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Tag Archive for ‘Antonín Dvořák’

Dvořák’s Rare Grand Opera, Dimitrij, Coming Up at Bard Summerscape, beginning July 28 [REVISED]

Bard Summerscape visitors have much to look forward to in this year’s fully-staged production of Dvořák’s rarely performed grand opera, Dimitrij. For this ambitious work Dvořák set a Russian subject, the unhappy fate of the false pretender, Dimitrij, who appeared after the death of Boris Godunov, presenting himself as the son of Ivan the Terrible. The libretto was by Marie Červinková-Riegrová, one of the preeminent Czech librettists of the time, the deeply educated daughter of leading Czech politician František Ladislav Rieger, and a granddaughter of the famous historian František Palacký. In her libretto, which advisedly took liberties with historical accuracy, Dimitrij was a young Russian serf who was taken up by Poles and brought up to believe that he was in fact the son of Ivan. Hence in this opera, he is the innocent victim of ruthless Poles, eager to destabilize Russia. He is unhappily married the the Polish Princess Marina, who is merely interested in using him for her own national and personal ends.





Emily Kalish and Larry Wallach will play American Violin Music—Dvořák, Ives, Bolcom, Wallach on Sunday afternoon, October 27, at 4 pm in the Stockbridge Congregational Church

I am happy to let you know that I will be collaborating with Emily Kalish in an afternoon of music-making that is sure to be fun, both for you and for us. We are doing a program of American music for violin and piano, some brand-new, and some American by virtue of style and place of composition.

We will play serious works by Dvorak (but made in America!) and Charles Ives (including “In the Barn”), along with a new piece I composed for Emily called “Fiddling Alon(g/e)” (read that any way you like). There will also be some piano ragtime by Lamb and Bolcom, arranged for our two instruments. We perform on Sunday afternoon, October 27, at 4 pm in the Stockbridge Congregational Church next to the Town Offices.





Australian composer Gordon Kerry. Photo from musicaviva.com.au

The St Lawrence String Quartet and Diana Doherty on Oboe, Play Music by Haydn, Dvořák and Mozart and Contemporary Music by Matthew Hindson and Gordon Kerry

Such a broad range of small detail, an infinite diversity of subtle variations in tone, attack, dynamics etc., more than is practical even for a composer to write into a score, is possible, even common on the string instruments, especially the violin, and it seems to be much easier to find violinists capable of nuanced playing than any other instrument, flute, horn, oboe, for example, though maybe not piano, though these instruments are not directly comparable. The string quartet then presents so many musical possibilities not to mention possible combinations of musical personalities, for both the performer and composer, and such opportunities for experimentation with the genre’s huge density of detail, relative speed of composition, and fantastic possibilities at the frontiers of musical sound. It is easy too to compare a symphonist’s writing string quartets to a painter’s drawing of finished studies, and this tradition continues, even if new symphonies and operas are relatively rare, as we see here in this program which includes the newish work by Gordon Kerry whose pieces, like Ian Munro’s last year, will feature in most of this year’s chamber music concert tours organized by Musica Viva.