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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
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Adam Turner, principal conductor and artistic advisor of Virginia Opera, has been selected as the first Julius Redel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellow in a fellowship program of the Kurt Weill Foundation.

The fellowship’s namesake, Julius Rudel, led the New York City Opera from 1957-79 in its artistic heyday. He later served as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and was artistic director of the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company. Rudel died last year.

The 32-year-old Turner called his selection “an exceptional distinction for which I’m deeply honored. I look forward to the opportunities of the year ahead.” The fellowship, which carries a $10,000 stipend, enables a young conductor to assist in the preparation and performance of a music-theater work by Weill or Marc Blitzstein, an American composer active in the mid-20th century.

Turner will serve as cover conductor to John DeMain in a February 2016 Washington National Opera production of Weill’s “Lost in the Stars.”

Virginia Opera will stage Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins” next fall at the beginning of its 2016-17 season. It is scheduled to run from Sept. 30-Oct. 16, 2016 in Norfolk, Richmond and Fairfax. Having the production led by “a conductor bearing a title of Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellow is an exciting opportunity for our company,” Russell Allen, Virginia Opera’s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.
16 days ago | |
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A program for the Jewish High Holy Days, featuring the “Sacred Service” (“Avodath Hakodesh”) of Ernest Bloch, in the historic recording conducted by the composer.

Sept. 17
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Mozart: “Don Giovanni” Overture
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/
Neville Marriner (EMI Classics)

Beethoven: Quartet in
C sharp minor, Op. 131
Cypress String Quartet (Avie)

Golijov: “Lullaby and Doina”
Tara Helen O’Connor, flute
Todd Palmer, clarinet
Mark Dresser, double-bass
St. Lawrence String Quartet (EMI Classics)

Salomone Rossi: Psalms 128, 100, 126; sinfonias
Profeti della Quinta (Linn)

Past Masters:
Bloch: “Sacred Service” (“Avodath Hakodesh”)
Marko Rothmüller, bass-baritone (cantor)
London Philharmonic Choir
London Philharmonic/
Ernest Bloch (Rockport)
(recorded 1949)

Schubert: Impromptu in
C minor, D. 899, No. 1
Krystian Zimerman, piano
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Brahms: Symphony No. 4
in E minor
Konzerthaus Orchestra, Berlin/
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Orfeo)

Schubert: “Memnon”
(orchestration by Brahms)
Thomas Quasthoff, bass-baritone
Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon)
19 days ago | |
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The resurgence of vinyl records – some 13 million new discs were sold in the US last year – depends largely on a limited stock of manufacturing equipment dating back to the 1970s, resulting in long delays on orders to press discs.

Because the equipment is so old, maintaining it sometimes requires making replacement parts by hand, The New York Times’ Ben Sisario reports:


UPDATE: The view from a new pressing plant – like others, using recycled manufacturing equipment – in Portland, OR, from Melanie Sevcenko for The Guardian:

19 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the opening concert of this season’s Richmond Symphony Masterworks series, including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Symphony Chorus and guest artists:

21 days ago | |
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A long-lost early work by Igor Stravinsky, “Pogrebal’naya Pesnya” (“Funeral Song”), has been found among uncatalogued manuscripts of scores at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire.

The 12-minute orchestral piece was written by the 26-year-old Stravinsky in memory of his principal teacher, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and was given a single performance in January 1909, six months after Rimsky’s death. The score was thought to have been destroyed during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution or the subsequent Russian civil war.

“Funeral Song” is described as “a slow, unvarying processional with contrasting instrumental timbres: a dialogue of sonorities, very much as Stravinsky himself vaguely remembered it in his autobiography 25 years later. There are echoes of Rimsky-Korsakov [and] of Wagner, whose music Stravinsky admired more than he was later prepared to admit,” Stephen Walsh writes in an article for The Observer (UK):


(via www.artsjournal.com)
23 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Catalyst Quartet, performing at the Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond:

24 days ago | |
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Andris Nelsons, music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will succeed Riccardo Chailly as chief conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, and will head a new partnership of the US and German orchestras.

“They are starting a joint commissioning program that will begin in the 2017-18 season with a new work by the German composer Jörg Widmann that will be played in both cities. And over the course of that season, the Boston Symphony will hold a ‘Leipzig Week in Boston’ and the Gewandhaus a ‘Boston Week in Leipzig,’ with each ensemble playing repertoire the other is known for,” The New York Times’ Michael Cooper reports:


With the Gewandhaus appointment, the 36-year-old, Latvian-born Nelsons becomes the leading conductor of his generation on the international circuit. And the budding partnership links orchestras and cities that boast pivotal roles in their countries’ musical histories.

As Cooper notes, the Boston Symphony has significant historical ties to the Gewandhaus. Artur Nikisch, one of the earliest conductors of the Boston Symphony (1893-95), subsequently took over the Leipzig orchestra, which he led until his death in 1922. A later Boston music director, Charles Munch (1949-62), had been concertmaster of the Gewandhaus (1926-33).

The Bostonians could easily fill several programs with works by American composers who studied in Leipzig. A short list would include William Mason, George Templeton Strong, George Whitefield Chadwick, Miklós Rózsa, Herman Berlinski and Harl McDonald.

The Leipzigers, in turn, could fill several seasons with composers linked to their city and orchestra – the Germans, starting with Johann Sebastian Bach and continuing with Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wagner, Brahms, Reinecke and Reger; and the many non-Germans who were schooled in Leipzig, among them Grieg, Busoni, Delius, Albéniz, Janácek, Erwin Schulhoff, Ethyl Smyth and Arthur Sullivan.
24 days ago | |
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Sept. 10
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Schubert: “Quartettsatz” in C minor, D. 703
Artemis Quartet (Virgin Classics)

Brahms: Sonata in F minor, Op. 34b, for two pianos
Martha Argerich &
Lilya Zilberstein, pianos
(EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Fauré: Élégie
Janos Starker, cello
Philharmonia Orchestra/
Walter Susskind
(EMI Classics)
(recorded 1956)

Barber: “Capricorn” Concerto
Basel Chamber Orchestra/
Christopher Hogwood
(Arte Nova)

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

Haydn: Symphony No. 94 in G major (“Surprise”)
Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble/
Marc Minkowski

Vaughan Williams:
Oboe Concerto
David Theodore, oboe
London Symphony Orchestra/
Bryden Thomson

Onslow: Quartet in
A major, Op. 8, No. 3
Ruggieri Quartet (Aparte)

Paul Schoenfield: “Café Music”
Claremont Trio (Tria)
26 days ago | |
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Sergei Rachmaninoff’s great-great-granddaughter, Susan Sophia Rachmaninoff Volkonskaya Wanamaker, rebuffs Russian demands that the composer-pianist’s remains be disinterred from his grave in Valhalla, NY, and returned to Russia, which he fled following the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

“After fleeing from one country to the next in life, as he did, is it too much to ask that he be allowed to rest in peace with his family? I don’t think so,” Wanamaker tells The New York Times’ James Barron:

26 days ago | |
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Ever wondered why restaurant staffers don’t sing “Happy birthday to you” to the familiar tune when they serenade celebrating patrons?

Because “Happy Birthday” is under copyright, and its owner, the publishing division of Warner Music Group, is due a royalty payment every time it is sung in a public performance. (You can sing it at home without owing the publisher.)

Now, a manuscript of the original version of the song, “Good Morning to All,” written by Patty and Mildred Hill of Louisville, KY, published in the 1890s in the collection “Song Stories for Kindergarten,” has turned up in in the library of the University of Louisville.

“There is an important detail to note, however: [T]he melody in the original manuscript is slightly different than the eventual, ‘Happy Birthday’ melody we all know,” leaving the ownership issue up to further debate, and ongoing litigation, Paul Resnikoff reports for Digital Music News:


And why is a song written more than 120 years ago still under copyright, perhaps until 2030? Here’s one explanation:

29 days ago | |
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