Jakub Józef Orliński

Jakub Józef Orliński
Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor. Photo by M. Sharkey

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring | Frédéric Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor | Jared Miller: Luster – Seong-Jin Cho, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Robert Spano – Friday, June 1, 2018, 10:45 AM EDT (GMT-4) – Livestream

Seong-Jin Cho (Photo by Radek Pietruszka)
















Detroit, May 15, 2018. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced that Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, and Jader Bignamini will step in to conduct the final three weekends of concerts in the orchestra's 2017-2018 Classical Series. DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin was forced to withdraw from these programs two weeks ago after tests revealed that he needed heart surgery. Maestro Slatkin underwent a successful triple bypass heart operation on May 8 and is expected to fully recover and return to conducting in about three months.

The three programs, which were to be Maestro Slatkin's final concerts as DSO music director following his tenth anniversary season, are unchanged and feature major symphonic works, opera in concert, and world premieres by three young American composers.


In week two, Robert Spano, longtime Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, will conduct a program featuring Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Frédéric Chopin's Piano Concerto No.1 with guest soloist Seong-JinCho, and the world premiere of Canadian-American composer and pianist Jared Miller's Luster, also commissioned by the DSO for Maestro Slatkin's season-long project to feature new concert opening works by young American composers.

Source: publicnow.com


Friday, June 1
Los Angeles: 07:45 AM
Lima: 09:45 AM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 10:45 AM
Brasília: 11:45 AM
London: 03:45 PM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, Stockholm, Oslo, Cape Town04:45 PM
Athens, Kiev, Jerusalem, Beirut, Moscow, Ankara: 05:45 PM
Abu Dhabi: 06:45 PM
New Delhi: 08:15 PM
Beijing, Manila, Hong Kong: 10:45 PM
Tokyo, Seoul: 11:45 PM

Find in my time zone


Live on Livestream




Jared Miller (1988)

♪ Luster (2017) (World Premiere)


Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

♪ Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11 (1830)*

i. Allegro maestoso
ii. Larghetto
iii. Rondo: Vivace


Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

♪ The Rite of Spring (1910-1913)

Part I. L'Adoration de la Terre (Adoration of the Earth)

i. Introduction
ii. Les Augures printaniers (Augurs of Spring)
iii. Jeu du rapt (Ritual of Abduction)
iv. Rondes printanières (Spring Rounds)
v. Jeux des cités rivales (Ritual of the Rival Tribes)
vi. Cortège du sage: Le Sage (Procession of the Sage: The Sage)
vii. Embrasse de la terre (Kiss of the Earth)
viii. Danse de la terre (Dance of the Earth)


Part II. Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice)

ix. Introduction
x. Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes (Mystic Circles of the Young Girls)
xi. Glorification de l'élue (Glorification of the Chosen One)
xii. Evocation des ancêtres (Evocation of the Ancestors)
xiii. Action rituelle des ancêtres (Ritual Action of the Ancestors)
xiv. Danse sacrale (L'Élue) (Sacrificial Dance)


Seong-Jin Cho, piano*

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Robert Spano

(HD 720p)

Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit

Friday, June 1, 2018, 10:45 AM EDT (GMT-4) / 05:45 PM EEST (UTC+3)

Live on Livestream


Photo by Grzegorz Śledź














With an overwhelming talent and innate musicality, Seong-Jin Cho is rapidly embarking on a world-class career and considered one of the most distinctive artists of his generation. His thoughtful and poetic, assertive and tender, virtuosic and colorful playing can combine panache with purity and is driven by an impressive natural sense of balance.

Seong-Jin Cho was brought to the world's attention in Fall 2015 when he won the coveted First Prize at the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw. This same competition launched the careers of world-class artists such as ‎Martha Argerich, ‎Maurizio Pollini, or ‎Krystian Zimerman.

In January 2016, Seong-Jin signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The first recording was released in November 2016 featuring Chopin's First Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda and the Four Ballades. A solo Debussy was then released in November 2017. Both albums won impressive critical acclaim worldwide.

An active recitalist, he performs in many of the world's most prestigious concert halls. In the 2018-2019 season, he will return to the main stage of Carnegie Hall as part of the Keyboard Virtuoso series where he had sold out in 2017. He will also return to Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in the Master Pianists series and will play recitals at the Berlin Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal (Berliner Philharmonic concert series), Frankfurt's Alte Oper, Los Angeles' Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles Philharmonic recital series), Zurich's Tonhalle-Maag, Stockholm's Konserthuset, Munich's Prinzregententheater, Chicago's Mandel Hall, Lyon's Auditorium, La Roque d'Anthéron Festival, Verbier Festival, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Rheingau Festival among several other venues.

During that season, he will play with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda, at the Barbican Centre, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra and Myung-Whun Chung at the Paris Philharmonie, Finnish Radio Orchestra and Hannu Lintu, Philadelphia Orchestra and David Afkham, Orchestra della Scala with Myung-Whun Chung. He will also tour with the European Union Youth Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda in venues like Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Royal Albert Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, the WDR Sinfonieorchester and Marek Janowski in Germany and with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Antonio Pappano in Asia.

He collaborates with conductors at the highest level such as Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gianandrea Noseda, Antonio Pappano, Myung-Whun Chung, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yuri Temirkanov, Krzysztof Urbanski, Fabien Gabel, Marek Janowski, Vassily Petrenko, Jakub Hrusa, Leonard Slatkin or Mikhail Pletnev.

In November 2017, Seong-Jin stepped in for Lang Lang with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for concerts in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hong-Kong and Seoul. Other major orchestral appearances include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Mariinsky Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, ND Elbphilharmonie Orchester, RAI Symphony Orchestra, Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester.

Born in 1994 in Seoul, Seong-Jin Cho started learning the piano at 6 and gave his first public recital at age 11. In 2009, he became the youngest-ever winner of Japan's Hamamatsu International Piano Competition. In 2011, he won Third prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the age of 17. In 2012, he moved to Paris to study with Michel Béroff at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique where he graduated in 2015. He is now based in Berlin.

Source: seongjin-cho.com


Photo by Jeff Roffman
Conductor, pianist, composer, and teacher Robert Spano (b. 1961, Conneaut, Ohio) is known worldwide for the intensity of his artistry and distinctive communicative abilities, creating a sense of inclusion and warmth among musicians and audiences that is unique among American orchestras. Beginning his 17th season as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this highly imaginative conductor is an approachable artist with the innate ability to share his enthusiasm for music with an entire community and concert hall. A fervent mentor to rising artists, he is responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous celebrated composers, conductors and performers, and enjoys collaborations with composers and musicians of all ages, backgrounds, and ability. As Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students and rising artists.

The Atlanta School of Composers reflects Spano's commitment to American contemporary music. He has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Ravinia, Ojai, and Savannah Music Festivals. Guest engagements have included the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the  San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Oregon, Utah, and Kansas City Symphonies, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Minnesota Orchestras. Internationally, Maestro Spano has led the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Orquestra Sinfonica Estado Sao Paulo, the Melbourne Symphony in Australia, and the Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan. His opera performances include Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and the 2005 and 2009 Seattle Opera productions of Wagner's Ring cycles. Spano also holds a conductor residency with the Colburn School Orchestra in Los Angeles.

With a discography of critically-acclaimed recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon, and ASO Media, Robert Spano has won six Grammy Awards with the Atlanta Symphony. Spano is on faculty at Oberlin Conservatory and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin. Maestro Spano is one of two classical musicians inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and makes his home in Atlanta.

Source: robertspanomusic.com


Leonard Slatkin (Photo by Delphine Warin)
The 2017-2018 season marks Leonard Slatkin's tenth and final year as Music Director of the DSO before he transitions to the new role of Music Director Laureate. Maestro Slatkin's commitment to new music, reaching audiences in new ways, and the American orchestral tradition has had a transformational effect on the DSO. On Friday, May 4, Slatkin announced that he would need to undergo heart surgery and withdraw from conducting the final Classical Series concerts of his tenth anniversary season. As Music Director Laureate, Leonard will conduct eight programs in the 2018-2019 season, including Opening Weekend, the February American Festival, and the season finale in June.

On June 23, the DSO will honor Slatkin at its eighth annual Heroes Gala alongside philanthropists and longtime DSO supporters Penny and Harold Blumenstein. Additional details about the Heroes Gala will be announced in the near future.


The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc. The May 31 - June 2 Rite of Spring performances are additionally supported by Honigman LLP.


Source: publicnow.com



Photo by Radek Pietruszka

















Frédéric Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11

Chopin, the son of a French father and a Polish mother, was born the same year as Schumann (one later than Mendelssohn, one before Liszt). Before consumption killed him in his 40th year, he had developed both an elegantly sensual pianism and a keyboard oeuvre without expressive parallel. His twin gods were Bach and Mozart (as if Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert never existed); in turn he influenced keyboard composers for nearly a century after – Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Dvořák, Debussy, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, and Ravel.

Although we cannot ignore developments in piano manufacture, especially by Pleyel of Paris, it was Chopin's artistry that prompted Schumann to write in 1830, "Hats off, gentlemen! A genius!" Parisian critics, who were then Europe's most cosmopolitan, dubbed him "the Ariel of the piano", although in his lifetime he played in public only 50 times, just once a solo recital, and for audiences usually no larger than 100 listeners.

Before his emigration to Paris in 1831 he had composed six works for piano and orchestra (but nothing orchestral after those), including two concertos published in reverse order. The E minor was issued in 1833, the F minor "Second" in 1836 although Chopin composed it in 1829, when he was 19. Both reflect his infatuation with Vincenzo Bellini's operas, especially Norma, whose ornamentation he adapted and personalized, to the extent of basing his theme-and-variations slow movement in Concerto No.1 on embellishments.

In the classical style that Mozart bequeathed to Beethoven, principal themes of the Allegro maestoso are introduced by the orchestra, at uncommon length which adds admirably to the suspense. Once the piano enters, it dominates. Although the opening subject is marked maestoso, subsequent ones are glowingly lyrical and gorgeously ornamented, even before their development in E minor/major. There is a coda but no cadenza per se (although the entire solo part may be likened to a cadenza).

Chopin wrote, during the composition of the Larghetto (E major/C sharp minor) homage to Bellini, "I am using muted strings – I wonder how they will sound?" He described it as having "a romantic, calm, and rather melancholy character... a kind of moonlight reverie on a beautiful spring night".

The main theme of the Rondo: Vivace in E major has been called both a polka and a Krakowiac; beginning in E major, Chopin modulates to A major for the episode. Before a dashing conclusion, he ventures into E flat, then B major in the episode's return.

The concerto is altogether a prize although its orchestration is neither artful nor brilliant; nonetheless this compares favorably with Schumann's or Hummel's in a well-conducted performance, and the piano writing is nonpareil.

Source: Roger Dettmer (allmusic.com)



Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

The Rite of Spring, original French "Le Sacre du printemps: tableaux de la Russie païenne en deux partie", English in full "The Rite of Spring: Pictures from Pagan Russia in Two Parts", ballet by Russian modernist composer Igor Stravinsky that premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris on May 29, 1913. It is considered one of the first examples of Modernism in music and is noted for its brutality, its barbaric rhythms, and its dissonance. Its opening performance provided one of the most scandalous premieres in history, with pro and con members of the audience arguing so volubly that the dancers were unable to take their cues from the orchestra. The Rite of Spring still strikes many contemporary listeners as a startlingly modern work.

The piece was commissioned by the noted impresario of the Ballets Russes, Serge Diaghilev, who earlier had produced the young composer's "The Firebird" (1910) and "Petrushka" (1911). Stravinsky developed the story of "The Rite of Spring", originally to be called "The Great Sacrifice", with the aid of artist and mystic Nicholas Roerich, whose name appears with the composer's on the title page of the earliest publications of the score. The production was choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, and its sets and costumes were designed by Roerich.

Like Stravinsky's earlier works for the Ballet Russes, "The Rite of Spring" was inspired by Russian culture, but, unlike them, it challenged the audience with its chaotic percussive momentum.

In the mid-20th century, Stravinsky revised the orchestration for concert performance, and that version of the score remains the version that is most commonly performed. In 1987, however, the ballet as it was first conceived and performed, with original set and costumes and Nijinsky's choreography (which had been seen for only seven performances before it was superseded by new choreography from Léonide Massine), was painstakingly reconstructed and re-created by the Joffrey Ballet. The centenary of the ballet's premiere prompted other ballet companies, notably the Mariinsky in St Petersburg, to also revive the work in its original form.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)


Photo by Harald Hoffmann














More photos


See also


Frédéric Chopin: Four Ballades – Seong-Jin Cho

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor & other works – Olga Kern, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Antoni Wit (Audio video)

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor – Evgeny Kissin, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta

Live on Livestream: All Past Events

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Frédéric Chopin: Four Ballades – Seong-Jin Cho














South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho, first prize winner of the XVII International Chopin Piano Competition (2015), plays Frédéric Chopin's Four Ballades. Recorded at the Studio 4, Flagey, Brussels, on July 1, 2017.



The Four Ballades, composed between 1831 and 1842, are perhaps the most perfect examples of Chopin's instinctive sense of musical shape and tonal organisation.

The sheer technical finesse of his piano writing may be displayed more extrovertly in his studies, his lyrical gifts distilled down to a more concentrated essence in the preludes, and mazurkas and nocturnes, his revolutionary approach to large-scale form demonstrated more potently in the second andthird sonatas. But it's in the ballades, and the F minor Fantasy composed in the same period, that allthese facets of his music are welded into a single all-embracing form.

The title implies some kind of narrative programme behind the music, and Robert Schumann, to whom the second in F major is dedicated, claimed that Chopin had told him that a quartet of ballads by the poet Adam Mickiewicz was the starting point for these extraordinary pieces, even revealing their titles – Konrad Wallenrod, Switez, The Water Sprite and The Three Budrys. There is no clinching evidence either way, but it scarcely matters the musical argument in each of the four pieces is so clear, the drama so self- contained and convincing that no literary explanation is required.

It's surprising that by no means all the great Chopin interpreters of the 20th century have tackled the ballades in the studio. There are recordings of any of them by Dinu Lipatti, Sviatoslav Richter or Martha Argerich, for instance, while Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli favoured just No.1 in G minor, and Vladimir Horowitz the F minor fourth.

Source: Andrew Clements (theguardian.com)



Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

♪ Four Ballades

1. Ballade No.1 in G minor, Op.23 (1831-1835)
2. Ballade No.2 in F major, Op.38 (1836-1839)
3. Ballade No.3 in A flat major, Op.47 (1840-1841)
4. Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52 (1842, rev. 1843)

Seong-Jin Cho, piano

Studio 4, Flagey, Brussels, July 1, 2017

(HD 720p)















Chopin is a classic figure of romance, a French Pole exiled from a martyred country and a man whose piquantly obscure love life attracted the creators of sugar-coated fiction, a revolutionary yet a stickler for convention and a realist who, to quote his own words, was a dreamer in "strange spaces". Chopin despised disorder and felt that "the best things are those in which the first thoughts of inspiration are not spoiled by later reflection". Most romantic of all, Chopin created a spiritualized conception of his native Poland, writing her tragic and tangled history with an elegance, passion, glamour and strength that made country and composer synonymous. Also, no other composer devoted himself so whole-heartedly to a single instrument, saying "the piano is my solid ground, on that I stand the straightest". Chopin was no jack-of-all trades, but a master of one.

Chopin's Four Ballades are products of his maturity and have understandably been called "the finest and most original of all his creations". Composed in 1831-1835, 1836-1839, 1840-1841 and 1842 respectively the Ballades extend from Chopin's early years as a restless émigré to the golden if tarnished summers spent in Nohant with his mistress, George Sand.

All four works are united by their use of compound duple time and by subtly or boldly contrasting first and second subjects, yet unlike the 24 Preludes, for example, the Ballades are individual creations ungathered beneath a single opus and ungoverned by any overall unity of statement. Their title, too, meant that Chopin could free himself from classical restraint and, while occasionally reminding us of rondo, sonata or variation form, resolve the most inflexible academic considerations into an audaciously turbulent and liberated poetry. Few compositions show such a romantic yet supremely disciplined imagination and it is significant that Chopin created a novel genre for a no less novel form of expression.

According to Schumann at least two of the Ballades (Nos. 2 and 3) were inspired by the nationalist poetry of Chopin's compatriot Adam Mickiewicz. But Schumann's assumption that the Ballades are programmatic is misleading. Chopin was patriotic but he was hardly a conscious propagandist, and whatever relation the Third Ballade, for example, has to Mickiewicz's "Undine" is general rather than exact. Chopin's genius could be prompted but hardly contained by such a specific source.

The limitation of such literary parallels is immediately apparent at the start of the First Ballade. Remarkable when first written, the opening musical arch seems scarcely less original today. The rapid loss of confidence after such a resplendent introduction and the transformation of the subdued first and second subjects into outbursts of passionate declamation and song could never be reduced to a satisfying verbal equivalent, however subtle or distinguished. The cadences which conclude each phrase of the first subject are left unresolved and it takes a lengthy and agitated elaboration to resolve such unease in the assuaging second subject in E flat major. However, the music remains pensive and wistful, and only a further and triumphant shift into A major fully erases all doubts and questions. Blazing octaves lead to a capricious waltz-like variation, mischievously spiced and syncopated before a sudden descent returns us to both the principal subjects. These culminate in a coda introduced Il più forte possibile and marked Presto con fuoco. Ricocheting figuration leads to boiling scales and dramatic, recitative-like interjections before a plunge reinforced with grace notes and a mixture of contrary motion and unison octaves.

The Second Ballade is dedicated to Schumann and its violently opposed first and second subjects could hardly have been excelled by that master of vivid contrasts. The opening quaver crotchet rhythm establishes the basic compound duple time, but the music's deceptively placid progress is enlivened by syncopation and several surprise turns, a remarkable instance of simplicity without monotony. The subsequent tornado (sufficiently sudden to encourage all lovers of programme music) subsides, and a series of left-hand scales gradually calms the fury of this wintry blast. The principal subject returns and after a brooding development and a passage of great improvisatory daring the second subject's violence is once more unleashed. Insistent tremolandi and trills announce a coda whose percussive force looks ahead towards the twentieth century and to the caustic brilliance of Prokofiev. Chopin, however, reserves his masterstroke for the final bars where the opening theme reappears plaintif and resigned in A minor, its original and, in retrospect, naive optimism defeated.

After such despondency the Third Ballade seems positively light-hearted. Based on two principal motives contained in the opening bars Chopin's free-wheeling style once more thinly disguises a remarkable coherence, balance and symmetry. First played before an audience "full of golden ribbons, soft blue gauzes and strings of trembling pearls" its musical charms could hardly fail to succeed. Others, perhaps less lavishly attired, will note that although Chopin's contrapuntal skill in the working-out section is considerable he wears his learning lightly. With Chopin, art conceals art and the way he achieves such fine gradations and inwardness of feeling is discreetly veiled from view. Even a sudden central change to C sharp minor cannot cloud the music's radiance for, via a series of daring modulations, the opening theme finally emerges triumphant, firmly established in the home-key and with a final cascade of ideas, previously employed, to suggest tumultuous applause.

Together with the Barcarolle, the Polonaise-Fantaisie, and the second and third sonatas, the Fourth Ballade represents the summit of Chopin's art. The tentative start is haunting and suggestive and was once beautifully described by the critic Joan Chissell as bringing the same sense of wonder that a blind person, if granted the gift of sight, might feel on discovering the world's beauty for the first time. The principal, highly Slavonic theme is closely related to the first of Chopin's Trois Nouvelles Études (1839), the second of the opus 25 Études and surely provided an inspiration for Liszt's La Leggierezza (1848; all four works are in the key of F minor). It returns twice bejewelled, and the second subject's appearance in B flat and the return of the opening in A flat never disrupt the music's self-generating momentum. An aerial cadenza and a canonic treatment of the first subject bear eloquent witness to Chopin's increasing veneration for Bach, and the build-up and the pianissimo chords announcing a coda of the most fiery intricacy are as remarkable as anything in Chopin. They remind us simultaneously of his capacity for large-scale heroics and for the most intimate and hauntingly distinctive confidences.

Source: Bryce Morrison, 2004 (hyperion-records.co.uk)















With an overwhelming talent and innate musicality, Seong-Jin Cho is rapidly embarking on a world-class career and considered one of the most distinctive artists of his generation. His thoughtful and poetic, assertive and tender, virtuosic and colorful playing can combine panache with purity and is driven by an impressive natural sense of balance.

Seong-Jin Cho was brought to the world's attention in Fall 2015 when he won the coveted First Prize at the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw. This same competition launched the careers of world-class artists such as ‎Martha Argerich, ‎Maurizio Pollini, or ‎Krystian Zimerman.

In January 2016, Seong-Jin signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The first recording was released in November 2016 featuring Chopin's First Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda and the Four Ballades. A solo Debussy was then released in November 2017. Both albums won impressive critical acclaim worldwide.

An active recitalist, he performs in many of the world's most prestigious concert halls. In the 2018-2019 season, he will return to the main stage of Carnegie Hall as part of the Keyboard Virtuoso series where he had sold out in 2017. He will also return to Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in the Master Pianists series and will play recitals at the Berlin Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal (Berliner Philharmonic concert series), Frankfurt's Alte Oper, Los Angeles' Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles Philharmonic recital series), Zurich's Tonhalle-Maag, Stockholm's Konserthuset, Munich's Prinzregententheater, Chicago's Mandel Hall, Lyon's Auditorium, La Roque d'Anthéron Festival, Verbier Festival, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Rheingau Festival among several other venues.

During that season, he will play with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda, at the Barbican Centre, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra and Myung-Whun Chung at the Paris Philharmonie, Finnish Radio Orchestra and Hannu Lintu, Philadelphia Orchestra and David Afkham, Orchestra della Scala with Myung-Whun Chung. He will also tour with the European Union Youth Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda in venues like Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Royal Albert Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, the WDR Sinfonieorchester and Marek Janowski in Germany and with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Antonio Pappano in Asia.

He collaborates with conductors at the highest level such as Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gianandrea Noseda, Antonio Pappano, Myung-Whun Chung, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yuri Temirkanov, Krzysztof Urbanski, Fabien Gabel, Marek Janowski, Vassily Petrenko, Jakub Hrusa, Leonard Slatkin or Mikhail Pletnev.

In November 2017, Seong-Jin stepped in for Lang Lang with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for concerts in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hong-Kong and Seoul. Other major orchestral appearances include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Mariinsky Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, ND Elbphilharmonie Orchester, RAI Symphony Orchestra, Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester.

Born in 1994 in Seoul, Seong-Jin Cho started learning the piano at 6 and gave his first public recital at age 11. In 2009, he became the youngest-ever winner of Japan's Hamamatsu International Piano Competition. In 2011, he won Third prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the age of 17. In 2012, he moved to Paris to study with Michel Béroff at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique where he graduated in 2015. He is now based in Berlin.

Source: seongjin-cho.com







































More photos


See also


Frédéric Chopin: 24 Préludes, Op.28 – Yuja Wang (HD 1080p)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor "Pathétique" | Chris Cerrone: Violin Concerto | Roshanne Etezady: Diamond Rain – Jennifer Koh, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Peter Oundjian – Saturday, May 26, 2018, 08:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) – Livestream

Jennifer Koh (Photo by Chris Lee)

















Detroit, May 15, 2018. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced that Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, and Jader Bignamini will step in to conduct the final three weekends of concerts in the orchestra's 2017-2018 Classical Series. DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin was forced to withdraw from these programs two weeks ago after tests revealed that he needed heart surgery. Maestro Slatkin underwent a successful triple bypass heart operation on May 8 and is expected to fully recover and return to conducting in about three months.

The three programs, which were to be Maestro Slatkin's final concerts as DSO music director following his tenth anniversary season, are unchanged and feature major symphonic works, opera in concert, and world premieres by three young American composers.


In the first week, Toronto Symphony Orchestra Music Director (and former DSO Principal Guest Conductor) Peter Oundjian will conduct Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.6 and two DSO-commissioned world premieres: Chris Cerrone's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, "Breaks and Breaks", written for featured soloist Jennifer Koh, and Diamond Rain by Roshanne Etezady, commissioned for Leonard Slatkin's season-long project to feature new concert opening works by young American composers.


Source: publicnow.com



Saturday, May 26
Los Angeles: 05:00 PM
Lima: 7:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM
Brasília: 09:00 PM

Sunday, 
May 27

London: 01:00 AM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, Stockholm: 02:00 AM
Athens, Kiev, Jerusalem, Moscow, Ankara: 03:00 AM
Beijing, Manila: 08:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 09:00 AM

Find in my time zone


Live on Livestream




Roshanne Etezady (1973)

♪ Diamond Rain (2018) (World Premiere)


Chris Cerrone (1984)

♪ Violin Concerto "Breaks and Breaks" (2018) (World Premiere)*


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

♪ Symphony No.6 in B minor 
"Pathétique", Op.74 (1893)

i. Adagio – Allegro non troppo

ii. Allegro con grazia
iii. Allegro molto vivace
iv. Finale. Adagio lamentoso


Jennifer Koh, violin*

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Peter Oundjian

(HD 720p)

Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit

Saturday, May 26, 2018, 08:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) / Sunday, May 27, 2018, 03:00 AM EEST (UTC+3)

Live on Livestream



Photo by Juergen Frank
Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. An adventurous musician, she collaborates with artists of multiple disciplines and curates projects that find connections between music of all eras from traditional to contemporary. She believes that all the arts and music of the past and present form a continuum and has premiered over 60 works written especially for her.

Ms. Koh is well known for curating projects that involve commissions from today's foremost composers, and among her many activities during the 2017-2018 season, she premieres new works written for her New American Concerto commissioning project, a multi-season project that explores the form of the violin concerto and its potential for artistic engagement with contemporary societal concerns and issues through commissions from a diverse collective of composers. New American Concerto launched in the summer of 2017 with Vijay Iyer's Trouble – a co-commission of the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances in Berkeley, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, this season, Ms. Koh will premiere a new concerto by Christopher Cerrone, commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In recital, Ms. Koh launches Limitless: On Stage Together, a commissioning project that engages composer-performers to write new duo compositions and premiere them with Ms. Koh. The project is designed to explore the symbiotic relationship and blurred boundaries between composer and performer. Participating composers include Lisa Bielawa (voice), Zosha di Castri (piano), Vijay Iyer (piano), Missy Mazzoli (synthesizer), Qasim Naqvi (electronics and keyboard), Tyshawn Sorey (percussion), Lu Wang (electronics), Nina Young (electronics), and Du Yun (voice), and the premiere performances take place over two concert programs at National Sawdust in March 2018.

Ms. Koh also continues critically acclaimed series from past seasons, including Shared Madness, comprising short works for solo violin that explore virtuosity in the 21st century, written for the project by more than 30 of today's most celebrated composers; and Bach and Beyond, a recital series that traces the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach's Six Sonatas and Partitas to 20th- and 21st-century composers. In addition to experiencing Shared Madness in the concert hall, listeners are also able to hear recordings of the premiere performances and interviews between Ms. Koh and the composers via the Shared Madness radio show, which originally aired on WQXR's Q2 Music during the summer of 2017 and remains available on demand at q2music.org/sharedmadness. Ms. Koh and her frequent recital partner Shai Wosner continue Bridge to Beethoven, which pairs Beethoven's violin sonatas with new and recent works inspired by them to explore the composer's impact and significance on a diverse group of musicians; and she performs with the Variation String Trio – of which she is a founding member – and pianist Orion Weiss, in composer Nina C. Young's piano quartet Spero Lucem and works by Schubert, Beethoven, and Brahms presented by the People's Symphony in New York City.

She also performs a broad range of concertos that reflects the breadth of her musical interests, including Barber's Violin Concerto with the Marin Symphony Orchestra and Oklahoma City Philharmonic; Bernstein's Serenade with the Fresno Philharmonic; Unsuk Chin's Violin Concerto with the Melbourne Symphony; Anna Clyne's Rest These Hands with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne; Lutoslawski's Chain 2 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Kaija Saariaho's Graal théâtre with the Galicia Symphony Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto with the Nashville and Tampere Symphony Orchestras; Sibelius' Violin Concerto with the Columbus and Williamsburg Symphony Orchestras; Szymanowski's Second Violin Concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; and Charles Wuorinen's Spin5 with Ensemble Signal.

Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras around the world including the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics; the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, BBC Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Mariinsky Theatre, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Nashville Symphony, National Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New World Symphony, NHK Symphony (Tokyo), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia (London) Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, RAI National Symphony Orchestra (Torino), St Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Singapore Symphony, among others. Conductors she has worked with include John Adams, Marin Alsop, James Conlon, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Giancarlo Guerrero, Manfred Honek, Louis Langree, Carlos Kalmar, Lorin Maazel, Sakari Oramo, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Juraj Valčuha, Osmo Vänskä, Alexander Vedernikov, and Edo de Waart. She played the role of Einstein in the revival of Philip Glass' Einstein on the Beach from 2012-2014, and a particular highlight of her career was performing for former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama and former First Lady of South Korea Kim Yoon-ok in 2011.

Ms. Koh brings the same sense of adventure and brilliant musicianship to her recordings as she does to her live performances. Her latest album, Tchaikovsky: Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra with the Odense Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Vedernikov, released in September 2016, is Ms. Koh's eleventh recording for the Cedille Records label. Ms. Koh first performed Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto conducted by Mr. Vedernikov in the final round of the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in 1992 and went on to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow with the concerto in 1994. In addition to her Bach & Beyond and Two x Four albums, her discography on Cedille Records also includes Signs, Games + Messages, a recording of violin and piano works by Janáček, Bartók, and Kurtág with Mr. Wosner; Rhapsodic Musings: 21st Century Works for Solo Violin; the Grammy-nominated String Poetic, featuring the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's eponymous work, performed with pianist Reiko Uchida; Schumann's complete violin sonatas, also with Ms. Uchida; Portraits with the Grant Park Orchestra under conductor Carlos Kalmar with concerti by Szymanowski, Martinů, and Bartók; Violin Fantasies: fantasies for violin and piano by Schubert, Schumann, Schoenberg, and saxophonist Ornette Coleman, again with Ms. Uchida; and Ms. Koh's first Cedille album, from 2002, Solo Chaconnes, an earlier reading of Bach's Second Partita coupled with chaconnes by Richard Barth and Max Reger. Ms. Koh is also the featured soloist on a recording of Ms. Higdon's The Singing Rooms with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra led by Robert Spano for Telarc.

Ms. Koh is the Artistic Director of arco collaborative, an artist-driven nonprofit that fosters a better understanding of our world through a musical dialogue inspired by ideas and the communities around us. The organization supports artistic collaborations and commissions, transforming the creative process by engaging with specific ideas and perspectives, investing in the future by cultivating artist-citizens in partnership with educational organizations. A committed educator, she has won high praise for her performances in classrooms around the country under her innovative "Music Messenger" outreach program. Ms. Koh is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for the Advancement for the Arts, a scholarship program for high school students in the arts.

Born in 1976 in Chicago of Korean parents, Ms. Koh began playing the violin by chance, choosing the instrument in a Suzuki-method program only because spaces for cello and piano had been filled. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. Ms. Koh is Musical America's 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin College and studied at the Curtis Institute, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir.

Source: jenniferkoh.com


Peter Oundjian is one of a growing number of highly successful instrumentalists who largely abandon their chosen instrument in favor of a conducting career. In Oundjian's case the change was necessitated by a repetitive motion injury. He began as a violinist, a high-profile one at that, serving as the first violinist with the famed Tokyo String Quartet. From 1995, he turned his focus to the baton and soon was guest-conducting performances with some of the leading American orchestras, including the Saint Louis (1998) and Houston Symphony (1999). As the music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2004, he is among the leading Canadian conductors. On the podium his repertory has been broad, encompassing works by composers from Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler to Rachmaninov, Ravel, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and the moderns. As a member of the Tokyo String Quartet he played a similarly broad range of works, including the complete quartets of Beethoven and Brahms. Oundjian's many recordings are available from RCA, Vox, DG, EMI, and Harmonia Mundi.

Peter Oundjian was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1955. From age seven, he studied violin with Manoug Parikian in England, where he received his general education. He had later studies there with Béla Katona, and following work on several recordings with Benjamin Britten, Oundjian developed an interest in conducting. Nevertheless, he kept his focus on the violin and enrolled at London's Royal College of Music earning a gold medal for most distinguished student. He had further studies at Juilliard with Itzhak Perlman, Dorothy Delay, and Ivan Galamian.

In 1980 Oundjian won the Vina Del Mar International Violin Competition in Chile. The following year he joined the Tokyo String Quartet and served as the first violinist until 1995, when his injury forced a change. In 1995 he debuted at the Caramoor Festival leading the Orchestra of St Luke's. From 1998-2003 Oundjian served as artistic director of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta (initially known as the Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam).

After assuming duties in Toronto in 2004, Oundjian was instrumental in helping resolve the orchestra's existing financial woes. Oundjian was appointed principal guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2006. The following year he and the Toronto Symphony management signed an agreement extending his contract to 2012, then to 2017. He also became music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2012. Among Oundjian's more acclaimed recordings is a 2002 BIS CD of arrangements of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge and Op.131 Quartet, with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta.

Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)


Leonard Slatkin (Photo by Delphine Warin)
The 2017-2018 season marks Leonard Slatkin's tenth and final year as Music Director of the DSO before he transitions to the new role of Music Director Laureate. Maestro Slatkin's commitment to new music, reaching audiences in new ways, and the American orchestral tradition has had a transformational effect on the DSO. On Friday, May 4, Slatkin announced that he would need to undergo heart surgery and withdraw from conducting the final Classical Series concerts of his tenth anniversary season. As Music Director Laureate, Leonard will conduct eight programs in the 2018-2019 season, including Opening Weekend, the February American Festival, and the season finale in June.

On June 23, the DSO will honor Slatkin at its eighth annual Heroes Gala alongside philanthropists and longtime DSO supporters Penny and Harold Blumenstein. Additional details about the Heroes Gala will be announced in the near future.

The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc. The May 31 - June 2 Rite of Spring performances are additionally supported by Honigman LLP.

Source: publicnow.com


Jennifer Koh (Photo by Juergen Frank)



















Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor "Pathétique", Op.74

Tchaikovsky composed the Symphony No.6 in B minor between February and August 1893, and conducted the first performance on October 28 of that year in St Petersburg. Already in 1890 Tchaikovsky had written to his patroness of 13 years, Nadezhda von Meck, about a possible "Program Symphony". By 1893 he was ready to follow through on the idea, dedicated to his nephew Vladimir Davidov, the "Bobyk" (or "Bob") of many diary-entries and letters during the 1880s. After a successful premiere, however, he was not satisfied with Program Symphony (No.6) on the title page. Several days later Modest suggested "patetichesky", which in Russian means "(1) enthusiastic, passionate, (2) emotional, and (3) bombastic" (rather than "pathetic" or "arousing pity," as in English). Pyotr Ilyich was delighted by the suggestion: "Excellent, Modya, bravo, patetichesky!". He wrote this onto the score, and sent it the same day to his publisher, Jurgenson. Two days later, however, he had qualms and asked Jurgenson to suppress subtitles – to issue the work simply as Symphony No.6, dedicated to Bobyk. One week later, he was dead. As for Jurgenson, he could not resist the opportunity in 1893 to publish No.6, in elegant Lingua Franca, as Symphonie pathétique. The sobriquet has stuck ever since.

During the work's incubation Tchaikovsky was in rare good spirits, pleased with his boldness and fluency, especially in the trailblazing finale, a drawn-out Adagio of funereal character. Where others still wrote conventional slow movements, he hit on the idea of "a limping waltz" in 5/4 time. And he made the scherzo a march that builds to such a pitch of excitement that audiences ever since, everywhere, applaud at the end.


A lugubrious Adagio prologue begins with a bassoon solo in E minor that makes its way upward through the murk of divisi string basses, followed by a nervous little motif that blossoms into the main theme of an Allegro ma non troppo sonata-structure in B minor. The memorably sighing, mauve-hued melody that dominates this movement is actually its secondary subject. A crashing orchestral tutti sets up the passionately agitated development section, followed by a condensed reprise and a brief, calmed coda.


Tchaikovsky's marking for this D major "waltz" movement is Allegro con grazia – a song and trio with extended coda whose mood may be wistful, even melancholic midway, but whose spirit is balletic, to the extent of echoing Nutcracker's "Waltz of the Flowers", composed a year earlier.


The March-Scherzo, Allegro molto vivace in common time, has an elfin character at the start. It is a sonatina (exposition and reprise without development) that quick-steps to an explosive climax but always returns to tonic G major.


Another sonatina (symphonic developments were Tchaikovsky's bête noire) is anchored in B minor, although the tragic second theme enters in D major. The overall mood is inconsolably grieving, but not "pathetic". Ultimately, the music returns to those murky depths in which the symphony was born some 40 minutes earlier – without, however, benediction or hope.


Source: Roger Dettmer (allmusic.com)



Jennifer Koh
















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See also


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.21 in C major – Fazıl Say, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Peter Oundjian (HD 1080p)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.1 in C minor | Anton Bruckner: Symphony No.7 in E major – David Huang, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck – Thursday, May 24, 2018, 07:30 PM CET – Livestream

David Huang (Photo by Elias Gammelgård)

















Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his First Piano Concerto for himself in 1933. As usual with an ironic smile and an abundance of good ideas, all of which demand attention, not least from the mocking solo trumpet whose biting comments interject here and there.

The prize winning soloist David Huang displays his skills at the grand piano and Manfred Honeck conducts. The Austrian also leads Symphony No.7 by his countryman Anton Bruckner, one of the composer's most performed works and a towering giant in Bruckner's collection of grandiose symphonies.


Thursday, May 24
Los Angeles: 10:30 AM
Lima: 12:30 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 01:30 PM
Brasília: 02:30 PM
London: 06:30 PM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, Gothenburg: 07:30 PM
Athens, Kiev, Jerusalem, Moscow, Ankara: 08:30 PM

Friday, May 25
Beijing, Manila: 01:30 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 02:30 AM

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Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

♪ Piano Concerto No.1 (Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings) in C minor, Op.35 (1933)* [22 min]


i. Allegro moderato. Allegro vivace. Moderato

ii. Lento
iii. Moderato
iv. Allegro con brio. Presto. Allegretto poco moderato. Allegro con brio




Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

♪ Symphony No.7 in E major, WAB 107 (1881-1883, rev. 1885) [1 hour 8 min]

i. Allegro moderato
ii. Adagio. Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam
iii. Scherzo. Sehr schnell
iv. Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht schnell


David Huang, piano*
Bengt Danielsson, trumpet*

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Manfred Honeck

(HD 1080p)

Live from Gothenburg Concert Hall

Thursday, May 24, 2018, 07:30 PM CET

Live on Livestream


Photo by Richard Frantzén
As the winner of the Swedish Soloistprize in 2014, the foremost national competition for classical musicians; Swedish-Chinese pianist David Huang has established himself as one of scandinavias most interesting and prominent young musicians of today.

In 2012 David made his first breakthrough winning the prestigious Vera Lothar-Schevchenko international piano competition in Yekaterinburg. This made him the first swede ever to win a russian piano competiton. He performed in the finale two concertos of Mozart and Liszt together with the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra.

Appointed as Swedish Radio P2 Artist in Residence 2014-2016 David is making numerous recordings and live performances on both national television and radio, playing both solo, chamber music and with orchestras such as the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Gävle Symphony Orchestra.

Today David is based in Stockholm, Sweden and enjoys performing both as a soloist and chamber musician. His passion and dedication for chamber music has led to many well established collaborations with some of scandinavia's finest musicians. As of 2015 he formed together with Swedish violinist Daniel Migdal and Norwegian cellist Frida Fredrikke Waaler Waervågen – Trio LEK, an ensemble dedicated to exploring contemporary music and also the already existing, vast repertoire. David is also a founding member of the chamber ensemble Sveriges Kammarsolister.

David was born 1988 in Taiyuan, China and moved to Sweden at the early age of three, he has already been awarded many honours, amongst them scholarships from the Royal Academy of Music in Sweden.

Source: davidhuang.se


David Huang (Photo by Richard Frantzén)
















Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.1 (Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings) in C minor, Op.35

When Dmitri Shostakovich produced his Concerto No.1 in C minor for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, Op.35 in 1933, he was on top of the musical world in Russia. Not only that, but at age 27, he was already a composer of international renown, in the wake of the Symphony No.1: his glittering student masterpiece. In these post-revolutionary years, Soviet Musical culture was still sorting itself out, and Stalin's cultural goons had not yet begun their systematic terrorization of their nation's finest composers. Several years earlier, he had gotten a mild official "hand-slap" for his Tahiti Trot (his witty and whimsical take on "Tea for Two"), but the young genius was not to feel the regime's full wrath until Stalin and company viciously condemned his second opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, in 1936.

From then on, Shostakovich was forced to walk a tenuous artistic tightrope for the rest of his life, struggling to balance his creative integrity against the Kremlin's cultural dogma. But for now, his work – including two more regime-pleasing symphonies and his satirical opera The Nose (plus popular ballet, film and stage scores) had made him one of his country's musical darlings. And it was under such comparatively sunny circumstances that his first piano concerto came to sassy and vibrant life.


First performed in 1933 in Leningrad (St Petersburg) with the composer (also a brilliant pianist) at the keyboard, the work is full of burlesque swagger and impish, often sardonic humor. Even then, Shostakovich understood the official predilection for crude, even banal themes – but part of his genius was his ability to elevate the banal into the realm of art. And so it is often the case here, with a good bit of "common" musical material transformed into episodes of brain-teasing sophistication.


But there are quite a few instances of more exalted thematic material as well, owing to the composer's well-known habit of borrowing themes from other composers, as well as from his own works. Here, he both begins and ends the work with modified themes from Beethoven: the first movement's opening downward piano triad was apparently inspired by the opening bars of the "Appassionata" piano sonata, and the concluding frantic passages of the finale are based on his G major Rondo a Capriccio, popularly known as "Rage over a Lost Penny". In between, there are quotes from several of Shostakovich's earlier scores – and even a tid-bit from Haydn.


Following the first movement's brief opening bright splash, the initial Beethovenian theme tries to cast a somber overall mood – but Shostakovich doesn't let that happen, leading the theme instead into material more typical of a music-hall. The trumpet enters, with intermittent snippets reminiscent of jazzed-up military bugle calls. The original theme reappears here and there, tugging the music back and forth between serious and saucy. It should be noted that the trumpet has not yet become a full partner to the piano at this point, instead providing mostly irreverent musical "commentary" here and there. The mood changes abruptly in the following Lento movement, where the music – save for a dramatic and more animated central climax – takes on a consistently subdued and melancholy tone. The trumpet, now muted, enters fairly late in the movement, its pensive melodic musings adding to the prevailing reflective atmosphere.


The very short third movement – and airy episode of seemingly aimless piano noodling leading downward into a somberly throbbing strings passage – serves more as an interlude (or prelude) than a complete movement. But then comes the headlong finale, as the piano and strings explode into a frantic, carnival-atmosphere tumble. The trumpet – still not quite an equal partner to the piano – butts in repeatedly, as if goading the other musicians forward, until it gets its own gauche-sounding dance-tune. From there the musical chicanery piles up, with piano and trumpet seeming to compete as reluctant partners in crime. The final furious flurry of notes leaves the listener hanging on by the fingernails as the combined forces hurtle to a frantic finish.


Source: Lindsay Koob, 2013 (delosmusic.com)




Anton Bruckner: Symphony No.7 in E major, WAB 107

Having recently gained acceptance in Vienna with the premiere of the Fourth Symphony, Anton Bruckner received a visit from famed conductor Artur Nikisch who offered to premier the composer's Seventh Symphony. The concert took place in Leipzig with the Gewandhaus Orchestra on December 30, 1884; Hans Richter and the Vienna Philharmonic gave the Symphony its local premiere in January 1885. Despite a cool reception from the critics, the work was an enormous success, and public enthusiasm helped to solidify Bruckner's growing reputation. Among the accolades was a telegram from Johann Strauss, Jr. which read "Am deeply moved. It was the musical experience of my life". Unlike most of his other symphonies, Bruckner's Seventh underwent virtually no revision; the one point of concern was a cymbal crash at the Adagio's climax which Bruckner added at the suggestion of friends, but then subsequently removed.

The Symphony commences with a string tremolo from which the searching main theme arises; this theme is said to have been whistled to Bruckner in a dream by his late friend Ignaz Dorn, and it reappears throughout the symphony in subtle transformations. This is followed by a plaintive, yet animated, theme for woodwinds, and followed in turn by an imposing dance-like third theme. The development is expansive, making effective use of theme inversion, and the recapitulation is varied; a long crescendo using fragments of the opening theme forms a glowing and dynamic coda.

The deeply felt second movement, an adagio in song form, is mournful and dignified. Said to have been inspired by a premonition of Richard Wagner's death, the opening threnody breaks into a sonorous hymn for strings. This alternates with a beautiful arching theme which offers consolation at each appearance. The climax occurs with the third appearance of the movement's opening theme which, against an ostinato of rising sextuplets, is propelled to a blazing C major climax. Finally, a dirge for Wagner tubas, said to have been composed upon Bruckner's learning of Wagner's passing, follows as coda with the strings intoning a poignant transformation of the Symphony's main theme.

With a contrast as stunning as the corresponding moment in Beethoven's Eroica, the windswept Scherzo which follows is one of Bruckner's best. The main theme is said to have been derived from the crowing of a cock; the wistfully nostalgic trio is deeply affecting.

The finale opens with an athletic transformation of the Symphony's opening theme. This is followed by beautifully modulating chorale for strings against a walking bass, and in turn following by a thundering unison transformation of the opening theme in minor. These three wonderfully contrasting ideas are interwoven deliberately, yet with great animation and vigor, until the heartily extroverted coda brings home the Symphony's opening theme in the full orchestra.

Source: Wayne Reisig (allmusic.com)


Manfred Honeck (Photo by Jason Cohen)












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See also

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts

Live on Livestream: All Past Events