johann Sebastian Bach Four Orchestral Suites BWV 1066-69 Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Frans Brüggen Philips 442 151-2 - 1994 Johann Sebastian Bach Die Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080 Kenneth Gilbert, Harpsichord DGG Archiv 427 673-2 - 1987 Johann Sebastian Bach Die Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080 Emerson String Quartet DGG 474 495-2 - 2003 Johann Sebastian Bach Musikalisches Opfer BWV 1079 Ensemble Sonnerie Virgin Veritas 45139 2 - 1994 Johann Sebastian Bach Musikalisches Opfer BWV 1079 Barthold, Sigiswald & Wieland Kuijken, Robert Kohnen, Marie & Gustav Leonhardt Sony SBK 63189 - 1974 Johann Sebastian Bach Violin Concertos BWV 1041-2 Concerto for 2 Violins BWV 1043 Concerto for Oboe and Violin BWV 1060 Nigel Kennedy, Daniel Stabrawa, Violin Albrecht Mayer, Oboe Berliner Philharmoniker EMI 57016 2 - 2000 Johann Sebastian Bach Violin Concertos BWV 1041-2 Violin Concerto BWV 1056 Concerto for Oboe and Violin BWV 1060 Viktoria Mullova, Violin François Leleux, Oboe The Mullova Ensemble Philips 446 675-2 - 1995 Johann Sebastian Bach Magnificat BWV 243aCantata 'Christen, ätzet diesen Tag' BWV 63Sanctus BWV 238 Catherine Bott, Elizabeth Scholl, Soprano Paul Agnew, Andrew King, Tenor Christopher Robson, Countertenor; Michael George, Bass New London Consort Philip Pickett Decca 452 920-2 - 1995 Johann Sebastian Bach Mass in B Minor BWV 232 Felicity Lott, Soprano; Anne Sofie von Otter, Mezzo-Soprano Hans Peter Blochwitz, Tenor William Shimell, Baritone; Gwynne Howell, Bass Chicago Symphony Chorus & Orchestra Georg Solti Decca 430 353-2 - 1990 Johann Sebastian Bach Motets BWV 225-30 Kammerchor des Augsburger Domsingknaben Reinhard Kammler DHM 77436 2 - 1989 Johann Sebastian Bach Motets BWV 225-30 Cantus CöllnKonrad Junghänel DHM 77368 2 - 1997 Flac & Scans
A couple of concerto mixup stories have been making the rounds. First, for some reason, this video from 1999 recently attracted some Internet buzz. It features pianist Maria João Pires realizing only as the orchestra begins playing that they're playing a different Mozart concerto than she'd expected! The story is not told very clearly in that video, but apparently this was a sort of open dress rehearsal in front of a live audience. Pires definitely looks distressed, but the calm conductor talks her into giving it a go (they'd played the piece before and he knew it was securely in her repertoire) and she apparently came through with flying colors. So next, Norman Lebrecht posts about how the Berlin Philharmonic intentionally started in on the wrong concerto as a prank in a Prokofiev rehearsal with their concertmaster. Not too surprisingly, the violinist was able to react on a dime and come in on time with Mendelssohn's great tune, though they only play a few bars. I think even I could make it that far into the Mendelssohn concerto, albeit with my patented one-finger L.H. technique. The Lebrecht post spawned a whole series of commenters retelling other stories about concerto mixups. It's likely that most of these stories are at least partly fabricated, but that doesn't mean they're not good stories! The eminent Martin Bookspan recounts that a pianist expecting to play Beethoven's 5th sat confused waiting for the opening orchestral chord while the orchestra waited for him to begin the piano intro to Beethoven's 4th. Bookspan couldn't recall who the pianist was, which made me wonder if his story had descended from this one described by Gary Graffman regarding Rachmaninoff's second concerto (which begins with piano chords) and the "Paganini Rhapsody" (which begins with violins): "Years ago in Los Angeles I was scheduled to perform the Piano Concerto No 2. Unfortunately, my manager had told me it was the Variations. Having just arrived in the city, I dashed to the rehearsal in the morning, took my place, and waited for the downbeat of the conductor. He turned around expectantly, stared at me quizzically, and waited. I waited. He waited. I waited. Where were the violins stating the familiar theme? Finally, in a burst of excitement and confusion we untangled the misunderstanding. ‘If you are set to play the Variations we can change our program,’ the conductor soothed. ‘Oh no, it really doesn’t matter to me at all,’ I stubbornly countered, ‘I know them both equally well.’ A few hours later we performed the Concerto.”I remembered this story because I read it at least 100 times on the back of this much-loved LP that belonged to my parents. (You can read the liner notes here.) I could make the case that this is the single most important record in my own musical life, as it's the first music I really fell in love with (first the rhapsody, and then some time later when I "discovered" the other side), so perhaps it can be blamed for all the words I'm spilling here. So there's that. Both I and another commenter chimed in with an old story about a conductor surprising a soloist by giving the orchestral downbeat too soon in the Schumann concerto (in which the pianist comes in right after) with the pianist getting revenge by starting the 2nd movement before the conductor was ready. I also like the version in which the unprepared pianist manages the cascade of Schumann chords and then promptly throws up. (My wife just told me her youth orchestra conductor used to tell that version of the story as well.) But my favorite commenter story was this: ....In the cello circles the famous Wierzbiłłowicz, a heavy drinker himself, asked the conductor: what key we are in? A minor, came the reply. Unfortunately, it was Schumann, not Saint-Saens.Here's how Schumann's cello concerto begins: Here's how Saint-Saëns' begins: And here's how I'd like to think Mr. Wierzbiłłowicz's apocryphal performance might've sounded, with the soloist suddenly sobering up 10 seconds or so in: You know what? It kinda works...