Thursday, May 07, 2009

Suggested Listening for a Rainy Night

Radio show playlist this Thursday:
Bedrich Smetana: Vltava (1874) for orchestra
Erwin Schulhoff: String Quartet No. 1 (1924)
Karol Szymanowski: Symphonie Concertante (1932) for piano and orchestra
Nikolai Miaskovsky: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1944–1945)
Antonin Dvorak: Piano Trio, op. 90 ("Dumky" – 1891)
Schulhoff was a Prague-born Jew killed in the camps during the Holocaust; he wrote some excellent chamber music, in particular, including this quartet, which I think I heard in New York a few years ago (it may have been his second quartet) as my introduction to the composer. He wrote in an interesting blend of lyrical folk-influenced music and slightly punchy modernism.

The Miaskovsky piece is just plain beautiful, although it's hard to take wartime Soviet romanticism without a really chilling reminder of cultural control.
* * * * *
Classically otherwise, the Washington Post's Anne Midgette has an interesting bit about Honeck and the PSO; since I haven't gotten to hear them together yet, I'm still very curious for reports about how things are going. (Andrew Druckenbrod in the Post-Gazette has been enthusiastic, which is a reliable good sign.) I was also excited to read her reminiscence there about Wolfgang Sawallisch's 1999 performance of "Tod und Verklärung" in Philadelphia; I went to one of those concerts and despite it being a full decade later I can still remember leaving that concert hall in a daze like it was yesterday. I didn't realize that Sawallisch's wife had just died, but he conducted that piece like the world depended on it -- every moment of that piece was part of a living breathing whole. One of the best orchestra concerts I've ever heard.


Blogger Dan B. said...

I have a good track record seeing memorable performances with you. I think that concert also had Dmitri Hvorostovsky doing the Mussorgsky Songs and Dances of Death; and the Tetzlaff/SLSO Berg concerto similarly ranks on my arresting moments.

5/08/2009 1:47 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Yes, it was Hvorostovsky. We had these student rush seats very close to the stage, and I remember at one point Hvorostovsky's voice making the inside of my chest resonate, it was so strong.

Tetzlaff's Berg concerto was spellbinding.

5/08/2009 9:02 AM  

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