Announcing Honors For Black and Women Composers

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The Pulitzer Prizes were announced last Friday, with many honors for Boston-based journalists and Tania León (b. in Cuba, 1943) winning the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her New York Philharmonic commission Stride.

The 15-minute orchestral showpiece premiered at David Geffen Hall on February 13, 2020; it is the second piece to be premiered from the New York Philharmonic’s Project 19, which commissions 19 women to compose works marking the centenary of the 19th Amendment (which gave American women the right to vote). HERE. For short interviews with the composer, to see the prize-winning work in rehearsal, click HERE.

Pianist Jihye Chang, a passionate champion of new music, played Léon’s Tumbao (2005) at BoCo’s Seully Hall last year. [BMInt review HERE]

The Boston Art Song Society presented her five Atwood Songs this March, HERE, and the socially distanced NEC Philharmonia, directed by Tristan Rais-Sherman just played her Indígena (1991) in Jordan Hall last month HERE. [continued…]

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Live Music Resuming Unevenly

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Recent prospectuses from Boston Baroque [HERE] and the Celebrity Series [HERE] carry both direct salutary messages and implied depressing news for the resumption of in-person concert life next season. Yes, Anne Sofie von Otter, Brooklyn Rider, Danish String Quartet, Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and like celebrities will be making welcome reappearances. And yes, Boston Baroque will bring back Handel’s Royal Fireworks and Messiah — but, in the latter case, to a recording studio rather than Jordan Hall. Covid protocols and/or covid angst remain potent; the double whammy forces some presenters to engage alternative venues.

How depressing that Jordan Hall, Sanders Theater, and Kresge Auditorium, upon orders from their parent institutions, have absented themselves from outside presenters’ concerts for another season. NEC, Harvard, and MIT apparently have concluded that their students’ health requires this. As of yesterday, MIT, for instance, continues to restrict access to campus buildings to members of their community who are “authorized to access campus using Covid Pass, with regular testing and attestation required.”  And even though these restrictions may lift before the fall, booking logistics mean many favorite halls will remain out of reach to presenters.

Beyond the various churches in which concerts sometimes take place, only Symphony Hall, Berklee Performance Center, and Longy’s Pickman Hall have chosen to welcome concerts by outside presenters.

President Karen Zorn told BMInt: “Longy has upheld its agreement for space with the Celebrity Series. They have their usual access to Pickman for the upcoming year. In fact, we even offered them additional space during the pandemic. We think that presenting organizations are an important part of the artistic ecosystem and we have worked hard to be a good partner throughout this whole pandemic ordeal. [continued…]

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BLO Blazes New Media Path

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Just as the reopening from the pandemic begins, Boston Lyric Opera will debut perhaps the most fully realized covid-coping online production we have yet screened. The company’s eight-part miniseries desert in begins its serialization on June 3rd via BLO’s operabox.tv through branded apps on the Apple, Google, Amazon, and Roku platforms. Seven subsequent episodes will appear throughout the month. By July the entire set can be binged.

No mere shrunken adaptation of some predictable grand opera, desert in places viewers within surrealistically louche and fashionably transgressive stories of the “romances, shamanic rituals, and a roiling spiritual world at a handsomely imagined motel.”

The co-production with Long Beach Opera looks like a clever amalgam of Menotti tv operas, MGM musicals, and Breaking Bad. Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, soprano Talise Trevigne, baritone Davone Tines, and cabaret artist Justin Vivian Bond headline a diverse cast of actors and singers. Led by Pulitzer winner Ellen Reid, eight composers set interlocking stories from rising and veteran screenwriters headed by lauded playwright christopher oscar peña. A team of directors realized the visual world imagined by opera and film director James Darrah. The complete show details are HERE.

BMInt discussed the production with BLO Music Director David Angus. [continued…]

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WHRB Commemorates Again

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The David Elliott Memorial Orgy (1942-2020), so greatly acclaimed when first broadcast over WHRB on December 24, 2020, will repeat this Friday from 10 am to 8 pm. The Orgy commemorates the 58 years David served as voice of Harvard Radio, and weaves together iconic and beloved moments at WHRB that tell a story of the station’s longtime mentor, host, and friend. Listeners and WHRB alumni (“ghosts”) also comment throughout. The Orgy is in nine sections: Early Years, Classical Music Relations, WHRB Historian and Community Keeper, Harvard Broadcasts, Special Programs, Love of Opera, and Holiday Broadcasts. Again, the repeat broadcast of this memorial is slated for Friday, May 28 from 10 am to 8 pm on WHRB, 95.3 FM and streaming HERE.

[continued…]

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Harmony and Autonomous Form

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Colleges and conservatories still may offer courses on Harmony (as distinguished from Counterpoint), or more likely “theory” — but music students anywhere are very lucky if they get more than one full year of written “theory” of any kind, and harmony might be a part of that. I had two full years of Harmony in college and have made a career studying it ever since; yet when, in 1978, I revised Walter Piston’s classic textbook, Harmony, after his death, my friend Arthur Komar, a Schenker theorist (he wrote a short and crystalline book, Theory of Suspensions), asked me, “Why beat a dead horse?” Well, there are a few reasons. What I offer here is that harmony involves specific entities, which actually can exist as musical quantities and not mere abstract concepts. [continued…]

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Organ Edifice Commemorates

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The Methuen Memorial Music Hall, home of The Great Organ, America’s first concert organ, is celebrating two milestones this month. May marks the 75th anniversary of the 1946 acquisition and incorporation of the hall as a nonprofit educational and cultural center. And on May 19th, Michael Hey, associate Director of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, and a well-known concert organist, will play the first program in the Music Hall’s 75th summer recital series. Recitals will be live streamed on YouTube each Wednesday evening at 7:30 PM EDT through August 25th HERE.

Over the years, the organ and the Hall have had their ups and downs. Commissioned at the behest of members of the Harvard Musical Association for the Boston Music Hall, the organ was built by E. F. Walcker & Cie. of Ludwigsburg, Germany and inaugurated to great acclaim in 1863. Newspapers throughout the country reported its, arrival, installation, and dedication [See Dwight’s “Journal of Music” Account HERE]. But as often happens, today’s musical celebrity becomes tomorrow’s musical has-been. [continued…]

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Resurrecting La Resurrezione

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We identify with readers for whom Handel’s (then Händel’s) La Resurrezione evokes no associations. According to the Emmanuel Music publicist, the brilliant oratorio, or semi-opera, which traces the mystical events that occurred between Good Friday and Easter, premiered during the Easter season of 1708 in Rome in an elaborate staging: “The young Saxon Georg Friederich Händel dazzled with his colorful orchestration and vivid storytelling.”

On May 15th, YouTube will begin transmitting stage director Nathan Troup’s theatrical resurrection from the dark recesses and commanding architecture of Boston’s Emmanuel Church. Read Ellen Harris’s informative essay “An Easter Extravaganza” about the work and the composer in the era before he lost his umlaut. Emmanuel Music’s YouTube link is HERE.

BMInt posed some questions for Emmanuel Music’s artistic director and conductor Ryan Turner and the staging and video director Nathan Troup.

FLE: Why did you choose this particular piece, and how did you work with Nathan Troup in coming up with a dramatic visual concept.

RT: Ten years ago Michael Beattie introduced me to this early Handel oratorio. I’ve always been enamored with Handel’s works from his time in Italy when he was in his 20s — such imagination exploration, testing the limits of his performers and creating orchestral colors unheard of. Oddly enough, with no chorus, it always seemed too modest for our audiences. In the pandemic, it feels extravagant! [continued…]

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Martin Bookspan, 1926-2021

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Today brought news of the death at age 94 of Martin Bookspan. Fresh out of Harvard and after three years announcing on the University’s WHRB, he became a founding announcer for a newly established classical radio station in Boston. I first heard him there in my seventh or eighth year.

For the price of a return stamp, the burgeoning WBMS would mail a tiny program listing, printed one or two weeks ahead; that’s how I learned of the broadcast of Firebird that frightened me [see my posting HERE]; I was also intrigued by a mysterious listing, something by Ravel I didn’t even know about: “Concerto for the Left Hand.” I won’t forget a piano melody that introduced Martin Bookspan’s hours on WBMS; he didn’t identify it, and it wasn’t until years later that I finally learned it was: Beethoven’s Bagatelle in E-flat Major, op. 33, no. 1. But that gentle, authoritative announcer’s voice remained in my memory for more than 70 years as a firm anchor to classical listening. Station WBMS didn’t last very  long in the competitive AM market, maybe up to about 1949 when LP records started appearing; Bookspan himself eventually went to New York, WQXR, and “Live From Lincoln Center.” In the 1990s I met him in person, at the New York Philharmonic, or at a meeting of the American Musicological Society. He smiled warmly when I recalled WBMS. Then I reminded him that my father-in-law, Wilfred Mirsky, had been his Hebrew-school teacher; he hadn’t forgotten that, either. “Brought classical music to many,” the Globe’s obit headline read, and for some, that meant the beginning of a career as well.

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Newport Music Festival To Resume In-Person Concerts

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Seventeen moderate-length outdoor concerts, running from July 4-20 at historic mansions and venues in Newport, including the Breakers, Bellevue House, Castle Hill Inn, the Chanler at Cliff Walk, King Park, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and Rough Point, will constitute the 53rd season for the festival. The complete listing follows BMInt’s interview with the new executive and artistic director Gillian Friedman Fox.

FLE: Many of our readers go way back with the Newport Music Festival Concerts, for so many years dominated by the Malkovich family; it’s interesting that only now, some four years after Mark IV retired, do I see their imprint fading. Every concert used to have a cutesy title like Bach to Bach or Gesualdo Saves. I find it refreshing that you don’t seem to be going for that marketing device.

GFF: We’re looking to define the Newport Music Festival with, for want of a better word, an added level of sophistication while still being approachable. But in terms of marketing, for a really long time we were a festival for those in the know. Now we’re looking to be a lot more equitable in the way that we market and reach out.  We plan to make sure that folks from all over the greater Boston area, and indeed, all over the country are aware what we’re doing and find it interesting enough to travel for it.

There was a time, maybe 20 or 30 years ago, when the New York Times was covering Newport, in part because a lot of the concerts introduced famous Eastern European artists. There was a buzz about these discoveries. Mark Malkovich III had his coterie of fans and his cohort of artists, and he also cared a lot about unearthing unusual and forgotten repertoire.  But there were multiple audiences at Newport concerts: there were the tourists who just came to see the houses and lined up to buy tickets on the actual concert days, there were elders bused in from assisted living facilities, and there were the cognoscenti. So you had three or four completely different audiences with different expectations and different levels of sophistication.  Does that still obtain? Apparently, you are less interested in putting forward unusual repertoire and having quite so much control over programming.
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Fuguing after Beethoven

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Notwithstanding that Beethoven had mounted a successful and indeed monumental challenge to the fugal legacy of J. S. Bach, the fugue as a musical genre — we can even call it a form — was already rapidly dying off as a subject of interest for composers by 1800, except perhaps in sacred choral music, where the form remained viable (the final “Amen” in the Gloria of the Mass Ordinary, for example). Beethoven’s fugues in op. 106 (“Hammerklavier”), 110, 120 (Ninth Symphony), and 131 are all triumphal, decisively enlarging the scope of what Bach left, but they are also culminant. Nobody else dared to try very much for a while, at least, in the 19th century. Schubert occasionally indulged — in the Mass in A-flat Major, D 678 (two versions), in the finale of the F Minor Fantasy for piano four hands, D 940, and a few isolated examples which are all rather dry and “old style,” notably in the clumsy fugato finale of the otherwise magnificent “Wanderer” Fantasy, op. 15, D 760 — an example of “a composer who has lost his way,” as Robert Bailey put it. [continued…]

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A Basic Necessity

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Melodic variation happens all the time; it’s one of the basic necessities in music. But variation in the sense of “theme and variations” is more particular. “Variations,” plural, began with the diferencias of the 16th-century Spanish lutenists, and grew from there to be a mainstay form of Baroque and Classical composers, fading out (with many wonderful exceptions) after Beethoven. When we hear the term “theme and variations” today we mostly are aware of variations in discrete sections, individual short pieces that have distinct starts and stops, beginnings and endings, but that come in groups. There are also so-called “continuous variations” — passacaglias and chaconnes, that imply a “ground bass” (Monteverdi: Zefiro torna) even if the repeated theme isn’t always in the bass (Bach: Passacaglia for organ in C minor). And then there are “symphonic variations” — Franck and Dvořák gave us examples with that title — in which the variation structure isn’t periodic, and the theme or themes may appear and disappear; in such cases the normal ideas of variation forms are blended with principles of thematic development. (Compare also the unique example of variation form in the first movement of Goldmark’s “Rustic Wedding” Symphony — may it become as well known again as it was a century ago — and the theme appears cyclically transformed in later movements.) [continued…]

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Short Phrases, Tonal Scope

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Schubert composed his Gesänge zur Feier des heiligen Opfers der Messe, D 872, better known in English as his “German Mass,” in late summer or fall 1827, at the behest of the poet, Johann Philipp Neumann, who paid him 100 florins to create a work for congregational singing as an adjunct to the spoken Latin Mass in Catholic liturgy. Schubert wrote it for SATB chorus with accompaniment of a wind orchestra. The fourth movement, an Offertory just one page long, offers a neat microcosm of elementary tonality very like the “familiar style” of Protestant hymns later in the century. The text of the first stanza translates thus: [continued…]

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Tanglewood Details Announced

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BMInt alerted readers HERE a couple of weeks ago to the salutary fact that Tanglewood is planning to operate this summer, albeit for half its usual run. Now we’re pleased to go straight to the lede: Click HERE for the just-released calendar in easy-to-read form.

Once again BMInt’s resident curmudgeon rants on rep. But first comes Andris Nelsons’s edited welcome. [continued…]

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Martin Boykan: 1931 – 2021

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The Brandeis Music Department has sent a statement which BMInt reprints here.

Martin Boykan, a world-renowned composer, inspirational teacher, published author and prodigious performer, died peacefully at his home on March 6th at the age of 89, leaving his wife, Susan Schwalb, and his niece Ina Pour El and her family. His funeral took place in New York City on March 8, 2021.

Born in 1931, Boykan studied composition with Walter Piston, Aaron Copland and Paul Hindemith, and piano with Eduard Steuermann. He received a BA from Harvard University, 1951, and an MM from Yale University, 1953. In 1953–55 he was in Vienna on a Fulbright Fellowship, and upon his return founded the Brandeis Chamber Ensemble whose other members included Robert Koff (Juilliard Quartet), Nancy Cirillo (Wellesley), Eugene Lehner (Kolisch Quartet) and Madeline Foley (Marlborough Festival). This ensemble performed widely with a repertory divided equally between contemporary music and the tradition. At the same time Boykan appeared regularly as a pianist with soloists such as Joseph Silverstein and Jan de Gaetani. In 1964–65, he was the pianist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. [continued…]

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French Harmonium Romps with Piano and Strings

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BMInt: We gather that you have been depositing rediscoveries from your moldy archives onto YouTube to share of some interesting material that might not otherwise emerge from obscurity…undeserved, from what we have heard in the case of your mastertape of a cassette-only release from 1978.

FLE: The foundational story to my production of “Harmonium and Company” goes back several decades to my moderate case of arrested-development-organ-nut syndrome. After a very brief stint with organ builder Charles Fisk, I began to accumulate organ parts, including at least one, complete 35-rank instrument; and I almost took a misguided first step to lease a very large disused power plant as my private concert hall.

What stopped you?

Somehow, I came to my senses before dipping into principal. That meant selling and/or abandoning tons of useless accumulated paraphernalia…save for a four-stop partially self-built baroque positive set up in my livingroom.

I bet that sounded pretty bad. [continued…]

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Tanglewood Announcement Once Again Summer Harbinger

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We won’t have to make do with a virtual shed and lawn this summer! After enduring a 16-month interregnum of hermetic distancing while making do with the virtuous virtual along with their subscribers, the BSO Trustees voted unanimously yesterday to reopen Americas’ preeminent summer music festival to living, breathing, if distanced outdoor or semi-outdoor crowds. Though we will have to wait until April 8th for program details, we take pleasure in management’s revelation that the six weeks between July 9th and August 16th will include a Saturday-evening and Sunday-afternoon Boston Symphony Orchestra series; a Friday-evening series featuring recitals, special guest artists and ensembles, and the Boston Pops; and a Monday-evening Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra series. The Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s acclaimed summer music academy, will be featured in chamber music performances on Sunday mornings and Monday afternoons. The Tanglewood Learning Institute—launched in summer 2019—will also offer a variety of programs in summer 2021. In addition, Tanglewood will present family, community, and education programs, as well as maintain many of its free and reduced-price ticket programs for the upcoming season. Live video performance streams will be available throughout the summer on BSO NOW. And touchless ticketing starts on May 17th. [continued…]

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Big Presence, Huge Life Energy

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When two objects collide, the strength of one impacts the trajectory of the other, sending it flying with uncertain purpose and lifetime. That is how I would describe the effect Jim Levine had on my musical destiny when I first met him in the summer of 1967 at the Meadowbrook Orchestral Institute. [continued…]

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James Levine: 1943-2021

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We expect many encomia and thoughtful first-person accounts to follow this official BSO statement.

“The Boston Symphony Orchestra extends its sincere condolences to the family of James Levine at the news of his passing. One of the most profoundly gifted musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries, James Levine led many extraordinary performances during his tenure as BSO music director (2004-11), including most memorable interpretations of the works of Beethoven, Schoenberg, Mahler, Ravel, and Brahms, among others, as well as composers he championed, including Elliott Carter, Charles Wuorinen, and John Harbison; he also led the BSO in an acclaimed tour of European summer festivals in 2007. The last period of his tenure as BSO music director was plagued by ill health, which resulted in his resignation in 2011. Subsequently, there emerged allegations of sexual improprieties which virtually ended his career as many musical institutions severed ties with him, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra.” [continued…]

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Boston Bach Birthday: It’s Back

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First Lutheran Church of Boston will hold its annual celebration of Bach and his music on Saturday, March 20th to honor the 336th anniversary of Sebastian’s hatching. In-person attendance will be limited, but all five- and one-half hours of music will be transmitted through Facebook. FLC encourages virtual attendees to enjoy the customary sausage, Kraut und Rüben at home. Prosit neue Bach Jahr!

Current conditions impel the BBB to return to its roots with an all-day series of recitals featuring local talent. Performances from a lonely organ loft distance the recitalist from the audience, as will an outing from a solo pianist; the only ensemble occupying space together comprises a family unit. Livestreaming, and we mean “live,” will come as a first a first for the BBB.

At 9am FLC Kantor Jonathan Wessler will play the “Great Eighteen” organ chorales of Bach; Louise Mundinger follows at 10:45am with a fascinating program on the four seasons centered on Bach’s Four Duetti, S.802–805. At 1pm Erica Johnson will play works of Bach and his son Carl Philipp Emanuel, followed by more organ works of JS at 3pm (Jeremy Bruns) and 4:10pm (Wesley Hall).

In addition to the organ-related festivities, the Timko Family, members of First Lutheran, will play music of Bach and Petzold on the violin. Also, Noam Elkies will play Yuri Tulin’s piano transcription of Bach’s first Brandenburg concerto in honor of the 300th anniversary of those concertos), as well as his own “Two-Bit Invention”, composed in honor of his first haircut since March 2020 (!).

Absent a proper Vesper service with festival choral music, Wessler will close this year’s festival at 5:30pm with music heard at a mid-17th-century north German Orgelvesper (Organ Vespers); tenor William Farrell will supply the requisite chants. Those desiring to attend should sign up promptly HERE for the limited seating. To watch the recitals live from home, please visit HERE. [continued…]

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More Than Streaming Concerts, It’s Musical Storytelling

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Emmy Award-winning, stage, screen and TV director Habib Azar talks about his approach to BSO streams and to telling stories visually.

FLE: What’s your method of preparing for shooting — do you basically consult the score and chase the instruments across the pages? 

HA: Every project is completely different — it may sound obvious, but of course a director is first and foremost a storyteller. So step one is deciding what story one wants to tell. Is the space a character? Is the story about the conductor? About an event? About the musical interpretation? About a group of artists gathering during covid against all odds?

Once I decide on what the story is, I see what technical capacities are available (camera types and positions, lighting, etc.) and then decide how best to deploy everything to make it work. At that point, I’ll start diving into the score and try to come up with a detailed plan for how to shoot it. On top of that I try to stay nimble so I can adjust organically to what is actually happening in the performance. [continued…]

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BSO Vids: Calm or Lapel-Grabbing?

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Big BSO news this week comes in the announcement of Gail Samuel as the orchestra’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. HERE is the BSO press release. Last week, as a welcome extra, BSO Spirit of Beethoven offered a nostalgic and moving remembrance of BSO past .

It was 1975. WGBH, then a major content producer for PBS, was doing expensive and seriously produced live TV from Symphony Hall once a month. The nearly 50-year-old relic on offer, Channel 2’s take on Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony under Seiji Ozawa with soprano Susan Davenny Wyner and contralto Maureen Forrester and the NEC Chorus, replete with love beads, fros, and the ponderously pontificating, lockjawed, but much-loved announcer William Pierce, totally nailed the Zeitgeist.

In that nascent era of transmitting images over a distance, a major crew with a through-composed shooting script would turn a live concert into an art form we could savor on our 27-inch Living Color TVs. The relaxed and artful television began with the departure of an elegant model couple from their Beacon Hill townhouse and ended 92 minutes later with Ozawa’s clenched fist at the climax. Have a look HERE.

Something beyond nostalgia impelled me to dig deeper into those old shows and ask a retired producer thereof to contrast the BSO onscreen then with now. Among his many accomplishments, freelance director and producer William Cosel worked for WGBH and the BSO for 42 years, from 1963 to 2005. [Next week BMInt expects to publish an interview with current director of BSO Now shows Habib Azar]

FLE: Am I a fuddy-duddy when I observe that there are too many two-second and shorter shots, too much quick cutting, in today’s BSO online? [continued…]

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The Rite of Spring: Confronting the Autographs

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My oldest personal copy of the Rite of Spring full score is a crumbling Kalmus pirated edition of the revised 1921 score published by Edition Russe I bought in 1959;  it is now peppered with annotations in pencil and three different colors of ballpoint [click HERE to see a page]. The cover fell off years ago. I hope to find time to copy all these notes and corrections into a virgin copy, but it will take hours, if not days. My other references here are two color facsimile volumes: The Rite of Spring / Sketches 1911-1913, published in 1969 by Boosey & Hawkes, with a preface by François Lesure and a separate folder of detailed notes, letters, and commentary by Robert Craft; and Le Sacre du Printemps: Facsimile of the Autograph Full Score, edited by Ulrich Mosch, published by the Paul Sacher Foundation and Boosey & Hawkes, 2013. Added to this is an original edition of the piano-duet score, Le Sacre du Printemps: Tableaux de la Russie païenne en deux parties d’Igor Strawinsky et Nicolas Roerich, with title page in Russian and French, published in 1913 by Édition Russe de Musique. I remember buying this hardbound score for $8.50 some decades ago at Patelson’s, where it was on the shelf next to a new Boosey & Hawkes paperbound revised reprint of the same score for $35. [continued…]

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At HMA, a Heartfelt Gottschalk Mashup from Young Duo

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When you have observed [slavery’s] horrors as I have, when you have seen thousands of victims die through unimaginable tortures, then you would condemn without forgiveness the greatest of the inequities which the ages of barbarity bequeathed to us.    LMG

It was probably not only the upcoming Black History Month which caused known NOLA native and BMInt publisher Lee Eiseman to advocate for someone, or two, or more, to serve up a gumbo bowl of Louis Moreau Gottschalk three weeks ago in the superb Harvard Musical Association YouTube live series. It might also have been the sore need, right after the Inauguration of this new political era and year, for some musical freshness of openhearted sincerity.

The pianist and composer Gottschalk, with one parent French Creole and and the other German Jewish by way of London, was this young country’s first international musical sensation and celebrity: a son of its most cultured city, a youth prodigy in Europe publicly singled out for praise by Chopin no less and presently taught by a teacher of Saint-Saëns, raved over by famous critics like Berlioz (“Mr. Gottschalk is one of the very small number of those who possess all the different elements of the sovereign power of the pianist, all the attributes which environ him with an irresistible prestige … his playing strikes from the first, dazzles, astonishes …”), and himself a writer of articles in the American and French press — but today overlooked in the recital world. [continued…]

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A Suitcase Speaks

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Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik has announced “Finding Home: Music from the Suitcase in Concert,” a five-installment “docu-recital” series based on his 2014 CD of mostly the same name. Each half-hour episode interweaves works from the album with Kutik’s personal narrative. Episodes will premiere weekly on his Facebook and YouTube channels every Thursday at 7pm beginning February 11th. “Finding home” explores antisemitism in the Soviet Union, the Kutik family’s months as “stateless” refugees, the challenges of starting a new home in the United States, and Kutik’s teachers and mentors. It also posits lessons for the future.

Kutik has produced the series and offers it free to viewers. Click HERE to register.

In 1989, when Kutik was five years old, his family emigrated from the deteriorating Soviet Union to the United States, leaving most of their possessions behind and fitting what they could into just two suitcases. Kutik’s mother, a violin teacher, filled one with sheet music from the family’s collection, believing that their music was a significant part of their family’s musical history. Years later Kutik began to explore the music from the suitcase, became enthralled with his discoveries, and recorded a selection for the critically acclaimed album, “Music from the Suitcase: A Collection of Russian Miniatures” (Marquis Classics), which debuted at no. 5 on the Billboard Classical chart and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and in the New York Times

Kutik recently talked to BMInt about his undertakings. [continued…]

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