Tortelier was quite the character.
Posts from the ‘Video’ Category
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.
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.
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.
The Atlantic has an interesting video of two ballet dancers taking the viewer through a dance routine and what is required to put on such a performance. The camera angles range from viewing the dance from afar to right on their body and getting a feeling for what they see as they dance. A unique perspective.
Here is an Edison phonograph recording of Tchaikovsky, Anton Rubinstein and others speaking into an Edison phonograph cylinder in 1890. I believe this is the only recording of Tchaikovsky known to exist.
Until now, the Berlin Philharmonic’s performance last year of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion was available only to subscribers of their Digital Concert Hall. As a subscriber, I’ve watched it a couple of times, all 3-plus hours of it being worth every minute. Now the Philharmonic has made the performance available on DVD and Blue-ray at their online shop.
The performance is as close to an opera as you’ll get by Bach and the staging is certainly unconventional. The stage direction is by Peter Sellars and the orchestra is of course conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the orchestras’s director. NPR’s ‘Deceptive Cadence’ describes the performance:
Director Peter Sellars doesn’t consider what he’s done with Bach’s version of the Passion story narrative theater. Instead, Sellars thinks of his “ritualization” as more of a prayer or a meditation. He had the chorus, vocal soloists and even some of the Berlin Philharmonic players memorize the piece, freeing them from their sheet music to become actors in the story.
The musicians “aren’t performing out, but they’re performing in — to each other,” Sellars says in an video interview. “And what you’re getting is a community engaging with itself, and you’re watching a community work through issues together.”
As Bach’s opening waves of sound pour out with a double chorus singing “Come ye daughters, share my mourning,” the choristers themselves are walking dejectedly about the stage, heads lowered in grief. In the aria “Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder,” there’s a face-off between bass Thomas Quasthoff, who pleads “Give me back my Lord,” and violinist Daishin Kashimoto, whose agitated runs mimic Quasthoff’s frustration.
I just had to share this here. Music can help heal or at least temporarily heal the mind in difficult times both physically and mentally. Oliver Sacks shows how music lights a man who has been in a nursing home for ten years and has barely responded beyond yes or no questions. Watch how he describes and sings about the music he loves.
In Morley Safer’s tribute to Mike Wallace on CBS news this past weekend, it was mentioned that of all of Wallace’s interviews, his favorite was with the pianist Vladimir Horowitz, of which they only show a very brief clip of. However WQXR Radio has posted on their website a series of interviews with musicians Wallace interviewed throughout his career. They post interviews with Vladimir Horowitz in 1977, Maria Callas in 1973 and Luciano Pavarotti in 1993 and 2003.
I think it’s safe to say that there are no major journalists today that interview high profile classical musicians with any regularity any more. Johnny Carson had musicians on all the time and of course Mike Wallace. But I can’t recall anyone today young enough that actively pursues interviews with, say, Hilary Hahn (Conan O’Brian excepted), Yo-Yo Ma, Gustavo Dudamel and so on.
Here is the 1977 interview with Horowitz:
Here are some more Wallace interviews with other musicians:
- Victor Borge & Franz Liszt (comedy routine, circa 1960)
- Oscar Hammerstein II (1958)
- Maria Callas part 1 | part 2 (1973)
- Luciano Pavarotti (2003)
A much larger collection of Mike Wallace interviews can be found at The University of Texas School of Information’s website The Mike Wallace Interview.