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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
1277 Entries

My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of cellist James Wilson and fortepianist Carsten Schmidt, playing Beethoven sonatas in a Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia program at Second Presbyterian Church:

17 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Takács Quartet with pianist Garrick Ohlsson, performing at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center:

19 days ago | |
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James Levine, battling Parkinson’s disease and plagued by repeated injuries, is giving up his post as the artistic director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The announcement was not unexpected, given Levine’s infirmities, his prolonged absences and increasing difficulties in consistently managing performances.

The 72-year-old conductor plans to continue at the Met as music director emeritus with a more limited schedule.

Levine, who has led 2,551 performances at the company since his debut in 1971, was named its music director in 1976 and artistic director 10 years later. Today’s Met is often called “the house that Jimmy built.”

Although he has worked extensively with major orchestras (Berlin, Vienna, Chicago, Philadelphia), conducted at the Salzburg and Bayreuth festivals and served as music director of the Munich Philharmonic (1999-2004) and Boston Symphony Orchestra (2004-11), Levine has devoted most of his career to the Met, raising its orchestra to international stature and introducing many works, especially from the modern period, to its repertory. He has been the conductor of choice for many of the leading opera singers of the past two generations.

The Met has not named a successor or disclosed a timetable for appointing one, leading some musicians to tell The New York Times’ Michael Cooper that they are “concerned that a long wait for a new leader could leave the company without strong artistic leadership:”

20 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Matt Ulery Trio and eighth blackbird, playing ensemble pieces by Ulery at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center:

21 days ago | |
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April 14
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Berlioz: “The Damnation of Faust” –
“Minuet of the Will-o’-the-Wisps”
“Dance of the Sylphs”
“Rákóczy March”
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/David Zinman (Telarc)

Debussy: “Images”
Pierre-Laurent Aimard,
piano (Warner Classics)

Henri Dutilleux: “Metaboles”
Orchestre de Paris/
Paavo Järvi (Erato)

Andrew Norman:
“Mine, Mime, Meme”
eighth blackbird (Cedille)

Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor
Hilary Hahn, violin
London Symphony Orchestra/Colin Davis (Deutsche Grammophon)

Beethoven: “Coriolan”
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti (Decca)

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

Schumann: Symphony
No. 4 in D minor
(original version, 1841)
The Hanover Band/Roy Goodman
(RCA Victor)
23 days ago | |
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Following the recent terrorist attacks in Europe, musicians and their audiences found solace in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach: Pianist Alexandre Tharaud played the “Goldberg Variations” in Paris; conductor John Eliot Gardiner led the “Saint Matthew Passion” in Brussels.

After the chaos of the Paris massacres, performing the Goldbergs provided “deep inner silence . . . a chance for to be quiet together . . . a communion,” Tharaud tells David Patrick Stearns of the Philadelphia Inquirer:


Neither of those Bach programs had been planned as a response to tragic events; but comfort and communion in music often comes without prior intent.

My most lingering musical memory from Richmond concerts after 9/11 was a Sept. 14, 2001, program by the Richmond Symphony and Symphony Chorus, Eckart Preu conducting, with Barber’s “Agnus Dei,” the choral reworking of his Adagio for strings, followed by Brahms’ “Alto Rhapsody,” sung by mezzo-soprano Martha Slay, and Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy,” played by pianist Joanne Kong.

That program, marking the chorus’ 30th anniversary, had been planned months in advance as a celebration, not a commemoration, and the Beethoven is hardly elegiac in tone or spirit. Yet the three pieces proved to be perfect for the occasion: solace from Barber and Brahms, and then from Beethoven a fortifying fight song for Western civilization.

Another Richmond Symphony concert, led by Mark Russell Smith on April 20, 2007, a few days after the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, featured “The Lark Ascending,” the meditative rhapsody by Ralph Vaughan Williams, played by violinist Jessica Lee. Another long-planned selection that turned out to be just what we needed at the time.
25 days ago | |
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April 7
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Jan Antonín Koželuh: Oboe Concerto in F major
Albrecht Mayer,
oboe & director
Kammerakademie Potsdam (Deutsche Grammophon)

Janácek: “The Cunning
Little Vixen” Suite
(arrangement by Václav Talich & Charles Mackerras)
Czech Philharmonic/
Charles Mackerras (Supraphon)

Smetana: “Souvenirs of Bohemia
in the Form of Polkas,” Op. 13
András Schiff, piano
(Warner Classics)

“Moments musicaux,” D. 780
Shai Wosner, piano (Onyx)

Berg: Violin Concerto
(“To the memory
of an angel”)
Renaud Capuçon, violin
Vienna Philharmonic/
Daniel Harding (Virgin Classics)

Brahms: Intermezzo in A major, Op. 118, No. 2
Orli Shaham, piano (Canary Classics)

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

Past Masters:
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in A minor (“Scottish”)
London Symphony Orchestra/Peter Maag
(recorded 1960)
30 days ago | |
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Performances by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, the Parker Quartet with violist Kim Kashkashian, and The Montrose Trio, formed in 2014 by pianist Jon Kimura Parker and two alumni of the Tokyo String Quartet, violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith, highlight the 2016-17 season of the Mary Anne Rennolds Chamber Concerts at Virginia Commonwealth

Next season’s Rennolds series also will feature debut performances in Richmond by cellist Joshua Roman and the Dover and Miró string quartets.

Dates of 2016-17 Rennolds concerts, all at 8 p.m. in Vlahcevic Concert Hall of VCU’s Singleton Arts Center, Park Avenue at Harrison Street:

Sept. 17 – Dover Quartet.

Oct. 15 – Parker Quartet with Kim Kashkashian, viola.

Jan. 28 – Anne Aikiko Meyers, violin.

Feb. 18 – The Montrose Trio.

April 1 – Joshua Roman, cello.

May 6 – Miró Quartet.

Programs for the concerts will be announced later.

Ticket subscriptions for all six concerts are $135, $115 for seniors (60 and older), VCU employees and members of the VCU Alumni Association. Three-concert mini-subscriptions are $90/$80. Single tickets are $34/$31.

Valet parking is also offered.

Existing subscriptions may be renewed through June. On July 1, new subscription orders will be filled and single tickets will go on sale.

For more information, call the VCU Music Department at (804) 828-6776 or visit series’ website, http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/rennolds
1 month ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Doric String Quartet with pianist Jonathan Biss, performing in the Rennolds Chamber Concerts series at Virginia Commonwealth University:

1 month ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony’s Casual Fridays concert, featuring flutist Mary Boodell in “Waking Dream” by Laura Elise Schwendinger:

1 month ago | |
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