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Jean Sibelius

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Boston Musical Intelligencer


BSO Achieves Timely Triumph

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Baiba Skride, Harriet Krijgh, Elsbeth Moser in Gubaidulina Triple concerto. (Winslow Townson photo) Flush from a second consecutive Grammy, Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra presented their latest all-Russian program in their multi-season survey of Shostakovich symphonies. The largest and perhaps most notorious of these works, the Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 60, was paired with the world premiere of the Triple Concerto of Sofia Gubaidulina. Last night, the BSO reached a new high-water mark with its harrowing performance on music from the edge of war. The concert began with Gubaidulina’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Bayan , co-commissioned by the BSO and the North German Radio Philharmonic of Hannover. Swiss bayanist Elsbeth Moser, a longtime Gubaidulina collaborator, inspired the composition and is the work’s dedicatee. She mounted a platform next to the conductor’s podium alongside young Dutch cellist Harriet Krijgh, and Latvian violinist Baiba Skride. The work began with a dense tone cluster on the bayan, making for a rich and strange sound. Double basses joined in, with the lowest end of their register reminding me of nothing quite like humpback whale song. Then Krijgh and Skride took turns playing an overtone series, the rising sets of pitches that derive from the harmonics of the base pitch. This was followed by a series of exchanges between orchestra and soloists, occasionally punctuated by the menacing whirring of gongs and snare drum. The orchestral parts seemed to concentrate either on the very highest notes (piccolo, flutes, triangle) or the very lowest (string basses, contrabassoon, a trio of trombones and two tubas). Skride soared up and played harmonics that reached up into dog-whistle range, and Moser added outbursts of tone clusters moving up and down the bayan’s register. The work reversed the opening material with high orchestra parts, a falling overtone series, then a big roaring finish. It was a work filled with the kind of sonic atmospherics that you’d expect from a veteran film score composer like Gubaidulina, and between the presence of three soloists, women from different countries and different generations, the exploration of unusual instrument combinations and the extremes of orchestral tessitura made for a fascinating probing of music’s margins. The crowd registered warm approval, and rose to its feet when the 85-year-old composer stepped to the front to take a bow. Dmitri Shostakovich worked on his Symphony No. 7 as his hometown of Leningrad (once again St. Petersburg) lay under a brutal Nazi siege that killed half of its residents. It became a potent symbol of Russian (and later Allied) defiance of Fascist oppression. However, some accounts suggest that Shostakovich was working on the symphony for a full year before Hitler sent the Wehrmacht into the Soviet Union. In Solomon Volkov’s controversial Testimony, Shostakovich supposedly states that the symphony describes a city that Stalin destroyed and Hitler merely finished off. The main reason for the colossal scale of the Symphony No. 7 is the massive opening movement, an ambitious Allegretto, which opens with a sonata form-inspired working of two contrasting thematic groups. It begins with a stirring unison string tune accompanied by martial trumpet-and-drum rhythms. The second subject starts with a squeezebox-style accompanying pattern divided between cellos and violas, then the first violins play a forlorn theme, echoed by the wind choir led by the oboe. The piccolo rounds out what should be enough material for a significant movement. But then, a snare drum starts rattling steadily away. A faint, jaunty melody emerges, string instruments played barely audibly, then gets repeated over and over again, picking up thicker orchestration, a bit of canonic counterpoint, and other thematic material, gathering momentum over twelve repetitions and over 10 minutes. As the melody surges in power and force, it begins to lurch and stagger like a drunkard, no longer banal or laughable but dangerous and lethal. I had heard this symphony a few times before (including the BSO’s last performance in 1995), and this middle section had always struck me as maudlin and melodramatic. But I returned to this piece in the wake of the recent political turmoil, I heard a tune so banal it invites derision. But as the tune gets repeated incessantly and amplifies, it overwhelms everything in its path The symphony was transformed in my ears from a grotesque mash-up of Bolero and the 1812 Overture into musical journalism, a description of how totalitarian regimes come to power, and music that suits our dark times. The BSO responded to this movement magnificently, playing the opening string theme with passion and urgency, managing the slow burn crescendo of the totalitarian theme with impressive and inexorable dynamic control, and exploring the chaos and devastation left in the wake of the invasion with a frank, dry-eyed bleakness. The opening section offered a number of short but piquant solo segments for BSO piccolo player Cynthia Meyers. The devastation segment offered a lovely solo moment for principal flautist Elizabeth Rowe and a particularly vulnerable, extended solo for principal bassoonist Richard Svoboda. The opening movement pulled back to a hushed pianissimo with exquisitely focused string playing, and a lovely, subtle but menacing return of snare drum and jaunty theme played by principal trumpeter Thomas Rolfs with a mute to make it sound like it came from miles away. The second movement Moderato passes for a Minuet/Scherzo form, and leavens the first movement with the work’s one bit of gallows humor. It starts with the irregular rhythm of the violin theme over a slow and steady flow of short, separated notes from the lower strings. Oboist John Ferrillo floated a melancholy solo over this string counterpoint, then handed it off ably to English hornist Robert Sheena. The middle section was louder, cruder, marked by a relentlessly rhythmic xylophone figure, over which principal clarinetist William Hudgins captured Shostakovich’s characteristic sardonic wit. The movement transitions back to the opening material and ends with another stunning, gentle string playout. The Adagio third movement constitutes a the great lamentation for Leningrad’s many dead, particularly in Leonard Bernstein’s over-the-top Chicago Symphony recording for Deutsche Grammophon. Nelsons and the BSO did not quite reach for Bernstein’s Mahlerian emotional heights, but they beautifully balances the opening chorale figure between winds and horns, and the strings gave out their keening lamentations with impressively unified intonation and phrasing. Flautists Cynthia Rowe and Clint Foreman dueted hauntingly over clarinet chords, before the chorale and mourning segments came in a hair-raisingly hushed pianissimo. This gave way to another brutal middle section, with syncopated brass reminding me of the theme to the I, Claudius TV series. The opening material returns in a few intriguing alternate orchestrations, including the chorale tune played at the highest end of the lowest wind instruments (bassoons and clarinets) and a lush, gorgeous lament from the violas. This movement segued directly from its quiet ending to the hushed string figure over pedal point string bass that opens the final movement Allegro non troppo. This material gathered slowly in strength and power, similar to the opening movement but here giving more of a sense of defiantly manning the barricades. Then a dotted rhythm, an almost Handelian musical figure, waxes and wanes in power, mired for a while in seemingly aimless circles before the strings escalate gradually in dynamics and intensity. For the build-up to the conclusion, Nelsons took a tempo slower than those that I’ve heard in other interpretations, generating a sense of a people who are weary, bruised, and battered but continue fighting nonetheless, and made the final triumph feel hard-earned. And the final triumph was resplendent indeed, one of Shostakovich’s biggest and brightest blazes of sonic glory. The BSO played this with ear-splitting brilliance, earning enthusiastic roars from the audience and bringing the crowd rapidly to its feet for a well-deserved and prolonged ovation. All in all, it made for yet another high extraordinary high point in Nelsons’s ongoing exploration of a composer whose music has become unexpectedly timely. The orchestra repeats this concert on Friday afternoon and Saturday evening before taking it to Carnegie Hall along with the programs of the last two weeks. They return to Boston on Friday, March 10, when conductor Sakari Oramo, pianist Krill Gerstein, and the men of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus present Sibelius’s Symphony No. 3 and Busoni’s enormous, 70-minute Piano Concerto in C Major. James C.S. Liu is a physician by day and a baritone and music enthusiast by night. He lives with his wife and daughters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The post BSO Achieves Timely Triumph appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .

Meeting in Music

February 22

Recent updates to previously posted music

02/23/17 Second Viennese School #3 +1CD Pierrot Lunaire by Salome Kammer & Hans Zender (a rip by John H.) 02/18/17 Schoenberg Piano Music +1DDL Complete set by Pina Napolitano (2012) 02/16/17 Debussy #4 +2CDs Etudes by Garrick Ohlsson, both the 1988 and the 2013 recordings 02/11/17 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 2nd Piano Concerto + Tchakovsky's 1st by Beatrice Rana & Antonio Pappano in Rome 02/1/17 Musique Française #3 +1CD Rameau & Royer's Pièces de clavecin by Jean Rondeau ('Vertigo') (2015) 01/28/17 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Schubert's Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 by Böhm in Vienna (1982) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 01/28/17 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Haydn's Symphonies Nos. 29, 30, 31 by Dorati in Budapest (1975) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 01/21/17 Summer Nights #3 +1CD Mendelssohn's 3rd & 4th Sym. by Heras-Casado in Freiburg (2015) (a rip by Enrico B.) 01/21/17 Summer Nights #3 +1LP Mendelssohn's 1st & 2nd Sym. by Sawallisch in London (1967) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 01/19/17 Murray playing Bach Organ Works New links in the posting 01/18/17 Musique Française #2 +1DDL Respighi's Fountains & Pines of Rome, The Birds by Louis Lane in Atlanta (1985) 01/11/17 Debussy #3 +1DDL Jeux & Images pour Orchestre by Tilson Thomas in San Francisco (2014) 01/10/17 Musique Française #2 +1CD Saint-Saens' 1st Cello Concerto by Tortelier & Frémaux in Birmingham (1974) 01/03/17 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's Cello Concerto by Paul Tortelier & Charles Groves in London (1988) 12/29/16 Goodbye 2015 +1CD Monteverdi's Selva morale e spirituale by William Christie (1987) 12/26/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD set Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ by C. Davis in London (1976) (a rip by Enrico B.) 12/19/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky's 'Pathétique' Symphony by Giuseppe Sinopoli in London (1989) 12/16/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Gesualdo's Tenebrae responsories by the BBC Singers & Bo Holten (2004) 12/16/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD set Byrd and Taverner: Masses, by David Willcocks in Cambridge (1963) 12/12/16 Schubert #1 +1CD Sonata D.894 & Impromptus D.899 by Daniel Levy in London (1997) 12/11/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Volkmann's Cello Concerto & Serenades by H. Karni & M. Pommer (Hamburg 1997) 12/9/16 Mozart: Nachtmusik Added missing track #9 (+New cue file and log) 12/5/16 Stravinsky #2 +1DVD Petrushka + Blacher's Paganini Variations by Zubin Mehta in Florence 1995 12/5/16 Opera Favourites #3 +1DVD Verdi: 4 Pezzi Sacri by Claudio Abbado in Stockholm 1998 (+ Debussy's Nocturnes) 12/3/16 Second Viennese School #4 +1CD Schoenberg's Pelleas + Variations Op. 31 by Zubin Mehta in Tel Aviv 12/3/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Carmina Burana by James Levine in Chicago (1984) (a rip by Cunctator) 11/29/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Korngold's Piano Music by Ingrid Jacoby (1998) 11/29/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Grieg & Schumann, Piano Concertos by Ingrid Jacoby in London (2005) 11/21/16 Poulenc +1CD Motets, 7 Chansons, Mass, Figure humaine by the Grex Vocalis choral ensemble (1999) 11/18/16 Musique Française #1 +1 CD Ravel Tombeau, Fauré Masques & Pavane by the Orpheus Chamber Orch. (1995) 11/18/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD set Ravel's piano music by Jacques Rouvier (1974) 11/15/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 with Gary Graffman & George Szell in Cleveland (1966) 11/15/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Carmina Burana by Richard Hickox in London (1987) 11/14/16 American Classics +1CD Ives & Creston's Symphonies no. 2 by Neeme Neeme Järvi in Detroit (1995) 11/13/16 Shostakovich #2 +1CD Suites from 'The Gadfly' and 'Pirogov' film scores by José Serebrier (1987) 11/13/16 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Semyon Bychkov's 5th in Berlin (1986) now from original CD 11/11/16 The Odd Couple +1CD Mozart Concerto No. 13 + Beethoven's 'Eroica' by Barenboim in Versailles (1997) 11/11/16 The Odd Couple #2 +1CD Mozart's Requiem by Riccardo Muti in Berlin (1987) 11/8/16 Rachmaninov #2 +1DVD Rip Concerto no. 3 with Giorgia Tomassi in Tel Aviv (1992) 11/8/16 The Long Goodbye +1CD Mozart & Weber's Clarinet Quintets by Eduard Brunner & the Hagen Quartett (1987) 11/7/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Korngold & Schmidt Chamber Music with Piano Left Hand by Leon Fleisher (1993) 11/4/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Fischer-Dieskau's Gesellen & Kindertoten + Wolf's Lieder in the 50s (a rip by Corrado D.) 11/4/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Dvorak Cello Concerto & Tchaikovsky's Rococo' by Christine Walevska (1971) 11/3/16 Rare Grooves #2 +LP set Vivaldi's Il Cimento Op. 8 by I Musici and Felix Ayo (1959) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 11/1/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Chinese Ancient Classical Music by Xiaming (2001) 11/1/16 Debussy #4 +1CD Etudes, Images oubliées, Estampes, Suite Bergamasque by Roger Woodward (1997) 11/1/16 American Classics +1CD Copland's Piano Works (Blues, Sonata, Rodeo, Salon) by Eugenie Russo (1995) 11/1/16 American Classics +1CD Copland's Tender Land & Red Pony Suites by James Sedares in Phoenix (1991) 11/1/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD The Rite of Spring & The Firebird Suite by James DePreist in Portland (2000) 11/1/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD The Rite of Spring & Apollo by Jaap van Zweden in Hilversum (2006) 10/17/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Wyn Morris 1966 Des Knaben Wunderhorn (J. Baker & G. Evans) (a rip by Leroy V) 10/12/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, Saint-Saens: Violin Sonatas by Kang & Devoyon (2003) 10/11/16 Darmstadt #4 +1CD Carter's Piano & Cello Sonatas + works by Del Tredici, Helps & Persichetti 10/11/16 Brahms Piano & Chamber Gems +1CD Clarinet & String Quintets by D. Shifrin and Chamber Music N-W 10/11/16 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Boulez's Structures for 2 Pianos by the Kontarsky Duo (1965) 10/8/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD set Albeniz's Iberia by Olivier Chauzu (2008) 10/4/16 Strauss #3 +1CD Oboe Concerto by Douglas Boyd & Paavo Berglund (1986) (+ Mozart's K. 314) 10/4/16 Strauss #3 +1CD set Heldenleben & Zarathustra with Zubin Mehta in L.A. (1968) (a rip by Dante B.) 10/3/16 Bartok #5 +1CD The wooden Prince & Hungarian Pictures by Neeme Jarvi in London (1990) 10/3/16 Bartok #5 +1CD The wooden Prince & Dance Suite by Ivan Fischer in Budapest (1996) 10/1/16 Haydn Quartets Op. 9 New links added for the original release from the 1990's. Disc scans and inside cover scans are included in the new scans link. Scroll to the bottom of the comments section for the new links. 9/22/16 Prokofiev #1 +1DVD Romeo & Juliet: Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Alessandra Ferri & Wayne Eagling (1984) 9/21/16 Prokofiev #2 +1CD 1st Symphony, Love for 3 Oranges & Lieutenant Kijé by Lorin Maazel in Paris (1985) 9/21/16 Prokofiev #2 +5CDs 5th Symphony by: Y. Levi, V. Handley, Y. Temirkanov, J. Martinon & G. Noseda 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +3CDs Romeo & Juliet (Excerpts) by Claudio Abbado, Claus Peter Flor & Yoel Levi 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set Cinderella complete ballet by Vladimir Ashkenazy in Cleveland (1983) 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set Romeo & Juliet complete ballet by Valery Gergiev in St. Petersburg (1990) 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +2 CDs Alexander Nevsky & Scythian Suite by Valery Gergiev (2002) & Neeme Jarvi (1988) 9/14/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD Spanish & Argentine Flamencos played by Paco Peña & Eduardo Falú (1989) 9/14/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD Montoya & Ricardo: Flamencos, played by Paco Peña (1987) 9/13/16 Spanish School #3 +1CD Spanish 20th Century Guitar Works by Agustin Maruri (1995) 9/13/16 Spanish School #1 +1CD Guitar Music of Ponce, Piazzolla, Barrios played by Manuel Barrueco (1997) 9/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Borodin's String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 by the Borodin Quartet (1980) 9/12/16 Rachmaninov #2 +3CDs Piano Concertos & Paganini Rhapsody by T. Vasary & Y. Ahronovitch (a rip by Dante B.) 9/12/16 Bruckner +1CD set Symphony No. 8 by Giulini in Vienna 1985 (a rip by Dante B.) 9/10/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Vivaldi's Le Quattro Stagioni by Gil Shaham & the Orpheus C.O. (1993) 9/10/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Smetana's Ma Vlast by Vaclav Talich in Prague (1954) (a rip by Corrado D.) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 1st Violin Sonata (+ Debussy & Janacek) by V. Mullova & P. Anderszewski (1994) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD The War Sonatas by Vladimir Ashkenazy (1995) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 3rd Concerto & Tchaikovsky's 1st by Noriko Ogawa & Gennady Rozhdestvensky (1989) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1 CD set The 5 Piano Concertos by Vladimir Krainev & Dmitri Kitaenko in Frankfurt (1992) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set 3rd & 5th Concertos (+ Schumann's and Liszt's) by Samson François (1958-1961) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 3rd Concerto & Ravel's left Hand Concerto by John Browning & Erich Leinsdorf (1960) 9/8/16 Schumann +1CD Papillons, Piano Quintet, Fantasiestücke Op. 73 with Jonathan Biss, Jerusalem Q., Martin Fröst 9/8/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Domenico Scarlatti's Keyboard Sonatas by Marcela Roggeri (Piano) (2004) 9/8/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Symphony No. 1 by Mariss Jansons in St. Petersburg (1999) (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/29/16 Schumann +1CD Margaret Price's Frauenlieben und Leben (1981) 8/14/16 The Long Goodbye +1CD Beethoven & Mozart's Wind Quintets by Alfred Brendel & Soloists (1986)8/14/16 The Long Goodbye +1LP Beethoven's 7th Symphony by Karl Böhm (1958) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Pergolesi Stabat Mater by Claudio Abbado (1985)8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Mozart's 3rd & 5th Violin Concertos by Isabelle van Keulen (1989)8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Mozart Piano Sonatas by Daria van den Bercken (2014) 8/5/16 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Mendelssohn's String Quintets at the Marlboro Festival 1990 (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/5/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Mendelssohn's Elias by Wolfgang Sawallisch (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/5/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Mendelssohn's Elias & Paulus Oratorios by Helmut Rilling (a rip by Dante B.) 7/19/16 Mahler 7 +1CD Gianandrea Noseda in Manchester (2010) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/19/16 American Classics +1CD Barber's Sonata (+ Berg's Op. 1 & Beethoven's Op. 126) by Ashley Wass 7/19/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Gubaidulina: The Piano Music by Marcela Roggeri (2007) 7/18/16 Summer Nights #6 +1CD Frederica von Stade's Haydn, Mozart, Rossini solo album (1975) w/ de Waart & Dorati  7/18/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD set J-P. Rameau's Zais by Christophe Rousset (2014) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD set Beethoven's 4th Concerto (+ Chopin's 2nd & Schumann's) by Guiomar Novaes 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1LP Beethoven's Violin Concerto by H. Szeryng & B. Haitink (a transfer by Enrico B.) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's Violin Concerto by Anne-Sophie Mutter & Kurt Masur in NYC (2002) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's Quartets Nos. 9 & 14 by the Quartetto Italiano (1969) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's 4th Concerto by Lang Lang & Christoph Eschenbach in Paris (2007) 7/13/16 Summer Nights #12 +1CD Guastavino's Songs by Florent Héau (Clarinet) with Marcela Roggeri, Piano (2008) 7/11/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's Il Tabarro & Leoncavallo's Pagliacci by James Levine (1994) 7/11/16 Messiaen +1CD La fauvette passerinette & other piano pieces by Peter Hill (2014) 7/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Lalo's complete Piano Trios by the Trio Parnassus (1992) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD set Bizet's complete Orchestral Music by Enrique Batiz (1988) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/9/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Saint-Saens's Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 by G. Pretre (1991) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/9/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Satie, Piano Music (including most Gnossiennes) by Marcela Roggeri (2005) 7/5/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1CD set, Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri by Claudio Abbado in Vienna (1987) 7/5/16 Opera Favourites #1 +2CD sets, Bellini's Norma (J. Levine 1979) & I Capuleti e i Montecchi (R. Muti 1984) 7/5/16 Bach +1CD Cantatas for Counter-Tenor (BWV 170, 54, 35) by A. Scholl & P. Herreweghe (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/5/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD 'Nocturne' (Selected Lieder) by Rupert Charlesworth & Edwige Herchenroder (2014) 7/4/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Liszt's Christus oratorio by Helmuth Rilling (1997) (a rip by Dante B.) 7/2/16 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Brahms' Trio Op. 8 & Beethoven's 'Archduke': V. Mullova, H. Schiff & A. Previn (1993) 7/2/16 Summer Nights #7 +1LP Brahms' Violin Concerto by Henryk Szeryng & Bernard Haitink (a transfer by Enrico B.) 7/2/16 Bach 1CD set The well Tempered Clavier by Sergey Schepkin (1998-9) ( a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD The Art of Fugue by the Keller Quartett (1998) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD Cantatas BWV 4, 56, 82 with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1951-2-3) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations (Arr. for String Trio by Bruno Giuranna), Trio Broz (2008) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/28/16 Bach +1CD set The well Tempered Clavier by Samuel Feinberg (1959) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin by Salvatore Accardo (1976) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set The Art of Fugue by Grigory Sokolov (2008) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set Brandenburg Concertos by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (2007) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/27/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Fauré, Chausson, Saint-Saens, Massenet by K. Deshayes & Ensemble Contraste 6/27/16 Musique Française #2 +2CDs Chausson Concert (Accardo) & Symphony (Ansermet) (rips by Corrado D.) 6/26/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD set Songs by Ravel, Fauré, Poulenc etc. by G. Souzay (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/26/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Piano Music by Vlado Perlemuter (1955 recordings) 6/26/16 Musique Française #3 +1LP Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suites by Willem van Otterloo in The Hague (1956) 6/26/16 Mahler 3 +1CD set Michael Tilson Thomas and the LSO, 1990 (with Janet Baker + Rückert-Lieder) 6/23/16 Schubert #2 +1CD set the Late String Quartets by the Quartetto Italiano (1965-1976-1977) 6/23/16 Schubert #1 +1CD Impromptus Op. 90 + Bach's Partitas Nos. 1 & 2 by Simone Dinnerstein (2011) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Winterreise by Cristoph Prégardien & Andreas Staier (1998) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Winterreise by Anton & Hilda Dermota (1963) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Schwanengesang by Wolfgang Holzmair & Imogen Cooper (1994) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD The Musical Offering by the Accademia Bizantina and Carlo Chiarappa (1991) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD set The Cello Suites in Mischa Maisky's first recording (1985) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD The Art of Fugue by Ramin Bahrami (2006) 6/21/16 Bach 2CD sets The well Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2 by Daniel Barenboim (2003-2005) 6/21/16 Schumann +1CD set Kreisleriana by Imogen Cooper + V.A. at the Festival de Valloires 2006 6/19/16 Strauss Operas #2 +1DVD Der Rosenkavalier by John Neschling in Palermo (2004) 6/19/16 Strauss #3 +1CD set Wind Sonatinas, Suite & Serenade by the Royal Academy Wind Ensemble (2006) 6/19/16 Strauss #2 +1CD Music from the Operas by Jeffrey Tate in Rotterdam (1992) 6/19/16 Strauss #1 +1CD Metamorphosen, Don Juan & Lieder by Joan Rodgers & Jan Latham-Koenig (2001) 6/19/16 Strauss #1 +1CD set Lieder by Edita Gruberova & Friedrich Haider (1990) 6/16/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Fauré's 1st Piano Quartet & Trio by the Beaux Arts Trio (1988) (a rip by Dante B.) 6/16/16 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Berlioz's Symphonies fantastique by James Levine (1991) (a rip by Enrico B.) 6/16/16 Bach +1CD set Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin by Stefan Milenkovich (1997) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/16/16 Bach +1CD set Brandenburg Concertos by Giardino Armonico & Giovanni Antonini (1997) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Carmina Burana by Franz Welser-Möst in London (1989) 6/13/16 In the Name of Music +1 CD set Mendelssohn's Paulus by Kurt Masur with Theo Adam (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Fischer-Dieskau's classic EMI recordings of the major Lieder sets (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Frank Martin's Piano Concertos & Ballade by J-F. Antonioli & M. Viotti (1985) 6/10/16 Burgmüller Songs & Sonata Replaced rip which was missing two tracks. The new link is complete. 6/10/16 Bach +1CD set Goldberg Variations & the Partitas by Karl Richter (1958-60) (a rip by Corrado D,) 6/8/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's 2nd Symphony + In the South Ov. with Andrew Davis (1992) 6/8/16 Bach +1CD set The Partitas for Keyboard by Richard Goode (Piano) (2002-2003) (a rip by Corrado D,) 6/8/16 Bach +1CD set The Cello Suites by Mario Brunello (1994) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD A. Caldara's & A. Lingua's Cantate by Recitarcantando Urbino (2009) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD F.M. Stiava's Vespri di Santa Cecilia by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2008) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD G. Carissimi's Historia di Job, Vanitas Vanitatum by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2005) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD H. von Bingen's O Orzchis Ecclesia by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2007) 6/3/16 Gershwin +1CD Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Cuban Ov. by Lorin Maazel in Cleveland (1975) 6/3/16 American Classics +1CD MacDowell's Piano Concertos by Donna Amato & Paul Freeman in London (1985) 6/3/16 Odd Couple #2 +1CD Chopin's 3rd Sonata by Felipe Browne in London (1999) 6/3/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations by Bruno Canino (1993) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/2/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD set Janáček's Piano Music by Håkon Austbø (2004)6/2/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations by Jörg Demus (1989) 6/1/16 Schumann +1CD set Dichterliebe by M. Padmore & I. Cooper + V.A. at the Festival de Valloires 2007 6/1/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Yehuda - Jewish Music from the Seraglio, L'Orient Imaginaire, V. Ivanoff (1996) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Dvorak's New World Symphony by Riccardo Chailly in Amsterdam (1987) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Franck's Symphony by Tadaaki Otaka (1999) (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CDs Franck's & Saint-Saens' Symphonies by Antonio de Almeida in Moscow (1993) 5/29/16 Debussy #2 +1CD Mélodies by Barbara Hendricks & Michel Béroff (1985) 5/29/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Cello Sonata (+ Strauss') bt Werner Thomas & Carmen Piazzini (1987) 5/27/16 Rare grooves #2 +1LP Mendelssohn's 4th Sym. 'Italian' by Colin Davis in Boston (1976) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 5/24/16 Medieval Music: New links 5/24/16 Debussy #6 +1CD String Quartet (+ Brahms's Op. 51/1) by the Ceruti Quartet (2008) 5/24/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Images & other piano pieces by Zoltan Kocsis (1988) 5/24/16 Debussy #5 1CD set Préludes & Etudes by Georges Pludermacher (2003) 5/21/16 Debussy #2 +1CD set The complete Mélodies with Ameling, von Stade, Command, Mesplé & Souzay 5/21/16 Debussy #2 +3CDs Mélodies by Christopher Maltman, Véronique Gens and Gérard Souzay 5/19/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Estampes, Pour le piano, Suite bergamasque etc. by Bruno Canino (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/19/16 Debussy #3 +1CD La mer, Préludes & Nocturnes by Jean Martinon in Paris (1974) 5/19/16 Odd Couple #2 +1Bonus, Chopin for Cello & Piano: Piatigorsky, Bonucci & Amfitheatrof (enc. by Corrado D.) 5/18/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Sonatas for Cello + Flute, Viola & Harp by Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society (2007) 5/18/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD set Ravel's Piano Music by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (2003) (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/17/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye & Prokofiev's Cinderella by piano duo Argerich & Pletnev 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes by Steven Osborne (2006) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes Book 1 & Children's Corner by Nelson Freire (2009) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD set, Préludes etc by Samson François (1970) (includes 5 Etudes) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Images, Pour le piano & Suite bergamasque by Cécile Ousset (1986) 5/16/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms' Symphonies by Antal Dorati (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/16/16 Brahms +2CDs Piano Quartets by J. Demus & the Barylli + Richter & the Borodin (2nd) (rips by Corrado D,) 5/15/16 A Weimar Rhapsody +1CD Krenek Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 & 4 + G. Washington's Variations. (M. Korzhev, 2007) 5/15/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Koechlin and Jolivet's Chamber Music with Flute (Philippe Racine, 1989) 5/13/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Jeux, Images, Prélude, Danses with Serge Baudo in Prague (1977) 5/13/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Alice Ader's rare album with Images, Estampes, Martyre de S-S, Masques etc. (1989)  5/5/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Sacre du printemps (+ Bartok & Boulez) by P. Boulez in Salzburg with the GMJO (1997) 5/5/16 Stravinsky #2 +1DVD Le rossignol by J. Conlon in Paris (Dessay/McLaughlin/Simcic/Urmana/Naouri) (1999) 5/5/16 Bartok #5 +1CD Miraculous Mandarin & Dance Suite by B. Maderna in Monte-Carlo (1968) (a rip by Corrado D.)5/4/16 Massenet Operas: +CD Don Quichotte at Mariinsky theater, Furlanetto/Gergiev 5/4/16 Early Music Collections: New links 5/3/16 Brahms +1CD The Quartets for Voices & Piano by the Kammerchor Stuttgart, A. Rothkopf & F. Bernius (1983)5/3/16 Brahms +1CD The String Quintets by the Hagen SQ & G. Caussé5/3/16 Brahms +1CD set The String Quartets (Italiano SQ) & Clarinet Sonatas (G. Pieterson & H. Menuhin)5/3/16 Brahms +2CDs Piano Sonata No. 3 by Lupu & String Sextets by Carmignola, Brunello etc. (rips by Corrado D.)5/3/16 Brahms +1CD Die schöne Magelone with Andreas Schmidt and Jörg Demus (1988) 5/3/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1DVD Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann by F. Chaslin in Macerata 2004 5/2/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms's Symphonies by B. Haitink in London (2004) 5/2/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms's 2nd Symphony by C. Davis in Munich (1988) 5/2/16 Brahms +1CD Cello Sonatas by du Pré & Barenboim (1968) 5/2/16 Brahms +1CD Late Piano Pieces by Radu Lupu (1970) 5/2/16 Brahms +2CDs Ballades Op. 10 by Gould (1983) & Brendel (+ Weber's Grand Sonata) (1990) 5/2/16 Brahms +3CDs Piano Sonata No. 3 by Barenboim (1996), Perahia (1991), Kissin (2001) 4/27/16 Brahms +1CD/1Bonus Violin D. Oistrakh & Pedrotti (1961, rip by Corrado D.) + Fischer & Sinopoli (2000) 4/27/16 Brahms +1CD set Piano Concertos by Freire & Chailly (2006) 4/27/16 Brahms +4CDs Piano Concertos by Pollini & Abbado, Ax & Haitink, Donohoe & Svetlanov 4/27/16 Brahms +3CDs Violin Sonatas: Zukerman & Neikrug (1992), Tetzlaff & Vogt (2002), Mutter & Orkis (2010) 4/25/16 Rachmaninov #1 +3CDs the 3 Operas (Aleko, The Miserly Knight, Francesca da Rimini) by N. Järvi (1996) 4/23/16 Wintery Romantics +1Bonus Dvorak Symphony No. 7 by I. Fischer in Rome (2006) 4/23/16 Strauss #1 +1Bonus Le bourgeois gentilhomme by Christopher Hogwood in Milan (2005)  4/23/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Symphony No. 1 & Isle of the Dead by M. Pletnev and the RNO (2000) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +1Bonus, 3rd Concerto by B. L. Gelber & E. Krivine in Geneva (1988) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD set The Concertos in E. Wild & J. Horenstein's great recording in London (a rip by Odeon) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +3CDs Ashkenazy/Haitink; Glemser/Wit; Zilberstein/Abbado classic recordings of concertos 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #1 +2CDs Preludes by Weissenberg (1969) & 2nd Symphony by I. Fischer (2003) (rips by Sasha) 4/22/16 Schumann Piano Trio Op. 63 & Ravel's by the Trio di Bolzano (1954) (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/22/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set 5th Symphony by L. Maazel in Cleveland (1977) (+ Rimsky's orch. works) (a rip by Sasha) 4/22/16 Wagner's Ring +4DVDs The entire Ring des Nibelungen in J. Levine's fundamental Met production for DGG 4/21/16 Wagner's Die Walküre +1DVD the great Boulez 1980 production (Hofmann, Altmeyer, McIntyre, Jones, Schwarz) 4/20/16 Wagner's Tristan und Isolde 2DVDs Z. Mehta in Munich (1998) and J. Levine in NYC (1999) 4/20/16 Wagner's Die Meistersingers +1DVD J. Levine's 2001 release (Morris, Heppner, Mattila, Allen, Pape, Polenzani) 4/20/16 Liszt's Sonata: +1CD Peter Donohoe's 1989 recording (including Berg and Bartok's Sonatas) 4/20/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky and Dvorak: Serenade for Strings by C. Davis in Munich (1987) 4/20/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Clarinet Quintet & String Quartet by Karl Leister and the Vogler Quartett (1999) 4/20/16 Stravinsky #2 Apollon Musagète & Cantata by Esa-Pekka Salonen, new rip and scans available. 4/20/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms The Symphonies by Gustav Kuhn in Bolzano (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +2CDs 2nd Symphony by S. Bychkov (1990) & Symphonic Dances by E. Batiz (1991) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD 6 Choruses Op. 15 (+ Scriabin's 1st Symphony) by Valeri Polyansky (2004) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD set & 1CD Preludes and Etudes-Tableaux by N. Lugansky, M. Petkova & L. McCawley 4/18/16 Wintery Romantics +6 CDs Scriabin Sonatas, Etudes, Piano Concerto, Poème de l'extase, Prometheus 4/18/16 Schubert #2 +1CD Symphony No. 9 'Great' by Daniel Barenboim in Berlin (1985) 4/18/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Symphonies Nos. 5 & 1 by André Previn in Los Angeles (1986) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Piano Trio by Perlman, Harrell, Ashkenazy (1980) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics + 3CDs Tchaikovsky's 5th (Ormandy 1981) & 6th (Gergiev 1995), Ballet Suites by Karajan 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto by V. Mullova and S. Ozawa (+ Sibelius) (1985) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD set Tchaikovsky's Symphonies Nos. 4, 5, 6 by Gergiev and the Vienna Philh. (2004) 4/16/15 De Fesch Concerti - Musica ad Rhenum: New links 4/15/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Respighi's Sinfonia Drammatica by Daniel Nazareth in Bratislava (1986) 4/15/16 Stravinsky #1 +1Bonus, Oedipus Rex by Jeffrey Tate in Turin 1999 (Moser, Lipovsek, von Kannen, Kapellmann) 4/15/16 Opera Favourites #3 +1DVD Levine's Trovatore at the Met 1988 (Pavarotti, Marton, Milnes, Zajick, Wells) 4/15/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Erwin Schulhoff's piano works by Ulrich Urban (1993) 4/15/16 Messiaen +1CD Turangalila-Symphonie with R. Chailly (J-Y. Thibaudet, p.; T. Harada, o.M.) (a rip by Cunctator) 4/14/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Sibelius & Nielsen, Violin Concertos, by Maxim Vengerov & Daniel Barenboim (1996) 4/14/16 Summer Nights #12 +1CD B. Walter Violin Sonata & K. Goldmark 1st Suite by P. Graffin & P. Devoyon (2000) 4/14/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Petrushka by D. Zinman in Baltimore & Symphony in 3 Movs. by J. Conlon in Rotterdam 4/14/16 Stravinsky #2 +1DVD Gergiev and the Vienna Philh. in Salzburg for The Firebird (+ Prokofiev & Schnittke) 4/14/16 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1DVD Ariadne auf Naxos by Colin Davis in Dresden (2000) 4/14/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Catulli Carmina & Trionfo di Afrodite by Franz Welser-Möst (1995)4/14/16 In the Name of Music +3CDs Orff's Carmina Burana by Z. Mehta (1992), A. Previn (1993) & R. Shaw (1980) 4/14/16 Hindemith +2CDs F. Schmidt's 4th Symphony (F. Welser-Moest) and Selected Organ Works (A. Juffinger) 4/14/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Moritz Moszkowski's piano works by Seta Tanyel (1993) 4/14/16 Shostakovich #2 +1CD Piano Sonatas Nos. 2, 3, 4 by Nikolai Miaskovsky in Lydia Jardon's recording (2007) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Lyrische Symphonie by Riccardo Chailly in Amsterdam (1993) 4/13/16 Darmstadt #2 +1Bonus File: Nono's Il canto sospeso with Mario Venzago in Milan 2000 (+ Berg's Op. 6) 4/13/16 Bartok #1 +1Bonus File: Piano Concerto No. 3 with Roberto Cominati e Juraj Valcuha in Turin (2007) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Esa-Pekka Salonen 1988 recording of The Firebird and Jeu de Cartes in London 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Haitink's Berlin Philh. recordings of The Firebird, Scènes de Ballet & Petrushka (1988/9) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Joseph Suder's Piano Concerto and piano pieces by Margarita Höhenrieder (1988) 4/13/16 Selig im Glauben (Wagner's Parsifal) +2DVD sets: Levine in NYC (1992) and Nagano in Baden-Baden (2004) 4/13/16 Debussy #6 +1CD String Quartet (+ Zemlinsky's 2nd String Quartet) by the Casals String Quartet (2004) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky, Marx, Schreker: Lieder by Dorothy Dorow & Massimiliano Damerini (1980)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Psalm 23 & Symphony in B-Flat by Riccardo Chailly in Berlin (1987)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Lyrische Symphonie by Giuseppe Sinopoli in Vienna (1995)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +2CDs Zemlinsky by James Conlon (Eine florentinische Tragödie & Lyrische Symphonie) 4/13/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's La fanciulla del West by Nello Santi in London (1983) 4/13/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's La Bohème by Lamberto Gardelli in London (1982) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Clemens Non Papa's Missa Pastores by the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips (1987) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Le sacre du printemps by B. Haitink in Berlin (1995) and M. Alsop in Baltimore (2006) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #1 +2CDs Oedipus Rex: Colin Davis' 1983 and Esa-Pekka Salonen's 1991 recordings. 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Esa-Pekka Salonen for Apollo, Cantata, Concerto and Works for Piano & Orchestra (1988-90) 4/12/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Scarlatti Sonatas in Ivo Pogorelich's classic 1991 recording 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Szymanowski's Piano Music by Marc-André Hamelin (2002) & Roland Pöntinen (2008) 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Scharwenka's 2nd Sonata, Romanzero with Seta Tanyel (1992) 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade with L. Maazel and the Berlin Philh. (1985) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #2 +2CDs Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-5 and 9 & 10; Piano Sonatinas (P. Donohoe) + Cello Sonata (Wallfisch) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Symphony No. 2 with Valery Gergiev and the USSR TV & Radio Symphony (1988) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Alexander Nevsky with Riccardo Chailly in Cleveland (1983) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CDs set Alexander Nevsky & Ivan the Terrible with Mstislav Rostropovich and the LSO (1991) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Violin Sonatas with Erik Schumann & Henri Sigfridsson (2007) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Complete works for Cello and Piano with Raphael Wallfisch & John York (1999) 4/8/16 Cello Sonatas New links 4/4/16 Schumann +1CD set The Symphonies by Gustav Kuhn and the Haydn Orchestra (2010) (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/4/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 4 Solo Violin Sonatas by Ulrike-Anima Mathé (1995) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Clarinet Quintet by Wenzel Fuchs & the Berlin Philharmonic String Quartet (1999) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD set Reger's Cello Sonatas by Alban Gerhardt and Markus Becker (2008) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD set Reger's Complete Works for Clarinet & Piano (Ib Hausmann & Nina Tichman, 1998) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 2 Violin Sonatas by H. Schneeberger & J-J. Dünki (1991) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Mozart Variations (+Schumann, Weber & Naumann) by Blomstedt in Dresden (1990) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 3 Solo Violin Sonatas by Ulrike-Anima Mathé (1993) 4/3/16 American Classics +1CD Korngold's Symphonic Serenade + Griffes' Roman Sketches by S. Pittau and the LSO 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni pieces by G. Andaloro & M. Vacatello (+Franck, Handel, Liszt, Chopin) (2005) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CDset Malipiero's complete String Quartets by the Orpheus String Quartet (1991) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni's Turandot Suite + Casella & Martucci's orchestrals works: Riccardo Muti (1992)4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni's Piano Concerto by Garrick Ohlsson & Christoph von Dohnányi (1989) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +2CDs Busoni's 6 Sonatinas both by Roland Pöntinen (1999) and Michele Campanella (1981) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni: Elegies and Sonata by Bruce Wolosoff (rare CD 1986) 3/30/16 Schumann +1CD Alicia de Larrocha for Piano Concerto (C. Davis) + Piano Quintet (Tokyo SQ) 3/30/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms' 1st Symphony by Sawallisch in London (1991) (a rip by Corrado) 3/29/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Lieder by Korngold, Schreker, Weigl & Schoenberg by S. Kimbrough & D. Baldwin 3/29/16 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1CD K. Sanderling 1985 recording (with P. Schreier & B. Finnilä) (a rip by Juan F.) 3/28/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms' Symphony No. 3 with Carlo Maria Giulini in Vienna 1991 3/28/16 Strauss #2 +1DVD Giuseppe Sinopoli and the Staatskapelle Dresden: Eine Alpensinfonie (+Wagner's Rienzi Ov.) 3/26/16 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1DVD Semyon Bychkov in Cologne (with Torsten Kerl & Waltraud Meier) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Gorecki's 3rd Symphony (Zinman) and Khachaturian's Ballet Suites (Simonov) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +3CDs Lyapunov, Paderewski, Moszkowski's Piano C.tos; Moszkowski, Karlowicz's Violin C.tos 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Borodin's Symphonies by V. Gergiev (Rotterdam, 1990) and M. Ermler (Moscow, 2000) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Borodin's String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 by the Borodin Quartet (1966) 3/25/16 Hindemith +2CDs Bernstein's and Eschenbach's recordings of Orchestral Works (with Midori for the Violin 3/25/16 Debussy #1 +1CD Montserrat Caballé for La damoiselle élue (and Chausson's Poème), Wyn Morris conducting. 3/25/16 Second Viennese School #3 +2CD Berg's Violin (van Keulen) + Orchestral Works (M. Venzago, cond.) 3/25/16 Second Viennese School #3 +1CD Berg's Kammerkonzert conducted by Hindemith (1959) 3/24/16 A Weimar Rhapsody +1CD Krenek's Quartets Nos. 1 & 7 by the Petersen String Quartet (2003) 3/24/16 Strauss Operas #2 +2DVDs Abbado's (1989) and Böhm's (1981) Elektra in Vienna 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +4CDs Wolf's Lieder Bär & Fischer-Dieskau + Italienisches Liederbuch (Cotrubas/Allen & Oelze/Blochwitz) 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Pfitzner's Lieder selection with J. Kaufmann, C. Prégardien & A. Schmidt (1997) 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +2CDs Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 'Lobgesang' by Abbado (1985) and Chailly (2005) 3/24/16 Wagner Romantic Masterpieces +1DVD James Levine's celebrated Lohengrin at the Met 1986. 3/24/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Don Quixote in Pierre Fournier's classic Szell/1960 recording in Cleveland (a rip by Sasha) 3/18/16 Schubert #2 +1CD Symphony No. 3 by Ilan Volkov (+ Haydn's Symphony No. 46 & Mendelssohn's Melusine) 3/18/16 Schumann +1CD Brigitte Engerer's late studio recording (2003), including Mendelssohn, Chopin and Liszt. 3/18/16 Schumann +2CDs Concerto (+Grieg's) by Kovacevich & C. Davis (1971); Symphonic Etudes by Brendel (1990) 3/18/16 Schubert #3 +1CD New Rip and original scans of Winterreise by Hampson and Sawallisch (1997) 3/17/16 Poulenc +2CDs Sonatas by Pascal Rogé & Friends & Gloria by Andrew Davis (+ Stravinsky's Psalms Symphony) 3/17/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Pfitzner and Strauss Orchestral music from Operas, with Thielemann at the Berlin Deutschen Oper 3/16/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Grieg's Lyric Pieces (Andsnes, 2001) and 3 Violin Sonatas (Amoyal & Chiu, 1999) 3/16/16 The long Goodbye +1CD Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Karajan's classic London recording (1955) (a rip by Sasha) 3/15/16 Liszt +1CD Piano Sonata (+Scriabin's 2nd Sonata) by Ivo Pogorelich (1992) 3/15/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 with Peter Maag and Daniel Chorzempa (1986) 3/15/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Charles Mackerras (with A. Murray and T. Allen) (1990) 3/15/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Korngold's Lieder by Steven Kimbrough and Dalton Baldwin (1984) 3/15/16 Mahler 9 +1CD Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra 3/14/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Dutilleux's Correspondance and 'Tout un monde lontain...' with Salonen (2011) 3/14/16 Second Viennese School #3 +1CD Boulez's rec.of Schoenberg's Suite Op. 29 & Op. 4 in the Sextet version 3/13/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Lieder with Soile Isokoski and Marita Viitasalo (the studio recording on Ondine) 3/12/16 American Classics +1CD Vernon Duke's Violin Concerto and Sonata by Elmira Darvarova and Scott Dunn 3/12/16 Shostakovich #1 +1BONUS Symphony No. 4: Jukka-Pekka Saraste & the Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI (2004) 3/12/16 Strauss Operas #2 +1DVD Der Rosenkavalier: Franz Welser-Möst's production in Zürich (2004) 3/11/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Keith Emerson's Piano Concerto in Emerson's recording from 1977 (J. Mayer, LPO) 3/11/16 Bartok's Voices #5 +1CD Georg Solti's Hungarian Connections, works by Bartok, Weiner, Kodaly, Liszt (1993) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1CD set Kurt Masur's Ariadne auf Naxos in Dresden (1988) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1DVD James Levine's Ariadne auf Naxos in New York (1988) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1CD set with James Levine's Ariadne auf Naxos in Vienna (1987) 3/11/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Milhaud's orchestral music and Harp Concerto (F. Cambreling) with Kent Nagano 3/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Dukas' complete piano music by Laurent Wagschal (2013) 3/10/16 Remembering Harnoncourt's early recordings: +1CD Music at the Court of Mannheim 3/10/16 Menotti's The Medium +1DVD the 1977 classic video recording with Maureen Forrester as Madame Flora 3/10/16 Gershwin +1DVD Simon Rattle's Porgy & Bess (Glyndebourne 1993) 3/10/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Transcriptions for 2 Pianos of Jeux + Stravinsky's Sacre & Bartok's Portraits by Bavouzet & Guy 3/10/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Violin Sonata (+ Pierné's and Fauré's 1st) by C. Giovaninetti & I. Aoyagi (2013) 3/10/16 Debussy #6 Violin Sonata (+ Brahms' 2nd & Schubert's 1st Sonatina) Simone Bernardini & Vanessa Benelli-Mosell 3/10/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Printemps, La boite à joujoux, Children's Corner with Dutoit in Montréal (1994) 3/10/16 Second Viennese School #8 +1DVD Berg's Wozzeck in 1987 Claudio Abbado's production in Vienna 3/10/16 Second Viennese School #8 +1DVD Berg's Lulu in 2002 Franz Welser-Möst's production in Zürich 3/10/16 Second Viennese School #8 +1DVD Berg's Lulu in 1996 Andrew Davis' production in Glyndebourne 3/9/16 Bartok #5 +1CD Concerto for Orchestra with the Purcell School Orchestra conducted by Lionel Friend (1997) 3/9/15 Malcolm Arnold Symphonies - new links added 3/9/16 Summer Nights #3 +1CD Wagner scenes with tenor William Lewis and conductor Gabor Ötvös 3/4/16 Weill +1CD set 'Street Scene' in John Mauceri's 1990 classic recording for Decca 3/4/16 Strauss Operas #1 +1DVD Levine's Elektra (1980, B. Nilsson, L. Rysanek, M. Dunn, D. McIntyre, R. Nagy) 3/4/16 Stravinsky #1 +1DVD Ozawa's Oedipus Rex (1993), directed by Julie Taymor (P. Langridge, J. Norman, B. Terfel) 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Catalan keyboardist Miquel Villalba's splendid recording of the Goldberg Variations 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Glenn Gould's must-have 1981 recording of the Goldberg Variations for CBS 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Angela Hewitt's rare early Canadian recording of Concertos BWV 1052-3-6 with M. Bernardi 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +7CDs Murray Perahia's Concertos, English Suites, Partitas and Goldberg Variations for Sony 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set: Anner Bylsma's classic recording of the Cello Suites (1991) 2/21/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD Ginastera's Estancia Suite & Harp Concerto (Barrera) under Josep Pons (2003) 2/21/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Magdalena Kozena's recording of Martinu, Dvorak & Janacek's Love Songs (2000) 2/21/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Clifford Curzon and Vienna Philh. Quartet for Dvorak and Franck's Piano Quintets 2/11/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1 Bonus File: Vanessa Benelli Mosell for Busoni's Chopin Variatons (2006) 2/6/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Fischer-Dieskau's historic 1975 recording of Ravel, Poulenc and Fauré's songs 2/6/16 Wintery Romantics +1DDL Sibelius and Goldmark, Violin Concertos by Bell and Salonen (2000) 2/6/16 Wintery Romantics +1DDL Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 by Salonen and the LA Philh. (2007) 2/5/16 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Jansons's recrding of Symphonies Nos. 2 & 12 in Munich (2005) 2/5/16 Shostakovich #1 +2CDs New rips for Jansons's Symphonies Nos. 3 + 14 & 13 on EMI 2/4/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set Goldberg-Variationen in Tessa Uys's rare recording for Claremont (2000) 2/4/16 Intense Bruckner +1DVD Audio Rip: Sinopoli's 4th Symphony in Tokyo with the Philharmonia Orchestra (1988) 2/4/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Franck & Debussy by Kenneth Weir (+ Rachmaninov's Chopin Variations) (2001) 2/4/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Images and Nocturnes with Dutoit in Montréal (1988) 2/4/16 Debussy #4 +1CD Etudes & Estampes by Véronique Pélisséro (1991) 2/4/16 American Classics +1CD Leroy Anderson's Favourite Orchestral Pieces conducted by Leonard Slatkin (1993) 1/28/16 Recorder music #1 New rips and links 1/27/16 Musique Française #1 +1LP Franck's Piano Quintet and Prélude, Choral et Fugue by J-P. Collard and Muir SQ 1/27/16 Debussy #6 +1LP String Quartet (+ Ravel's), by the Alban Berg Quartett on EMI (1984) 1/27/16 Summer Nights #4 +1LP Roger Woodward's recording of Beethoven's Op. 111 & Op. 57 for RCA (1973) 1/24/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Levine's Manon Lescaut (Decca, 1993)  1/21/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1CD set Karajan's 1982 recording of Carmen for DGG 1/18/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set Johannes-Passion in Harnoncourt's classic recording for Teldec (1993) 1/17/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set The Cello Suites in Rostropovich's classic 1991 EMI recording 1/16/16 Debussy #2 +1DDL Songs (including Chansons de Bilitis) + Ravel and Chausson by DeGaetani & Kalish (1979) 1/15/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit (+ Elliott Carter's piano works) by Pierre-Laurent Aimard 1/14/16 Shostakovich #2 +1CD set Preludes and Fugues Op. 87 (+Bach from WTC Book 1) selections: Mustonen 1/14/16 Bartok's Voices #5 Additional links for 5CD-box Dorati conducts Bartok (Mercury Living Presence) 1/13/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar & Walton's Violin Sonatas by Daniel Hope & Simon Mulligan (2000) 1/12/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Reger's Mozart Variations (Salonen) & Romantic Suite (Zagrosek) in Baden-Baden 1/11/16 Summer Nights #5 +5CDs Vivaldi by Onofri & Antonini, Harnoncourt, Hogwood, Petri, Kermes & Marcon 1/8/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Alice Ader's recording of Préludes 1 & Jeux (2002) (previously posted in Feb. 2012) 1/7/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Puccini's Turandot in Molinari-Pradelli's 1965 recording in Rome 1/7/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Puccini's Fanciulla del West in Lorin Maazel's 1991 recording in Milan 1/6/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes by Pascal Rogé (2004 recording) 1/5/16 Debussy #4 +1CD set The Piano Music in Daniel Ericourt's rare recording (1962) (a rip by DanseDePuck) 1/5/16 Debussy #5 +1CD set Préludes, Images and Estampes by Claudio Arrau (1981) (a rip by OdeonMusico) 1/5/16 Opera Favourites #2 +2CD sets Puccini: Maazel's Manon Lescaut (1992) & Chailly's La Bohème (1992) 1/5/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Maazel's Mussorgsky: Pictures and Night in Cleveland for Telarc (1978) 1/3/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's 9th Symphony by Donald Runnicles in Atlanta (2003) 1/2/16 Strauss Oktoberfest #3 +1CD Vier letzte and Lieder Selection with Soile Isokoski & Marek Janowski (2002) 1/2/16 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD set Der Rosenkavalier by Andrew Davis (1995) 12/31/15 Orlando di Lasso: +1CD Moduli Quinis Vocibus, Herreweghe, with extra links (bzzz) 12/29/15 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD Puccini's Suor Angelica by Bartoletti in Rome (1973) (a rip by Juan) 12/23/15 Hindemith +1CD performs his Piano Duet Sonata, 3rd Violin Sonata, Der Schwanendreher (a rip by bzzz) 12/22/15 Debussy #5 +1CD the Préludes by Philippe Bianconi (2012) 12/22/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's Cello Concerto & Enigma Vars. by J. Lloyd Webber & Menuhin (1985) 12/22/15 Ein Bach... +1CD Cantatas BWV 140 & 147 with John E. Gardiner (1990) 12/16/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Walton's 2nd Sym., Hindemith Variations and Partita (G. Szell 1959) (a rip by Sasha) 12/16/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Carols from Trinity College, Cambridge, conducted by Richard Marlow (1988) 12/16/15 English Baroque Music: New links 12/14/15 Mahler 2 +1CD V. Neumann's recording for Supraphon Fidelio in 1980 12/14/15 Liszt +1CD Gyula Kiss' recording of the 2 Piano Concertos and Totentanz (1976) 12/13/15 O Tuneful Voice (Bronze Series) Added new link with tracks Nos.20-22 repaired using CueTools. 12/13/15 American Classics +1CD Rozsa, Gould and Menotti Orchestral Music by David Amos and the LSO (1990) 12/13/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD 2nd Concerto by Cécile Ousset & Simon Rattle (+Grieg's Concerto with Marriner) 12/9/15 Debussy #5 +4CDs Préludes Book 1 (or both) by S.D. Lasry, M. Pollini, O. Maisenberg, Y. Egorov. 12/9/15 Debussy #5 +2CDs Selected Works by M. Lympany and R. O'Hora 12/9/15 Musique Française #1 +1HQ DDL Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir with Robert Shaw (1994) 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1HQ DDL Villa-Lobos' Etudes and Preludes for Guitar with Alvaro Pierri 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1HQ DDL S. Isbin with the NYP and J. Serebrier for Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos and Ponce 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1CD Falla's Popular Songs by Ann Murray + Ginastera's Estancia (Harth-Bedoya cond.) 12/7/15 Summer Nights #10 +4CDs Holst's The Planets by Yoel Levi, Zubin Mehta, Eugene Ormandy, André Previn. 12/7/15 Debussy #6 +1LP String Quartet (+ Ravel's) by the Quatuor Parrenin on EMI (1970) 12/7/15 Summer Nights #5 +2CDs Handel's Organ Concertos (A. Frigé) and Selected Secular Cantatas (J. Baird) 12/7/15 Composer Alexandre Guilmant: new links 12/5/15 Debussy #4 +1CD box The Piano Music (including a MUST-HAVE recording of the Etudes) by Albert Ferber 12/5/15 Debussy #4 +4CDs The Etudes recordings by Jean-Pierre Armengaud, Monique Haas, Roland Krüger, Ju-Ying Song 12/5/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD box Edo de Waart's 1976 Der Rosenkavalier in Rotterdam 12/4/15 Summer Nights #10 +3CDs Grainger by Gardiner, Howell's Hymnus paradisi, Elgar by du Pré & Barenboim 12/4/15 Summer Nights #4 +6CDs Beethoven by Rostropovich/Richter, Serkin/Ozawa, Buchbinder, Gieseking, Maazel 12/3/15 Second Viennese School #4 +1LP Schoenberg's Erwartung by Susan Davenny-Wyner (+ Wolpe's Symphony) 12/2/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Alexander Ardakov's recording of selected Piano works by Glinka, Scriabin, Chopin 12/1/15 Opera Favourites #1 +2CDs Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel recorded by Donald Runnicles in Munich (1994) 12/1/15 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Gaspard and Tombeau in Charles Rosen 1959 recording for Epic 12/1/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Charles Rosen recording of Boulez 1st Sonata and excerpts from 3rd Sonata (1972) 11/27/15 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Brahms' Deutsches Requiem/Levine (a rip by Juan) + Selected Lieder from original LP 11/24/15 Musique Française #2 +1LP Ravel' for 2 Pianos and Piano Duet with Maria Tipo & Alessandro Specchi (1979) 11/24/15 Prokofiev #2 +1LP Tedd Joselson's rare recording of Sonatas Nos. 2 & 8 (RCA, 1976) 11/23/15 The Odd Couple +3CDs Mozart's Violin Concertos (Kavakos & Camerata S.) + "Gran Partita" by I Fiati di Parma 11/23/15 The Odd Couple +2CDs Mozart's K. 467& 595 (R. Serkin/Abbado) + 488 & 537 (F. Gulda/Harnoncourt) 11/20/15 Summer Nights #6 +1CD Rameau's Grands motets in Hervé Niquet's 1992 recording 11/18/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1LP the rare 1970 J. von Vintschger recording for Turnabout Vox 11/18/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky for Piano Duet with Moneta & Rota Piano Duo (1990) 11/18/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Debussy & Ravel's Music for 2 Pianos and Piano Duet by Collard & Béroff (1982) 11/18/15 Debussy #6 +2CDs Debussy & Ravel's chamber works and Songs with chamber ensemble by the Nash Ens. 11/18/15 Debussy #3 +8CDs Orchestral works with Boulez, Lombard, Salonen, Volkov, Krivine, Rattle, F. de Burgos 11/17/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Couperin's Livre de Clavecin (6th, 8th, 18th Ordres) by Angela Hewitt (2002) 11/17/15 Ein Bach... +3CDs Tureck in St. Petersburg + Anderszewski Partitas 1,3,6 + Baroque music for Oboe and Organ 11/15/15 Summer Nights #7 +2CDs Brahms' Piano Concertos by M. Tirimo and the LPO (K. Sanderling & Y. Levi) 11/15/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #2 +1CD Zarathustra (Skrowaczewski) + Symphonia Domestica (Seaman) (NYO of GB) 11/12/15 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms's Serenades in Haitink's classic Philips recording (1981) 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Gatti's 2011 recording with the ONF: Sacre and Petrushka 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Chamber Orchestra Works by the Endymion Ensemble under J. Whitfield (1987). Rare. 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Boulez's 1975 classic Firebird recording with the New York Philharmonic 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +2CD Sacre, Firebird, Petrushka & Pulcinella by Yakov Kreizberg and the Monte-Carlo Philh. 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Rattle and the National Youth Orchestra of GB (Sacre) + Dorati and the RPO (Firebird) 11/11/15 Prokofiev #2 +1CD Peter & the Wolf by M. Harth-Bedoya in Fort Worth + Saint-Saens' Carnaval des animaux 11/10/15 Locatelli - Complete Flute Sonatas: New links 11/10/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Dvorak's Cello Concerto & Tchaikovsky's Rococo with Rostropovich & Karajan 11/10/15 Mahler Lieder +1CD Y. Minton and P. Boulez for Rückert Lieder + Wagner's Wesendonck (1979) 11/10/15 Hindemith +1CD Quartet with Clarinet and Piano with E.Brunner etc. (1999) (a rip by bzzz) 11/10/15 Summer Nights #7 +2LPs Brahms' Ballades Op. 10 by E. Gilels and by W. Kempff 11/9/15 Schumann +1LP Mehta's recording of the 3rd Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic (Decca 1983) 11/9/15 Summer Nights #8 +1LP Mehta's Brahms's 1st Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic (a transfer by Enrico B) 11/9/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Leon McCawley's recording of the 3rd Concerto with Charles Groves conducting (1990) 11/9/15 Intense Bruckner +1CD Muti's 4th with the Berlin Philharmonic (1985) 11/9/15 Second Viennese School #1 +1 Bonus: Schoenberg's Phantasy Op. 47 by Irvine Arditti & Noriko Kawai 11/8/15 Poulenc +1LP & 1CD L'Histoire de Babar, with R. Gérôme & J. Février and with J. Moreau & J-M. Luisada 11/8/15 Second Viennese School #3 + 1LP Schoenberg's Chamber Works by de Leeuw (1986) 11/7/15 Second Viennese School #3 +1Double LP: Schoenberg's Complete Chamber Choir Works by de Leeuw 11/6/15 Second Viennese School #6 +1CD Dorow & de Leeuw: Webern's complete Soprano and Chamber Orchestra 11/6/15 Second Viennese School #6 +1LP Dorow & de Leeuw for Webern, Dallapiccola, Schoenberg & Stravinsky 11/4/15 Sgorby Rips #1 +1CD Sammartini's Quintetti e Quartetti by Ensemble Aglàia (2007) (a rip by Davide) 10/29/15 Dutch Organists #Part2: New links 10/27/15 Essential American Classics +1LP Wolpe, Lieberson, Stravinsky: piano works Peter Serkin (1985) 10/27/15 Second Viennese School #3 +1LP Serenade Op. 24, Boulez's classic recording of 1963 for Wergo. 10/27/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1CD Paul Jacobs' legendary Nonesuch recording (1975) (a rip by BZ) 10/27/15 Mendelssohn Chamber Music: New links 10/25/15 Mendelssohn New links 10/24/15 Hindemith +1CD 4 Violin Sonatas with Oleg Kagan & Sviatoslav Richter (1978) (a rip by bzzz) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Domenico Nordio & Giorgia Tomassi (Beethoven & Pärt) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Geza Hosszu-Legocki & Giorgia Tomassi (Franck & Beethoven) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Giorgia Tomassi's unreleased recording of Chopin's Préludes (1997) 10/23/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Glemser's recording of 2nd and 3rd Concertos under Wit (1996) (a rip by Lupo2004) 10/22/15 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Brahms's Violin Sonatas by Cristopher White and Melanie Reinhard (1999) 10/21/15 Rare Grooves #1 +3LPs Böhm's Eroica; Argerich's Bach and Muti's Verdi (4 Pezzi Sacri) 10/21/15 Dutch Organists #1 New links 10/20/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Debussy Images, Faune and La mer by Paul Paray and the Detroit SO (1957) 10/19/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Ciani & Gavazzeni for Mozart's K. 466 & K. 491 (1970/1973) 10/19/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Noriko Ogawa's recording of 2nd and 3rd Concertos in Malmö under Hughes (1997) 10/16/15 Darmstadt #5 +3LPs Xenakis's Choral and Orchestral works with Constant and Tabachnik (a rip by Sotise) 10/16/15 Darmstadt #5 +1LP Rare album with Levinas's Orchestral Works ripped by friend Sotise (Adès MFA 1985) 10/15/15 American Classics +1CD Bernstein's Dybbuk (Complete Ballet), first recording (1974) 10/15/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD: Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade by John Mauceri and the LSO (1987) 10/1/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1DDL: Tomassi with Accardo for Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' & 'Spring' (2004) 10/1/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School + 1 Bonus: Dino Ciani plays Brahms's 1st Piano Concerto (Turin, 1969) 10/1/15 Messiaen +1LP: Paul Jacobs' rare recording of the Quatre études de rythme + Busoni, Stravinsky, Bartók (1976) 9/29/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +2CD sets: Der Rosenkavalier. Karajan's (1956) and Bernstein's (1971) recordings 9/29/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD set: Die ägyptische Helena conducted by Gérard Korsten in Cagliari (2001) 9/27/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter etc. with Ernest Ansermet (1958) (a rip by Enrico B) 9/26/15 Mahler 3 +1CD set: V. Neumann's great Prague early digital recording for Supraphon (1981) 9/26/15 Mahler Lieder +1CD Christianne Stotijn's Rückert and Selected Lieder + Brahms Alto Rhapsody (2006) 9/25/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +1CD Berg's Kammerkonzert by the Baton Rouge Chamber Players 9/25/15 Messiaen +1CD Cinq rechant by the BBC Singers/S. Cleobury (+ Choral works by Villette, Poulenc, Caplet) 9/25/15 In the Name of Music +1CD Mendelssohn's 2nd Symphony ('Lobgesang') by Richard Hickox (2002) 9/24/15 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1CD, Donald Runnicles (2008) 9/24/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #2 +2CDs The Piano Music by Stefan Vladar & The Piano Trios by Odeon Trio 9/24/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #3 +2CDs Alpensinfonie: Masur & ONF (2007) and M. Jansons & BBC Welsh (1991) 9/22/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +2CDs Roland Pöntinen's & Madalena Soveral's fabulous complete recordings 9/22/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1CD, Claude Helffer's classic recording for HM (1969) (a rip by John F) 9/22/15 Schoenberg Operas +1CD set, Georg Solti's reference recording of Moses und Aron in Chicago 1985 for Decca 9/21/15 Messiaen +1CD, Cinq Rechants + Stockhausen's Choruses for Doris and Xenakis choral works (Chandos, 1998)9/21/15 Messiaen +1DDL, Fête Des Belles Eaux by the Sextet of Ondes Martenot of Montréal (ATMA 2008) 9/18/15 Summer Nights #1 +1 Bonus: Martinu, Krasa and Schulhoff conducted by Christopher Hogwood (Milan, 2003) 9/18/15 Hindemith +1Bonus: Hindemith in Italy, conducting his music plus Brahms's, Webern's and Blacher's at RAI 9/18/15 Hindemith +1CD Violist A. Tamestit & P. Järvi beautiful CD (also including pianist M. Hadulla) (2012) 9/18/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD set, Lloyd Webber's rock opera masterpiece Jesus Christ Superstar (London cast 1996) 9/18/15 Weill +1CD Dessau's Symphony No. 2, In memoriam Brecht, Les voix etc. by Roger Epple on Capriccio (2009) 9/18/15 Rare Grooves +1LP Liszt & Wagner Preludes with Mehta & the WP (1967) (a stunning LP transfer by Enrico B) 9/17/15 Prokofiev #2 +1CD Boris Giltburg's recording of the War Sonatas (6th, 7th and 8th) (2012) 9/16/15 Poulenc +1CD Chamber Music with Woodwinds and Piano Duet Sonata by the Ensemble Petra (1999) 9/16/15 Darmstadt #2 +1CD Carter's Sonata (+ Bartók's and Dutilleux's) by Claire-Marie Le Guay on Accord (2000) 9/15/15 Darmstadt #2 +2CDs Including a new rip of Maderna's Oboe Concertos by Holliger & Bertini (1993) 9/14/15 Darmstadt #2 +2 Bonus: Donatoni's Le ruisseau (Brunello); Maderna Grande Aulodia + Nono's A Carlo Scarpa 9/14/15 American Classics +2CDs Herrmann & Diamond Chamber M. + Donald Fagen's milestone album The Nightfly 9/14/15 Schumann +1CD: Fischer-Dieskau's reference recording of Dichterliebe, Myrten and Liederk. Op. 39 (1979) 9/14/15 American Classics +1CD: Ives's "Concord" Sonata by Aimard and Songs by Graham on Warner (2004) 9/14/15 Darmstadt #2 +1CD Maderna's 3 Oboe Concertos by Fabian Menzel and Michael Stern on Col Legno (1996) 9/13/15 Darmstadt #4 +1CD Carter's one act opera "What Next?" in Péter Eötvös's première recording for ECM 9/11/15 Debussy #1 +1CD Thierry Fischer's recording of Le martyre de Saint Sébastien (BBC MM, 2011) 9/11/15 Debussy #5 +2CDs Benedetti Michelangeli's historic recordings of the Préludes for DG (1978 & 1988) 9/11/15 Debussy #4 +1CD Charles Rosen's reference (and first ever) recording of the Etudes (1955) 9/11/15 Summer Nights #12 +1LP Grumiaux and Haitink for Bruch 1st Violin Concerto (a transfer by Enrico B) 8/4/15 Schubert on Modern Instruments: new links for Oktett in D, by Cherubini Quartett 8/4/15 Schubert on Modern Instruments: new links for Richard Goode 8/3/15 Rare Grooves#1 +6 LPs mostly Enrico B's outstanding transfers of great out-of-print material 8/2/15 Intense Bruckner +9CDs with classic recordings by Solti, Chailly, Abbado, Wand, Karajan, Harnoncourt 7/25/15 Buxtehude & Pachelbel Organ Works - New links 7/18/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Pollini's classic DGG recording of Boulez's 2nd Piano Sonata (1978) 7/17/15 American Classics +1CD (NEW RIP) Lieberson's Neruda Songs with Hunt Lieberson & Levine (BSO) 7/16/15 Tristan und Isolde +1CD box, Georg Solti's classic recording (1960) (a rip by Cecco) 7/16/15 Selig im Glauben (Parsifal) +1CD box, Georg Solti's classic recording (1972) (a rip by Cecco) 7/15/15 Strauss Operas #1 +1CD box, Leinsdorf recording with Caballé, Milnes and the LSO (1968) (a rip by Cecco) 7/14/15 Die Meistersinger +2CD box, Solti 1975 Vienna (a rip by Cecco) and Kempe 1957 Berlin (a rip by A. Zaccaria) 7/13/15 Tristan und Isolde +1CD box, Fritz Reiner's historical London recording (1936) (a rip by Andrea Zaccaria) 7/2/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +2DT Berg's Violin Concerto by Carmignola/Inbal & Kavakos/Harding 7/2/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +1CD Berg's Violin Concerto's & Kammerkonzert, I. Stern (Bernstein/Abbado) 6/30/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Boulez's Piano Sonatas and 12 Notations by Pi-Hsien Chen (2004) 6/30/15 Summer Nights #7 +1DT: J. du Pré with R. Goode and T. Schippers, Brahms & Mendelssohn (live in Spoleto) 6/30/15 Bartok #4 +1CD Violin Concertos by Midori & Mehta (1990) previously only on LP rip (courtesy of Cecco) 6/30/15 Bartok #5 +1CD Concerto for Orchestra & 4 Pieces by Leon Botstein and the London Philharmonic (2000) 6/29/15 Summer Nights #9 +2CDs (incomplete) Franck Symphonie with the Berlin Philh. (Mehta 1995 & Giulini 1986) 6/16/15 German Baroque New link: Fischer Musica Sacra 6/6/15 Bruckner +1CD Ozawa's 7th with the Saito Kinen Orchestra (2004) (Courtesy of Cecco) 5/27/15 Summer Nights #8 +2CD Mehta and the IPO, Brahms' 1st Symphony and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante K.364 5/27/15 Musique Française #2 +1CD Milhaud Piano Concertos + Carnaval d'Aix by C. Helffer and D. Robertson (1992) 5/27/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD 3rd Concerto by Jorge Luis Prats and Enrique Bátiz (1989) 5/27/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Howell's Music for String & Orchestra, by Richard Hickox (1992) 5/27/15 Wintery Romantics +1LP Tchaikovsky's 2nd Piano Concerto by Magaloff and C. Davis (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/22/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #9 +1CD Chamber Concerto by J-F. Heisser (a rip by Ranapipiens) 5/19/15 Hindemith +1CD Trumpet Sonata by Ole E. Antonsen & Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI, 1996) 5/19/15 Prokofiev #1 +1CD "Romeo & Juliet" excerpts with Kurt Masur and the Gewandhaus Orchestra (1987) 5/19/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Wagner Opera Scenes with W. Meier and L. Maazel (1997) 5/19/15 Strauss #1 +1CD Horn Concertos with B. Tuckwell & V.Ashkenazy and the RPO on Decca (1990) 5/19/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky, Dukas, Enescu, Mussorgsky showpieces, E. Mata & the Dallas SO (1988) 5/14/15 Schumann +1CD Piano Concerto by R. Serkin/Ormandy 1965, and same from an outstanding LP rip by Enrico B. 5/14/15 Strauss #3 +1CD Zarathustra and Don Juan with Alan Gilbert and the NYP 5/14/15 Musique Française #1 +2CDs completing Eschenbach's Roussel Symphony cycle in Paris on Ondine 5/5/15 Strauss #2 +2CDs A Cappella Choral Works (Danish Radio Choir 1993) & Alpensinfonie by Michalakis (2000) 5/5/15 Contrappunti italiani +1CD Busoni's Piano Concerto with Peter Donohoe & Mark Elder (1988 on EMI) 5/5/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #1 +1CD Verklärte Nacht + Metamorphosen & Siegfried-Idyll by Levine (1991) 5/5/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Images I, II & Oubliées + Estampes & Berceuse Heroique by Fou Ts'Ong (1990) 5/5/15 Schumann +1CD String Quartets Op. 41 with the Eroica Quartet (2001) (a rip by Der Wanderer) 5/4/15 Webern +1LP Chamber Music with P.Serkin and the Tashi Ensemble (1983), + Takemitsu's Piano Works 5/4/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP: Vivaldi Concertos with Ayo and I Musici (1968) (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/4/15 Prokofiev +1LP Violin Concerto No. 2 (+ Sibelius'): Szeryng & Rozhdestvensky 1965 (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/4/15 Bruckner +1DVD: Sinopoli's 4th with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Tokyo 1988 (NHK Classical DVD) 4/29/15 Telemann +1CD Collegium Musicum '90 - Hickox - Donner Ode 4/17/15 Haydn - Complete Baryton Trios - Esterhazy Ensemble Added working link for dsic 16 and cover image for disc 13 4/17/15 Summer Nights #10 +3CDs Elgar Symphonies (C. Davis 2001), 3rd (P. Daniel) & Serenade (Orpheus CO) 4/16/15 Baroque Music in the Netherlands: New links (Koopman, Huggett, Hazelzet, Mathot, vdMeer) 4/16/15 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Mozart's Divertimenti and Serenata notturna with I Musici (a rip by Enrico B.) 4/16/15 Willem de Fesch: New links 4/15/15 Stravinsky #2: +1LP Symphony in C, Symphonies for Wind, 4 Etudes, Suites (Ansermet. A rip by Enrico B.) 4/15/15 Schubert New links Paul Badura-Skoda, playing Sonata D960 & Klavierstücke 4/15/15 Summer Nights #10 +2CDs Walton's Belshazzar's Feast (Terfel & Litton) and the Symphonies (Ashkenazy) 4/15/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Holst's The Planets (Y. P. Tortelier in Manchester) 4/13/15 Sibelius +1CD The NZSO & Inkinen: Scènes historiques and King Christian Suite 4/11/15 Entartete Lieder +1CD Dagmar Krause - Supply & Demand 4/11/15 Schubert: +1CD Quintet in C, by the Arcanto Quartett 4/9/15 Liszt +1CD Symphonic Poems (including Les Préludes) with Zubin Mehta and the Berlin Philh. (1994) 4/9/15 American Classics: 1CD Gershwin Porgy & Bess highlights, American in Paris, Cuban Ov. by Mehta & the NYP 4/9/15 Summer Nights #2: +1CD: Rezniček and Korngold's 1st String Quartets by the F. Schubert Quartett of Vienna 4/9/15 Schubert Essentials #1: +2CDs Works for Piano Duet by Anne Queffélec & Imogen Cooper (Erato, 1978) 4/9/15 Debussy #4: +4CDs The Complete Piano Music by Paul Crossley with one of the finest accounts of the Etudes 4/8/15 Musique Française #1: +1LP Frank Martin's Der Cornet (Rilke), Lipovšek & Zagrosek (1984) 4/8/15 Rare Grooves +1LP Grofé's Grand Canyon and Alfvén's Swedish Rhapsody by Ormandy in Philly (CBS, 1958) 4/8/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Vivaldi, Capuzzi & Paisiello: Concertos with I Musici (Philips 1964. A rip by Enrico B.) 4/7/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP: Goldmark's Rustic Wedding Symphony by Jesús López-Cobos (1981) 4/7/15 Rare Grooves #2 +2 LPs: Mendelssohn 3rd (A. Davis), Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht & Suite in G (Scimone) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #3: +1CD Mendelssohn's 3rd ("Scottish") Symphony + Beethoven's 1st by Osmo Vänskä 4/7/15 Summer Nights #4: +1CD Mozart's 'Jeunhomme' Piano Concerto with McCawley and Leaper (1996) 4/7/15 Wintery Romantics: +1CD Silvestrov's 5th Symphony and Postludium with Lubimov and Roberston (Sony, 1995) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #1: +1CD Glière's 'Ilya Muromets' Symphony by Edward Downes in Manchester (1991) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #1: +1CD Borodin's 3 Symphonies by José Serebrier in Rome (1989) 4/7/15 Second Viennese School Essentials #7: +2CDs Schoenberg's Moses und Aron by Sylvain Cambreling (2012) 4/7/15 Wintery Romantics: +1CD Tchaikovsky Suit

ArtsJournal: music

February 15

Lincoln Center Snapshot: Bing, Bernstein, and Balanchine Fifty Years Later

By Joseph Horowitz Fifty years ago an instantly iconic photograph was taken of Rudolf Bing, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, Leonard Bernstein, music director of the New York Philharmonic, and George Balanchine, artistic director of New York City Ballet. They are posed in front of Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall. The Met is about to inaugurate its new home, completing the move to Lincoln Center of the three main institutional constituents. Bing stands alongside a poster brandishing the sold-out world premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, inaugurating the New Met. Bernstein (with cigarette) stands alongside a poster showing the sold-out run of a subscription program comprising an obscure Beethoven overture, William Schuman’s String Symphony, and Mahler’s First (not yet a repertoire staple). A City Ballet poster, to the rear, announces the dates of the Fall season. So depicted, three performing arts leaders – all of them famously strong personalities -- are seen poised to drive their celebrated companies to greater heights, buoying an unprecedented American cultural complex. Half a century later, the photograph reads differently. We can newly observe that in September 1966 all three institutions were already fundamentally shaped by their pasts; that the pertinent histories of the Met and Philharmonic, and of New World opera companies and orchestras generally, were more confining than empowering; that Balanchine was the odd man out because he alone would sustain a creative aspiration in his new home, pursuing a kind of Americanization project that Bernstein could not successfully implement, and that Bing disdained attempting. And this juxtaposition, of three art forms and their chief New York City institutional embodiments, carries vexed implications for the pivotal half century to come. If the coming Trump Presidency suggests an exigent priority to the cultural community (such as it is), it may be this: that never before in recent memory have the arts been as challenged to inspire hearts and minds. I: OPERA Before 1900, opera in America was many things. It was exclusive and it was democratic. It habituated large bejeweled spaces and places small and cheap. It cherished European masterpieces in foreign tongues and “ballad operas” composed and sung in English. In Baltimore, in the 1830s, William Woods refused to sell private boxes “hankered for by a small class”; “every wise manager in America will set his face like a flint against it,” he predicted. In New Orleans, James Henry Caldwell (born in England) presented opera in English at a theater whose patrons included rivermen in buckskins; John Davis (born in Paris) meanwhile gave opera in French with a polished company that five times toured the northeast. In San Francisco, an illiterate saloon keeper named Tom Maguire built an operatic Academy of Music with three tiers of boxes. A panorama of New York City opera, ca. 1850, would include Donizetti and Verdi at a Chambers Street theater seating opera lovers on benches with wooden shoulder-high slats for support. “Tonight ‘Lucrezia Borgia,’” reported Walt Whitman in the Brooklyn Eagle. “On Wednesday night it will be pleasanter to go, for then they give ‘Lombardi.’” The Academy of Music, with 4,600 seats, hosted Giuliana Grisi and Giovanni Mario – great names. The German Stadttheater, on the Bowery, presented Goethe and Schiller alongside Flotow’s Martha; beer was hawked by vendors strolling down the aisles. Pelham’s Troupe offered such diversions as “The Laughable Opera Extravaganza of DON GIOVANNI,” plus “an unequaled programme of Ethiopian Songs, Choruses, solos, duet, jigs, fancy dances, &c.” When in 1861 the Academy of Music presented the American premiere of Verdi’s A Masked Ball, a reporter observed “the high and the low [and] the middle strata of metropolitan society. . . . Snuffy professors, wild looking pianists, inchoate prime donne, magnificent artists without engagements, sapient critics, and blase dilettanti . . . all mixed up in one grand olla prodrida, talking in as many tongues as the celebrated artificers of Babel.” Gradually, a general direction materialized, symbolized by great wealth: the opera box. Henry James took note and called it “the only approach to the implication of the tiara known in American law,” the “great vessel of social salvation.” Another observer, known as the dean of New York music critics, was Henry Edward Krehbiel, who in 1908 sagely prophesied that opera in America would remain “experimental” until “the vernacular becomes the language of the performances and native talent provides both works and interpreters.” Less sagely, he added: “The day is far distant, but it will come.” Krehbiel’s prediction was predicated on European practice: opera grew in Italy, Germany, France, and Russia via the evolution of national schools of repertoire and performance style. During this period of gestation, Italians heard all opera, no matter where composed, in Italian. The French heard opera in French, Germans opera in German. Russians were accustomed to hearing all opera in Russian well into the second half of the twentieth century. That in the United States the vernacular never became “the language of the performances”[1] doomed the creation of a native canon of American works that Krehbiel and many others once foresaw as a necessary fundament. If opera in America did not remain “experimental,” as “the implication of the tiara” it became exogenous. The melee of nineteenth century opera clarified after 1900 as “grand opera” – flung in Italian, French, and German by enormous voices into an enormous space, perpetuating great works by deceased Italian, French, and German composers. In no European country was twentieth-century opera so narrowly defined, or so defined as a foreign art. The agent of this definition was the Metropolitan Opera, founded in 1883 by arraviste socialites whose fabulous wealth dictated fabulous occasions at which to flaunt it. As the eighteen boxes at the Academy of Music were fully subscribed, a five-tiered horseshoe auditorium was built with 3,615 seats, including no fewer than 122 boxes (a number later reduced after an 1892 fire). At first the Met faced formidable competition from the Academy of Music and from Oscar Hammerstein’s visionary Manhattan Opera. The Academy could not rival the Met in star power or artistic prowess. Hammerstein could – and was bought out by the Met for $1,250.000 in 1910. Over time, the touring troupes that popularized opera (but not grand opera) were supplanted by the Met’s own ambitious national tours. Beginning in 1931, Saturday Met matinees were broadcast coast to coast. English-language opera, a nascent nineteenth century enterprise, was permanently marginalized. Opera in America was made fundamentally glamorous and exotic. If American grand opera therefore failed to produce enduring American operas, if its aura of exclusivity contradicted democratic American mores, a remarkable opera product was nonetheless sustained. From its inception, the Met – more than any house abroad – managed to corral a plethora of great voices. And it entrusted these voices to a series of great conductors who maintained standards of stylistic integrity. Anton Seidl – a protégé of Wagner – came first, followed by Gustav Mahler and Arturo Toscanini. After Toscanini’s departure in 1915, the house split into Italian and German wings, each demandingly and inspirationally superintended. The German wing was headed by Artur Bodanzky, the Italian by Tulio Serafin and then Ettore Panizza. If little remembered today, Bodanzky, Serafin, and Panizza were a galvanizing factor. The Italian pit orchestra bequeathed by Toscanini retained its powderkeg virtuosity. The singers, old and new, were coached in the traditions Bodanzky, Serafin, and Panizza had absorbed in Berlin, Vienna, Milan, and Rome. There were no airplanes to shuttle these artists elsewhere and back. An ensemble was maintained. The Bodanzky and Panizza broadcasts of the thirties document a caliber of execution unapproachable today in the core Verdi/Wagner repertoire. I know of no more explosive operatic performance than the Otello Panizza led on February 12, 1938. Giovanni Martinelli, in the title role, was the defining Otello of his generation. Elisabeth Rethberg, the Desdemona, possessed the lushest Germanic soprano of her time. The Iago, Lawrence Tibbett, was the first and most complete in a line of American Verdi baritones, a consummate singing actor. What binds these Italian, Austrian, and American ingredients is Panizza and the bright trumpets and drums, stabbing accents and biting articulation of his fabulous Italian band, incendiary exponents of a Latin style connecting via Serafin and Toscanini to Verdi himself -- who supervised the 1887 premiere of Otello at La Scala, with Toscanini sitting among the cellos. With Bodanzky’s death in 1939, and the wartime departure of Panizza to his native Argentina in 1942, the Met’s conducting corps lost stability and continuity. The orchestra deteriorated. Binding stylistic energies dissipated. The big voices were increasingly unmoored. Worse: to general surprise and consternation, they began to disappear. In Wagner, Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad, Birgit Nilsson and Jon Vickers yielded no successors. In Verdi, the dramatic sopranos and tenors – the Aidas and Radames – turned scarce. If today’s opera stars are blander than their precursors, the dissipation of national schools has crippled opera more than it has performances of Swan Lake or Beethoven’s Ninth. There is a reason. Imagine performing Shakespeare or Chekhov with every verbal pitch and rhythm specified by the author, freezing in time the rhetoric of another era. People today do not speak as they did two centuries ago – our discourse is less formal, less declamatory. Our orators, with their microphones, are softer and quicker in delivery. Especially when grand spaces are maintained, opera makes no allowances for these changes. The consequences are most obvious in Russian opera, because Russian opera was long insulated from the West: it changed the most recently. The style of such iconic vocalists as Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938) and Ivan Kozlovsky (1900-1993) projected a seamless continuum between speech and song. Their strategies of expression embraced an extreme range of dynamics and tempo, supported by dazzling command of what singers call “head voice” and “messa di voce.” Today, Kozlovsky’s way of singing Lenski’s aria, from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, is a lost art vividly preserved on film via youtube. The aria’s oscillation of “day” and “night,” life and death, is underlined by interpretive inspirations no present day singer would attempt. [2] Next to this timeless rendition, with its specifically Russian cast, what we hear nowadays seems an all-purpose exercise in “taste,” equally applicable to Russian, Italian, French, or German words. A prominent Italian conductor of my acquaintance says that it became impossible to adequately cast Verdi at La Scala beginning in the 1970s. Something like that equally happened at the Met. Self-evidently, the future of opera lies in smaller spaces. *** Rudolf Bing, who became the Met’s general manager in 1950, was a Viennese who had previously served as general manager of the Glyndebourne Opera and artistic director of the Edinburgh Festival. Bing plausibly viewed his predecessor, Edward Johnson, as custodial. He fired Lauritz Melchior for not attending rehearsals and (in 1955) engaged Marian Anderson to become the Met’s first African-American soloist (an initiative Johnson had resisted, and which members of Bing’s board did not welcome). One of several prominent stage directors Bing quickly brought to the Met to replace aged, undistinguished productions was Garson Kanin, whose world was Broadway and Hollywood. Kanin clashed with Fritz Reiner over whether the partying principals in Die Fledermaus could sing lying down rather than standing up. When Reiner said no, it was Reiner who was replaced. Nothing about Bing’s initial Met season was more auspicious than his decision to open with Don Carlo, a late Verdi masterpiece long out of the Met’s repertoire. Less auspiciously, Bing (though not a professional musician) did not appoint a music director. In fifteen seasons prior to the move to Lincoln Center, Bing’s regime proved to be not about stagings, not about conductors, and not about repertoire. Twentieth century works were rare. A single premiere – Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (1958) – was given. But Bing was able to do what the Met had always done: secure leading international vocal artists. During his first Lincoln Center season, 13 of 26 operas were Italian (Bing did not like Wagner). The casts for these operas included Monserrat Caballe, Franco Corelli, Birgit Nilsson, Leontyne Price, Cesare Siepi, Joan Sutherland, Renata Tebaldi, and Tito Gobbi (there exists no present-day equivalent). If that was a typical Bing achievement, the first Lincoln Center season was in other respects atypical. The seven new productions included two premieres: Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra and Martin David Levy’s Mourning Becomes Elektra. Also new was a fresh mounting of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes. But the Barber and Levy operas did not stick, and the list of important twentieth century operas Bing did not present remained long. Never during his 22-year tenure did Met audiences encounter Lulu, Moses und Aron, Billy Budd, Porgy and Bess, or anything by Poulenc, Shostakovich, Janacek, or Prokofiev. Ultimately, the Met remained stuck in the same time and culture warp that had insulated the Johnson regime. (A telling confession, in Bing’s memoirs, was that he so lived at the Met that he had no occasion to watch movies.) In fairness to Bing, he was burdened with a grand opera problem not of his own devising. The twentieth century operas New Yorkers needed to see were especially resistant to grand opera treatment: generally considered, they required a smaller space and an audience that could understand the words.[3] In any event, by the time Bing left in 1972, the generic grand opera product in which the Met specialized had quite obviously begun to run down. Goeren Gentele, who was named to take over, was a free-spirited Swedish impresario and director. He planned to bring in Ingmar Bergman, who had staged Stravinky’s The Rake’s Progress for him in Stockholm. He was eager to collaborate with other American companies Bing had disdained. He prioritized creation of a “mini-Met”: a smaller second house adapted to changing times. There was, however, never any public indication that Bing foresaw such a need. Moving to Lincoln Center, the Met had opted for an even larger auditorium, with 3,800 seats and 175 standees – about twice the size of the admired opera houses of Vienna, Munich, Bayreuth, and St. Petersburg (the old Met held 3,625). The logic was partly economic: more seats, it was assumed, would generate more income. And the Met remained enamored of sheer size. Eighteen days into his tenure, Gentele died in an automobile accident. The new Met regime, whose artistic leader was James Levine, promoted a slate of major twentieth century operas. It also, in 1995, introduced Met Titles, so that audiences could at last understand the foreign languages being sung. But these welcome initiatives required a more intimate setting to register fully. Today, no amount of glamour, real or synthetic, no amount of marketing panache can compensate for a space too vast even for Gotterdammerung or Aida, with their underpowered twenty-first century sopranos and tenors, for sung plays like Lulu or The Nose, for new, theatrically ambitious works by the likes of Thomas Ades. Depicted in September 1966 alongside a poster showing the sold-out world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra starring Leontyne Price and led by Thomas Schippers, Rudolf Bing may have projected a brave new world of American opera. Revisited today, Bing’s poster records an abortive stab at arresting the tide of cultural history. It documents grand opera in a sunset moment, divorced from transitional times to come. These days “opera” again means many things, spanning a variety of music-theater possibilities. Carousel, West Side Story, even Kiss Me, Kate are fair game for all but the most cavernous American opera houses. It has been some time since the opera was equated with the opera box. II: ORCHESTRAS If American opera was initially polyglot, the American orchestra was born Germanic. In cities large and small, German immigrants founded fledgling philharmonic and choral societies. German-born, as well, was Theodore Thomas, whose world-class Thomas Orchestra toured the nation, coast to coast, beginning in the 1860s. Thomas instilled reverence for the masterpieces of Beethoven and his Austro-German progeny. Thomas’s credo -- “A symphony orchestra shows the culture of a community” – proved prophetic. Europe mainly had pit orchestras; opera showed the culture of the community. In America, it was the concert orchestra that became an honored specialty. The first American orchestra to embody a community of culture was the Boston Symphony, invented by Henry Higginson (like Thomas, a colossus) in 1881. Boston’s example inspired Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago, and St. Louis, all of which had substantial orchestras of their own by 1907. Though the players, conductors, and programs were, as in Boston, formidably Germanic, evolutionary change was anticipated. An “American school” of composers, it was assumed, would anchor the future. As abroad, orchestras would substantially perform native works. That nothing of the kind happened was a defining feature of classical music in America after World War I: the United States acquired a mutant musical high culture, a “culture of performance” relegating the composer to a back seat. This is why Aaron Copland could exclaim in 1941: Very often I get the impression that audiences seem to think that the endless repetition of a small body of entrenched masterworks is all that is required for a ripe musical culture. . . . Needless to say, I have no quarrel with masterpieces. I think I revere and enjoy them as well as the next fellow. But when they are used, unwittingly perhaps, to stifle contemporary effort in our own country, then I am almost tempted to take the most extreme view and say that we should be better off without them! The failed attempt to produce an American symphonic canon was complicated by a late start (modernism mainly rendered cultural nationalism passé) and by an influx of powerful refugee musicians for whom American classical music meant European classical music in a new locale. Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Bartok were among the relocated composers. The relocated performers included the pianist Rudolf Serkin, who influentially presided at the Curtis School of Music and the Marlboro Festival, and Arturo Toscanini, who as conductor of the New York Philharmonic and NBC Symphony became the iconic American classical musician of the thirties, forties, and early fifties. Neither Serkin nor Toscanini took much interest in Copland’s nascent American school. The Philharmonic is an anomalous component of this tale. It was founded decades before Thomas and Higginson, in 1842 -- but as a part-time musicians’ cooperative. Not until 1909 did a board of directors stabilize and expand the Philharmonic under Gustav Mahler. With Mahler’s death in 1911, a mediocrity, Josef Stransky, was named to take his place. And this wrong turn was compounded by another, when the Philharmonic’s manager, Arthur Judson, and board chairman, Clarence MacKay, decided that they did not need a music director. Should they have known better? In Chicago, the orchestra had only two music directors over the course of half a century: Thomas (1891-1905) was succeeded by his German assistant Frederick Stock (1905-1942); both became civic fixtures. The Philadelphia Orchestra was led by a sui generis genius, Leopold Stokowski, for a quarter-century (1912-1936). Rather like Stokowski, Serge Koussevitzky, Boston’s longtime music director (1924-1949), tirelessly espoused new music. Each of these three orchestras inspired sustained local pride. And each (like Panizza’s Italianate Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) attained a distinctive stylistic identity. In New York, Judson and MacKay elected to appoint multiple principal conductors, supplemented by numerous guests. A pertinent factor was Toscanini, whom they cherished -- he did not wish to undertake a music directorship. Toscanini enforced a fierce perfectionism, but in his absence that the Philharmonic turned truant. It never “showed the culture of the community.” It never acquired the national influence exercised by the Met. Today, the Philharmonic’s national profile is at best modest. Its audience is notoriously inattentive and rude: only in New York do an orchestra’s subscribers prematurely flee the hall, backs turned on the standing players. Blocks away, at Carnegie Hall, the visiting orchestras of Berlin, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and Vienna are riper instruments with better listeners. All this is pertinent to Leonard Bernstein’s relatively brief Philharmonic tenure, including the orchestra’s move to Lincoln Center and our 1966 photograph of Bernstein standing alongside Rudolf Bing and George Balanchine outside Philharmonic Hall. * * * A story about Bernstein’s predecessor illustrates the magnitude of the challenge he would face. When criticism of the Philharmonic mounted because it could not compete in prestige with Boston or Philadelphia, Judson and his board gambled on a music director who was certain to make a difference. This was Dimitri Mitropoulos, who in Minneapolis had galvanized both orchestra and community. Mitropoulos was a conductor of naked intensity. As his aesthetic base was Expressionist (he made his name in Berlin), he specialized in lacerating readings of such Romantics as Schumann and Liszt. And he religiously administered bracing doses of Mahler, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. Mitropoulos’s New York Philharmonic programs were incomparably bolder than what had gone before. Judson, however, lacked sympathy for Mitropoulos’s torrid enthusiasms. One of the Philharmonic’s most historic American premieres was of Mahler’s epochal Sixth Symphony (1904), under Mitropoulos in 1947. But the Philharmonic balked at scheduling the work on the Sunday afternoon broadcast concert -- Judson maintained that Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with Oscar Levant would be more suitable radio fare and would also sell more tickets at home. In response, Mitropoulos wrote Judson (October 14, 1947) “to beg you, almost on my knees” to change his mind. “It would be a crime not to give this New World [broadcast] premiere of this great and exciting symphony . . . It would be a great event from which we have nothing to fear and from which to expect no less than the highest gratitude of all the musical artistic world in the United States.” He added that he awaited Judson’s response “with anxiety.” Judson said no. [4] Ultimately, Mitropoulos and Judson were both terminated. A very new regime was implemented in 1958. Bernstein, forty years old, became the first American-born music director of a major American orchestra. More important: his American lineage mattered most to Bernstein himself. His entire career may be read as a quest for self- understanding; urgently, impatiently, he needed to define “American classical musician” as something other than an oxymoron. Bernstein cared about Broadway and foresaw a New World music-theater genre to set beside opera and operetta; he predicted that an American Mozart (possibly himself) would marry the Singspiel tradition of The Magic Flute with Gershwin and Rodgers & Hammerstein. He equally yearned for a validating Great American Symphony composed by an American Beethoven. At the Philharmonic, Bernstein undertook “a general survey of American Music from the earliest generation of American composers to the present.” Anchoring the 1958-59 season, this comprised a chronological sequence, starting with a pre-1920 “Older Generation” comprising George Chadwick, Arthur Foote, Henry Gilbert, and Edward MacDowell. A second installment, “The Twenties,” included Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Edgard Varese. “From the Crash through the Second World War” sampled Samuel Barber, Randall Thompson, Roy Harris, Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, and Virgil Thomson. Bernstein concluded with “The Young Generation” – Grant Beglarian, Keneth Gaburo, Irving Fine, Lukas Foss, Ned Rorem, and William Russo. That Bernstein had in mind a kind of evolutionary ladder was made explicit in his second Young People’s Concert, “What Makes Music American,” on February 1. Typically, this pedagogical polemic was an outgrowth of Bernstein’s subscription agenda, and of his ongoing self-interrogation. American concert music attained something like maturity, Bernstein decided, with the seamless integration of jazz influences beginning in the 1930s. Afer that, Americans “just wrote music, and it came out American all by itself.” The stage was set for an American canon to come. It bears emphasizing that in 1958 Bernstein was already the composer of On the Town, Candide, West Side Story, The Age of Anxiety, and the Serenade for Violin, Springs, Harp and Percussion. He was someone of whom ever greater things were expected. In 1959-60 Bernstein programmed Mahler on every Philharmonic concert from December 31 to February 21. The pertinent Young People’s Concert, “Who is Gustav Mahler?,” was an instant classic. Though Mahler’s symphonies were scarcely unknown, they had never enjoyed such concentrated advocacy. Bernstein’s identification with an embattled fin-de-siecle Jewish composer/conductor, tugged backward by Romantic instincts, pushed forward by progressive impulses, was uncannily complete. His self-referential zeal attained a messianic cast. But Bernstein was not yet the conductor he would become. Mitropoulos’s slash-and-burn style – jagged phrasings, sinewy musculature, hairtrigger accents – was replaced by an all-purpose ardor in search of a style.[5] And while Bernstein energetically sustained his glamour and pedagogic acumen, his identity quest began to lose direction. Both “Keys to the Twentieth Century” (1960-61) and “The Avant-Garde” (1963-64) posed more questions than answers; Bernstein’s head and heart were at war with contemporary non-tonal idioms. In 1962 the orchestra moved to Lincoln Center and its acoustically troubled Philharmonic Hall. In 1964-65 Bernstein took a sabbatical to compose. His planned Broadway musical proved painfully abortive. His experiments in 12-tone concert music came to naught. He produced instead Chichester Psalms, which he called “old-fashioned and sweet.” This, then, was the backdrop to September 1966, when the Metropolitan Opera joined its Lincoln Center partners. Rudolf Bing’s two world premieres – the new operas by Barber and Levy – were the only American works in the Met’s 1966-67 repertoire; Bing’s Americanization project, if it could even be called that, was purely ephemeral. Bernstein, however, was still pursuing a great American hope. Of the symphonic works he led that season, ten were by Barber, Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Copland, Henry Cowell, Irving Fine, Lukas Foss, William Schuman, and Edgard Varese. There were no safe choices: with the arguable exception of Varese’s Integrales, none of these pieces, composed between 1924 and 1965, was yet canonized. And none would be. Bernstein’s mighty effort to instill an “American school” remained a lost cause. The American orchestra remained fundamentally Eurocentric, upholding a culture of performance, marginalizing contemporary creativity. In fact, on November 2, 1966 – just after our photograph was taken -- Bernstein announced that he would quit the Philharmonic in 1969. His ultimate cause was neither American nor modernist. Rather, it was unfashionably Romantic: the twentieth century survival of the symphony as an heroic genre, sustained by Mahler, Sibelius, Nielsen, and Shostakovich. His final concerts as music director, on May 17, 1969, featured Mahler’s 100-minute Symphony No. 3, composed in 1893-96. Interviewed on TV, he did not conceal his frustration that he had not accomplished more. Bernstein’s subsequent career increasingly transpired abroad. He found a second home in Vienna, conducting Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, and Mahler. He had hoped (it is said) that his successor in New York would be his friend and colleague Lukas Foss – a kindred composer/conductor/pianist. The try-out ultimately took the form of an 18-day Stravinsky festival in summer 1966. Foss was curator and principal conductor. The other conductors – a remarkably varied list – included Bernstein, Ernest Ansermet (who had conducted for Diaghilev), Kiril Kondrashin (a major Soviet artist), and Stravinsky himself. George Balanchine choreographed Ragtime for Suzanne Farrell and Arthur Mitchell. The Soldier’s Tale was given with John Cage as the Devil, Elliott Carter as the Soldier, and Aaron Copland narrating. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sang five Stravinsky songs, Pulcinella, an excerpt from The Rake’s Progress. Larry Rivers created a visual presentation for Oedipus Rex. Not the least novel aspect of the 12 concerts was the inclusion of more than a half dozen works for small ensembles. The “symphony orchestra” (an American coinage) is mainly a product of the nineteenth century. In its largest, most grandiloquent manifestation, it showcases the mega-symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner. But Stravinsky and other twentieth century masters typically preferred smaller forces: a problem. By including non-Philharmonic musicians in such repertoire as a Gesualdo motet, songs with piano by Rachmaninoff, Webern’s String Trio, Varese’s Octandre, Elliott Carter’s Etudes and Fantasy, and Boulez’s Eclat, Foss not only illustrated a range of music influencing and influenced by Stravinsky; he temporarily transformed the Philharmonic into a flexible contemporary instrument. For whatever reasons, the Stravinsky festival failed to impact and Foss was passed over in favor of a French composer/conductor – Pierre Boulez – as much a stranger to Bernstein’s American agenda as to Indian ragas or Brazilian sambas. When Boulez, too, failed to take, the orchestra opted for Zubin Mehta, who was suspected of possessing something like Bernstein’s glamour. Mehta stayed thirteen years – too long. Kurt Masur and Loren Maazel came after. This 32-year post-Boulez epoch was among the least eventful chapters in the orchestra’s long history. The repertoire lost its edge. A generic mission was promulgated and re-promulgated. With Maazel’s quiet 2009 departure, the New York Philharmonic again coveted glamour in the person of Ricardo Muti, but Muti said no. The board next veered sideways and opted for a small American name: Alan Gilbert, who pushed for change. In 2015 Gilbert announced he would leave in 2017. David Geffen Hall (previously Philharmonic Hall, then Fisher Hall) remains acoustically challenged; it is scheduled for further redesign and renovation. Like grand opera at the Met, New York’s orchestra today retains a culture of performance remote from both the creative act and the American experience. It has discovered no means of adapting to a future in which the rituals of the symphonic concert will grow ever more distant, and sheer scale will no longer connote status. III: BALLET Before World War I the Boston Symphony Orchestra experienced a golden age. Its conductors included Arthur Nikisch (1889-1893) and Karl Muck (1906-1908, 1912-1918) – great names. New music by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and Richard Strauss was of eager interest to the subscribers. So were the local composers George Chadwick, Arthur Foote, and Amy Beach. A case can be made that the Metropolitan Opera’s peak years were the “German seasons” of 1885 to 1891 under Anton Seidl. With Lilli Lehmann, Albert Niemann, Marianne Brandt, and Emil Fischer, the ensemble was unsurpassed abroad. The American premieres of Das Rheingold, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung, Tristan und Isolde, and Die Meistersinger were given. After that came seasons of vocal splendor in Italian, French, and German under Mahler and Toscanini. Like the Boston Symphony, the Met ranked with the kindred institutions of Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and Milan. Meanwhile, Oscar Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera undertook a far-sighted exercise in musical theater, specializing in finished stagings of such key contemporary works as Salome, Elektra, and Pelleas et Melisande. Ballet in America featured no concurrent institutions of world standing; even acquiring advanced classical training was uncommon in the United States before 1900. The important performers were itinerant. Adelina Genee toured influentially between 1908 and 1911, mainly in vaudeville and in Florenz Ziegfield’s revues. Anna Pavlova, a decisive inspiration, toured from 1910 to 1926 with her own troupe in a mixed repertoire ranging from a “capsule” Sleeping Beauty, with interpolated operatic recitatives, to salon entertainments. Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes visited in 1916-17 with far more progressive fare (and flair) – for which audiences were not prepared. Not until 1933 did a world-famous company regularly regale the major American cities. This was Colonel W. de Basil’s Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo. The programs included such Diaghilev staples as Prince Igor, Petrouchka, and Les Sylphides, plus Leonid Massine’s new “symphonic ballets.” Beginning in 1938 Sergei Denham’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo simultaneously toured the US. It bears stressing that comparable benchmarks in American classical music occurred half a century earlier or more. In 1848 the Germania Orchestra, fleeing European turmoil, became the first world-class symphonic ensemble to tour America; much as Diaghilev’s troupe would deposit Adolph Bolm in the New World, the Germanians furnished subsequent musical leaders in Boston (Carl Zerrahn), New York (Carl Bergmann), and other cities large and small. The American tours of the “Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lind (1850-52) and of the prodigious Anton Rubinstein (1872-73) nationally promoted Italian arias and nineteenth century keyboard classics, respectively. The touring Theodore Thomas Orchestra was a far finer ensemble than would be Pavlova’s fifty years later. It was also significantly more conservative. Unlike ballet, ”classical music” in America would be truculently highbrow, undiluted by popular genres. And so when George Balanchine arrived in New York in 1933 from Europe, ballet remained in a pioneer period. American orchestras and opera companies, by comparison, had already entered a museum phase, albeit vigorous. If the Met no longer featured important new works, under Bodanzky and Panizza it maintained an acute curatorial panache. Under Toscanini, the New York Philharmonic was for a time an equally vibrant museum. In Boston and Philadelphia, Koussevitzky and Stokowski fought a valiant but futile battle to champion the new. Their orchestras were world-class. Balanchine’s lineage was both formidable and formidably complex. St. Petersburg, where he was born in 1904, was remarkable for its cosmopolitan court and intelligentsia. Beginning in 1905, it became a cauldron of social and political unrest, breeding a radical idealism in the arts. In 1921, Balanchine graduated from the Imperial Ballet School. In 1924, he defected west, and in Paris became ballet master for a kindred Russian exile. A worldly eclectic and provocateur, Sergei Diaghilev ingeniously and prophetically intermingled art and entertainment. Balanchine was still only 24 when he created Apollon Musagete for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Stravinsky had created a “ballet blanc” eschewing (he said) “many-colored effects” and “all superfluities.” Balanchine embraced Stravinsky’s vigorous lucidity. No less than Stravinsky, he married classicism and modernism; Stravinsky’s sharpness of rhythm, attack, and contour correlated with torso distortions, with jutting hips and shoulders. The post-Romantic search for order was stabilized. In 1933 Lincoln Kirstein met Balanchine in London and proceeded to bring him to America. As Kirstein appreciated, Balanchine was equally a bearer of tradition and an apostle of innovation, poised to play a formative role in a nascent dance culture. Consider, by comparison, the thinner lineage of Balanchine’s 1966 Lincoln Center colleagues. Born in Vienna in 1902, Rudolf Franz Joseph Bing was the son of a Jewish industrialist. He studied singing privately before becoming a career impresario. He disclosed no passion for opera as a living artform. Though impatient to refresh the Met, he was at heart a snob who disdained fundamental change. Bernstein, born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1918, first heard an orchestral concert at the age of fourteen. As Lenny Amber, he supported himself arranging pop songs and transcribing jazz. His earliest (and greatest) success as a composer was on Broadway. His reformist agenda was equally an attempt to find his own, American place in European classical music. For Bernstein himself, this tenacious effort initially succeeded to a degree. For American classical music, it came far too late. The early history of the New York Philharmonic, predating the Civil War, is murky and sporadic. The early history of the Metropolitan Opera is tortuous: a social club begot a Wagner theater because German opera was less expensive than the vocal glamour club members preferred. They threw the Wagnerians out only to provoke a Teutonic counter-attack culminating in the peaceful co-existence of German, Italian, and French warhorses: grand opera. But there was nothing remotely murky or tortuous about the early history of the New York City Ballet founded by Balanchine and Kirstein. In fact, its genesis is mythic: it seemingly sprang to life fully formed. But a significant false step came first. With Kirstein, Balanchine in 1935 accepted an invitation to furnish ballets for the Metropolitan Opera (as Balanchine and Diaghilev had once done for the opera in Monte Carlo). Bing’s predecessor Edward Johnson understood operas as hallowed and old. He innocently invited Balanchine to stage and choreograph Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice. Balanchine relegated all the singers to the pit. His dance drama, designed by Pavel Tchelitchev with chicken wire, cheesecloth, and dead birch branches, was in Kirstein’s opinion “the most beautiful visual spectacle I have seen on any stage.” The audience responded with titters and weak applause. Balanchine publicly declared the Met “a heap of ruins.” This was in 1936. Twelve years later, Kirstein and Balanchine relocated their Ballet Society from the Central High School of Needle Trades to the City Center for Music and Drama, and New York City Ballet was born. They had also created, in 1934, an accessory unknown to the Met or the Philharmonic: a training academy to instill a precise performance style -- the School for American Ballet. Alongside Balanchine’s New World adventures, a conscious effort emerged to cultivate a ballet-infused native dance style, “American” in spirit and subject matter. The enduring specimens include Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid (1938) and Agnes De Mille’s Rodeo (1942). The same happened in American concert music – witness Aaron Copland’s scores for both ballets. But a national school based in language and custom, perpetuated by American creators, performers, and institutions of performance, did not Americanize the ballet or the symphony. Balanchine achieved a more protean New World product, oblivious of cowboys and other explicit markers of the American experience. His roots were and remained Russian. But he did not transplant Petipa and Tchaikovsky in their canonical St. Petersburg forms as a timeless Holy Gail, after the fashion of such Beethoven apostles as Serkin and Toscanini. Rather, Balanchine’s Russian inheritance acquired a bracing and contemporary American accent. A crucial factor was Kirstein, himself pressing for an American variant of classical ballet distinct from modern dance (which he generally considered self-indulgent and ephemeral). No remotely comparable impresario ever inspirited the Philharmonic or the Met; Judson and Bing, in particular, loudly abdicated responsibility for leading taste.[6] Equally crucial was the tabula rasa Balanchine encountered. Far more than the pianists and chamber musicians Serkin guided at Marlboro and Curtis, or the orchestra players Toscanini fiercely honed, or the foreign-born sopranos and tenors Panizza and Bodanzky coached and conducted, the dancers – young Americans from a wide variety of backgrounds -- were a blank slate upon which Balanchine could inscribe his vision. “There was no one here who could dance,” he would later say. Other Balanchine sayings include: “America has its own spirit – cold, luminous, hard as light.” “”Good American dancers can express clean emotion in a manner that might almost be termed angelic.” It was “the land of lovely bodies.” He observed in their unselfconscious freedom of gesture an openness kindred to the American West, which he avidly toured. Living in the present, he absorbed the panache of Hollywood and Broadway; the clean lines and cool selflessness of American modernism; the anxieties of 1950s Manhattan; and of course the sassiness of jazz. In the process, he instilled a new technical prowess – yet another dimension of American speed and athleticism. [7] For Balanchine to have been coaxed “backwards” to Europe, as Bernstein was to Vienna, or to have discovered his true self returning in old age to Russia, as did Stravinsky, would have been unthinkable. In this regard, he could be said to have become more American than Lennie Bernstein, the American classical musician, ever was or could be. * * * For New York City Ballet, the 1964 move to Lincoln Center’s 2,500-seat New York State Theatre meant a longer season, a bigger stage, and a home whose clean lines resonated with the company aesthetic. But the State Theater also inflicted an unexpected artistic deficit. Like Philharmonic Hall, it was acoustically jinxed: what Balanchine memorably expounded as the “dance element” in Stravinsky – his choreographic point of ignition, “insistent yet healthy, always reassuring” – thinned and dissipated in the ungrateful new house. The Romantic tapestries of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2, glorified as Balanchine’s “Ballet Imperial,” were reduced to dull parchment. The City Ballet repertoire for 1966 – the year of our photograph – comprised 47 works. Of the 36 Balanchine ballets, the earliest – Apollo (1928) and Prodigal Son (1929) -- were not yet forty years old. The composers most set by Balanchine were Tchaikovsky (seven ballets) and Stravinsky (six). A formidable dose of uncompromising twentieth century music included three late Stravinsky works (Agon, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, and Variations: Aldous Huxley in Memoriam), an Ives suite (“Ivesiana”) with such musically tough nuggets as “In the Inn,” and a Webern set (“Episodes”) including Five Pieces (Op. 10), Symphony (Op. 21), and Concerto (Op. 24). When in 1950 Dimitri Mitropoulos gave the American premiere of the Webern Symphony, the Philharmonic revolted in rehearsal; Mitropoulos never attempted another Webern performance in New York. At City Ballet, “Episodes” was a staple, having been premiered in 1959. The 1966 City Ballet repertoire also included Morton Feldman’s Ixion (as choreographed by Merce Cunningham as Summerspace). The only challenging twentieth century music heard at the Met that season was Levy’s ephemeral Mourning Becomes Elektra. The Philharmonic’s eight subscription months included no Ives, Webern, or late Stravinsky. The only comparably daunting score, I would say, was Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone Violin Concerto, given four times under Bernstein. Balanchine worked steadily at Lincoln Center until shortly before his death in 1983. The high point of this period, many would say, was the Stravinsky Festival of 1972. Beginning on June 18 – a date late for what would have been Stravinsky’s ninetieth birthday – City Ballet gave seven Stravinsky programs in eight days. Of 31 ballets presented, 21 were premieres. The eight Balanchine premieres included Violin Concerto, instantly recognized as iconic, and – on the same opening night -- Symphony in Three Movements, which would take some years to register. Comparisons to the New York Philharmonic’s Stravinsky festival six years previous were and are inescapable. The Philharmonic festival was bigger, with more big names and a fuller perspective on the Stravinsky odyssey -- but was quickly forgotten. Obviously, the City Ballet festival enjoyed a creative component: the new ballets. Equally obvious was the difference in reception. Judson had for 34 years haphazardly fostered a faceless Philharmonic constituency. Balanchine and Kirstein had since 1948 purposefully honed a validating cultural community. For the Philharmonic subscribers, Stravinsky remained a chore. For patrons of the City Ballet, Stravinsky was a privilege. To summarize this Lincoln Center tale: George Balanchine and his City Ballet changed the face of dance. Leonard Bernstein led audiences to Mahler: he expanded the canon. But Bernstein could not change the face of the New York Philharmonic. Rudolf Bing did not attempt to change the face of opera or of the Met. That, commensurately, he filled a vast auditorium with paying customers proved a cul-de-sac. * * * The Lincoln Center dream (however vague) was of American performing arts synergistically feeding off one another in a single charged location. But today’s Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet are institutions wholly distinct in identity, achievement, and potential. The Met pursues grand opera in a grand space – a brave but increasingly riddled enterprise. The Philharmonic has enjoyed no sustained artistic mission. As of this writing, it is preparing to decamp in 2019, presumably for an entire season or longer, while Geffen Hall is remade. Could the orchestra seize this serendipitous opportunity? Are the players and subscribers sufficiently game? The most subversive orchestra I know is Ivan Fischer’s Budapest Festival Orchestra. They perform Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony with the solo woodwinds sitting around a potted tree. The musicians may burst into song midway through a Dvorak symphony. Could the Philharmonic ever be that surprising? As for City Ballet, the Stravinsky identity Balanchine conferred – an apotheosis of impersonality and lucidity – is not as timeless as the coda to Apollo. Who would succeed Balanchine was a puzzle; who and what will succeed Peter Martins is a greater puzzle. If the life cycles of the Met and Philharmonic are any kind of predictor, City Ballet may next experience a vital museum phase, intermingling aging Balanchine ballets with vital new work if such work can be found. Renovations undertaken in 2008-09 have improved the pit acoustic. The keen audience presence engendered by Balanchine and Kirstein remains a tangible asset. But this institution’s self-knowledge and self-approbation may also be read as smugness.[8] However much opinions may differ about the present caliber of the dancing (I claim no expertise), the musical rendering of The Four Temperaments last winter, with a polite piano soloist, was surely not the thrusting Four Temperaments Balanchine summoned to his ears’ imagination. The company has a new music director; that could help. Lincoln Center was conceived by public-spirited corporate businessmen, led by John D. Rockefeller III. It never became a magnet for artists and intellectuals, humming with creativity, after the fashion of Harvey Lichtenstein’s BAM or Joe Papp’s Public Theatre. It has lately acquired a $1.5 billion facelift, including a dramatically thrusting façade for Alice Tully Hall and the Juilliard School; Tully itself, however, remains deficient in the intimacy and warmth appropriate to a chamber-music venue. Imagine, if you can, a photograph of Peter Gelb, Alan Gilbert, and Peter Martins posed in front of the new, glass-enclosed Tully complex. A Metropolitan Opera poster announces the sold-out world premiere of a topical American opera, opening the season. The Philharmonic hosts the sold-out run of a subscription program led by Gilbert (sans soloist) and featuring works on the fringes of the repertoire, proposed as fresh candidates for canonization. A poster for City Ballet lists no repertoire because Martins confers a magical imprimatur. Of greater significance: all three institutions are poised to collaborate on a multi-week festival addressing pressing contemporary social and political issues, with the full participation of the New York City public schools and the City University of New York (whose Hunter College Auditorium will reportedly host the Philharmonic during Geffen Hall renovations). I cite this pipe dream because it will be realized this February in the city of El Paso, where a “Copland and Mexico” festival, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will celebrate cultural collaboration between two nations currently embroiled in an uncertain future relationship. Mexico’s amazing artistic efflorescence of the 1930s – today mostly unremembered by young Mexican-Americans – will be the central topic. A centerpiece of the programing will be the iconic film of the Mexican Revolution: Redes (1935), which thrillingly combines the talents of a master (and under-recognized) Mexican composer -- Silvestre Revueltas -- and a legendary American photographer – Paul Strand. The participating institutions will include the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, the El Paso public schools, and the University of Texas/El Paso, with classes and faculty members in half a dozen departments taking part. The festival will penetrate outlying “colonias” without paved roads or running water, and also the neighboring Mexican city of Juarez. The many scheduled events include “Copland and the Cold War” – an evening of music and theater exploring the impact of the Red Scare on America’s most prominent composer of concert music. Whatever degree of change this Lincoln Center thought experiment reveals, the next half century will bring greater changes still. Joseph Horowitz’s Classical Music in America: A History (2005) is an institutional history of symphonic music and opera in the United States. Of Horowitz’s nine other books, Understanding Toscanini (1987 – a New York Book Critics Circle best book of the year), Wagner Nights: An American History (1995), and Moral Fire: Musical Portraits from America’s Fin-de-Siecle (2012) deal with classical music in America from the late Gilded Age though the mid-twentieth century. His Artists in Exile (2008) considers the American careers of Balanchine and Stravinsky. As Executive Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic in the 1990s, Horowitz pioneered in thematic, cross-disciplinary symphonic programming. He has since worked as a consultant and/or producer for more than two dozen American orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and Los Angele Philharmonic, and is co-founder and Executive Director of PostClassical Ensemble of Washington, D.C. He curates programming, as well, for universities, conservatories, and summer festivals. He wrote the present essay as a Resident Fellow at New York University’s Center for Ballet and the Arts. Blog: . Website: . [1] This is the central theme of my treatment of opera in Classical Music in America: A History (2005). [2] . Listen, for instance, to the prodigious retard and diminuendo at the aria’s first cadence (“blessed is the coming of darkness”). Compare that to your present-day tenor of choice, Russian or not. [3] Early in his regime, Bing adventurously attempted a fair number of operas in English, including standard repertoire by Mozart and Puccini. The subscribers resisted. Though aesthetics were doubtless a factor, that opera in English lacked snob appeal was ever a factor in American operatic affairs; the Met under Bing was nothing if not snobbish. New York’s second opera company, the City Opera, was fundamentally a foreign-language house for its duration (1943-2013). Though the City Opera gave more operas in English translation than the Met, the Italian and French staples (Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet) were given in Italian and French. Abroad, the England National Opera has, in comparison, maintained an English-only policy since its inception as Sadler’s Wells during the interwar decades. [4] In 1947-48, Mitropoulos was not yet Music Director of the Philharmonic (a post vacant since Spring 1947), but was a candidate, having conducted the Philharmonic on tour the previous summer. It must be considered that in 1947 there were no commercial recordings of Mahler’s Sixth, and that Mitropoulos was a true believer -- to my ears, a more satisfying Mahler interpreter than his Philharmonic colleagues Bernstein and Bruno Walter. (I am by no means alone in this opinion.) [5] The late Gunther Schuller, who played French horn for both the Met and Philharmonic in the 1950s, first made me aware that the Philharmonic’s playing standards declined under Bernstein – an observation confirmed by countless Philharmonic broadcasts under Bernstein and Mitropoulos. [6] In 1931 Judson, ever the businessman, responded in the New York Times to complaints about the Philharmonic’s conservative programming. “There are certain composers like Bruckner and Mahler who have not yet been accepted heartily by the American public,” he said. “We can only go as far as the public will go with us.” (Horowitz, Classical Music in America, p. 429). Judson’s notion that the public sets taste was unknown to Balanchine and Kirstein – or to Leopold Stokowski and Serge Koussevitzky. But it was embraced by Rudolf Bing, In his second volume of memoirs, Bing delightedly reported that he “hated” Alban Berg’s Lulu on the occasion of its belated Met premiere, five years after his departure. In a note to the Met’s board regarding his possible successor, he especially warned again Hamburg’s Rolf Lieberman: “His musical taste and production tendencies are totally wrong for the New York public. He goes all out for contemporary opera and for ultra-modern productions which, no doubt, would create a love affair with the press and at the same time disaster with the subscribers and the box office. I think we have to face the taste and desires of the overwhelming majority of Metropolitan Opera subscriber and patrons.” (Bing, A Knight at the Opera [1981], pp. 212, 36.) [7] I rather doubt that comparable technical growth may be observed in musical performance. A safer generalization – for orchestras, violinists, pianists, and singers – is that the general level is higher, but the upper end is not. The Met Orchestra could do things under Panizza it cannot do today – and the same is true (to pick two obvious examples) of Stokowski’s Philadelphia Orchestra or Mravinsky’s Leningrad Philharmonic versus their present-day embodiments (with more limited tonal and expressive resources). Concert pianists and violinists are speedier and more accurate than a century ago, and their command of complex rhythms is unprecedented. But the Romantic mastery of keyboard tone, color, nuance, and texture, documented by the recordings of, e.g., Sergei Rachmaninoff and Josef Hofmann, is a no longer a living art. Ivan Kozlovsky’s rendition of Lenski’s aria (cf p. xx above) relies upon vocal feats no longer encountered. The dissipation of national traditions of performance is of course pertinent: even if Chaliapin and Rachmaninoff were not Russian musical colleagues, their uncanny melding of “speech” and “song” would remain recognizably kindred. [8] When I emailed the City Ballet to obtain some information about the 1966-67 repertoire, I received a reply reprimanding me for my inquiry: “I can see what I can provide but I am just going to give you a bit of advise [sic]. When you plan to approach the other institutions in Lincoln Center regarding their programs, you may want to utilize Capitalization and double check your spelling. Although I understood what you meant, others within my field are not the biggest fans of acronyms and such.” In fact, I have for some decades enjoyed an amicable relationship with John Pennino of the Met Archives, and with the Philharmonic’s Barbara Haws, both of whom were typically helpful fielding queries for the present article. I never heard back from the City Ballet.

Beauty of Classical Music

January 16

Conducts with the blood

I wanted to be prepared for my evening at the symphony. First I listened to several versions of the Sibelius 5. Then I went to the official website for the Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, and guest conductor for this evening's concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. I also watched a video of him conducting the Sibelius Symphony no. 5 with the Oslo Philharmonic on his own youtube channel. His version was by far better than all the other recordings. Perhaps it was the tempo, or the evenness of the sound, but It was much more appealing to my ears. So I knew I was in for a treat. As Rodrigo would say, he conducts with the blood. I also listened to Beethoven's 7th symphony in my car on my way to downtown Pittsburgh, a CD I had purchased only about a year ago, featuring Manfred Honeck conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. This way I could compare the PSO to themselves :). But of course live music is always better than recorded, so it wouldn't be a fair comparison, except that I had seen and heard that performance at Heinz Hall a few years ago with all the microphones placed above and inside the stage. Tonight however, there were only 4 slim microphones, those used by WQED-FM to record the PSO for rebroadcast on their station. The winner was this recent performance, I believe the musicians were more relaxed because this performance wasn't going to be released on CD. Also a performance for CD might be changed in subtle ways to maximize it's sound on the CD, as opposed to making the sound better for the audience. But of course that's just my opinion. In the lobby various musicians, dressed in black tuxedos, cordially introduced themselves to patrons entering Heinz Hall. Co-Principle Trumpet Charles Lirette was in the audience before the concert started. He was playing 'name that tune' for audience members with his trumpet. Heard were tunes like Flinstones and Raiders of the Lost Arc theme tunes. What was amazing was how softly he could play the trumpet compared to how loudly it is played during the performance, quite a dynamic volume range. My seat was very close, I'd be able to hear all the intricacies of the music from each of the individual instruments. I'm usually way up above so the sound seems to come directly at me and it's not as easy to distinguish, but is more of an even sound. However being close this evening turned out to be quite interesting in that I hear, then see the sound coming from different instruments, I could almost pick out select musicians and hear just what they were playing. So, for instance, the second violin section and the violas would sometimes play a different line not at all like the melody portrayed by the first violins and the cellos. This was fascinating because it was quite new, I heard different parts I wouldn't hear on a CD or even way up in the gallery. Jukka-Pekka Saraste, conducting the Oslo Philharmonic with Sibelius 5 was a wonderful performance, yet the live music with this conductor and the PSO beats it. It just doesn't seem like the same composition when heard live, it's multitudes better. The maestro maintained a nice tempo, but what was truly amazing was that he had no score, he must have know these two selections by heart. Of course without a stand to support the score, he had more room on the podium to move about. With his conducting style I could feel compelled, as if I were a musician and needed to play, and even felt compunction for not contributing. His hand gestures, reaching out, necessitated and quietly urged participation. Hands and bow would move in unison, then separately, directing different sections at the same time. Then multi-tasking, the left hand embracing the cellos and his right keep tempo with his baton. His whole body became the baton, well balanced dancing multifaceted movement became the norm. Stepping forward then back, waving, pivoting to face a section of instruments and coming to straight-backed attention to address the musicians was his particular blend of direction. Occasionally, with his left hand he would be 'playing' pretend piano, then waving, as if to bring in a section or augment a style, perhaps pizzicato. Then wildly moving like a tempest in a teapot (the podium), he would bring it home, the wildly exotic and inevitable transitions to the conclusion of a movement. Comparing Beethoven's 7th of the CD to the live, I realized instantly that it is much better now in person. The strings remind me of a certain subtle sound that surrounds my listening, vibrations with meaning. The first movement glides with much alacrity and ends with three quick notes, foreshadowing the ending of the Sibelius 5 which ends with 5 quick notes. We move to the second, that intense but simple slow movement with a soul of feeling and plenty of pizzicato, goose bumps all around. In the third I relish the sustained violin. And just when you think its over, there is the final movement which gallops beyond the rest to the eventual ending. All the audience rises to applaud! At then end of the evening conductor Saraste comes back on stage with a microphone to announce an encore. "It's a pleasure to be in Pittsburgh conducting this wonderful orchestra." He presents "Valse Triste" by Sibelius, and to that they play this wonderful short piece filled with sumptuous strings. On my way to the car, instead of the inventive notes of the Sibelius 5, I'm humming the melody of the Valse Triste.

Tribuna musical

January 9

Great piano recital and closing concerts of the Phil and the National Symphony

By the time to read this the season will be over. So here are the parting shots divided in two articles each covering five events. A Monday benefit concert provided the unexpected pleasure of witnessing a piano recital by one of the remaining great veterans: the Brazilian Nelson Freire, an old friend of this theatre, in his middle seventies still a redoubtable virtuoso of magnificent technique and style. Presented by Dar Cultura, Fundación de Acción Social de Jabad, Freire gave a masterclass, so to speak, in his traversals of two fundamental Nineteenth Century Sonatas: Brahms´ Third, Op.5, and Chopin´s Second, Op.58. The Sonatas were played with scrupulous respect for the composers´ indications, readings of marvelous continuity, tonal beauty and control, which revealed the transcendent quality of both composers at their best. Before Brahms, some Bach (an Organ Prelude) arranged by Siloti; and before Chopin, Freire´s ideal way with the music of Villalobos: the beautiful Prelude from Bachianas Brasileiras Nº4 and three pieces from "A prole do bebé" ("The baby´s family"). Encores: a lovely performance of an especially expressive Chopin Mazurka (Op.17/4) and a brilliant one of Grieg´s "Wedding Day in Troldhaugen", one of his most joyous pieces (he lived there). The penultimate concert (Nº 14) of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic was one of the best. We had the revelation of a talented conductor, Carl St Clair, and the best Argentine pianist of his generation, Nelson Goerner, playing Tchaikovsky´s First concerto with amazing firmness. St Clair is a Texan disciple of Bernstein and in his early sixties (I believe) he conducts with the intensity and concentration of his mentor. His career has had two very different high points: Principal Conductor in Weimar and in Berlin´s Komische Oper; and for twenty years the PC of the Pacific Symphony; plus guest conductor with a host of first-rank orchestras. And he has recorded all the Villalobos symphonies. He started with what may be a local première, Bernstein´s "Slava!", subtitled "a political overture", a 4-minute dazzling homage to the composer´s great friend nicknamed Slava, cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, revered here in both capacities. Why political? Because his being named PC of Washington´s National Symphony was a way to recognize both his musical talent and courageous anti-Stalin attitude; and at the time the Cold War was still on. St Clair made the Phil sound like a top rank USA orchestra. Goerner, as unassuming and non-charismatic as ever, played a supervirtuoso concert with such aplomb and exactness that one could only hear open-mouthed at such a display, always very musical; in some passages the only thing lacking for perfection was the mercurial hobgoblin touch of Argerich. And St Clair galvanizing the Phil to offer Goerner the right give-and-take and rhythmic strength he needed to shine as he did. The encore was a beautiful performance of Chopin´s Nocturne Nº15, Op.55/1. St Clair talked to the audience after the interval, an impassioned defense of Shostakovich´s Tenth Symphony as the expression of his pent-up suffering during the Stalin years. And the conductor then proceeded to prove it with an enormously concentrated and beautifully played performance of what is arguably the composer´s most important symphony. The impact of this great work in St Clair´s reading was one of the great moments of the year. He should come back. An unfortunate medical delay allowed me to hear only the second part of Leonid Grin´s concert with the Phil (last of the season, Nº 15). So I missed Weber´s "Oberon" Overture and Tchaikovsky´s Concerto with the Phil´s concertino Pablo Saraví, but I could hear a thrilling interpretation of the best Glazunov Symphony, Nº 5 (1895), warm, melodic and admirably structured music. Grin is Ukrainian, a disciple of Kyril Kondrashin, now in his early sixties. He has held posts at Saarbrücken, Tampere (Finland), San José Symphony (California) and currently at Santiago de Chile. Two decades ago he visited the Phil repeatedly. His solid métier and natural empathy with the Russian repertoire provided an exhilarating ending to the symphonic year. The special interest of the National Symphony´s concert at the Blue Whale conducted by Christian Baldini was the inclusion of essential Sibelius: his last Symphony, Nº7 (1925), rarely done here; just one vast movement of consumate organic cohesion dominated by an unforgettable trombone theme, it crowns the career of the most eminent Nordic symphonist. After good performances of two standards (Beethoven´s Violin Concerto with the National´s concertino Luis Roggero and Sibelius´ "Finland"), Baldini showed his insight and fine technique in the Seventh, abetted by a great trombone player and a responsive orchestra. The final concert of the National Symphony was conducted by the Chilean Francisco Rettig, much appreciated as a Mahlerian. He closed the season with some of Mahler´s extraordinary Lieder with orchestra, certainly the best in history. The orchestral work and Rettig´s sensitive conducting gave much pleasure, but alas, the baritone Luciano Garay showed a startling decline of his vocal means both in the wonderful "Songs of a wayfarer" ("Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen") and in the songs allotted to him in the endlessly varied "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" ("The magic horn of youth"). Mezzo Alejandra Malvino was her reliable, musicianly self both in her participation in "DKW" and in the "Rückert Songs" that end with a marvel, "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" ("I have retired from the World"), though more volume came amiss at several points. A sour note: the unacceptable policies of having no comments on the hand programme and even worse, no subtitles; this is the CCK´s fault, not the NS´, and I hope it is revised next year. For Buenos Aires Herald

Kenneth Woods- A View From the Podium

December 22

The English Symphony Orchestra’s 21st C. Symphony Project: Nine symphonies, nine composers, one orchestra.

From the latest issue of Musical Opinion Magazine. My manifesto explaining the thinking behind the 21st C. Symphony Project. Subscribe to the magazine here. On 28 February, 2017, the English Symphony Orchestra will premiere the Third Symphony by Philip Sawyers, the first work in a cycle of nine new symphonies to be commissioned by the orchestra. Conductor Kenneth Woods explains. Birth of an Idea “Composers don’t tend to write symphonies these days, they are mostly shorter orchestral pieces with titles.” said BBC Music Magazine editor Oliver Condy in a recent Guardian article on his magazine’s survey of the top 20 symphonies of all time. As an orchestral conductor, the overwhelming majority of the concerts I conduct include at least one symphony. For me, the symphony is the most important and influential musical form of the last 225 years, and I’ve always felt that for symphony orchestras to have a future, the symphony must have a future. So it was that nearly two years before Oliver Condy made that statement, my colleagues in the English Symphony Orchestra and I had decided to do something to encourage composers to write symphonies. It started when I was appointed Principal Conductor of the ESO in 2013-4. It felt like a big moment for me, and a time for the orchestra, which had endured nearly a decade of tribulations and challenges, to make a bold statement. I decided to commission a symphony from my friend and colleague Philip Sawyers to celebrate this new orchestral partnership. Within a few months of speaking to Philip, the idea of commissioning a symphony had grown in my head- I was beginning to think about symphonies. The idea of commissioning a symphony seemed so powerful, so simple and so relevant, why should we stop at one? A big part of the ESO’s mission is and always has been to support the creation and dissemination of new and unknown British music, especially music that somehow doesn’t fall into the programming remit of other major new music champions in the UK like the BBC, the Huddersfield Festival or the London Sinfonietta. In particular, we seek to commission, perform and record new works for an orchestral audience. Music that engages, challenges and rewards an audience steeped in the language of symphonic music from Haydn to Tippett. So- we would commission symphonies. It was decided. I whimsically thought that since notable symphonic cycles since Beethoven have tended to come in groups of nine, we’d start with our own cycle- nine new symphonies by nine different composers. The 21st Century Symphony Project was born- at least the idea of it. New Music for the Orchestral Audience It’s no great secret that over the last few decades we have seen a split between the audience for “New Music” and the audience for the broader range of most classical music. Throughout the 20th C., there was plenty of new (rather than “New”) music that entered the classical mainstream- perhaps more than in any other century, including now beloved works by Walton, Shostakovich, Barber, Sibelius, Gorecki and Adams. However, much of this repertoire has never quite been accepted as being authentically “New,” or fully of its time, or ours, while many older works by Berg, Varese and Schoenberg retain much of the same sense of challenge they held when they were written 80-90 years ago. In the post-WW II climate, musical taste, originality and culture were largely measured in terms defined by the modernist movement. So it is that music which embodied a high degree of rhythmic and harmonic complexity, extended instrumental and vocal techniques, and structural abstraction came to be that which was accepted for decades as truly music of our times. I’ve spent a substantial portion of my career working in the world of post-Schoenbergian modernism, and this thread of musical history has given us a great body of works from composers like Boulez, Berio, Ligeti and countless others. This music, which inspires loyalty, admiration and affection among many listeners (including me), has never gained widespread popularity among the general audience for symphonic concerts. This has often been ascribed to atonal music being “too demanding” or “too challenging” for fans of Brahms and Beethoven. There is no doubt an element of truth in this. Listening to music is both an aptitude we are born with and an ability we can cultivate. Making sense of a Darmstadt-era modernist masterpiece requires the cultivation of new listening skills that one might never develop listening to tonal music. For many of us, the development of these new listening skills offers enormous rewards, opening up huge vistas of discovery. With this in mind, the generally accepted view has been that the symphonic audience lacks the listening skills and musical knowledge to fully appreciate much music of the last 90 years, and so therefore, orchestras must find ways of drawing in listeners and making modern music more accessible and appealing. The most common, and by far least satisfying gambit for introducing symphonic audiences to challenging works is what orchestral musicians ruefully call the “shit sandwich,” in which a potentially incomprehensible new piece is squeezed between two universally popular warhorses. Such an approach serves nobody- not the composer of the new work, not the audience and not the orchestra. In the absence of an audience fully equipped to track an atonal musical narrative over a long time, orchestras have commissioned shorter and shorter pieces and done all they could to make them digestible to their audience, hence the modern scourge of works of less than ten minutes duration, laden with catchy titles, ingratiating programmatic outlines, and programme notes that often take longer to read than it takes to listen to the piece. But even as some of us bemoan the lack of certain listening skills in our audience, we too often forget that much contemporary music, be it modernist or minimalist, doesn’t engage, challenge or utilize a huge number of listening skills that our audience members do possess to a remarkably cultivated degree. A listening public used to symphonies by Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Shostakovich and Sibelius have the capacity to absorb complex and multi-layered musical narratives that stretch across multiple movements lasting up to 100 minutes. They can sense the emotional implications of a wide variety of sonorities, from the very consonant to the very dissonant. They can remember themes and follow their transformation. Many can sense, if not fully understand, complex tonal relationships between keys. They’ve developed an intimate understanding of the expressive possibilities of the instruments of the orchestra. They’ve learned to spot a huge range of references to vernacular music, from dances to marches. For these listeners, it isn’t simply that they lack the skills to appreciate certain contemporary works, whether modernist or minimalist (although there may well be an element of that), it is also that many contemporary works don’t engage the listening skills and critical faculties they’ve developed across the rest of their listening lives. In some senses, it may be not that we’re challenging them too much, but that we’re not challenging them enough. In fact, I’ve never accepted that any one style of music has cornered the market on relevance or originality. Hans Gál, whose four gorgeous symphonies were largely overlooked for generations because his language was considered too conservative, spoke eloquently of the difference between “novelty of language” and “originality of thought.” He clearly prized the latter, and his work clearly shows that it is possible to contribute something distinctive, original and personal in even the most well-explored musical language, just as it is all too easy to produce something trite, derivative and empty using the most contemporary means available. At the ESO, we’re trying to do our part to bring to our orchestral audience substantial, original, challenging and beautiful new works which we think will reward the listening skills they already possess and open up new ways of hearing things over time. The Symphony Never Left Us I remember a few years ago reading an interview with an eminent conductor and pianist who declared the musical history had ended with Shostakovich’s 15th Symphony, written in 1971. Of course, many 20th C. critics and composers had long considered Shostakovich and the symphony to be anachronisms. To Adorno, the symphony had died with Gustav Mahler. And yet, for much of the 20th C., the symphony flourished on an unprecedented scale. It is worth noting that for all we think about the 19th. C as the age of the symphony, there is hardly a single work in the genre composed between Schumann’s final E-flat Major Symphony, written in 1850, and Brahms’s First, completed in 1876, which has firmly entered the repertoire. Mahler, Sibelius and Elgar may have completed their symphonic output in the early years of the 20th C., but subsequent decades gave us cycles of stature and substance by Vaughan Williams, Prokofiev and Martinu. In America, we saw two generations of composers strive to write the great American symphony, leaving a legacy of wonderful works by Roy Harris, Copland, Piston, William Schuman, Leonard Bernstein and Roger Sessions. In Britain, we saw a flowering of the genre after RVW and Elgar which included works by Malcolm Arnold and Bax and two past ESO composers-in-association, Sir Michael Tippett and John McCabe. In America, the legacy of Piston and Harris has been passed on to such natural symphonists as Christopher Rouse, while in Russia, the legacy of Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Myaskovsky was continued by Alfred Schnittke. It seems that the urge to engage with this historic form has never left composers. I remember well cover-conducting for Penderecki during a week of rehearsals for a performance of his Third Symphony. When I complimented him on the piece, he laid bare his motivation: “I wanted to write a real symphony,” he said, “like Bruckner.” But if the symphony never really left us, where does it figure in today’s musical world? Does the birth of a new symphony today mean what it did in Mahler’s day or Beethoven’s? What is the genre’s relationship with the past, and what does it have to offer the future? These are some of the questions I hope the 21st Century Symphony project will encourage us to think about. The Journey Begins- Philip Sawyers’ Third Symphony As I mentioned above, the idea to ask Philip for a Third Symphony predated the idea for the 21st C. Symphony project, but looking back, I can’t think of a more logical place to start. I had asked John McCabe if he would be the ESO’s composer-in-association when I joined the orchestra. At the time, we were just beginning what would prove to be a long process of rebuilding the orchestra and we had little to offer John other than passion for his music. What we very much wanted to do, in addition to supporting him, was to send a signal about the kind of orchestra we aspired to be, and the kind of music we aspired to commission, perform and record. John was the most passionate and enthusiastic collaborator imaginable, in spite of the fact that his appointment coincided almost exactly with the onset of his final illness. Following his heart-breaking loss in 2015, there was a huge sense of unfinished business coupled with an urgency to continue the work we’d started with him. In relatively short order, I asked Philip Sawyers to succeed John in the now-renamed John McCabe Composer-in-Association chair. I knew that in Philip we had a colleague who shared John’s pragmatism, enthusiasm, generosity of spirit and whose music would be an ideal fit for both our orchestra and our audience. Musical Opinion’s own Robert Matthew-Walker had already hailed Sawyers’ work as “…the kind of music for which many people have been secretly hoping for years…” And, of course, I’d also already asked him to write a Third Symphony for us. I’d first become acquainted with Philip’s music through two key orchestral works, one written in 1972 and one from 2001. As Philip explains, “My first symphony was a commission from the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra. Having almost always written what others had asked for a symphony hadn’t previously been requested. My early (1972) Symphonic Music for Strings and Brass had, from 2001, been performed widely in the USA and my preference for ‘symphonic thought’ must have been noted there. “As a teenager the symphonies of Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Mahler, Shostakovich, Walton and many others were all devoured with a passion. I still have a large collection of LPs and scores from those days and studied the works thoroughly. “To me the symphonic ideal is one of ‘becoming’, of almost organic growth. It is a journey through a myriad of musical ideas that are as closely argued as any philosophical treatise. My First symphony followed the traditional, four movement, form, the movements being a portentous first, a spacious Adagio second, a fleet Scherzo third, and a Finale with an heroic and affirmative ending.” Philip’s First Symphony reminded me of Penderecki’s comment from so long ago, it was also a “real symphony, like Bruckner.” Not that it sounded anything like Bruckner, any more than Penderecki’s did, but that it had a similar ambition of scale, and a fully realised sense of musical architecture and emotional direction. We became friends around this time and hatched a plan to record three works together for Nimbus with the Orchestra of the Swan- his Concertante for Violin, Piano and Strings, his Cello Concerto and his Second Symphony, an astounding work which marked a major step forward in his musical evolution. Philip says of the piece that “Being a great admirer of Schoenberg, my Second symphony, like his First Chamber Symphony, was in one continuous movement if in sections vaguely resembling the traditional four-movement form. I further developed my own harmonic ideas incorporating harmonies and melodic lines that were tonal, atonal, and 12-tone. Schoenberg’s ideas about continuous development appealed to me and somehow my style began to embrace more counterpoint and motivic working than before. I also feel that my years at the ROH with many great Wagner performances gave me a fascination for his transformation of the leitmotif, which now seems just a natural part of my symphonic thinking.” Sawyers’ Second Symphony is an astonishing work- written for a Beethovenian orchestra, wedding Schoenbergian intensity of thought to Mahlerian emotional grandeur. It is a 20 minute tour-de-force for small orchestra. Throwing budgetary caution to the wind, I suggested to Philip that his Third should be on a grander scale. “By the time I began work on my Third” he says, “my musical explorations had become rather esoteric. The Norwegian composer Fartein Valen, whose almost unrelenting sense of brooding and pessimism and his personal harmonic style appealed. Back to a larger Tchaikovsky-sized orchestra for this new symphony and back to four movements with a similar scheme to my First symphony except instead of a bustling Scherzo, the third movement is an Intermezzo, followed by a Finale in which the last, triumphant section counters the dark pessimism of the first movement, the resignation of the second and the skittishness of the third The symphony ends resolved in mood and tonality on a secure and final G. Although those who know my music will recognise certain stylistic fingerprints common to previous pieces, my Third Symphony is to me a move to somewhere new along a journey that was begun over 50 years ago.” Listeners can hear where we are on that journey on the 28th of February, 2017, when the ESO premieres the Third Symphony in St John’s Smith Square The Journey Continues Even as the 28th of February approaches and my colleagues and I focus on preparing this enormous new score, we’re already thinking well ahead about the next phases of the 21st C. Symphony Project. Now that word of the project is in the public domain, I brace myself for having new symphonies thrust at me in the tube and at coffee shops and cafes across Britain, in spite of the fact that the practical and financial underpinnings of the project remain very much in development. Will we find an audience? Will we find funding? There are no guarantees of success in such a huge endeavour, but we have belief in the rightness of our cause (and ample bloody-mindedness) on our side. We do have a pretty clear sense of what the next few steps in the cycle will be, and I have a long wish list of possible composers, more than enough to fill out the cycle. But then who is to say that we must stop at a Beethovenian 9? We could stretch it to a Mahlerian 9 (i.e. 11), or add on a Brahmsian 4 or stretch to a Shostovichian 15, although I think there is no chance of us reaching a tally worthy of Haydn or Havergal Brian. In 2018, we’re looking forward to premiering the Ninth Symphony by David Matthews, one of today’s greatest symphonists, and a composer who has written most admiringly of the music of Philip Sawyers, who Matthews says “has chosen to work within the great tradition of the symphony, a demanding form that many composers are wary of taking on. Sawyers, however, is a natural symphonist: his first two symphonies show those necessary qualities of dynamism, dramatic contrast, lyricism; they are works that renew the tradition in a vital way.” Matthews is also a composer whose works renew the tradition in a vital way, and his Ninth Symphony promises to be a very important addition to the canon, and ninth symphonies tend to be rather special, with Matthews hinting that his will be closer in spirit to Shostakovich’s witty and mercurial ninth than to the more grandiose ninths of Bruckner and Mahler. And beyond Matthews? Well, we know who the next three or four symphonists are, but I’m going to keep you guessing for now. The Concert Tuesday, 28 February, 2016 at 7:30 PM Pre-concert talk at 6:30 PM St John’s Smith Square English Symphony Orchestra Kenneth Woods- Principal Conductor Clare Hammond- Piano April Fredrick- Soprano Philip Sawyers- Fanfare for Brass Philip Sawyers- Songs of Loss and Regret (London premiere) Mozart- Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor K466 Philip Sawyers- Symphony No. 3 (world premiere)

Jean Sibelius
(1865 – 1957)

Jean Sibelius (8 December 1865 - 20 September 1957) was a Finnish composer of the later Romantic period whose music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity. His mastery of the orchestra has been described as "prodigious". The core of Sibelius's oeuvre is his set of seven symphonies. Like Beethoven, Sibelius used each successive work to further develop his own personal compositional style. His works continue to be performed frequently in the concert hall and are often recorded. In addition to the symphonies, Sibelius's best-known compositions include Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse triste, the Violin Concerto in D minor and The Swan of Tuonela (one of the four movements of the Lemminkäinen Suite). Other works include pieces inspired by the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala; over 100 songs for voice and piano; incidental music for 13 plays; the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower); chamber music; piano music; Masonic ritual music; and 21 separate publications of choral music. Sibelius composed prolifically until the mid-1920s. However, after completing his Seventh Symphony (1924), the incidental music to The Tempest (1926), and the tone poem Tapiola (1926), he produced no large scale works for the remaining thirty years of his life.

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