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Tag: Franck

Jonas Alber conducts the Staatsorchester Braunschweig in Franck’s D Minor Symphony—a Podcast.

Some months ago an email discussion arose among our writers and friends about César Franck’s D Minor Symphony. Steven Kruger, who heard the Chicago Symphony play the work under Riccardo Muti on a West Coast tour in February, was surprised to learn from Alex Ross’s review of their New York series in October (The New Yorker, Oct. 22, 2012) that the old warhorse, once performed at Carnegie Hall seven or eight times in a season, had become a rarity, played there only four times since 1988. Kruger observed: “I think senior conductors serve a function in recycling music that was popular forty-five years ago—in the same way that fashion does this. I’ve always noticed that sixty-five-year-olds in positions of power in the fashion industry see to it, perhaps unconsciously, that the styles they saw at age twenty make a return appearance. It is no accident that the women today look the way they did when I was 20. Somebody my age on “Seventh Avenue” is seeing to it that they do. Similarly, I’m delighted to have Muti bring us back to the pieces of our youth…” Ross quoted Muti, who said, “This fantastic symphony by Franck, it was played everywhere in Italy when I was young. Then, suddenly, it vanished. Why is this?”

Jonas Alber

About Jonas Alber

Jonas Alber has been called an unparalleled magician of sound, and has been praised for a maturity that seems unimaginable for such a young conductor. When he was appointed General Music Director of the Staatstheater Braunschweig in 1998, he became the youngest conductor in Germany to hold such a post. Today he is much in demand as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras and opera companies in every part of the globe.

As a symphonic guest conductor, Jonas Alber has led many renowned orchestras. In Germany, these have included the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Cologne WDR Symphony, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken, the Leipzig MDR Symphony, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Hamburg Symphony and the Bochum Symphony. He has also conducted the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Lower Austria in Vienna, the Symphony Orchestra of St. Gallen, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de Belgique, the Residentie Orkest of The Hague, the City of Birmingham Symphony, the Iceland Symphony, the Gran Canaria Philharmonic, the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Armenian Philharmonic, the Cape Philharmonic, and the Auckland Philharmonia.

Represented in the United States by Columbia Artists Management

Tannery Pond Benefit Concert: Sebastian Bäverstam, cello, and Yannick Rafalimanana, piano, play Kodály and Franck

The summer festivals of the Berkshires and Hudson Valley are to a large extent about young artists. Some festivals, like Tanglewood, Marlboro, Jacob’s Pillow, Shakespeare & Company, Yellow Barn, and Norfolk, are basically music schools or have an educational institution as a core adjunct. Marlboro and the Tanglewood Music Center focus on musicians who have just completed their conservatory work and are ready to begin their professional careers. Others, like Music Mountain, offer courses for adults and students. The benefits cut both ways: young musicians, actors, and dancers get to perform, and audiences get to hear fresh talent and new insights.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti Visit San Francisco: Honegger: Pacific 231, Bates: Alternative Energy, Franck: Symphony in D-minor

Choose wisely what and how you imitate…. This may be the composer’s lesson to take away from last Tuesday’s much anticipated San Francisco visit by the Chicago Symphony, led by Riccardo Muti. Though Muti’s program concluded traditionally, with the Franck Symphony in D-minor, the first half of his concert was devoted to two pieces which undertake, with differing levels of success, the engineering of musical expression through depiction.

About Steven Kruger

Steven Kruger is a former classical concert agent. For a number of years he supervised the roster of conductors at Shaw Concerts in New York City, representing such artists as Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Neville Marriner, David Atherton, Rafael Fruhbeck De Burgos, Jose Serebrier and Robert Shaw.

Born in New York City in 1947 to a German immigrant father and an American mother, Kruger is a descendant of Bach biographer Phillip Spitta. He was educated at Phillips Exeter and Princeton, and received his degree in Philosophy, but turned to music administration after a brief career as a military officer and as a stockbroker.

Early in his exposure to music, Kruger developed a special fondness for the British Symphonists, and as a concert agent was able to play a part in the revival of such composers as Elgar, Bax, Walton and Vaughan Williams during the late 1970s.

He continues today as an advocate for these and other great 19th and 20th century symphonic composers, such as D’Indy, Magnard, Schmidt and Tubin, who were at one time eclipsed by the mid-century fashion for academic music.
Now retired and living in California, Steven Kruger regularly
attends The San Francisco Symphony and reports upon those and other Davies Hall symphonic events. Since 2011, he has written program notes on a continuing basis for the Oregon Symphony, including their recent CD, “Music for a Time of War,” and has become a regular reviewer for Fanfare.

Paula Robison and Katherine Chi play Griffes, Lanier, Taffanel and Franck at NEC’s Jordan Hall

Although Katherine Chi played Charles T. Griffes’ Three Tone-Pictures, Op. 5, for solo piano, there could be no question that this program was primarily a feast of specialized flute repertoire. (Simply hearing the sounds of Paula Robison’s playing in Jordan Hall’s extraordinary acoustic is enough to make this an exciting event.) One piece, Sidney Lanier’s “Windsong,” is even known relatively little outside Paula Robison’s flute recitals. Paul Taffanel (1844-1908) is remembered primarily as a great flute virtuoso, who developed the modern technique of playing the Boehm flute and modifications thereof—the foundations of the instrument and technique that prevail today. While Taffanel sought above all to enrich the emotional content of flute music and to extend the expressive capabilities of the instrument, he composed much of his music for technical display at his own recitals and as exercises for his students. Nonetheless the appeal of the concert went far beyond the immediate concerns of flute-players and their pupils and offered a wealth of insights, which were both fascinating in relation to music as imagined and constructed by the composer and as re-created within the specificities of acoustics, instrument, and player, and deeply moving as expressions of the human spirit.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

Paula Robison and Katherine Chi to play a free concert at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall

I don’t mind confessing that I never fully appreciated the flute until I heard Paula Robison play the instrument. The range of color and expression she can create with it are truly astonishing, and she has the ability to make every note count, as Pablo Casals could, and a few of the very best of the musicians who have passed through Marlboro.

On Sunday she will play for her students and colleagues at the New England Conservatory, as well as the rest of us, and I think that will bring a special sense of occasion—not that that is ever lacking at any of her concerts. Lately she has been venturing out into other forms of expression, notably the Sprechstimme in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, in which she has also played the flute part. As when she plays her flute, she approaches this with terrific concentration and fanatical preparation.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, Il Museo di Roma a Trastevere, etc. and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

At Tannery Pond: Joan Kwuon, violin, and Teddy Robie, pianist, in Copland, Ravel, and Franck

In spite of all the excitement over Simone Dinnerstein’s Bach recital in Great Barrington, Tannery Pond attracted an impressive crowd for one of the great concerts of the season, an America-French program played by two splendid young musicians, violinist Joan Kwuon and pianist Teddy Robie. The unique, richly varied tone she brought forth from her magnificent 1734 ‘Spagnoletti’ Guarneri del Gesù (lent by Elliott and Mona Golub), her astonishing technique, her mature musicality, and deep feeling give her all the qualities of a truly great musician. Joan Kwuon is the rare sort of violinist who commands the highest virtuosity, but uses it without the slightest sense of slickness or display for its own sake.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

Bloch Festival at Wigmore Hall with Jack Liebeck, violin and Bengt Forsberg, piano

It was pouring rain yesterday evening, forcing me to take one of those cab rides to Wigmore Hall that costs as much as a set lunch. This was my most quixotic concert of the summer. I knew nothing about the rising British violinist, Jack Liebeck, but something told me he would be the real thing. How can you not be intrigued by someone who founded an ensemble known as the Fibonacci Sequence, even among those like me whose math skills barely exceed algebra? Liebeck is a compact young man of 28 who came on stage looking vaguely like a cherubic Clive Owen, and he was dressed de rigueur as one of the men in black. (Can I recall any hip musicians who still wear a white shirt, much less tie and tails?) Following a step behind was his accompanist, the excellent Swedish pianist Bengt Fossberg, best known as the regular partner of the eminent mezzo, Anne Sophie von Otter. A promising pairing, then.

Huntley Dent

About Huntley Dent

Huntley Dent is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Santa Fe.

Stephen Hough, piano, Troy Chromatic Concerts

Behind Stephen Hough’s astonishing recital in Troy, there are significant connections with two others I recently heard in Boston, both with the American pianist Jeremy Denk. In one of these Mr. Denk collaborated with the great cellist Stephen Isserlis (review forthcoming), with whom Stephen Hough often plays and with whom he has made several recordings.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

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