MP3: Claude Debussy – La Mer, 3. Dialogue du vent et de la mer
Welcome to a special treat courtesy of the graduate department at Peabody Conservatory. In honor of its degree candidates — in everything from instruments, vocals, and conducting — we’ve got an end of season festival of free music from the talented young peeps on the Baltimore Classical scene. I recommend you check out a few in the coming week.
Not every performance is a prize recital, but some of them should be. For what it’s worth, I’d crown debuting conductor Jacomo Rafael Bairos with my laurels.
Lucky for us, he assured me that he’s staying on at Peabody to pursue his Doctorate. So we’ll follow him in future posts. This fellow has good friends, and, if his ambition be judged by his repertory choices, he’s ready to tackle big things.
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With supple force, sometimes delicate, sometimes with iron fist, conductor Vasily Petrenko (pictured left) gave the BSO players room to conquer.
Riffs mounting to tensions that a lesser composer, say John Williams, would have to barter his soul for. And that was just the Shostakovich. “O a steep, stiff drink,” we all cried. For after the Shostakovich #8, our souls were burning amber embers. Smoldering under a brute glory from Russia’s darkest days: 1943. Think Guernica in five movements.
But first, let me say I am proud to live in a city where on one Saturday night, I had to choose between hearing Shosta’s #8 at the Meyerhoff, Shosta’s #10 at Peabody, or avant-garde jazz at An Die Musik. ‘Tis the season. Don’t miss the glut of live music going on now.
I don’t regret my decision at all. One musician (who shall remain nameless and sectionless) prayed that Mr. Petrenko would come again, saying: “Sometimes this symphony is all dressed up with nowhere to go.” But the places they went that night! Read the rest…
MP3: Shostakovich – Symphony No. 5 – Iv. Allegro Non Troppo by Bernstein & the NY Phil
In 2008, the Brit music mag Gramaphone ranked the top-world orchestras with the help of critics and musicians. We could, of course, head to Amsterdam, Berlin, or Vienna to capture the best of the best, but our home turf is rich. Here’s my take on performances that will bring the 2008-2009 season to a wondrous, raucous close.
1. Chicago Symphony Orchestra (pictured right)
We read excellent things about the CSO’s brass, which is, at times Baltimore’s Achilles’ heel. In Chicago, immerse yourself in contemporary classical. See the noble father-and-sometime-bully, Pierre Boulez conduct a unique “American” homage: the work of Stravinsky who expatriated to Cali, Edgard Varèse, French transplant to New York, and Elliot Carter — the true American centenarian — born on Dec. 11, 1908. Celebrations and new compositions are being mounted everywhere.
This Carter-champion, Boulez, himself is 83, so witness this living master while the getting is still good: Feb. 26th – Mar. 3rd.
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