Gurre-Lieder at the ORG, March 29, 2009

March 23rd, 2009 · < mtheo >

“Many people came to the first performance ready to whistle on their house keys (the traditional Viennese method of expressing public displeasure), but the house keys were not used: people wept and cheered, and Schoenberg received an ovation that lasted a quarter of an hour.”

CHARLES ROSEN on the première
of Songs of Gurre, February 23, 1913

M. Theo’s mixed-media presentation of Arnold Schönberg’s Songs of Gurre returns to Berkeley on the last Sunday of March, courtesy of composer Bill Ludtke’s splendid ORG Salon Concerts series. Some consider this immense song cycle (calling for orchestral, choral, and solo resources well beyond those of Mahler’s symphony “of a thousand”) the pinnacle of Romanticism in music. I am one of them. I also consider it the great critique of, and antidote to, Romanticism. Since this work is so rarely performed, I’ve made a practice of presenting it every few years in recorded form, under conditions as close to ideal as I can muster: comfortable hall, excellent sound system, with synchronized German text and updated translation on screen – legibly! – synchronized to the music. I’ll introduce the cycle with plenty of little-known background that will enhance the encounter with the music for first-timer and old hand alike. For further information please contact me by email or phone (see the flyer thumbnailed above). The ORG is at 2601 Durant Avenue, at the corner of Bowditch Street – right across the street from Hotel Durant and Henry’s Publick House. Hope to see you there!

Read it and weep

February 23rd, 2009 · < mtheo >

Eric Felten has a splendid piece on the abhorrent farce of an “all-star quartet” going through the motions at the inauguration last month. I find it pretty dang hard to maintain any respect for these eminent folks, but my distress isn’t going to make a dent in the cash that just keeps rolling in.

Now available at kusf-archives.com…

February 23rd, 2009 · < mtheo >

Classics without walls has joined the estimable roster of programs archived at the estimable kusf-archives.com. Whether the show itself is estimable is known only to you. Check out the variety of KUSF New Music programming as well as a sampling of cultural shows, all characterized by a high degree of nift.

Playlist #879: 2009-02-16

February 16th, 2009 · < Renée >
Michael Praetorius: Dances from Terpsichore (excerpts) (1612)
New London Consort / Philip Pickett cond (L’Oiseau Lyre 153566)
John Adams: Phrygian Gates (1977)
John Novacek pf (Nonesuch 79699)

John Adams: Road Movies (1995)
Leila Josefowicz vn / John Novacek pf (Nonesuch 79699)

Michael Praetorius: Dances from Terpsichore (excerpts) (1612)
New London Consort / Philip Pickett cond (L’Oiseau Lyre 153566)

Playlist #877: 2009-02-02

February 3rd, 2009 · < mtheo & renée >
Gustav Charpentier: Depuis le jour, from Louise (1899)
Leontyne Price sop / RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra / Francesco Molinari-Pradelli cond (Aria, RCA 6587-2-RC)
Aaron Copland: Concerto for clarinet and string orchestra, with harp and piano (1947-1948)
Stanley Drucker cl / New York Philharmonic / Leonard Bernstein cond (Deutsche Grammophon 183588)
Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude and fugue no. 1 in C major BWV 870, from The Well-tempered clavier, book 2 (1738)
Keith Jarrett hp (ECM 1433/3 847 936-2)
Arnold Schönberg: Gurre-Lieder: “Der Hahn erhebt den Kopf zur Kraht” (1900/1911)
Chor des NDR Hamburg / Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Operachor der Stültischen Bühnen Frankfurt a.M. / Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt / Eliahu Inbal cond (PCM/Denon 81757 9066 2)
Fritz Kreisler: Praeludium and allegro in the style of Pugnani (1910)
William Primrose va / Franz Rupp pf (Pearl GEMM 9253)
Alexander Scriabin: Piano Sonata no. 4, F sharp minor, op. 30 (1903)
Robert Taub pf (Harmonia Mundi 90011)

Playlist #876: 2009-01-26

January 26th, 2009 · < mtheo >
Johannes Brahms: Sonata for violoncello and piano in F major, op. 99 (1886)
Jacqueline DuPr vc / Daniel Barenboim pf (EMI CDM 7 63298 2, rec. 1968)
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata for pianoforte solo in A-flat major, op.110 (1822)
Bruce Hungerford pf (Vanguard VCS 10055, rec. 1969)

Playlist #874: 2009-01-12

January 12th, 2009 · < Renée >
John Field: Nocturne no. 2 in C minor (1812)
John O’Conor pf (Telarc CD-80199)
John Harbison: Oboe concerto (1990-91)
William Bennett ob / San Francisco Symphony / Herbert Blomstedt cond (London 443 346-2)
Arnold Schoenberg: Chamber symphony no. 2 (1906/1939)
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / John/dt>
Craig Randal Johnson pf (Tonttu)
Toru Takemitsu: From me flows what you call time (1990)
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Andrew Davis cond (BBC Music Magazine v. 2, no. 11)
Igor Stravinsky: Suite from l’histoire du soldat (1920)
Strata (James Stern vn / Nathan Williams cl / Audrey Andrist pf (Arizona University Recordings 3097)
Einojuhani Rautavaara:Pelimannit (Fiddlers), op. 1 (1953)
Craig Randal Johnson (Tonttu)

Playlist #872: 2008-12-29

December 29th, 2008 · < Renée >
Christian Lindberg: Of blood so red (Av blod sa rott)
Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Christian Lindberg cond (BIS-CD-1658)
Johannes Brahms: Violin sonata no. 2 in A major, op. 100
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg vn / Cecile Licad pf (EMI 7-49410- 2)
Bill Evans: Re: person I knew and time remembered
Kronos Quartet (David Harrington vn / John Sherba vn / Hank Dutt va / Joan Jeanrenaud vc) (Landmark 1510-2)

Playlist #870: 2008-12-15

December 15th, 2008 · < mtheo >
John Field: Nocturne no. 2 in C minor (1812)
John O’Conor pf (Telarc CD-80199)
John Harbison: Oboe concerto (1990-91)
William Bennett ob / San Francisco Symphony / Herbert Blomstedt cond (London 443 346-2)
Arnold Schoenberg: Chamber symphony no. 2 (1906/1939)
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / John Mauceri cond (London 448 619-2)
John Field: Nocturne no. 1 in E-flat major (1812)
John O’Conor pf (Telarc CD-80199)

Playlist #866: 2008-11-17

November 17th, 2008 · < Renée >
Henry Wolff: Ascension of the subtle body
Henry Wolff tin’sha bells / Nancy Hennings singing bowl, thilbu (Celestial Harmonies 13027-2)
Peter Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence, op. 70
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Gerard Korsten cond (Deutsche Grammophon D 110467)
Jake Heggie: Winter Roses: Three Songs
Frederica von Stade ms / Jake Heggie pf (Flesh and Stone, Songs of Jake Heggie) (Classical Action)
John Cage: Ryoanji
Jeffrey Krieger elec vc (CRI 750)