In the Conservatory

Featured Performances: A Glorious Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem ∙ hr-Sinfonieorchester ∙ MDR-Rundfunkchor ∙ Solisten ∙ David Zinman

I don’t usually think of the Brahms as “glorious” — “glorious” would apply to a superb performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and the immaculately trained Chorus in that (singing with perfect intonation) — but “glorious” is indeed how this performance feels to me at times with this stellar Orchestra and Chorus, when they nearly bring tears to my eyes from their choral excellence, and brings back memories of my Orchestra Chorus experience when we performed the Brahms when I was in the Choral Arts Society of Washington (that performance was with The Cleveland Orchestra in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall) and also with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (Davies Symphony Hall). Read article here.

The Lully Te Deum performed by Collegium 1704 and Vocale 1704, conducted by Václav Luks (they’re from the Czech Republic): One of my favourite pieces. It’s for Double Chorus. Sometimes the Chorus is visibly split but in this performance it is not, unless you say it’s split with the Children’s Chorus in the middle. The video of their performance is on a third-party site so I’m not embedding the video because I don’t want the copyright nazis at G**gle to delete it, so you can watch the performance here. There’s not much information about the performance. I don’t have any information about the trebles (boys with girl choristers). Perhaps they are from the parish or cathedral church where the performance took place. It’s quite a setting. It’s a superb performance. Most, if not all, of the soloists are from the Chorus as it should be. They blend their voices beautifully together, which I rarely say about any other soloists, especially soloists dragged in to symphonic choral performances from the screaming opera genre who seem to have never been trained how to blend one’s voice with another voice. All they seem to know how to do is to scream over each other, with few exceptions to that. Sad. Václav always selects the best soloists. His musicians are genuine artists, as is he. He’s a wonderful musician and I think he would be a pleasure to work with.

The Oslo Philharmonic’s outstanding Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2 in e minor

Yes, you can turn off vocal vibrato. Real musicians do it all the time. As heard in this performance of Zelenka’s Missa Omnium Sanctorum by Collegium 1704, conducted by Václav Luks.

Read article here.

Collegium 1704 perform Zelenka’s Missa Divi Xaverii conducted by Václav Luks

Read article here.

Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat major, with pianist François-Frédéric Guy, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, conducted by Adrien Perruchon

Read article here.

Here are two interviews with Nicolas Baldeyrou, Principal Clarinetist of L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He played in the above performance of the Brahms:

Ravel: Concerto pour piano en sol majeur (Ingo Metzmacher/Francesco Piemontesi)

Read article here.

The Encore: Debussy’s Clair de Lune. I forgot to mention that after his performance of the Ravel, Francesco’s encore was the well-known piece Clair de Lune (which translates as Light of the Moon or Moonlight) by Debussy. It’s the third movement from his Suite Bergamasque. I’m glad he played it because I don’t think it could be better played than the way Francesco played it here (video below). His playing of this piece was also aided by the Hamburg Steinway & Sons’s Model D piano he was playing. The orchestral musicians seemed to enjoy it by the looks on their faces. The Debussy begins at around 23.50 into the video. And what was with some in this audience? There were school kids on the front row — nice that they could be there — and some of them seemed to be sleeping, including the girl sitting about a foot away from Francesco. Perhaps the performance was at night and they had had a long day and were tired, and they found the music very soothing and comforting. The most annoying person in the audience was that woman with short hair and glasses and a floral shirt whose face could be seen at the keyboard end of the piano. She was sitting on the second row. What was her head trip? She was damn annoying. She was laughing and talking and doing other annoying gestures all during the performance of the Ravel. It appeared that the guy she was there with was the real “entertainment” for her and not the superb musicians on stage. At one point she had to put her hand over her mouth (laughing). Whatever he was saying, she listened attentively. Often when Francesco was playing she wasn’t even looking at him. Loca./Crazy. One sensed her friend was doing “commentary” throughout the performance and she found it all funny. What is funny about the Ravel Piano Concerto in G? People like that are damn annoying and need to learn concert etiquette. If you have something to say to the person next to you, take the pen that you brought with you per concert etiquette and write your comments in the margins of your programme and covertly slide it over to the person for them to read. That way you are being considerate of others who came there for the performance, and not for you to ruin it for them with your talking, laughing, giggling and other childish, inconsiderate gestures. What is wrong with people today? Sigh. Nobody has that much time!

Liszt – Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S.125

Read article here.

Mendelssohn: Elias – Radio Filharmonisch Orkest en Groot Omroepkoor

Read article here.

Girasol Amarillo
La amapola de California

Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus 2020-21 season. Read article here.

The Kennedy Center’s National Symphony Orchestra cancels most of their 2020-21 season. This is bad news for the areas Orchestra Choruses — the Choral Arts Society of Washington, The Washington Chorus and the University of Maryland Concert Choir — but I support the NSO’s decision due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read article here.

Is their life worth it? It was disturbing and concerning for me to see one of my favourite orchestras in the EU back to performing so soon (mid June 2020). They’ve uploaded 12 videos of pieces from their recent performances. Plenty of opportunities to get infected with COVID-19. Read article here.

What’s the difference between the Church Choir and the Orchestra Chorus? Read article here.

What are Orchestra Choruses and Church Choirs going to do in the age of COVID-19? If you haven’t heard, singing is one of the ways that COVID-19 infection is spread, along with not wearing a facial mask and not social distancing. Read article here.

KCSM’s Latin Jazz Programme. Shouldn’t a Latin Jazz programme sound Latin throughout? Read article here.

Stupid is in. Why is it that the BBC never can get it correct? They’ve been doing this how long? And still haven’t gotten a clue for what makes the best performance in a musical sense. Read article here.

The Conductor was born in Colombia? And that’s important, is it? Read article here.

What’s more difficult: Tech training or Music Training? Read article here.

An Orchestra of one. To some people, there’s only one musician on stage. Read article here.

The piano fell off the stage? It was for a performance of one of the Brahms’s Piano Concerti in Deútschland. Read article here.

The Greatest Pianist. How on Earth would one determine that? Read article here.