Category Archives: Music

Adolf von Henselt

Tweet Adolf von Henselt (1814-89) was a German composer and virtuoso pianist. A native of Schwabach in Munich, he went to Vienna to study under Hummel. He soon became a noted piano soloist. He was famous for his cantabile and legato playing. Even Liszt admired his playing. He also composed. Most of his compositions were…


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Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Orchestral Excerpts

Tweet Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is the greatest Russian opera of the 20th century and among all Russian operas is matched only by Boris Godunov.  Set to a libretto by the composer and Alexander Preys, it depicts the brutality of mid 19th century Russian life and the plight of women enmeshed in…


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Word Salad

Tweet Another damned thick book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Mr. Gibbon?  Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh I got a package from Amazon that was gift wrapped and had a note attached to it. The note read: “I can tell from reading your work that you are running out of words. So give…


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San Francisco Symphony Plays Haydn, Sibelius, and Beethoven

Tweet On Thursday evening, September 15, the  San Francisco  Symphony played Haydn’s Symphony # 69 for the first time in it’s long history. Its Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas conducted. The orchestra played the short work with a lush sound better suited to the symphonic works of the succeeding century. The concluding movement marked presto…


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Joshua Bell Opens Lubbock Symphony Orchestra Season

Tweet I don’t usually write about the Lubbock Symphony as I am too close to the orchestra to be objective, but this show was too good to pass without comment. Joshua Bell was the soloist in the opening the LSO’s 2016-17 season; its 70th. He played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in the second half of…


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Finale 9 – Mahler Symphony #8

Tweet Mahler’s 8th symphony was composed in a blaze of inspiration during his Summer vacation in 1906 at Maiernigg in southern Austria. Mahler made his living conducting. Composition was only possible in the summer. The hut in which Mahler wrote the symphony is above the title. This huge and complex work took less than 8…


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Santa Fe Chamber Music Season Opens

Tweet The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival opened its 2016 on Sunday July 17 with three works. First was the semi-obligatory nod to a living composer, in this instance the festival’s music director – Mark Neikrug. He played the piano accompanying clarinetist Todd Levy his Kaleidoscope for Clarinet & Piano. Neikrug  wrote Kaleidoscope in 1980. Levy is…


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Shostakovich Violin Concerto #2 and Symphony # 7

Tweet Disc 6 of Valery Gergiev’s Shostakovich cycle contains the 2nd Violin Concerto and the Leningrad Symphony (#7). It was recorded in performance in February of 2014. The soloist was Alena Baeva. The violin concerto, written and first performed in 1967, was the last concerto composed by Shostakovich. It was dedicated, as was the 1st,…


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Shostakovich Violin Concerto #1 and Symphony #11

Tweet Disc 8 of the Shostakovich series, conducted by Valery Gergiev, mentioned in my last post contains the performance of the above music recorded at the Salle Pleyel on February 18, 2014. The soloist is the the great Russian violinist Vadim Repin. The first violin concerto (opus 77) was written in 1947-8. It was dedicated to David…


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Shostakovich Complete Symphonies and Concertos

Tweet Arthaus Musik has released an 8 disc DVD set of all the Shostakovich Symphonies and Concertos. Valery Gergiev, perhaps the best conductor of the Russian master now active, leads soloists and the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra and chorus in performances recorded at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. These recording were made in 2013/14. I just…


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