Archive for March, 2011

Show Selector, Vol 2

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Time for another round of concert selections, running from now until mid-April.  I'll follow this one up shortly with another that deals specifically with April 21st – 24th, which is basically the best concurrent four days of concerts I've seen since I've come to St. Louis.  Anyway, this Show Selector is dedicated mostly to garage rock, because I fucking love garage rock and there's a ton of it coming our way.  More after the jump.


Photo credit: Bekah Cope

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Classical New Releases @ KWUR, Feb. 2011 Edition

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

I mentioned in the last classical new release post for Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011 that the February list would be somewhat out of control, in a good way.  This is what I meant, with these new releases newly arrived for last month:

1. "John Adams: Portrait", with Angèle Dubeau (violin), La Pietà, and Louise Bessette (piano) (Analekta AN 2 8732)

2. Johann Ludwig Bach: Trauermusik, with Anna Prohaska, Ivonne Fuchs, Maximilian Schmitt, Andreas Wolf; RIAS Chamber Choir; Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin; Hans-Christoph Rademann, conductor (harmonia mundi HMC 902080) (BTW, J.L. Bach is from an offshoot branch of the J.S. Bach family line)

3. Brahms: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2; Scherzo, op. 4; with Alexander Melnikov (performing on a Bösendorfer from 1875) (harmonia mundi HMC 902086)

4. "The Romantic Violin Concerto – 10", concertante works by Frédéric d'Erlanger and Frederic Cliffe, with Philippe Graffin (violin) and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; David Lloyd-Jones, conductor (Hyperion CDA 67838)

5. Ginastera: Estancia (extended suite), Suite de Danzas Criollas, Panambi (extended suite), Ollantay, Popol Vuh: The Mayan Creation; London Symphony Orchestra; Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra; BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Gisèle Ben-Dor, conductor (Naxos 8.570999)

6. "Sound the Bells! American Premières for Brass", with music by John Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas, Morten Lauridsen, Bruce Broughton, Kevin Puts, and Scott Hiltzik; The Bay Brass, various guest artists, and conductors Alasdair Neale, Michael Tilson Thomas, Robert Ward, Jeffrey Budin, Bruce Broughton, Paul Welcomer, and Charles Floyd (harmonia mundi HMU 807556)

7. "Ray Chen: Virtuoso", music by Tartini, J.S. Bach, Wienawski, and Franck, with Ray Chen (violin) and Noreen Polera (piano) (Sony Classical 88697829672)

8. "Matteo: 300 Years of an Italian Cello", music of Domenico Gabrielli, Luciano Berio, Luigi Dallapiccola, Brian Cherney, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Claudio Ambrosini; with Matt Haimovitz, cello (Oxingale OX2018)

9. "Meeting of the Spirits", arrangements of fusion jazz pieces by John McLaughlin, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, John Lewis, Billy Strayhorn, David Sanford, George Gershwin, and Charles Mingus; with Uccello, Matt Haimovitz (cello), and guest artists John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Matt Wilson (drums) and Jan Jarczyk (keyboard) (Oxingale OX2017)

10. Gounod: Roméo et Juliette, with Jussi Björling, Bidú Sayão et al.; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Emil Cooper, conductor (live radio broadcast from February 1, 1947) (Sony Classical 88697 80465 2)

11. Puccini: La bohème, with Licia Albanese, Carlo Bergonzi, Mario Sereni, Laurel Hurley et al.; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Thomas Schippers, conductor (live radio broadcast from February 15, 1958) (Sony Classical 88697 80463 2)

12. Puccini: Tosca, with Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Cornell MacNeil et al.; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Kurt Adler, conductor (live radio broadcast from April 7, 1962) (Sony Classical 88697 80468 2)

13. Rossini: Il barbiere di Sivilgia, with Lily Pons, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Giuseppe Valdengo et al., The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Kurt Adler, conductor (live radio broadcast from December 16, 1950) (Sony Classical 88697 80462 2)

I doubt that March will top this; we shall see.  Thanks for reading.

‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’ – this Sat. AM on KWUR

Friday, March 4th, 2011

It may seem odd, if not unseemly, to put in a promo KWUR blog post for one particular selection that will open my classical show this Saturday at 11 AM, since I like to air offbeat works much of the time anyway.  However, there are a few special reasons here to promote this selection, the 1977 musico-dramatic collaboration between playwright Tom Stoppard and conductor/composer Andre Previn, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour".  First performed in 1977, this work is set in a USSR-era political prison, where one prisoner is a political dissident, and the other is genuinely mentally ill and imagines that he can conduct an orchestra on command.  Hence the presence of an orchestra in this work.  You can read more about the work from articles such as these:

(a) December 2008 Times of London interview with Stoppard and Previn

(b) January 2009 primer from Mark Espiner, The Guardian, on the play

(c) The National Theatre's page on their 2010 revival of the play

The other main reason for promoting this work is the source of the recording.  To my knowledge, there is only one recording of this work, on RCA, made right after the premiere, with a distinguished cast of actors and Previn himself conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.  In addition, it's not available on CD, AFAICT.  The recording to be broadcast from KWUR this Saturday morning, ~ 11 AM, is from the private collection of Dr. Alfred Holtzer, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Washington University.  Dr. Holtzer and I occasionally meet at concerts, and knowing about my KWUR show, he was kind enough to offer this recording for airplay at KWUR, for what may be its 1st-ever broadcast in St. Louis.  (So I have to take really good care of the LP, needless to say.)  The cast includes:

i. Ian Richardson (Ivanov, the mental patient who imagines the orchestra in his head)

ii. Ian McKellen (Alexander Ivanov, the imprisoned dissident)

iii. Patrick Stewart (the Doctor)

Dr. Holtzer also has a past connection to KWUR, as he was the faculty advisor to a group of students back in the 1970's who had the idea of setting up a campus radio station.  With funds allocated to him to serve as a faculty advisor to any Wash. U. student group, he directed the funds to this group of students.  The result is the station that is still going 30+ years later.  I sincerely thank Dr. Holtzer for the opportunity to present this recording from KWUR this Saturday.

In addition, in keeping with KWUR's mission of airing out-of-the-mainstream selections, if I were a betting man, I'd be willing to wager that neither KWMU, 90.7 FM nor the late and much-missed KFUO, 99.1 FM have aired this work.  Hence my claim that this will be the St. Louis broadcast premiere.  This, after all, is why alternative radio stations exist, to air selections that wouldn't be heard otherwise.  So if you're in your car near campus or are at your computer this Saturday around 11 AM, please feel free to listen in.