Classical Music News of the Week, May 11, 2019
The program pairs Handel's Dixit Dominus with Haydn's Harmoniemesse, May 22 at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York City.
On Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 8pm, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space presents the final installment in its Choral Classics series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, with a program featuring Handel's Dixit Dominus and Haydn's Harmoniemesse. Soloists include soprano Wendy Baker, mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney, tenor John Tiranno, and baritone Neil Netherly. SMSS Artistic Director K. Scott Warren leads the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola and the Parish Community Choir. Tickets are $20-$80; purchase by calling 212-288-2520 or visit smssconcerts.org.
The concert program is a study in contrasts, juxtaposing a very early work of Handel's, Dixit Dominus, with Harmoniemesse, Haydn's final work. Handel composed Dixit Dominus when he was just 22 (three decades before Messiah) and living in Rome, steeped in the sounds of the Italian Baroque. The work is scored for five soloists, five-part chorus, and string orchestra, and reflects Handel's youth and passion in its energy and virtuosic writing for all vocalists and violins in particular. The remarkably high vocal writing contributes to the sense of urgency and violence of the text. Handel's flair for the dramatic in Dixit Dominus anticipates his later, longer oratorios and operas.
Haydn's Mass in B-flat major, also known as Harmoniemesse, on the other hand, represents Haydn at the end of a long and illustrious career, at 70 years old. Scored for four soloists, four-part chorus, and a relatively large orchestra for the Classical period.
--Caroline Heaney, Bucklesweet
April Showers Bring...
Between weeks of recording sessions, concerts, and gearing up for a full summer of activity (yes, summer is nearly here), we wanted to take a moment to check in and share what we've been busy with and what is to come. This month, we're sharing stories from the latest country we have connected with for recording sessions, new music from Navona and Ravello Records, composer conversations, and much more.
PARMA and the London Symphony Orchestra:
With a mid-spring mist pervading the air, PARMA Art Director Ryan Harrison exited the tube and stepped out into his first experience of London, where he met up with Bob Lord and composer John A. Carollo. Their mission? To record John's symphony with the world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra.
To read more, visit https://parmarecordings-news.com/establishing-new-roots-sessions-with-the-london-symphony-orchestra/
--Bob Lord, PARMA Recordings
Courtney Bryan's Sanctum and Shostakovich 5
The Chelsea Symphony's (TCS) May 18 &19 concerts, "Rebirth," of their 2018-2019 season "Resolution" which reflects on social action, features the great controversial work, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, called by the composer "a Soviet artist's creative response to just criticism."
Dmitri Shostakovich premiered his Symphony No. 5 in 1937 in Leningrad. The work, particularly the fourth movement, utilizes musical material from his own song, Vozrozhdenije, composed just before the symphony, which sets a poem by Alexander Pushkin commonly known as "Rebirth," which is the inspiration for this concert series title. The denunciation of his work by the Soviet government is well documented, however, and what follows the premiere is mired in controversy.
Beginning both concerts is Courtney Bryan's Sanctum, originally written for the American Composers Orchestra in 2015. The work by the New Orleans native is for orchestra and recorded sound and explores the sonic atmospheres of improvisation in Holiness-preaching traditions.
Saturday, May 18 at 8pm amd Sunday, May 19 at 2pm
The Chelsea Symphony, conducted by Reuben Blundell and Nell Flanders
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music (450 West 37th Street, NYC)
$25 reserved premium general seating on sale at Eventbrite.
$20 suggested donation seating available at the door.
For more information, visit www.chelseasymphony.org
--Elizabeth Holub, Chelsea Symphony
New Century Announces 2019-2020 Season
Music Director Daniel Hope and New Century Chamber Orchestra today announced its 2019-2020 season increasing its offerings to five subscription weeks in venues across the San Francisco Bay Area.
American pianist Simone Dinnerstein appears as the ensemble's artist-in-residence, including an evening of Bach Keyboard Concerti highlighted by the Brandenburg No. 5 in D Major BWV 1050, education and outreach activities in the Bay Area community and a two-day event entitled "Beethoven in the Presidio." As part of the world-wide celebrations of Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday, New Century will present a two-day event at the newly-renovated Presidio Theatre, showcasing selected Beethoven orchestral and chamber masterworks in two unique programs. The orchestral program, which will also receive an additional evening performance in Berkeley, highlights Simone Dinnerstein, Daniel Hope and cellist Lynn Harrell in Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56 while the chamber music program features all three artists in Beethoven's Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 1 No. 1.
Further season highlights include a Christmas celebration with internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter; an orchestral version of Ernest Chausson's Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet featuring Daniel Hope, 16-year-old American pianist Maxim Lando, and Guest Concertmaster Simos Papanas; and a repeat collaboration with the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
For more information, visit https://www.ncco.org/
--Brenden Guy PR
Grammy-Winning Choir, The Crossing, Premieres Aniara
Grammy-winning new music choir, The Crossing, performs the world premiere of Aniara: fragments of time and space, in five performances – Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, June 21, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. – at Christ Church Neighborhood House in Philadelphia.
Aniara: fragments of time and space is an epic collaboration developed by The Crossing, Klockriketeatern of Helsinki and American composer Robert Maggio over a period of three years, with artistic direction by Dan Henriksson and Donald Nally. The culmination of The Crossing's 2018-2019 season, Aniara is the ensemble's most ambitious theatrical project to date, featuring Beijing Opera-inspired choreography and dance by Antti Silvennoinen of Wusheng Company, costumes by Erika Turunen, scenic and lighting design by Joonas Tikkanen, and sound design by Paul Vasquez.
For further details, visit Aniara.CrossingChoir.org
--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media
Composer Laura Kaminsky Hosts and Curates an All-Female Premiere
On Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m., NYFOS NEXT—the moveable modern song salon from the "indefatigable art-song devotees" (The New Yorker) at New York Festival of Song—showcases Laura Kaminsky & Friends at the LGBT Community Center (The Center) in NYC.
This event is co-presented by NYFOS, 5BMF, and The Center in honor of Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Composer Laura Kaminsky curates a salon of songs with an all-women line-up of composers and librettists, featuring the world premiere of the song cycle "After Stonewall," with music by lesbian composers: Kaminsky, Jennifer Higdon, Laura Karpman, Paula Kimper, Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, and new face on the scene, Kayla Cashetta, set to poems by Elaine Sexton. This work was commissioned by NYFOS and Five Boroughs Music Festival.
For more information, visit http://nyfos.org/nyfos-next/
--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.
Take PRIDE This Month with Six LGBTQ Operas
A Letter to East 11th Street, Paul's Case, Three Way, Before Night Falls.... AOP has long been a home for the creation of fearless and unabashed LGBTQ-themed operas. This month we are filled with pride to bring back two of our most groundbreaking works and four brand new mini-operas celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a massive turning point in LGBTQ civil rights and free expression.
We hope you will attend, speak out, march, and help support our creation of more of these important works.
For complete information, visit http://nyoperafest.com/2019/ or www.aopopera.org.
--American Opera Projects
World Premiere of Phil Kline's Florida Man
On Saturday, June 8 at 8:00 p.m., The String Orchestra of Brooklyn (SOB) returns to Roulette to perform world premieres of newly commissioned works by composers Phil Kline and Gregory Spears alongside a new arrangement of Julius Eastman's classic Gay Guerrilla. SOB's founder Eli Spindel conducts.
Phil Kline's Four Songs from Florida Man is a first-hearing of a song cycle-in-progress that features the otherworldly Grammy-nominated vocalist Theo Bleckmann, while Gregory Spears's Concerto for Two Trumpets and Strings features virtuosic trumpeters Brandon Ridenour and Andy Kozar.
Kline, long praised for his mastery of songwriting and found text, here reunites with one of his favorite collaborators and muses, Theo Bleckmann, for whom he wrote the song cycles Zippo Songs, Rumsfeld Songs, and Out Cold. Bleckmann says "Few composers write for voice so perfectly and set a lyric so movingly."
For more information, visit www.philkline.com
--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.
SF Girls Chorus Presents Two World Premiere Commissions
The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) concludes its 40th anniversary season with two performances of From East to West on Saturday, June 8, 2019, 7:30 p.m. at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco and Sunday, June 9, 2019, 4:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church, Berkeley.
Exploring texts from Eastern and Western poets and visionaries, the program highlights the ensemble's second and third world premiere performances of the season, including Three Parables by Richard Danielpour, an SFGC commission that features a debut appearance by harpist Bridget Kibbey, and The Love of Thousands by Reena Esmail, commissioned by Classical Movements through the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program for SFGC. Persian classical and world music vocalist Mahsa Vahdat also makes her debut performing a selection of her own songs based on texts by 13th century poets, Rumi and Hafez, arranged for vocalist and girls chorus by Norwegian composer/arranger Tord Gustavsen. Completing the program are excerpts from Eric Banks's The Syrian Seasons, Frank Ferko's O nobilissima viriditas based on texts by Hildegaard von Bingen, and Stanzas in Meditation by Sarah Kirkland Snider.
Tickets range in price from $28 to $38, and can be purchased through City Box Office online at www.cityboxoffice.com or by calling (415) 392-4400.
--Brenden Guy PR
William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer
Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.
The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.