Playing Jekyll and Hyde With Exotic French Flavors

Inconsistent performances have dogged the New York Philharmonic for decades. As CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM points out in a recent New Times reviewImage“Two orchestras showed up on Thursday evening at Avery Fisher Hall. One featured a band of uninterested players policed by a conductor who, for the most part, seemed content to beat time. The other was a tight-knit group of musicians who offered an incandescent performance under the direction of an artist with a fine sense of line and color.”

There times, you just want to walk out during the first half of a typical concert, no matter who is at the helm only to be amazed at the playing virtuosity that inevitably occurs after intermission.


The Conductor With an Ear for Peace

A great article by Harvey Sachs for the New York Times commemorating what would have been Georg Solti’s 100th Birthday (please be sure to go to his website – so beautiful!). An amazing career with a strong passion for bringing musicians from around the world to perform together.  A Chicago institution, the Jewish-born Hungarian maestro mused out loud that if musicians from all walks of life can perform together (as they did often under his baton), then why couldn’t world diplomats and their respective countries live in harmony as well?

There is something in the human spirit that binds us together, whether we know it or not;  it’s our love for all that is beautiful! It is an enigma as why humanity can go to that shadow side of life, to a bizarre and ugly universe, and do such terrible things to each other.  Long-live Sir Georg Solti!

James Levine to conduct again

James Levine to conduct again in May after two-year injury layoff.

The Met announced that James Levine’s first performance is scheduled for May 19, 2013, about a month before his 70th birthday. He is to conduct the Metropolitan Opera orchestra in a concert at Carnegie Hall. Maestro Levine will return to the podium after a two-year absence. A fall last year left him partially paralyzed. Levine is without a doubt one of the most celebrated and brilliant conductors of our time. His repertoire consists of everything because he can conduct everything. We all welcome his return and pray for his continued recovery. The music world has missed you Maestro!


If only today’s audiences would show the same raw emotion…


What a difference 100 years makes!

THE RITE OF SPRING,” or (“Le Sacre du Printemps”), Igor Stravinsky’s historic shocker of a ballet that shows and celebrates a human sacrifice, will be 100 years old next May. 

Though it created a near riot in Paris when it was premiered, it was actually Diaghilev’s choreography that caused the audience into a mob rather than Stravinsky’s music itself as many believe. The music could hardly be heard over the outcries of scandal. “Things got as far as fighting.” Stravinsky told his friend.

Today, Stravinskys third ballet for the Russian dancer is part of the repertoire.  No riot; maybe a lot of coughing but that occurs for any piece.

Boy what I wouldn’t give for today’s audiences to show a little bit of that same raw emotion; maybe not a riot but at least a little episode of being slightly upset!

Image: “Shocker Cools Into a ‘Rite’ of Passage” – NY Times [Music]