The Flying Dutchman

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On May 4 and 6 (Thursday and Saturday) the St. Louis Symphony and St. Louis Symphony Chorus perform Richard Wagner’s opera Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) in its entirety. I’m very much looking forward to attending the Thursday evening performance with my mom, and I’ll be sure to tune in to the live broadcast on St. Louis Public Radio on Saturday night as well.

My notes begin on p. 25. Yes, I realize that I left a great many things out, but that’s what happens when you attempt to stick to your word count (and fail, but only mildly). I guess no one will miss my wanton gothisms.

http://tinyurl.com/mysgj9x

Walton, Nicolai, and Elgar

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This weekend, February 24 and February 25 (but not Sunday, sadly), the St. Louis Symphony and St. Louis Symphony Chorus perform William Walton’s insane and gorgeous oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast. Also on the program are Otto Nicolai’s delightfully nutty overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor and Edward Elgar’s Falstaff, a more nuanced and tragic portrait of the same Shakespearean buffoon. (Sense a literary theme here? SLSO programs are always very thoughtfully conceived, which makes writing an introduction somewhat easier.)

You can tune in to the live broadcast on St. Louis Public Radio if you can’t make it to the concert at Powell Hall tonight. The St. Louis Public Radio broadcast streams live on the website, too, starting at 8:00. Once I figure out how to make a hyperlink again, I will do it; in the meantime, Google is your good buddy. And speaking of good buddies, check out the photo I found featuring William Walton (left) with a baby koala. Baby koala doesn’t seem too impressed, but my huge love for Walton’s facial expression compensates for the fact that he is much older in this photo than he was when he composed Belshazzar’s Feast, a completely koala-free endeavor as far as I can determine.

http://tinyurl.com/hhxxrxq

My program notes are on pp. 26-30.

Two Wolfgangs

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“The Requiem is beautiful, like everything Mozart made, but it’s also profoundly scary. It sucks your measly soul into its wild dark maw and swallows it whole.”

Later today (Sunday, November 20), I’m going to see the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus perform Mozart’s Requiem, about which I am very excited. My friend Patty is singing, which is always a pleasure, and I’m going with my longtime pal Cat Pick, also always a pleasure. I didn’t write the program notes for this concert, but as it happens, I did write about Mozart’s Requiem for the Dallas Symphony a couple of seasons ago. Here’s an oldie-but-hopefully-goodie: Wolfgang Rihm’s Trio Concerto and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem. These notes were originally published in a somewhat different form, in the spring of 2015, but I hold the copyright, so here they are in their original incarnation.

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Vaughan Williams, Berg, Holst

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On May 6 and May 7, the St. Louis Symphony and St. Louis Symphony Chorus performed Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Flos Campi, Alban Berg’s Altenberg Lieder (with special guest soprano Christine Brewer), and Gustav Holst’s The Planets. That’s Holst in the photo. I feel tenderly disposed toward him because I am also extremely myopic.

My notes begin on p. 26:
http://tinyurl.com/z6y4rt8

 

Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette

 

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Way back in mid-March, the St. Louis Symphony performed Hector Berlioz’s magnificent and underperformed dramatic symphony Roméo et Juliette. I wrote about it here (my annotations begin on p. 26).

The painting, by the way, is by the English pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse, from 1898. It’s not as old as Berlioz’s musical work, but I think it captures the spirit.

http://tinyurl.com/z2uz6zy

Wagner’s Parsifal (selections) and Beethoven’s Ninth

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On October 9, 10, and 11, the St. Louis Symphony and St. Louis Symphony Chorus perform Beethoven’s Ninth (and final) Symphony, preceded by selections from Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal. I write about the two works here (my essay begins on p. 25):

http://tinyurl.com/o7gs4ga

All-Beethoven program at the St. Louis Symphony

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It has been a terribly long time since I have updated my blog. I have been writing a lot of program notes–mostly for the Dallas Symphony, and more on that in a future post–but I haven’t been blogging, and I apologize to the half-dozen or so of you that follow my lame ass.

My lameness aside, I am very, very excited about this weekend’s upcoming performance by the St. Louis Symphony. As most of you know, two of the pieces on this program, Three Equali for Four Trombones and the Mass in C, are very rarely performed. The St. Louis Symphony, in fact, hasn’t ever performed either of them. (The other piece, Symphony No. 8, is performed far more often but still not as often as many of his other symphonies: the even-number curse, perhaps.)

Without further ado, here is a link to my notes on the program. I’m also including a link to a profile on St. Louis Symphony Chorus Director Amy Kaiser, which I also wrote. Ms. Kaiser is celebrating her twentieth-anniversary season with the symphony this year, and we are all very grateful to her for making the Chorus one of the best in the country.

The St. Louis Symphony performs this all-Beethoven program on January 23 and January 24:

http://www.stlsymphony.org/globalassets/connect-files/sls-jan15-insert2-4-final.pdf

An interview with Amy Kaiser, St. Louis Symphony Chorus Director:

http://www.playbillarts.com/features/article/8850.html

 

Brahms/Glanert and Brahms

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On October 4 and October 5, 2014, the St. Louis Symphony performs Four Serious Songs, by Johannes Brahms, with linking preludes and a postlude by the 21st-century composer Detlev Glanert, who also arranged the songs for orchestra.  After the intermission, the St. Louis Symphony Chorus joins the orchestra for Brahms’s sublime A German Requiem. Markus Stenz conducts, and the soprano Carolyn Sampson and the bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi are the soloists. The program is here:

https://www.stlsymphony.org/globalassets/connect-files/sls-oct14-insert1-4-final.pdf

(My notes begin on p. 26.)