Mackey, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky

1453131486_55365(I love this photograph so, so much: wretched old dreamer Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky, on a settee, flanked by well-upholstered, waistcoated, pocket-watch-flaunting grandees. Apologies to possible copyright holders; I’ll take it down if you like, or attribute credit if you send me the information. This photo must date to about 1890, or so; Tchaikovsky died at 53 on November 6, 1893, after possibly contracting cholera on purpose.)

This weekend Music Director David Robertson leads the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in works by Mackey, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky, with special guest piano virtuosa Orli Shaham performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. If you can’t make it to one of the performances at Powell Hall—and good tickets are still available! —be sure to tune in to the live broadcast on St. Louis Public Radio, which begins at 8:00 pm CST. Here’s the website to listen if you want to hear this gorgeous (Russian-ish) program but can’t make it to Powell Hall in St. Louis: http://news.stlpublicradio.org/#stream/0

My notes can be found here.
http://tinyurl.com/yd8kv4md

 

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Berlioz, Khachaturian, Walton

Aram Khachaturian

This weekend, the St. Louis Symphony performs works by Hector Berlioz, Aram Khachaturian (pictured), and William Walton. If you can’t make it to Powell Hall this weekend, be sure to tune in to St. Louis Public Radio for the broadcast or live stream, which begins at 8:00 CST.

My program notes can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/yclyk2up

Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Rouse

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This weekend the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin, performs works by Chopin (pictured above), Rachmaninoff, and Rouse.

If you can’t make it to one of the performances at Powell Hall–and good tickets are still available!–be sure to tune in to the live broadcast on St. Louis Public Radio, which begins at 8:00 pm CST.

My notes can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/y9wkbeoy

So Much Mozart!

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I wrote about a slew of Mozart pieces for three all-Mozart concerts performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, starting with opening weekend (this weekend, in fact!). There’s still plenty of time to get tickets to all the upcoming performances, which feature pianist Emanuel Ax.

On Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 (“Jupiter”), the overture to Le Nozze di Figaro, and Piano Concertos Nos. 19 and 27. (My notes begin on p. 24.)

https://tinyurl.com/yc8sy85h

On Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, the overture to Così fan tutte, and Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 14. (My notes begin on p . 24.)

http://tinyurl.com/ycume5df

On Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Piano Concertos No. 16 and 17, and the overture to Don Giovanni (My notes begin on p. 32.)

http://tinyurl.com/ya8zb5yq

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.

Dvořák, Adams, Korngold

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On January 13-15, 2017, the St. Louis Symphony performs Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”) preceded by John Adams’s Chairman Dances and Erich Korngold’s Violin Concerto (with soloist Gil Shaham). My program notes begin on p. 30. Please excuse the typos (“Move Motives” should be “Movie Motives” in the heading, and “staticy” should be spelled “staticky.”) Also, this photo of Dvořák was taken a few years after he completed the symphony, but I prefer it to more contemporaneous images because I like his stance and his pleasant but distant expression. With his fancy watch chain, velvet smoking jacket, and slight avoirdupois, the Proud Bohemian looks quite pleased with himself, and why wouldn’t he be?

http://tinyurl.com/hzae5w7

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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Leonard Slatkin Returns!

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Here I am in front of an old German poster at the wonderful City Museum, in St. Louis.

This weekend (November 11 through November 13), Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin returns to the St. Louis Symphony for a program featuring Barber, Copland, Gershwin, and a recent, deeply personal original composition about his late parents. My program notes begin on p. 33 this time (I didn’t write the Youth Orchestra notes that precede them).

http://tinyurl.com/jufl45t

Brahms Reimagined

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Arnold Schoenberg, self-portrait

“Mysteries conceal a truth, but direct curiosity to unveil it.”—Arnold Schoenberg, “Brahms the Progressive”

I wrote about the “Brahms Reimagined” program for the St. Louis Symphony concerts of October 28 and 29, with special guest pianist Jeremy Denk, who performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23. Also on the program are Liszt’s Prometheus and Schoenberg’s orchestration of Brahms’s Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 25.

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