Classical Music News of the Week, June 27, 2020
University of North Texas Press announces the publication of Conducting Opera: Where Theater Meets Music by renowned conductor Joseph Rescigno. The book discusses operas in the standard repertory from the perspective of a conductor with a lifetime of experience performing them. It focuses on Joseph Rescigno's approach to preparing and performing these masterworks so that the full greatness of each opera can be realized.
Opening with a chapter discussing his performance philosophy, Rescigno then covers Mozart's most frequently-performed operas; standards of the bel canto school including Il barbiere di Siviglia; five of Verdi's works including La traviata; a selection of Wagner's compositions; French Romantic operas such as Carmen; Puccini's major works; and finally four operas by Richard Strauss. An appendix contains a convenient guide to scores available online. Conducting Opera includes practical advice about propelling a story forward and bringing out the drama that the music is meant to express, as well as how to fully support singers. Rescigno identifies especially problematic passages, supplies suggestions on how to navigate them, and provides advice on staying true to the several styles under discussion.
Maestro Rescigno states, "This book is not just for conductors; it's also for avid opera lovers who seek to deepen their understanding of music and make their experiences more rewarding. For conductors, my intention is to give practical advice -- a collegial discussion of challenges and pitfalls, including how to fully support singers. Readers can now understand what a conductor must do before a first performance, and even a first rehearsal, and how a work's structure -- all of its sections -- fit together. A piece of music is greater than the sum of its parts, and this is especially true for an opera, in its fusing of music and theater."
To listen to Mr. Rescigno discuss his book, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-O2MUs6F2s
To learn more about the book, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Conducting-Opera-Where-Theater-Meets/dp/1574417932/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=conducting+opera+where+theater+meets+music&qid=1592933386&s=books&sr=1-1
--Nancy Shear Arts Services
Guitarist Sean Shibe Signs to PENTATONE
PENTATONE is delighted to announce that one of the most exciting guitarists of today, Sean Shibe, has signed an exclusive, multi-album agreement with the label. The collaboration will be earmarked by the range and diversity for which Shibe already is known, with current plans encompassing solo and orchestral, acoustic, and electric guitar repertoire. Shibe's first solo recording on PENTATONE will focus on Spanish impressionism and the French influences to be found in this music, presenting works by composers including Mompou, Poulenc, de Falla, and Ravel. Further details will be announced at a later date.
For details, visit https://www.pentatonemusic.com/news/guitarist-sean-shibe-signs-pentatone
--Talita Sakuntala, PENTATONE Music
Bright Shiny Things Launches 6-part Live HD Streaming Concert Series
The series begins June 27th during PRIDE with "T Stands For…," an exploration of the joy, struggle and liberation of the LGBTQ+ community. Featuring Grammy-winning cellist Andrew Yee of the Attacca Quartet, Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert, Metropolitan Opera pianist Bénédicte Jourdois, performance artist John Kelly, baritone Michael Kelly, and double bassist Louis Levitt. Part of all proceeds will benefit The Black Trans Advocacy Coalition. (www.blacktrans.org)
Full artist bios, updated concert descriptions, and video available at https://www.brightshiny.ninja/cell
--Paula Mlyn, A440arts
U.S., World Premiere Orchestral Performances of Dan Brown's Wild Symphony
Dan Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code, has a new credential on his already-singular resume: composer of the orchestral music from Wild Symphony, his new illustrated children's book to be released on September 1, 2020 by Rodale Kids, an imprint of Random House Children's Books.
With concerts slated in more than two dozen countries around the world – including a world premiere in Croatia and events in Germany, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, and Argentina, among others – Brown selected The Music Hall in Portsmouth as the venue where he wanted to host the U.S. premiere of his new symphonic suite, it was announced today.
On November 15, 2020, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra will perform Brown's classical debut for the young at heart as a special benefit presented by the author himself. Proceeds from ticket sales go to The Music Hall and the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, both 501(c)3 non-profit arts organizations from Brown's hometown.
"The Music Hall has been the site of similar premiere events for the Angels & Demons and Inferno movies," says the author, "and I thought it would be fun to premiere this new musical project in the U.S. as a benefit for my local community." The U.S. launch will be preceded by a world premiere concert featuring the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra on October 10, 2020 at Lisinski Hall in Zagreb, Croatia, where the recording of Wild Symphony occurred.
For complete information, visit https://wildsymphony.com/
--Bob Lord, PARMA Recordings
Michael Tilson Thomas Named Officer in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
On Monday, June 22, Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT)--Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra--was named an Officer in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters), the second of three grades recognized in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded to distinguished artists who have made significant contributions to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.
Previously a Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, this promotion to Officer recognizes MTT's continued contributions to global culture and the vast impact he has had during his 25 years as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony.
For more information, visit michaeltilsonthomas.com
Orli Shaham MidWeek Mozart
This week pianist Orli Shaham brings you the Adagio from Sonata No.17, K. 570, with MidWeek Mozart. Available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, June 24.
"The second movement is a beautiful, very lyrical adagio," says Ms. Shaham. "After the opening, it goes into a C minor section, which you cannot mistake for anything but a reference to the C minor, K.491 Piano Concerto - which is one of the two that I recorded with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra."
Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart gives you exclusive access to a different movement of a Mozart piano sonata, available for a whole week, free! Get your weekly dose of Mozart each Wednesday, and enjoy it until the following Wednesday when it will be replaced by the next installment, at OrliShahamMozart.com.
--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications
ABS "Fridays with Friends"
Mischa Bouvier came to American Bach Soloists through the inaugural Academy in 2010. He sang the role of Lucifer in Handel's La Resurezione. His beautiful singing was something that we couldn't live without, so he was engaged as a member of ABS the following season as soloist in the West Coast premiere of Antonio Lotti's Mass for Three Choirs in 2011. He has appeared in eight subsequent seasons in performances including the title role of Handel's Apollo and Dafne, Handel's Messiah and Acis and Galatea, and Bach's Saint Matthew Passion. Mischa is widely regarded as a singer of keen musicality and unique beauty of tone. Praised by Opera News for a "soothing, cavernous baritone that can soar to heights of lyric beauty," and by San Francisco Classical Voice for an "immensely sympathetic, soulful voice" and "rare vocal and interpretive gifts," Mischa continues to garner critical acclaim for a diverse performing career that includes concerts, recitals, staged works and recordings. The New York Times summed up a recent performance: "Mischa Bouvier was superb."
Mischa shares with us his recent experiences, interests, and a gift of his performance of music by Charles Ives. Listen and enjoy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw6h_5BPWBc&feature=youtu.be
Learn more at americanbach.org
--American Bach Soloists
ICE and The New School Present "2020 Ensemble Evolution"
"America's foremost new-music group" (Alex Ross), the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), partners with The New School's College of Performing Arts (CoPA) for the 2020 "Ensemble Evolution" program, taking place virtually from June 25 to July 2.
Created by ICEensemble founder Claire Chase and longtime ICEensemble artist-in-residence Steven Schick, Ensemble Evolution is a tuition-free two-week summer music program for early-career performers and performer-composers, providing the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from a faculty of established professionals including ICEensemble musicians and renowned guest artists through workshops, conversations, and world premiere performances.
Ensemble Evolution events open to the public include panels on topics such as Leadership, Advocacy, and Allyship in the Arts through a Racial Justice Lens; Branding and Digital Marketing for Musicians; and An Intro into Creative Placemaking; a talk with Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation; and two Quarantine Concerts featuring ICEensemble, Matana Roberts, Levy Lorenzo, David Byrd-Marrow and Ensemble Evolution participants. The final public performance of the program on Thursday, July 2 at 7:00pm features the world premiere of Nicole Mitchell's Inescapable Spiral, specifically re-designed for the digital world.
More Information: www.coparemote.com/evo
--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media
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.