Some people eat cereal for breakfast, others consume Bach in the morning, often for much longer than people take to eat their meal.
Just five months before Eliot Carter passed away on November 5, Carter met with cellist Alisa Weilerstein at his home in New York City. At the ripe old age of 103, Carter was full of energy and is refreshing to see in this video.
Tortelier was quite the character.
Sometimes I hear people say that some rock musicians are geniuses akin to Mozart and Bach. Don’t get me wrong, I love rock music a lot. But let’s get some perspective here people, because the word ‘genius’ is way overused. Mozart and Einstein were geniuses. And so was Bach, as displayed here in this analysis of the opening canons from Bach’s Musical Offering (1747), written three years before his death.
There have been some high profile celebrations in recent years of composers to mark both their birth and death years. In 2006 there was the sestercentennial of Mozart’s birth, the bicentennial in 2011 of Liszt’s birth, the sesquicentennial of Mahler’s birth in 2010 and also the centennial of his death in 2011. And these are just in recent years. Yesterday was the sesquicentennial of Debussy’s birthday and there has not been much of a global celebration for this event. This is quite odd, considering Debussy’s place in the pantheon of classical composers. I’ve heard more about this in the form of columns complaining about the lack of focus of this birthday than actual events covering Debussy’s music. Why is this?
WQXR radio in New York City has an interesting interview with the pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Debussy’s importance.
The violinist Ruggiero Ricci died today at the age of 94. The passing of any great musician is always a sad day for me. Not only was Ricci a legendary performer with an amazing sense of technique that showed through his performances of Paganini and other extremely difficult works, he was also an outstanding teacher.
A wonderful little video of Carnegie Hall’s opening concert in 1891 with the conductor Walter Damrosch and none other than Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky himself. My dream volunteer job has always been to work in an archive such as Carnegie Hall’s. When I was a student at Kneisel Hall in Blue Hill, Maine in the early 90s, my scholarship job was working in the festival’s archives. The archive contained documents from the festival’s founder Franz Kneisel as well as Fritz Kreisler, Pierre Monteux, Henry Krehbiel and much, much more, all who were summer residents of Blue Hill. There was everything from edited scores, concert programs, letters, photographs and more. I particular loved seeing pictures of Kneisel, Kreisler and Krehbiel playing cards outside on a sunny day in Blue Hill. I could stay in there all day looking over forgotten history.
It’s still sad that if you ask 97% of people today, they probably have never heard of Mahler. Some may recognize the Adagietto from the 5th symphony, but still small numbers.
Igor Stravinsky’s final performance of The Firebird suite with the New Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
At the New Yorker’s website, very nice photo gallery of the Steinway piano factory in Astoria, Queens.
Here’s a very interesting video from 1949 made by the United States Information Services. There are lots of very interesting footage of Serge Koussevitzky conducting and coaching sessions with Aaron Copland, Gregor Piatigorsky and more. I haven’t been back to Tanglewood since being a student there in 1987. But comparing the footage in this video to what I experienced, it doesn’t look to have changed much in the 38 years in-between. I do know that Tanglewood has added new structures since 1987, but really hope they preserve as much of the original structures as they can.
As a 17-year old, Tanglewood was, and in many ways still is, one of the defining parts of my life. I haven’t been back to Lenox, Massachusetts since, but plan to relatively soon. Now Tanglewood is releasing historic recordings from its archive of concerts at Tanglewood as part of its 75th anniversary celebration of performing there. Here’s to hoping concerts from the summer of 1987 are made available, the year it celebrated its 50th anniversary.
An absolutely amazing performance on organ/synthesizer of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra (Finale) by Weicheng Zhao. I would think Hollywood studio musicians should fear this man, as he could be a one-man movie soundtrack.