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Live Review: Brubecks’ Ansel Adams: America – Baltimore Symphony Paints Pictures in Music (2010.12.02)

First off, apologies for being quiet on the classical front. While you may be inclined to trek out to any show at all hours, the majority of the symphony and chamber audience express trepidation on ice. The biggest casualties of the snow: BSO’s Porgy And Bess, and the Candlelight Concert Society’s All-Beethoven program with the Leipzig Quartet, which could have gone down as my “concert of the decade” — had it only happened. (Chin up, readers, the elusive and exemplary Leipzig players may still return in late 2010-2011).

When the BSO struck up the opening of Dave and Chris Brubeck’s Ansel Adams: America concertgoers settled into their seats once again after a forced absence. Composer Chris Brubeck appeared on-stage as a complete surprise. Maestra Marin Alsop invited him to say a few words, “Since you’re alive.” And he told us of hanging clouds and suspended chords (before proceeding to sit down just in front of me). Those clouds came, of course, from Ansel Adams’ photographs.

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Live Review: Leila Josefowicz Gives John Adams’ Violin Concerto Total Depth (2009.10.29)

josefowicz10_high-croppedJohn AdamsViolin Concerto comes across like a melodic discourse on gravitational forces, but a touch more tender. Alien tensions built slowly from the BSO, with little far-off explosions. The center around which this Adamonic universe whirled was Leila Josefowicz.

She’s the personal champion for this concerto, making it her signature piece, a task only a Hilary Hahn could envy.  She plays entirely from memory, giving full impression of a piece taken within — the raw stuff of notes — spit out with unexpected expression. I’d have to think even Adams is surprised at what she finds in it.

Without hearing a single other play it, I’m willing to bet she’s the definitive interpreter of the work. Read the rest…

Live Review: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Hijacks Baltimore Symphony (2009.07.10)

pyschoshower130x130Who knew the word “transvestite” would be uttered aloud in the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall to such ringing laughter from a raucous movie house audience.  The Landmark and the Charles Theater have nothing on the BSO showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

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Live Review: Prayer and Bath of Benediction – Mahler and Bernstein with Marin at the BSO (2009.04.05)

Mahler's Ninth -- a Dance of Life

Mahler's Ninth -- a Dance of Life

I thought I could walk away from three Sundays ago’s BSO performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and wash it all away with a little leftover Dom Perignon down at Sotta Sopra.

But I couldn’t. The Ninth haunts me. I’m walking down the street on a Tuesday, and suddenly, the first movement swells in my ears once again…flooding my brain. The very sidewalk under my feet seems to transform into an immaterial wave of string-song — I lose my bearings.

To quell the swoons, I’ve picked up a prescription: Lenny Berstein’s recording, as well as Mahler protégé Otto Klemperer’s take. But here’s where Marin Alsop started me off…

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