Rotterdam Philharmonic presents colorful Chicago debut

The characteristically dynamic Yannick Nézet-Séguin and his superb European orchestra.

I recently reviewed the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra’s Symphony Hall appearance for the Chicago Maroon. You can read the review here.

Next up: Gil Shaham plays Bach, due at Symphony Hall this Sunday.

Recapitulation: February 2015

Gonna try a new segment here called “Recapitulation,” a succinct round-up of music news from the past few weeks. And what an eventful past few weeks these have been:

  • It has gone yet unmentioned here that the CSO announced its 2015/16 season last month. (The omission was my fault; I was going to write about it the night I went to see the Civic Orchestra open rehearsal, which I wrote about on this blog. I blame the maestro!) You can find a complete calendar of events, as always, on the CSO’s website, or in this comprehensive brochure. Particular focus will be given this season to works premiered or commissioned by the CSO in acknowledgement of the orchestra’s quasquicentennial season.
  • The Lyric Opera announced its own upcoming season this past week. Likewise, both the brochure and list of events are on Lyric’s webpage. I expect MJ will have plenty to say on this in upcoming weeks!
  • On a tragic note, Lyric announced only last night that president and CEO Ken Pigott unexpectedly passed away. John von Rhein enumerated Pigott’s myriad contributions to Lyric in an article written today for the Tribune.
  • Further east, it was announced last week that Alan Gilbert will step down from his post as music director of the New York Philharmonic at the end of the orchestra’s 2016/17 season. There is already plenty of speculation as to who will replace him, and yesterday New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini weighed in on what Gilbert’s departure could mean for the Philharmonic.

In blog news, the upcoming weeks are jam-packed with performances, especially the beginning of March. Depending on student ticket availability, a review of the CSO’s performances of Mozart’s Requiem may make an appearance on this blog next week. In any case, we’ll be bringing you topical content. Stay tuned!

And the Grammy goes to…

A complete list of nominees and winners in the classical genre can be found on the Grammy’s website. Looks like I have some listening to catch up on!

On a separate, personal note, I must say I was tickled to see Ken Kiesler and the UMich Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and Choir’s recording of Milhaud’s never-before recorded L’Orestie d’Eschyle included in the list of nominees. I performed in an all-state ensemble under Maestro Kiesler’s baton almost exactly a year ago, and his direction and musical insight made an incredible impression on me.

Congrats to winners and nominees alike, and special congratulations to Pierre Boulez, who was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. More on him on this blog next month, when the CSO continues its birthday celebration for Boulez.

Shostakovich plays an excerpt from his Symphony No. 7, “Leningrad”

Came across a very special clip on YouTube the other day of Shostakovich playing an excerpt from the first movement of his famous Symphony No. 7. This video apparently dates back to the year the siege began, in 1941.

I have a translation of the words in the video, courtesy of a Russian-speaking friend:

Title-card: Two-time laureate of the Stalin Prize, composer Dmitriy Shostakovich

DS: “My Seventh Symphony rose from the events of the year 1941—our fight against fascism, our victory over the enemy. I dedicate my composition to my beloved [birth] city of Leningrad. Right now, I will play an excerpt from the first part of my 7th symphony.”