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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
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Claude Frank, the eminent German-born American pianist and teacher, has died at 89. A student of Artur Schnabel, Frank was admired for his interpretations of Beethoven and other Austro-German repertory.

He was active for six decades as a soloist and chamber musician – notably in duos with his wife, the late pianist Lilian Kallir, and his daughter, violinist Pamela Frank; but he exerted his widest influence through his teaching at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music.

An obituary by The New York Times’ Anthony Tommasini:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/29/arts/music/claude-frank-pianist-admired-for-performances-of-beethoven-is-dead-at-89.html
4 months ago | |
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The Castleton Festival, in its first season since the death of its founding maestro, Lorin Maazel, will present Charles Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette,” Maurice Ravel’s “L’heure espagnole”
(“The Spanish Hour”), Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” and premiere performances of Derrick Wang’s comic opera “Scalia/Ginsburg.”

The 2015 festival, staged at Castleton Farms in Rappahanock County, VA, and now under the artistic direction of Dietlinde Turban Maazel, the conductor’s widow, will run from July 2 to Aug. 2.

Its lengthened season accommodates a new Castleton Jazz Academy, a residential program for high-school musicians, hosted by Wynton Marsalis and run in conjunction with Jazz at Lincoln Center, the New York performance troupe founded in 1987 by Marsalis.

The jazz academy, one of the last initiatives of Lorin Maazel for the festival, will run from July 19 to Aug. 2, with four concerts on the schedule.

Fabio Luisi, principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, will lead a July 19 concert featuring opera highlights. Rafael Payare, a Castleton alumnus who has been named the festival’s principal conductor, and Salvatore Percaccio will share conducting duties for the operas and other concerts.

Also on the schedule are chamber-music and vocal recitals, and Castleton’s popular bluegrass and “All-American Band” concerts during the July 4 weekend.

The festival, founded in 2009, brings more than 200 young musicians and theatrical artists to the Maazel family’s 600-acre estate in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Performances are staged in the 650-seat Festival Theatre and 140-seat Theatre House.

Tickets for the 2015 festival go on sale on Jan. 5. The Castleton box-office number is (866) 974-0767.

For a complete schedule, ticket prices and availability and other information, visit the festival’s website, www.castletonfestival.org
4 months ago | |
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A quartet of busking fiddlers are playing Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 3 in a New York subway station, when who should turn up but . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh8AcKzm3Uw

As several commenters observe, only in New York.

via www.jalopnik.com
4 months ago | |
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For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be substituting for Mark Lederway on WDCE’s Tuesday Classics. The Christmas Eve-eve program is an all-English affair, with a complete performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” a set of carols by Peter Warlock, and Vaughan Williams’ Christmas cantata “Hodie (This Day).”

Dec. 23
noon-4 p.m. EST
1600-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
www.wdce.org

Handel: “Messiah”
Lynne Dawson, soprano; Hilary Summers, contralto; John Mark Ainsley, tenor;
Alastair Miles, bass
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Brandenburg Consort/
Stephen Cleobury
(Argo)

Peter Warlock:
“Benedicamus Domino”
“A Cornish Carol”
“A Cornish Christmas Carol”
“Corpus Christi”
“I Saw a Fair Maiden”
“As Dew in Aprylle”
“The Birds”
“Carillon, Carilla”
Margaret Cable, mezzo-soprano;
Julian Empett, baritone
Allegri Singers/Louis Halsey
Matthew Morley, organ
Rosemary Barnes, piano
Rosamunde String Quartet (Somm)

Vaughan Williams: “Hodie (This Day): a Christmas Cantata”
Elizabeth Gale, mezzo-soprano;
Robert Tear, tenor;
Stephen Roberts, baritone
London Symphony Chorus
Choristers of St. Paul’s Cathedral
London Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox 
(EMI Classics)

* * *

Letter V Classical Radio will not air on Christmas Day, but will return for a four-hour special on New Year’s Day.
4 months ago | |
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(Re-posted from Nov. 18)

A celebration of the life of James Erb will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 20 in Cannon Memorial Chapel at the University of Richmond.

Erb, the former music professor and choral director at the university and founding director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, died on Nov. 11.

The memorial service will include congregational singing, with music provided to those who wish to join, as well as quiet time for reflection.

Following the service, a reception will be held at River Road Church, Baptist, River and Ridge roads, near the UR campus.
5 months ago | |
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James Wilson & Beiliang Zhu, baroque cellos
Dec. 16, Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter

In the beginning (or nearabouts), there was Bach in the dark: James Wilson, in one of the early installments of what would become the concert series of the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, played three of Johann Sebastian Bach’s suites for solo cello to 150 or so patrons in a room lit very dimly by a pair of candelabras.

As part of the society’s 10th anniversary season, Wilson reprised that remarkable recital. Doubled down on it, in fact, as he and the Chinese cellist Beiliang Zhu, a winner of the 2012 Bach Competition in Leipzig, alternated in playing all six of the Bach suites – as before, with sparse lighting.

It was, as Wilson said, a presentation of music experienced rarely in a lifetime. And not surprisingly so: A nearly three-hour program of works nearly identically formatted – prelude, allemande, courante, sarabande, minuet/bourée/gavotte, gigue – for a single instrumentalist, distantly visible to most of the audience, sitting in the dark in a spacious church sanctuary, is almost as challenging to the listener as playing a Bach suite is to a cellist.

A sizeable audience turned out. About half left during the second intermission, having heard the first four suites.

Wilson and Zhu played baroque cellos, his a five-stringed English instrument from the 1720s, hers a four-stringed modern reproduction (by John Terry) of a period cello. The tones and timbres of the two instruments and instrumentalists differed markedly. Zhu produced generally heftier bass and more focused high-register tones. Wilson summoned greater variety of voicings from his instrument, although with more variable intonation.

Zhu’s performance of the Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009, was the evening’s showpiece. An overtly virtuosic treatment of the prelude gave way to an unusually long-lined, lyrical reading of the allemande. The closing gigue was another display of dazzling technique, although at some cost to the rhythmic “groove” of the piece.

Her borderline-romantic approach to the stylized expressiveness of baroque music – affectus, in period parlance – was displayed again in the sarabande of the Suite No. 6 in C major, BWV 1012.

Wilson, behaving like a considerate host, took on the relatively less familiar and somewhat less decorous Second, Fourth and Fifth suites.

His interpretive approach and instrumental sound cast the cello as a surrogate human voice, with differentiated chest, throat and head tones and phrasing that at times seemed translatable into German sung in a guttural Eastern accent. He sustained the dance rhythms of these pieces, even in their most elaborated or distended passages.
5 months ago | |
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Dec. 18
noon-2 p.m. EST
1700-1900 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
www.wdce.org

Corelli: Concerto in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8
(“Christmas Concerto”)
Brandenburg Consort/
Roy Goodman
(Hyperion)

Past Masters:
Wagner: “Siegfried Idyll”
Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Bruno Walter (Sony Classical)
(recorded 1959)

Michel Corrette: Sinfonia
“de Noël” No. 5
La Fantasia/
Rolf Voskuilen
(Brilliant Classics)

Adolphe-Charles Adam: “Cantique de Noël”
(“O Holy Night”)
Depue Brothers Band
(Beat the Drum Entertainment)

Beethoven: Piano Trio in
B flat major, Op. 97 (“Archduke”)
Kyung-Wha Chung, violin;
Myung-Wha Chung, cello;
Myung-Whun Chung, piano
(EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Mozart: Sonata
in A major, K. 526
Yehudi Menuhin, violin; Hephzibah Menuhin, piano (Membran)
(recorded 1933)
5 months ago | |
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No show this week – a sinus infection has stopped me up and laid me low. The program planned for this week will air on Dec. 18.
5 months ago | |
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Dec. 11
noon-2 p.m. EST
1700-1900 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
www.wdce.org

Corelli: Concerto in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8
(“Christmas Concerto”)
Brandenburg Consort/
Roy Goodman (Hyperion)

Wagner: “Siegfried Idyll”
Berlin Soloists (Teldec)

Michel Corrette: Sinfonia
“de Noël” No. 5
La Fantasia/
Rolf Voskuilen
(Brilliant Classics)

Adolphe-Charles Adam:
“Cantique de Noël” (“O Holy Night”)
Depue Brothers Band
(Beat the Drum Entertainment)

Beethoven: Piano Trio
in B flat major, Op. 97 (“Archduke”)
Kyung-Wha Chung, violin;
Myung Wha-Chung, cello;
Myung-Whun Chung, piano
(EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Mozart: Sonata in A major, K. 526
Yehudi Menuhin, violin; Hephzibah Menuhin, piano (Membran)
(recorded 1933)
5 months ago | |
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