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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
1353 Entries

A sampler of music from the 1920s: A jazzy, fast-forward decade, to be sure, but also the birth years of neoclassicism, the musical style that looks back while looking ahead. 

Sept. 28
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Gershwin: “Rhapsody in Blue”
(jazz-band orchestration by Ferde Grofé)
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Baltimore Symphony
Marin Alsop

Ravel: Sonata
for violin and piano
Joshua Bell, violin
Jeremy Denk, piano
(Sony Classical)

Past Masters:
Milhaud: “La création du monde”
Champs Elysées Theatre Orchestra/
Darius Milhaud
(recorded 1958)
(Pristine Classical)

Weill: “The Little
Threepenny Music”
London Symphony Orchestra/
Michael Tilson Thomas
(Sony Classical)

Past Masters:
Walton: “Façade”
Peggy Ashcroft & Paul Scofield, reciters
London Sinfonietta/William Walton
(recorded 1969)
(Decca Eloquence)

J.S. Bach: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 538
(orchestration by
Ottorino Respighi)
BBC Philharmonic/
Leonard Slatkin

Stravinsky: Octet for winds
Boston Symphony
Chamber Players
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Bloch: Concerto grosso No. 1
Marc Pantillon, piano
Bienne Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Rösner
(Atma Classique)
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony’s season-opening gala, guest-starring violinist Itzhak Perlman, at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Arts Center:

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Barton Swaim, a onetime speechwriter, now a cultural columnist for The Weekly Standard, chronicles his difficult reconciliation with the symphonies of Gustav Mahler – finding, among other things, that Old Testament stories may be more helpful than psychoanalysis in developing an appreciation:


(via http://www.artsjournal.com)
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Sept. 21
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

William Boyce: Symphony in B flat major
The English Concert/Trevor Pinnock
(DG Archiv)

Thomas Linley Jr.:
Violin Concerto in F major
Mirijam Contzen, violin
Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic/
Reinhard Goebel
(Oehms Classics)

Brahms: “Variations
on a Theme by Handel”
Murray Perahia, piano
(Sony Classical)

Borodin: Piano Quintet in C minor, Op. posth.
Alexander Mogilevsky, piano
Andrey Baranov &
Géza Hosszu-Legocky, violins
Nora Romanoff, viola
Jing Zhao, cello
(Warner Classics)

Past Masters:
Schumann: Symphony
No. 2 in C major
New York Philharmonic/
Leonard Bernstein
(recorded 1960)
(Sony Classical)

Kodály: “Variations on a Hungarian Folksong”
(“The Peacock”)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/
Neeme Järvi

Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major
Pascal Rogé, piano
Vienna Radio
Symphony Orchestra/
Bertrand de Billy
(Oehms Classics)

Michael Torke: “Charcoal”
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/David Zinman
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My reviews for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of concerts by Alexander Paley and colleagues at St. Luke Lutheran Church, the Dover Quartet at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia at Second Presbyterian Church:

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Sept. 14
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Richard Strauss: “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks”
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/
Manfred Honeck
(Reference Recordings)

Sinfonia concertante
in E flat major, K. 297b
(reconstruction by
Robert D. Levin)
Aurèle Nicolet, flute
Heinz Holliger, oboe
Hermann Baumann, French horn
Klaus Thunemann, bassoon
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/
Neville Marriner

Ravel: Introduction and Allegro
James Galway, flute
Richard Stoltzman, clarinet
Heidi Lehwalder, harp
Tokyo String Quartet
(RCA Victor)

Beethoven: Sonata
in C minor, Op. 13 (“Pathétique”)
András Schiff, piano

Violin Concerto in D major
Jennifer Koh, violin
Odense Symphony Orchestra/
Alexander Vedernikov

Past Masters:
Delius: “Brigg Fair”
Royal Philharmonic/
Thomas Beecham
(recorded 1956)
(EMI Classics)

Amy Beach:
Theme and Variations,
Op. 80, for flute and
string quartet

Vaughan Williams: “Ten Blake Songs”
Mark Padmore, tenor
Nicholas Daniel, oboe
(Harmonia Mundi)
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The 19th annual Richmond music festival staged by pianist Alexander Paley will run from Sept. 16 to 18 at St. Luke Lutheran Church.

This year’s festival features Paley with his wife and keyboard partner, Pei-Wen Chen, in four-hands arrangements of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”
and Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” and Paley with violinist Daisuke Yamamoto, French horn player James Ferree, cellist Nicholas Finch and clarinetist Charles West in chamber works by Brahms, Prokofiev, Anton Arensky and Alexander Zemlinsky.

Paley also will play Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” and four-hands pieces by Mozart and Rachmaninoff with Chen.

The Vivaldi arrangement will be a US premiere.

There is no admission charge for the concerts, but donations are requested.

For more information on the festival, call (804) 665-9516 or visit http://paleymusicfestival.org

Dates, times, artists and programs at St. Luke, 7757 Chippenham Parkway:

Sept. 16 (7:30 p.m.) Vivaldi: “The Four Seasons” (Alexander Paley and Pei-Wen Chen, piano four-hands); Brahms: Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 (Nicholas Finch, cello; Paley, piano); Brahms: Trio in E flat major, Op. 40 (James Ferree, French horn; Daisuke Yamamoto, violin; Paley, piano).

Sept. 17 (7:30 p.m.) Prokofiev: Sonata, Op. 119, for cello and piano (Finch, cello; Paley, piano); Rachmaninoff: “Six Pieces,” Op. 11 (Paley and Chen, piano four-hands); Tchaikovsky: “The Seasons” (Paley, piano); Arensky: Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 32 (Yamamoto, violin; Finch, cello; Paley, piano).

Sept. 18 (3 p.m.) Mozart: Sonata in F major, K. 497 (Paley and Chen, piano four-hands); Mozart-Zemlinsky: “The Magic Flute” (Paley and Chen, piano four-hands); Zemlinsky: Trio in D minor, Op. 3 (Charles West, clarinet; Finch, cello; Paley, piano).
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L. Wayne Batty, the longtime voice professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and impresario of hundreds of productions of opera and musical theater in Richmond since the 1950s, has died at 94.

Perhaps most widely known for staging Christmas-season performances of Gian
Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl
and the Night Visitors” at the Altria Theater, Batty was the teacher and mentor of generations of singers in Richmond and well beyond. His best-known student, tenor Thomas Moser, became a major figure in opera in Europe, singing on the roster of the Vienna State Opera and with other major companies.

Staging locally produced opera, often in tandem with his wife, Mary Jane Ellis Batty, with the Richmond Opera Company and in Festival of Arts productions at Dogwood Dell, Batty devoted special attention to contemporary American scores. He led one of the first performances of Samuel Barber’s “Vanessa” following its premiere in 1958 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

(In 2002, Batty accompanied me to a Washington National Opera revival of “Vanessa,” with Kiri Te Kanawa in the title role and Rosalind Elias, who portrayed Erika in the original production, as the Old Countess. Attending that performance, I missed the biggest news story to come of Ashland during the 27 years I lived there – the southernmost attack in the killing spree of the Washington snipers. The musical lore that Batty recounted during the trip more than compensated for my missing the big story.)

After singing with the World War II-era Army Air Corps Stage Band led by Henry Mancini and completing musical studies, Batty joined the faculty of what was then Richmond Professional Institute in 1949, and subsequently served for 12 years as chairman of the school’s music department. When he retired in 2007 after 58 years, he was both the longest-serving VCU professor and the longest-serving state employee.

An obituary by Ellen Robertson in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

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Sept. 7
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

György Ligeti: “Concert Romanesc”
Berlin Philharmonic/Jonathan Nott

traditional (Collection
Uhrovska, c. 1750):
“Visel som”
“Ach ma myla”
C 298
“Ksobassu Nota”
Ensemble Caprice/
Matthias Maute

Bartók: Quartet No. 5
Chiara String Quartet

George Onslow:
Quartet in C minor,
Op. 8, No. 1
Ruggieri Quartet

Beethoven: Sonata in A major, Op. 47 (“Kreutzer”)
(orchestration by
Richard Tognietti)
Hyunjong Reents-Kang, violin & director
Camerata Bern

Wagner: “Tannhäuser” –
Overture & Bacchanale
MET Orchestra/
James Levine
(Deutsche Grammophon)

“Poem of Love and the Sea”
Jessye Norman, soprano
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic/
Armin Jordan
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Classical music in Richmond often puts patrons through juggling acts: Which among several options to choose in a given week or

Each year, compiling and posting a preview of the classical season, I inevitably find conflicts in performance scheduling.

The 2016-17 season starts with a conflict that really takes the cake.

On the weekend of Sept. 16-18, there will be
eight concerts in three days: the Dover Quartet in the opening of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rennolds Chamber Concerts series, the first concerts of the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia’s season, pianist Alexander Paley’s three-day fall festival at St. Luke Lutheran Church, a Chester Village concert by the Richmond Symphony under its “big tent” outdoor concert stage, and singer Ute Gfrerer and pianist Adam Turner, previewing Virginia Opera’s forthcoming production of Kurt Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins” with a cabaret program at Dominion Arts Center.

It is physically possible to attend four of these performances. I’m planning to attend three. Non-gluttonous music-lovers presumably will opt for one or two.

Aside from the symphony’s pops concert, all of the above all chamber-music events, staged in small venues; so, conceivably, there are enough interested listeners to go around.

That’s assuming the classical crowd examines programs (which I’ve posted in the September calendar); sees, for example, that on Sept. 18 the Chamber Music Society is presenting an all-Schubert program at Second Presbyterian Church, while Paley and friends are playing Mozart and Zemlinsky at St. Luke; makes its choices and neatly cleaves into respectable turnouts for each concert.

Sept. 16-18 is one of three significant weekend clusters of performances this season. The other two:

– Virginia Opera’s season-opening double-bill of “The Seven Deadly Sins” and Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” Oct. 14 and 16 at Dominion Arts Center; the Parker Quartet with violist Kim Kashkashian, Oct. 15 at VCU; the first of the Richmond Symphony’s Metro Collection chamber-orchestra concerts, Oct. 16 at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland; and the Sphinx Virtuosi and Catalyst Quartet, Oct. 16 in the first ticketed classical concert of the season at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center.

– Virginia Opera’s “The Magic Marksman” (its English translation of Weber’s “Der Freischütz”), Feb. 17 and 19 at Dominion Arts Center; organist David Goode, in the Repertoire Recital Series of the Richmond chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Feb. 17 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church; the Montrose Trio, Feb. 18 at VCU; the symphony with its principal timpanist, Jim Jacobson, Feb. 19 at Randolph-Macon; the Shanghai Quartet with pipa (Chinese lute) player Wu Man, Feb. 19 at UR. (On the 19th, the symphony and opera perform in the afternoon, the Shanghai and Wu Man in the evening.)

Presenters’ excuses for such pileups: Touring artists and locals with multiple professional commitments couldn’t be engaged on other dates. . . . We don’t think there will be much audience overlap with other events. . . . We have to schedule on weekends because that’s what our audience expects.

However it’s rationalized, clustering events disserves performers and their audiences. It depresses turnout for an art form that struggles to draw a crowd under optimal circumstances. And listeners don’t get time to digest what they hear in one program before hearing the next.

OK, enough ranting.

Here’s a thumbnail listing of major events in Richmond’s 2016-17 classical season. I’ll add to the list as more dates are announced. Details will be posted in each month’s calendars. Asterisks (*) denote free or by-donation events. Box-office phone numbers and links to presenters’ websites follow the list.

*10 – Richmond Symphony/Chia-Hsuan Lin (Pocahontas State Park)
11 – John Bullard, classical banjo (VCU Singleton Center)
*14 – Richmond Piano Trio (UR Modlin Center)
*16 – Alexander Paley Music Festival (St. Luke Lutheran Church)
*17 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia (Richmond Public Library)
*17 – Alexander Paley Music Festival (St. Luke Lutheran Church)
17 – Dover Quartet (VCU Singleton Center)
*17 – Richmond Symphony/conductor TBA (Chester Village Green)
17 – Ute Gfrerer, vocalist; Adam Turner, piano (Dominion Arts Center)
18 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia (Second Presbyterian Church)
*18 – Alexander Paley Music Festival (St. Luke Lutheran Church)
25 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith with Itzhak Perlman, violin (Dominion Arts Center)
*25 – George-Lin-Kibbey Trio (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
30 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith Casual Fridays (Dominion Arts Center)

1 – Richmond Symphony Lollipops/Chia-Hsuan Lin with Lynn Dillies, magician (Dominion Arts Center)
*7 – Monica Czausz, organ (Ginter Park Presbyterian Church)
13 – Richmond Symphony Rush Hour/Steven Smith with Daisuke Yamamoto, violin (Hardywood Park Craft Brewery)
14/16 – Virginia Opera: “The Seven Deadly Sins” & “Pagliacci” (Dominion Arts Center)
15 – Parker Quartet with Kim Kashkashian, viola (VCU Singleton Center)
16 – Sphinx Virtuosi & Catalyst Quartet (UR Modlin Center)
16 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith with Daisuke Yamamoto, violin (Randolph-Macon College)
22-23 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith with Anton Nel, piano (Dominion Arts Center)
23 – Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord (Second Presbyterian Church)
*26 – Paul Hanson, piano (UR Modlin Center)
29 – Richmond Symphony Pops/Chia-Hsuan Lin with Rashida Scott, vocals (Altria Theater)

*4 – Jennifer Pascual, organ (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
*4-5 – Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival with eighth blackbird (UR Modlin Center)
6 – Richmond Philharmonic/Peter Wilson (Collegiate School)
10 – Roomful of Teeth & UR Schola Cantorum (UR Modlin Center)
12-13 – Richmond Symphony & Symphony Chorus/Steven Smith with vocal soloists: “Romeo and Juliet” (Dominion Arts Center)
18/20 – Virginia Opera: “The Barber of Seville” (Dominion Arts Center)
26 – Richmond Symphony Lollipops/Chia-Hsuan Lin “The Snowman” (Dominion Arts Center)

2 – Richmond Symphony & Symphony Chorus/Erin Freeman with vocal soloists: “Messiah” (Dominion Arts Center)
3-4 – Richmond Symphony Pops & Symphony Chorus/Chia-Hsuan Lin “Let It Snow!” (Dominion Arts Center)
*4 – Festival of Lessons and Carols (UR Cannon Memorial Chapel)
*5 – Richmond Philharmonic/Peter Wilson holiday concert (James Center Atrium)
*10 – Festival of Lessons and Carols (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
11 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia (Wilton House Museum)
12 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia (Holy Comforter Episcopal Church)

13 – Richmond Symphony Casual Fridays/
Jacques Houtmann (Dominion Arts Center)
14 – Richmond Symphony/Jacques Houtmann with Rémi Geniet, piano (Dominion Arts Center)
19 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith (Hardywood Park Craft Brewery)
21 – Jeremy Denk, piano (UR Modlin Center)
21 – Richmond Symphony Pops/Chia-Hsuan Lin (Dominion Arts Center)
22 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith (Randolph-Macon College)
28 – Richmond Symphony Lollipops/Chia-Hsuan Lin (Dominion Arts Center)
28 – Anne Akiko Meyers, violin (VCU Singleton Center)

4-5 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith with Jason Vieaux, guitar (Dominion Arts Center)
4 – Philip Glass, Maki Namekaya, Aaron Diehl & Lisa Kaplan, pianos (UR Modlin Center)
*5 – Richard Becker, piano (UR Modlin Center)
12 – Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
16 – Richmond Symphony Rush Hour with Jim Jacobson, timpani (Hardywood Park Craft Brewery)
*17 – David Goode, organ (St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church)
17/19 – Virginia Opera: “The Magic Marksman” (“Der Freischütz”) (Dominion Arts Center)
18 – Montrose Trio (VCU Singleton Center)
19 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith with Jim Jacobson, timpani (Randolph-Macon College)
19 – Shanghai Quartet & Wu Man, pipa (UR Modlin Center)

3 – Richmond Symphony Casual Fridays/Steven Smith (Dominion Arts Center)
4 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith with Jinjoo Cho, violin (Dominion Arts Center)
10 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia (private home)
*11 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia (Richmond Public Library)
11 – Richmond Symphony Pops/Chia-Hsuan Lin with Ann Hampton Calloway, vocals (Dominion Arts Center)
15-16 – Brooklyn Rider with Wendy Whelan & Brian Brooks, dancers (UR Modlin Center)
*19 – Richard Becker & Doris Wylee-Becker, pianos (UR Modlin Center)
19 – Richmond Philharmonic/Peter Wilson with Irina Muresanu, violin (Steward School)
*22 – Ronald Crutcher, cello & Joanne Kong, piano (UR Modlin Center)
25 – Richmond Symphony Lollipops/Chia-Hsuan Lin with Sara Valentine, actor (Dominion Arts Center)
29 – eighth blackbird with Will Oldham, singer-songwriter (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)
31 – Virginia Opera: “Turandot” (Dominion Arts Center)

1 – Joshua Roman, cello (VCU Singleton Center)
2 – Virginia Opera: “Turandot” (Dominion Arts Center)
*3 – Bruce Stevens, organ (UR Cannon Memorial Chapel)
8-9 – Richmond Symphony & Symphony Chorus/Steven Smith (Dominion Arts Center)
20 – Takács Quartet (UR Modlin Center)
*22 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia (Richmond Public Library)
23 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia (UR Perkinson Recital)
27 – Richmond Symphony Rush Hour/Chia-Hsuan Lin (Hardywood Park Craft Brewery)
30 – Richmond Symphony/Chia-Hsuan Lin (Randolph-Macon College)
*30 – David Higgs, organ (River Road Church, Baptist)

*3 – David Jonies, organ (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
6 – Miró Quartet (VCU Singleton Center)
7 – Richmond Philharmonic/Peter Wilson with Thomas Jöstlein, James Ferree, George Harple & Merry Beth Hall, French horns (Collegiate School)
12 – Richmond Symphony Casual Fridays/Steven Smith (Dominion Arts Center)
13 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith with Gary Hoffman, cello (Dominion Arts Center)
*26 – Acronym Baroque Ensemble (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)

*18 – Richmond Philharmonic/Peter Wilson (Summer Park, Brandermill)

* * *

Richmond Symphony
(804) 788-1212

Virginia Opera
(866) 673-7282

Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
(804) 289-8980

Rennolds Chamber Concerts, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
(804) 828-1166

Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia
(804) 519-2098

Alexander Paley Music Festival
(804) 665-9516

Richmond Philharmonic
(804) 673-7400

Richmond chapter, American Guild of Organists
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