Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Alfred Cortot (1877-1962)
Charles Munch (1891-1968)
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Yvonne Levering (1905-2006)
Fritz Wunderlich (1930-1966)
Salvatore Accardo (1941)
Dale Duesing (1947)

and

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)
Jane Smiley (1949)

and from The Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1957, 20 years after George Gershwin died, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. It was not immediately successful. It only became famous when it was turned into a film in 1961 and won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It’s based on the story of Romeo and Juliet, but it is set in the gang-ridden streets of New York.

During the weeks leading up to the opening of West Side Story, the news was full of stories of gang violence and racial confrontations. At the end of August, Strom Thurmond filibustered for more than 24 hours to try to prevent passage of the Voting Rights Act. The day before the show’s opening, federal troops forcibly integrated Little Rock High School.

In general, critics responded favorably to West Side Story, but all the major Tony Awards went instead to The Music Man, a bubbly, nostalgic musical about a small town in Iowa.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Marvelous ”Two Yosemites” makes a passionate plea for the environment

Campsite setting of "Two Yosemites"
“Two Yosemites” proved to be a surprisingly fine opera that resonated with a large audience at the outdoor amphitheater of the Lewis and Clark Law School on Friday, September 15th. Written by Justin Ralls and presented by Opera Theater Oregon, “Two Yosemites” marvelously conveyed the story of a transformative camping trip in 1903 involving John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt that led to the creation of one of America’s most iconic national parks. Outstanding performances by Nicholas Meyer as Muir and Aaron Short as Roosevelt, combined deftly with a taut chamber ensemble, conducted by Ralls, to create 60 minute, one-act opera that was emotionally satisfying and not preachy.

Ralls, a young composer who is pursuing a doctorate in music at the University of Oregon, really outdid himself with “Two Yosemities,” his first foray into the world of opera. The music was mostly harmonic accompanied by a deft ability for word painting. He evocatively used the piccolo to depict the song of a thrush and used a colorful pallet to paint an array of outdoor scenes on an intimate or grand scale. When Muir waxed eloquently about the beauty of nature, the music became rhapsodic but never syrupy. When Roosevelt described his love of hunting and his disdain for political wrangling, his line became punchy and aggressive. Yet, neither man was a one-dimensional cartoon. Ralls gave each man emotions and a complexity that, we, in the audience, could identify with.

Short did a masterful job of communicating the vibrancy of Roosevelt. Strutting about the campfire with a cocksure attitude of a man of action, he mesmerized the audience with an expressive tenor could be edgy when needed and then quickly transition to a legato of Mozartian elegance.

Nicholas Meyer superbly captured Muir’s dignity and vision for the great outdoors with a calm demeanor that was an excellent counterweight to Roosevelt. Meyer’s beautiful mellow baritone was at its best in the upper range, but it needed a bit more bite when Muir confronted Roosevelt.

The chorus of four women (Joannah Ball, jena Viemeister, Jocelyn Claire-Thomas, and Catherine Olson) sounded terrific except that their text (from an American-Indian language) needed supertitles. All of the singers and the orchestra were amplified because of the bucolic outdoor setting, and for the most part, that worked very well. To top off the evening, the voices of tree frogs seemed to add to the applause after the opera concluded.

“Two Yosemites” is an opera that deserves to be heard again and again. Perhaps the Astoria Music Festival might product it. Hats off to Ralls for writing such a marvelous opera on his first try. I hope that he writes another one in the near future.

Today's Birthdays

Johann Nikolaus Hanff (1663-1711)
Jean-Phillippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897)
Roberto Gerhard (1896-1970)
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Sir Colin Davis (1927-2013)
Glenn Gould (1932-1982)
Stella Sung (1959)

and

William Faulkner (1897-1962)
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Blind Lemon Jefferson (1893-1929)
Sir Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
Vaclav Nelhybel (1919-1996)
Cornell MacNeil (1922-2011)
Alfredo Kraus (1927-1999)
John Rutter (1945)
Marc Neikrug (1946)

and

Horace Walpole (1717-1797)
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
Eavan Boland (1944)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1947, German-born composer Hans Eisler is questioned about his former membership in the Communist Party by the House Committee on Un-American activities. Eisler had been a member of the Party in the 1920s, left Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933, and had been working in Hollywood on film scores and as the musical assistant to Charlie Chaplin. He left the U.S. in 1948 and settled in East Germany - where he composed that country's national anthem.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Jacques Féréol Mazas (1782-1849)
William Levi Dawson (1899-1990)
Jarmila Novotná (1907-1994)
Soulima Stravinsky (1910-1994)
Alexander Arutiunian (1920-2012)
Ray Charles (1930-2004)
John Coltrane (1926-1967)
Robert Helps (1928-2001)
Bruce Springsteen (1949)
William Shimell (1952)

and

Euripides (ca 480 BC - 406 BC) - today is the traditional day for Greeks to celebrate his birthday.
Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927)
Baroness Emmuska Orczy (1865-1947)
Walter Lippmann (1899-)
Jaroslav Seifert (1901-1986)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ear Trumpet listing of concerts featuring new music

Courtesy of Bob Priest:

EAR TRUMPET
PDX New Music Calendar
Ensembles Edition
September 2017 - May 2018 Season

---------

SEPTEMBER
19 - 21: Third Angle
20: Creative Music Guild

---------

OCTOBER
4, 8 & 18: Creative Music Guild
9: Fear No Music
14: Cascadia Composers
19 & 20: Third Angle
21: Sound of Late
30: Fear No Music

---------

NOVEMBER
1: Creative Music Guild
3 & 18: Cascadia Composers
10 & 11: Third Angle
27: Fear No Music

---------

DECEMBER
Dark

---------

JANUARY
8: Fear No Music
11 & 12: Third Angle

---------

FEBRUARY
8 & 9: Third Angle
17: Cascadia Composers

---------

MARCH
5: Fear No Music
10: Sound of Late
14: Friends of Rain
23 - 25: March Music Moderne

---------

APRIL
12 & 13: Third Angle
29: Fear No Music

---------

MAY
7: Fear No Music
19: Sound of Late

=========

All dates are current as of 19 September

Please visit individual WEBSITES to double-check dates & for more info:

Cascadia Composers
cascadiacomposers.org

Creative Music Guild
creativemusicguild.org

Fear No Music
fearnomusic.org

Friends of Rain
https://college.lclark.edu/departments/music/ensembles/friends_of_rain/

March Music Moderne
marchmusicmoderne.org

Friends of Rain
https://college.lclark.edu/departments/music/ensembles/friends_of_rain/

March Music Moderne
marchmusicmoderne.org

Sound of Late
soundoflate.org

Third Angle
thirdangle.org

=========

ET's CD PICK OF THE SEASON:
Dobrinka Tabakova
String Paths
ECM New Series
ecmrecords.com

=========

WEST COAST TRAIL FESTSPIEL OF THE YEAR:
International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM)
World Music Days
2 - 8 November
Vancouver, BC, Canada
27 Concerts in 8 Venues
128 Composers from 48 Countries
iscm2017.ca

=========

Although this edition of ET is devoted to ensembles, groups & orgs that
focus exclusively on new music, there are others in PDX that sometimes
include new music on their programs:

Oregon Symphony
Portland Youth Philharmonic
Chamber Music Northwest
Friends of Chamber Music
Classical Revolution PDX
Arnica String Quartet
45th Parallel
Portland Piano International
PSU Music Dept
Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan
PDX Jazz Composers Ensemble
Resonance Ensemble
Mousai Remix
Agnieszka Laska Dancers
Portland Chamber Orchestra
Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Cappella Romana
Opera Theatre Oregon
Portland Opera
In Mulieribus
The Ensemble
 
 

Today's Birthdays

Arthur Pryor (1870-1942)
Mikolajus Ciurlionis (1875-1911)
Henryk Szeryng (1918-1988)
William O. Smith (1926)
Hugh Bean (1929-2003)
Leonardo Balada (1933)
Anna Tomowa-Sintow (1941)
John Tomlinson (1946)
Vladmir Ghernov (1953)
Michael Torke (1961)

and

Fay Weldon (1931)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Music critic in Cincinnati gets the pink slip

Musical America has reported that veteran music critic at the Cincinnati Enquirer has been laid off. Janelle Gelfand, who has worked at the paper for 26 years, lost her job on Tuesday. Musical America is a subscription-based magazine, but you can read about it in the Facebook pages for Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Opera.

Today's Birthdays

François Francoeur (1698-1787)
Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)
Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
Meinrad Schütter (1910-2006)
Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)
Jill Gomez (1942)
Andrei Gavrilov (1955)
Nina Rautio (1957)

and

Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498)
Sir Edmund Gosse (1849-1928)
H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells (1866-1946)
Sir Allen Lane (1902-1970)
Stephen King (1941)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968)
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (1885-1941)
Uuno Klami (1900-1961)
David Sheinfeld (1906-2001)
John Dankworth (1927-2010)
Jane Manning (1938)
Laurie Spiegel (1945)
John Harle (1956)

and

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
Maxwell Perkins (1884-1947)
Stevie Smith (1902-1971)
Donald Hall (1928)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1954, Stravinsky: "In Memoriam Dylan Thomas," premiered in Los Angeles, conducted by Robert Craft. Stravinsky had met the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas the previous year, and they had discussed collaborating on an opera project, but Thomas died on November 9, 1953.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

George Takei hosts the Oregon Symphony's season opening.

George Takei
Photo: AP/Victoria Will
The Oregon Symphony opened its 2017-18 season Saturday night, September 16, with guest host and narrator George Takei introducing an evening of old favorites and American classics.

Portland seemed thrilled to have Takei in the house, known not only for his role as helmsman Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek but also as a pop culture icon and fighter for human rights. The opening piece was Beethoven's Egmont Overture; appropriately grandiose and stentorian (a suitable opening motif for an entire season), the OSO executed ably as the work graduated into a heroic gallop to the finish.

The second work was an OSO premier of Twill by Twilight, by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu.  Set in the form of a tone poem, Takei mentioned that on a personal note he considered the work an elegy for his cousin and aunt who died in the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima. The work contained many harsh dissonances that were somehow rendered mellow in effect by the subdued timbre. The symphony imparted to the work a strange dream-like quality, somehow hypnotic and vaguely unsettling simultaneously.

Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks was next, and the orchestra was clearly having fun with this one. Consistently marvelous sound production from the winds throughout the work and a short but brilliant solo from concertmaster Sarah Kwak highlighted this piece, which unfortunately suffered from an out-of-balance brass choir that completely subsumed everything else during the fortissimos.

The second half started with Liszt's Les Preludes, a well-played chestnut, with a properly Jovian crescendo during the famous theme. Morton Gould's American Salute was bombastic and brassy, a spritely set of interesting variations on the folk tune 'Johnny come marching home.' With this well-known tune as the whole basis of the work it could have been dull and uninteresting; however Kalmar and the OSO managed to infuse this oddly peripatetic work with great imagination.

The highlight of the evening was Copland's Lincoln Portrait, an iconic work well known to filmgoers as the opening theme from Saving Private Ryan. This iconic composition required a keen insight into the emotional as well as acoustical dynamics--alternately bold and statesmanlike, small and folksy--and the OSO got this one just right. Takei's rich baritone in the text reading, as well as his stature as an American who has been through some of the worst and best this nation has to offer, lent the work a splendid sense of decorum and purpose, the final ingredients required to make this piece perfect.

Oregon Bach Festival mess reaches the New York Times

The New York Times has reported on the recent OBF mess here. Also Bob Hicks of the Oregon Arts Watch has written his thoughts on the matter here. The Eugene Register-Guard has printed an astute opinion piece here. Music insider Norman Lebrecht has issued his thoughts on Slipped Disc here.

Thanks to Mark Mandel and Bob Priest for forwarding some of these links.

Today's Birthdays

Gustav Schirmer (1829-1893)
Allan Pettersson (1911-1980)
Kurt Sanderling (1912-2011)
Blanche Thebom (1918-2010)
Arthur Wills (1926)
Bonaventura Bottone (1950)

and

William Golding (1911-1993)
Amalia Hernández (1917-2000)
Roger Angell (1920)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748)
Lord Berners (1883-1950)
Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960)
Meredith Willson (1902-1984)
Josef Tal (1910-2008)
Norman Dinerstein (1937-1982)
Thomas Fulton (1949-1994)
John McGlinn (1953-2009)
Anna Netrebko (1970)

and

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
Jean-Bernard-Léon Foucault (1819-1868)
Paul Zimmer (1934)
Alberto Ríos (1952)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Saverio Mercadante (1795-1870)
Vincenzo Tommasini (1878-1950)
Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884-1920)
Isang Yun (1917-1995)
Hank Williams (1923-1953)
Vincent La Selva (1929)

and

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
Frank O'Connor (1903-1966)
Ken Kesey (1935-2001)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Paul Taffanel (1844-1908)
Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979)
Hans Swarowsky (1899-1975)
B. B. King (1925-2015)

and

John Gay (1685-1732)
Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1950)
Elizabeth McCracken (1966)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1920, Italian tenor Enrico Caruso makes his last records (selections by Meyerbeer, Lully, Bartlett, and Rossini) for Victor Records in Camden, New Jersey. He would make his last operatic appearance at the old Metropolitan Opera House on Christmas Eve in 1920 (an evening performance of Halevy's "La Juive"), and die the following summer in Naples.

On this day in 1977, opera diva Maria Callas dies of a heart attack, age 53, in Paris.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Upshot of the Oregon Bach Festival debacle

The immediate upshot of the termination of Matthew Halls as artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival is that the festival's executive director Janelle McCoy is left with a chaotic mess. Now she has to find someone who is will to curate next year's festival and she has to do the fund raising. Imagine trying to rally the OBF board, which has been thoroughly run over by the U of O. This is going to be one tough act of McCoy to deal with.

Today's Birthdays

Horatio William Parker (1863-1919)
Bruno Walter (1876-1962)
Frank Martin (1890-1974)
Henry Brant (1913-2008)
Richard Arnell (1917-2009)
Cannonball Adderley (1928-1975)
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (1933)
Jessye Norman (1945)
Richard Suart (1951)

and

Robert Benchley (1899-1945)
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
Agatha Christie (1890-1976)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

U of O and Halls sign settlement

This morning's Register-Guard story states that Halls has signed a settlement with the U of O for 90k and will not sue the university in regards to his termination from the Oregon Bach Festival.

Thanks again to Mark Mandel for keeping us informed with the latest.

Today's Birthdays

Michael Haydn (1737-1806)
Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
Vittorio Gui (1885-1972)
Alice Tully (1902-1993)
Lehman Engel (1910-1982)
Rolf Liebermann (1910-1999)
Martyn Hill (1944)
Raul Gimenez (1950)

and

Eric Bentley (1916)
Ivan Klíma (1931)
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1934-2002)
Renzo Piano (1937)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1973, the Philadelphia Orchestra gives a concert in Beijing, the first American orchestra to perform in Red China. Eugene Ormandy conducts symphonies by Mozart (No. 35), Brahms (No. 1) and the American composer Roy Harris (No. 3).

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Newspaper editorial asks U of O to come clean with Halls firing

This editorial in the Eugene Register-Guard asks for the University of Oregon to tell the truth about the firing of Matthew Halls from the Oregon Bach Festival. I suspect that the UO administration will not do this and will take its chances with its new curated festival, unloading whatever the "curator" comes up with and then having to sell it like mad to an uncommitted audience.

Update: Today, the U of O has made an official response in the Register-Guard here, but it contains no real explanation of Halls' dismissal.

Today's Birthdays

Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Bill Monroe (1911-1996)
Robert Ward (1917-2013)
Maurice Jarre (1924-2009)
Mel Tormé (1925-1999)
Nicolai Ghiaruv (1929-2004)
Werner Hollweg (1936-2007)
Arleen Auger (1939-1993)
Steve Kilbey (1954)
Andreas Staier (1955)

and

Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941)
J.B. Priestley (1894-1984)
Roald Dahl (1916-1990)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Karl Doppler (1825-1900)
Herbert Lincoln Clarke (1867-1945)
Ernst Pepping (1901-1981)
Gideon Waldrop (1919-2000)
Tatiana Troyanos (1938-1993)
Phillip Ramey (1939)
Barry White (1944-2003)
John Mauceri (1945)
Vladimir Spivakov (1946)
Leslie Cheung (1956-2003)

and

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)
Alfred A. Knopf Sr. (1892-1984)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1910, Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand") received its premiere in Munich, with the composer conducting.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cathartic moment missing in Steve Jobs opera

Edward Parks | Photo credit: Ken Howard
The buzz from a standing-room-only crowd charged-up the atmosphere at Santa Fe Opera with heightened anticipation on the opening night (July 22) of “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” the first-ever opera written by American composer Mason Bates. Blending electronic and acoustic styles, Bates told the story of one of the most iconic figures in modern technology in a way that was engaging and easy to digest but still came up short. Sure the 90-minute, one-act opera succinctly conveyed that Jobs was a prime mover in the technological revolution, especially in regards to the smart phone, but I was not totally convinced that he evolved all that much from a hard-driving jerk to a real person. The opera didn’t have a big cathartic moment, so the emotional impact at the end – when Jobs accepted death – was stunted.

With a libretto written by Pulitzer-prize-winner Mark Campbell, “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” effectively used a series of scenes to jump forwards and backwards in time to relate the life of the brilliant and complex man. The first vignette took channeled back to Jobs’s childhood when his father gave him a tool box to make things. The next scene travelled to the 2007 product launch of the iPhone (called “one device” in the opera in order to avoid trademark litigation) and later scenes took place at Reed College, an apple orchard, the Los Altos Zen Center, Apple offices in Cupertino, Yosemite National Park, and the Stanford University Chapel. Along the way, we learned how Jobs drove himself and others ruthlessly, got married, became ill with cancer, and accepted his mortality, reconciling it all with his Buddhist faith.
Garrett Sorenson and Edward Parks | Photo credit: Ken Howard
Edward Parks portrayed Jobs exceptionally well, singing with vigor that you would expect from a Silicon Valley mogul. The audience – which had a lot of Apple enthusiasts – gave him thunderous applause when he stepped out on stage to promote the “one device” – almost as if he were the real Steve Jobs. Sasha Cooke in the role of Jobs’s wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Wei Wu in the role of Jobs’s spiritual mentor, Kōbun Chino Otogawa, created a steadying, warm, and thoughtful presence that became a counterweight to Jobs’s high-octane drive. Garrett Sorenson added some humor yet packed plenty of gutsy punch as Steve Wozniak, who co-invented the original Apple products with Jobs. Jessica Jones had all too brief a turn as Chrisann Brennan, the girlfriend of Jobs, and Kelly Markgraf had just the right amount of depth in voice and presence as Paul Jobs, the father of Steve Jobs.

Bates took full advantage with this opera to demonstrate his prowess in merging electronic and acoustic sounds. That meant, of course, that the voices would be amplified in order to be heard over the loudest sections. I am not a fan of voices that have been boosted artificially, but I have to admit that Santa Fe Opera did an outstanding job with the mics. Bates, himself, took a position in the orchestra, as master-on-the-fly mixer of the electronica. Michael Christie managed to conduct the musical enterprise outstandingly. The music was tinged with minimalism, especially whenever technology was described, but whenever the story tackled human relationships, Bates found his lyric side, which was refreshing.
Edward Parks and Jessica Jones | Photo credit: Ken Howard
Kevin Newberry’s stage directions worked well to reveal some truth of each character so that the audience didn’t get lost with all of the scene and time changes. It seemed that Newberry was limited by the libretto since there was no dramatic way to convey the evolution part of the story. The scenes, designed by Victoria “Vita” Tzykun were superb – with the best ones that depicted the “one device” launch and situations in the high tech world.
Wei Wu and Edward Parks | Photo credit Ken Howard
Bates and Campbell did fairly well with boiling down the story of a complex and driven man to create the opera, which was not meant to be a documentary, but in doing so, they had to leave out a lot of information about Jobs (such as the paternity lawsuit that he lost over the child that he had with Brennan) that might have helped to generate a bigger emotional lift or descent at the end. As an extra note of interest, after the opera, I talked with some Apple workers and found out that they revered Jobs to this day because he returned to Apple and saved the company. They were disappointed that the opera didn’t mention that. For them, he would always be a hero.
Edward Parks and Sasha Cooke | Photo credit: Ken Howard
In any case, because Santa Fe Opera co-produced “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” with San Francisco Opera and Seattle Opera, it will surely be tweaked and presented again by those opera companies.

Today's Birthdays

William Boyce (1711-1779)
Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832)
Eduard Hanslick (1825-1904)
Vally Weigl (1894-1982)
Harry Somers (1925-1999)
Arvo Pärt (1935)
Catherine Bott (1952)

and

O. Henry (1862-1910)
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
Reed Whittemore (1919-2012)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Niccolò Jommelli (1714-1774)
Tor Aulin (1866-1914)
Mikolajus Ciurlionis (1875-1911)
Judith Nelson (1939-2012)
Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014)
Sir Thomas Allen (1944)
Michael Schønwandt (1953)

and

Hanna Webster Foster (1758-1840)
Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961)
Franz Werfel (1890-1945)
Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)
Mary Oliver (1935)
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Univesity of Oregon gave Halls more money and new contract before firing him

This Eugene Register Guard report states that the U of O gave Matthew Halls a pay raise and a new four-year contract in June before firing him in August. So something went very sour in a hurry.

And now this report from The Telegraph in the UK. If that is true, then the matter should be cleared up and Halls reinstated.  Note that Bob Keefer in the Eugene Weekly had mentioned the same gossipy incident as a possible reason.

A thank you to Mark Mandel for alerting me of these articles (including the earlier ones in the Eugene Weekly).

Today's Birthdays

Joan Cererols (1618-1680)
Edwin Lemare (1865-1934)
Edward Burlingame Hill (1872-1960)
James Blades (1901-1999)
Olly Wilson (1937)
Otis Redding (1941-1967)
Miriam Fried (1946)
David Rosenboom (1947)
Adam Fischer (1949)
Rachel Masters (1958)

and

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
Paul Goodman (1911-1972)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1995 was the premiere of Michael Torke's "Telephone Book" for chamber ensemble (consisting of "The Yellow Pages" from 1985 and two new pieces: "The Blue Pages" and "The White Pages" composed in 1995), at the Milwaukee Art Museum by the Present Music ensemble, Kevin Stalheim conducting.

Friday, September 8, 2017

More views on OBF and the Matthew Halls firing

You can area two of the latest opinion pieces in the Eugene Register Guard here and here.  Both pieces raise serious questions about the future of the Oregon Bach Festival in light of the dismissal of Matthew Halls.

Today's Birthdays

Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703)
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Ninon Vallin (1886-1961)
Lionel Salter (1914-2000)
Christoph von Dohnányi (1929)
Eric Salzman (1933)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016)
Dezső Ránki (1951)
Ilan Volkov (1976)

and

Wilhelm Raabe (1931-1910)
Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)
Grace Metalious (1924-1964)
Ann Beattie (1947)
Michael Schermer (1954)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Today's Birthdays

François Philidor (1726-1794)
Joan Cross (1900-1993)
Sir Harry Secombe (1921-2001)
Arthur Ferrante (1921-2009)
Madeleine Dring (1923-1977)
Leonard Rosenman (1924-2008)
Hugh Aitken (1924-2012)
Sonny Rollins (1930)
Buddy Holly (1936-1959)
Jean-Yves Thibaudet (1961)
Angela Gheorghiu (1965)

and

Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951)
Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)
Joe Klein (1946)
Jennifer Egan (1962)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Anton Diabelli (1781-1858)
Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941)
William Kraft (1923)
Arthur Oldham (1926-2003)
Evgeny Svetlanov (1928-2002)
Joan Tower (1938)
Cynthia Haymon (1958)
Detlev Glanert (1960)
Shih-Hui Chen (1962)

and

Fanny Wright  (1795-1852)
Jane Addams (1860-1935)
Robert Pirsig (1928)
Alice Sebold (1963)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Brenda Rae in her element in Santa Fe’s Lucia di Lammermoor

Brenda Rae | Photo credit Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera
Santa Fe Opera’s production of Donizetti’s “Lucia de Lammermoor” (July 21) received a stellar performance from Brenda Rae in the title role. The Grammy-nominated soprano sang with superb control, relying on coloring and shading of vocal lines, yet always having plenty of power to create astounding dramatic moments. The best was Lucia’s mad scene, eerily enhanced by the wonderfully nuanced playing of the glass harmonica by Friedrich Heinrich Kern, which brought down the house. In addition to Rae, the production featured a very strong cast but seemed pushed a little far afield by the stage directions of Ron Daniels.

Zachary Nelson’s stentorian voice embraced the character of Lucia’s wicked brother Enrico with obsessive determination. His visceral expressiveness was matched equally well by Mario Chang in the role of Lucia’s lover Edgardo. Christian Van Horn’s basso profundo terrifically anchored the countenance of Chaplain Raimondo. Sarah Coit wonderfully conveyed steadfast yet cautionary advice as Lucian’s companion Alisa. Stephen Martin’s Normanno supported Enrico with loyal fervor. Carlos Santelli fulfilled the role of the bridegroom who was murdered by Lucia on their wedding night. Because of the excellent casting, all of the ensemble numbers, including the famous sextet at the ill-fated wedding, were stunning.
Mario Chang and Zachary Nelson| Photo credit Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera
The oddities in this production began in third scene, which was set in Lucia’s bedroom rather than in Enrico’s apartment at Lammermoor Castle. This heightened the idea that Enrico was in charge of Lucia’s body and sexuality and therefore her marriage. But it had a strain of creepiness, especially when Enrico sat on Lucia’s bed as if it were his. Somehow, it seemed a stretch that Lucia would have allowed him to prowl around her chambers with that kind of familiarity. Enrico’s obsessiveness boiled over at the end when he kills Edgardo. So Edgardo does not kill himself as the story states.

Also under Daniels’ direction, the chorus seemed completely disengaged when the blood-stained Lucia appeared in front of them. No one showed any sign of shock or surprise even briefly. It was as if they expected her to join them in a merry glass of brandy.

The scenic design of Riccardo Hernandez featured high walls on three sides of the stage, which conveyed the imposing yet prison-like confinement of the castes. But projections designed by Peter Nigrini that should have presented the outdoor scenes were not effective. Lighting designed by Christopher Akerlind deftly evoked a fountain of blood when Lucia related her dream of a murdered young woman.

The orchestra, led by Corrando Rovaris, sounded terrific, balancing deftly the voices throughout the evening, The star of the orchestra, though, was Kern, who is a magician with the glass harmonica.

Bottom line, Brenda Rae was in her element as Lucia. She has been making a name for herself in European opera houses and hopefully she will be back in the States soon.

Christian Van Horn and Opera Chorus | Photo credit Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera

Today's Birthdays

Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)
Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)
Amy Beach (1867-1944)
John Cage (1912-1993)
Peter Racine Fricker (1920-1990)
Karita Mattila (1960)
Marc-André Hamelin (1961)
Lars Vogt (1970)

and

Frank Yerby (1916-)
Justin Kaplan (1925-2014)
Ward Just (1935)
Jonathan Kozol (1936)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
Frederic Curzon (1899-1973)
Rudolf Schock (1915-1986)
Irwin Gage (1939)
René Pape (1964)

and

Mary Renault (1905-1983)
Richard Wright (1908-1960)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Adriano Banchieri (1568-1634)
Pietro Locatelli (1695-1764)
Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975)
Francesco Mignon (1897-1986)
Robert Thurston Dart (1921-1971)
Rudolf Kelterborn (1931)
Valerie Coleman (1970)

and

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)
Louis H. Sullivan (1852-1924)
Sally Benson (1897-1972)
Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)
Alison Lurie (1926)
Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)
Malcolm Gladwell (1963)
Kiran Desai (1971)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Santa Fe's "Golden Cockerl" still has a pointed message

Gimadieva and Mix | Photo by Ken Howard
Using a humorous approach and vibrant imagery, Santa Fe Opera’s production of “The Golden Cockerl” (July 19) showed that a fairly obscure opera can pack a punch, especially in regards to today’s political scene. Written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1909 to a libretto by Vladimir Belsky after a tale by Pushkin based on stories by Washington Irving, the “The Golden Cockerl” was not some insignificant fantasy. It was meant by the composer to be protest the Tsar and the direction of Russia following a disastrous war with Japan in 1905. Rimsky-Kosakov, in fact, as the director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory (Russia’s most prestigious musical academy) had protested the arrest of students during the 1905 Revolution and was consequently fired. As the Santa Fe Opera’s program notes (written by Inna Naroditskaya) pointed out, Rimsky-Korsakov wrote “The Golden Cockerl” because he was embittered with the imperial authority and its censors demanded revisions, but he refused any alteration. As a result, the premiere of his opera was banned and it was staged a year after his death (in 1908).

In the Santa Fe production of “The Golden Cockerl,” it was easy to interpret Tsar Dodon as Donald Trump – a self-declared autocratic, narcissistic ruler – who must climb-crawl like a child onto his oversized throne-chair. Baritone Tom Mix wonderfully conveyed the ineptness and bone-headedness of the Tsar. Tsar Dodon was matched by his sons: Prince Guidon (Richard Smagur) and Prince Afron (Jorge Espino) who managed to kill each other in an attempt to defeat the army of The Queen of Shemakha (Venera Gimadieva). And you could read Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. into the roles of Prince Guidon and Prince Afron if you wanted.

Although she started with slightly wayward intonation, Venera Gimadieva’s singing became very secure and enticing – as was her visual presence in the role of The Queen of Shemaka. She was accompanied by ten of the most comely attendants (apprentice singers of Santa Fe Opera) that I have ever seen. Mix’s voice needed a little more Russian heft in the basement department, but Meredith was absolutely golden as the housekeeper Amelfa, singing with a big, busty tone and acting with impeccable comic timing.

Kevin Burdette exhibited a terrific sense of military earnestness and a humorous bravado as General Polkan. Barry Banks created a stunningly effective Astrologer, handling all of the punishing tenor altino passages with élan. After Tsar Dodon dies, his character gets the queen who elegantly wears sunglasses and a modern white pants suite a la Melania Trump.

Kasia Borowiec’s high cries of warning in the role of The Golden Cockerl were spot on, but she had to sing from off stage. That’s because The Golden Cockerl was an image that was projected onto a slightly curved wall on the left side of the stage. The projected design, created by Driscoll Otto, worked pretty well but fell short during the scene when the Cockerl killed Tsar Dodon, because Dodon had to fall against the wall. That limitation marred the outstanding direction of Paul Curran a bit. Gary McCann’s slightly garish costumes – a blend of traditional and modern – and the scenic design worked well for the most part.

The Santa Fe Opera orchestra responded well to the expressive baton of Emmanuel Vilaume. The chorus was well prepared by Susanne Sheston and sounded terrific.

It should be noted that The Golden Cockerl” was co-produced by Santa Fe Opera and The Dallas Opera where Villaume is music director. It will be presented in Dallas in the near future. Perhaps it will still have some political zing. Time will tell.

Today's Birthdays

George Böhm (1661-1733)
Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921)
Laurindo Almeida (1917-1995)
David Blake (1936)
Greg A. Steinke (1942)
John Zorn (1953)
Paul Goodwin (1956)

and

Eugene Field (1850-1895)
Joseph Roth (1894-1939)
Grady Nutt (1934-1982)

Friday, September 1, 2017

Oregon Bach Festival debacle updates

In this article, Bob Keefer of the Eugene Weekly has dug deeper to find out why Matthew Halls was fired as the artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival. It seems that the firing came through someone on the University Oregon side of things and not from the OBF board. In the meantime, in this Eugene Weekly article, Thomas Morris, the artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival, has openly questioned the OBF's new direction to have a festival that is curated by different people each year, stating that you still have to have an artistic director for overall vision.

Bottom line: things look very shaky for the OBF right now.

PS: Those who want to learn more about Halls can read my interview with him here.

Today's Birthdays

Emanuel Schikaneder (1751-1812)
Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921)
Othmar Schoeck (1886-1957)
Conway Twitty (1933-1993)
Seiji Ozawa (1935)
Júlia Várady (1941)
Leonard Slatkin (1944)
Reza Vali (1952)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Amicare Ponchielli (1834-1886)
Alma Mahler (1879-1964)
Ifor James (1931-2004)
Wieland Kuijken (1938)
Itzak Perlman (1945)
Daniel Harding (1975)

and

Maria Montessori (1870-1952)
William Shawn (1907-1992)
William Saroyan (1908-1981)
Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986)

Memorable quote from William Shawn: "Falling short of perfection is a process that just never stops."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Ernesto Cavallini (1807-1874)
George Frederick Root (1820-1895)
Buddy Rich (1917-1987)
Regina Resnik (1922-2013)
David Maslanka (1943-1917)
David Schiff (1945)
Simon Bainbridge (1952)
Dimitris Sgouros (1969)

and

Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)
Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)
R Crumb (1943)
Molly Ivins (1944-2007)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Oregon Bach Festival terminates the contract of artistic director Matthew Halls

The Eugene Weekly and the Register-Guard report that Matthew Halls has has been fired from his position as the artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival. Halls was only in the second year of a four-year contract with the festival; so the news is quite stunning. In a press release, the OBF states that it is switching to a programming that will be guest-curated.  Guest-curators can certainly be less expensive than an artistic director, but they can also be very hit-and-miss with no real vision for the festival and its future. The departure of Halls must surely be a blow to the Berwick Academy, a high-level period-music-institute for young professionals, especially in light of the fact that the Academy will be opening the doors to its new building in October.

Today's Birthdays

Helge Rosvaenge (1897-1972)
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
Charlie Parker (1920-1955)
Norman Platt (1920-2004)
Gilbert Amy (1936)
Anne Collins (1943-2009)
Lucia Valentini Terrani (1946-1998)
Michael Jackson (1958-2009)
Kevin Walczyk (1964)

and

John Locke (1632-1704)
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894)
Karen Hesse (1952)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Umberto Giordano (1867-1948)
Alfred Baldwin Sloane (1872-1925)
Ivor Burney (1890-1937)
Karl Böhm (1894-1981)
Paul Henry Lang (1901-1991)
Richard Tucker (1913-1975)
John Shirley-Quirk (1931-2014)
Imogen Cooper (1949)

and

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
John Betjeman (1906-1984)
Rita Dove (1952)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979)
Eric Coates (1886-1957)
Lester Young (1909-1959)
Barry Conyngham (1944) Ann Murray (1949)
Sian Edwards (1959)

and

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)
Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945)
C. S. Forester (1899-1966)
Ira Levin (1929-2007)
William Least Heat-Moon (1939)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Willem de Fesch (1687-1761)
Luis Delgadillio (1887-1961)
Arthur Loesser (1894-1969)
Humphrey Searle (1915-1981)
Wolfgang Sawallisch (1923-2013)
Nicholas Braithwaite (1939)
Sally Beamish (1956)
Branford Marsalis (1960)

and

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)
Lee de Forest (1873-1961)
Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
Julio Cortázar (1914-1984)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Robert Stolz (1880-1975)
Stefan Wolpe (1902-1972)
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
José Van Dam (1940)
Keith Tippett (1947)
Elvis Costello (1954)

and

Brian Moore (1921-1999)
Charles Wright (1935)
Martin Amis (1949)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Alessandro Marcello (1669-1747)
Théodore Dubois (1837-1924)
Bernhard Heiden (1910-2000)
Niels Viggo Bentzon (1919-2000)
Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)
Carlo Curley (1952)

and

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)
Oscar Hijuelos (1951-2013)
John Green (1977)

and from The Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1456 that the first edition of the Gutenberg Bible was bound and completed in Mainz, Germany. The Gutenberg Bible was the first complete book printed with movable type. The press produced 180 copies of the Bible. Books had been printed on presses before, in China and Korea, with wood and bronze type; but Gutenberg used metal type, and made a press that could print many versions of the same text quickly. His contributions to printing were huge: he created an oil-based printing ink, he figured out how to cast individual pieces of type in metal so that they could be reused, and he designed a functioning printing press. But others before him had come up with similar ideas. Probably the most important thing that Gutenberg did was to develop the entire process of printing — he streamlined a system for assembling the type into a full book and then folding the pages into folios, which were then bound into an entire volume — and to do it all quickly. The techniques that Gutenberg refined were used for hundreds of years, and the publication of the Gutenberg Bible marked a turning point in the availability of knowledge to regular people.

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1968, Czech conductor and composer Rafael Kubelik launches an appeal to world musicians to boycott performances in the five nations which invaded Czechoslovakia on August 20-21 until their military forces evacuate the country. The appeal was joined by Igor Stravinsky, Arthur Rubinstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Otto Klemperer, Bernard Haitink, Claudio Arrau, and others.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925)
Ernst Krenek (1900-1991)
William Primrose (1903-1982)
Constant Lambert (1905-1951)
Carl Dolmetsch (1911-1977)
Mark Russell (1932)
Brad Mehldau (1970)

and

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1934, the Berkshire Symphonic Festival in was founded in Stockbridge, Mass., by American composer and conductor Henry Hadley, with the participation of the New York Philharmonic. The Festival later became associated with the Boston Symphony under Serge Koussevitzky.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Josef Strauss (1827-1870)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
John Lee Hooker (1917-2001)
Ivry Gitlis (1922)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007)
Tori Amos (1963)

and

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)
Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)
Annie Proulx (1935)

Monday, August 21, 2017

List of reccommended concerts in The Oregonian

My article on recommended concerts for the fall is can be read on Oregonlive here. It will be in the printed edition this weekend.

Review in Opera magazine

My review of Monteverdi's madrigals as produced by Portland Opera in "Songs of Love and War" from February appeared in the August edition of Opera magazine (page 1043).

Today's Birthdays

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)
Count (William) Basie (1904-1984)
Tommy Reilly (1919-2000)
Willhelm Killmayer (1927)
Gregg Smith (1931-2016)
Dame Janet Baker (1933)

and

X. J. Kennedy (1929)
Robert Stone (1937-2015)
Ellen Hinsey (1960)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Jacopo Peri (1561-1633)
Mario Bernardi (1930-2013)
Dame Anne Evans (1941)
Maxim Vengerov (1974)

and

Eliel Saarinen (1873-1950)
Paul Tillich (1886-1965)
H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
Eero Saarinen (1910-1961)
Jacqueline Susann(1918-1974)
Heather McHugh (1948)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Today's Birthdays

William Henry Fry (1881-1864)
Georges Enescu (1881-1955)
Allan Monk (1942)
Gerard Schwarz (1947)
Rebecca Evans (1963)

and

Samuel Richardson (1689-1761)
Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
Frank McCourt (1930-2009)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Antonio Salieri (1750-1825)
Benjamin Godard (1849-1895)
Basil Cameron (1884-1975)
Ernest MacMillan (1893-1973)
Dame Moura Lympany (1916-2005)
Goff Richards (1944)
Tan Dun (1957)

and

Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809)
Margaret Murie (1902 -2003)
Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922-2008)

and from The Writer's Almanac:

Today is the birthday of Italian-born Viennese composer Antonio Salieri, born in Legnago, in the Republic of Venice (1750). Although he was quite popular in the 18th century, he probably wouldn't be well known today were it not for the movie Amadeus (1984). The movie was based on Peter Shaffer's play by the same name (1979), which was in turn based on a short play by Aleksandr Pushkin, which was called Mozart and Salieri (1830). These stories all present Salieri as a mediocre and uninspired composer who was jealous of Mozart's musical genius; Salieri tried to discredit Mozart at every turn, and some versions of the story even accuse him of poisoning his rival.

But Salieri was a talented and successful composer, writing the scores for several popular operas. He had a happy home life with his wife and eight children. And because he had received free voice and composition lessons from a generous mentor as a young man, he also gave most of his students the benefit of free instruction. Some of his pupils included Beethoven, Franz Liszt, and Franz Schubert. He was the Kapellmeister — the person in charge of music — for the Austrian emperor for 36 years. He and Mozart were competitors, but their rivalry was usually a friendly one; Salieri visited Mozart when he was dying, and was one of the few people to attend his funeral.

After the turn of the 19th century, Salieri's music began to fall out of fashion. "I realized that musical taste was gradually changing in a manner completely contrary to that of my own times," he wrote. "Eccentricity and confusion of genres replaced reasoned and masterful simplicity." He stopped composing operas and began to produce more and more religious pieces. He suffered from dementia late in his life and died in 1825. He had composed his own requiem 20 years earlier, and it was performed for the first time at his funeral.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival - this weekend

From the press release - note that the concert on Sunday is already sold out -

Portland, Ore. – July 5th, 2017 – After its sold out inaugural 2016 season, the Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival is pleased to announce its second season in August of 2017. This year, the festival features world-renowned composer, Gabriela Lena Frank, as composer-in-residence, and will highlight several of Frank’s works alongside masterpieces by Beethoven, Corelli, Mozart, Dvorak, Brahms and acclaimed Oregon composer Kenji Bunch.

By bringing world class chamber music into one-of-a-kind, intimate winery spaces, the Festival is bringing together extraordinary wine and music, creating a unique concert experience that enhances the beauty and craft of both. In 2017, the Festival is again partnering with J. Christopher Wines and Elk Cove Vineyards to present performances and wine pairings that celebrate the creativity and beauty of each.

Performance Details
• Friday, August 18th at 8pm at J. Christopher – we’ll feature music of Corelli, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Dvorak
• Saturday, August 19th at 4pm at J. Christopher – we’ll include music of Mozart, Frank, and Beethoven followed by an added bonus of food, wine and an evening jazz performance in the winery’s newly completed tasting room and beautiful terrace featuring J. Christopher owner and wine maker Jay Somers on guitar with his jazz trio.
• Then, on Sunday August 20th at 2pm, we’ll be nestled back into the gorgeous hillside vistas of Elk Cove to bring you vibrant works by Gabriela Frank and Kenji Bunch, and Brahms’ gorgeous G Major string sextet.

Programming Inspiration
This year’s programming explores the connections between time and place, evoking the many
ways winemakers draw on vintage and terroir to shape fine wines. From the Italian Baroque of Corelli to the romanticism of Dvorak’s “American” Quartet and the Peruvian-spiced innovations of Gabriela Lena Frank, listeners (with glass in hand) will be taken on a moving journey of sight, sound and taste.

Performances will showcase internationally acclaimed musicians, including violinists Sasha Callahan, Greg Ewer and Megumi Stohs Lewis; violist Kenji Bunch; and cellist Leo Eguchi. Tickets and more details are available now at www.wvchambermusic.org. $40 general admission and $20 for members of each hosting winery’s wine club. Tickets for each concert include a three-wine tasting paired with each program.

“Oregon is a special place, one that sparks incredible creativity and craft in countless places and forms,” said Sasha Callahan, violinist and festival co-founder. “In no place is that more evident than in the Willamette Valley, one of the most fertile and beautiful parts of Oregon. Our vision is to complement and add to the incredible wine and food that’s grown here with a series of concerts that allow people to experience wine and music in informal, intimate settings.”

“Music, like wine, comes to life in unique ways when enjoyed live, in the company of others,” said Leo Eguchi, cellist and festival co-founder. “Yet it’s not often that audiences are given an opportunity to savor them together. That special sense of community inspired this festival and we’re excited to bring world-class music and performances to Oregon wine country again this summer.”

Today's Birthdays

Henri Tomasi (1901-1971)
Abram Chasins (1903-1987)
George Melly (1926-2007)
T.J. (Thomas Jefferson) Anderson (1928)
Edward Cowie (1943)
Jean-Bernard Pommier (1944)
Heiner Goebbels (1952)
Artur Pizarro (1968)

and

Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878-1957)
Mae West (1893-1980)
Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
V. S. Naipaul (1932)
Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
Jonathan Franzen (1959)


and from the Writer's Almanac:

On this date in 1982, the first compact discs for commercial release were manufactured in Germany. CDs were originally designed to store and play back sound recordings, but later were modified to store data. The first test disc, which was pressed near Hannover, Germany, contained a recording of Richard Strauss's An Alpine Symphony, played by the Berlin Philharmonic. The first CD commercially produced at the new factory and sold on this date was ABBA's 1981 album The Visitors; the first new album to be released on CD was Billy Joel's 52nd Street, which hit the stores in Japan — alongside the new Sony CD player — on October 1. The event is known as the "Big Bang of digital audio."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Heinrich Marschner (1795-1861)
Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937)
Jacinto Guerrero (1895-1951)
Ralph Downes (1904-1993)
Bill Evans (1929-1980)
Sarah Brightman (1959)
Franz Welser-Möst (1960)

and

Catharine Trotter Cockburn (1679-1749)
William Maxwell (1908-2000)
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
Albert Spalding (1888-1953)
Jaques Ibert (1890-1952)
Leon Theremin (1896-1993)
Lukas Foss (1922-2009)
Aldo Ciccolini (1925-2015)
Oscar Peterson (1925-2007)
Rita Hunter (1933-2001)
Anne Marie Owens (1955)
James O'Donnell (1961)

The Woodstock music festival began on this day in 1969.

and

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859)
Edna Ferber (1885-1968)
T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935)
Julia Child (1912-2004)
Benedict Kiely (1919-2007)
Denise Chávez (1948)
Stieg Larsson (1954)

and from the Composers Datebook:

Today Johannes Nepomuk Maelzel (1772-1848), German inventor credited with the creation of the metronome, was born in Regensburg. For a time he was the friend of Beethoven and collaborated with him on various projects.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)
Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988)
Pierre Schaeffer (1910-1955)
Jan Koetsier (1911-2006)
Ferruccio Tagliavini (1913-1995)
Georges Prêtre (1924)
Yuri Kholopov (1932-2003)
Cecilia Gasdia (1960)
Beta Moon (1969)

and

Ernest Thayer (1863-1940)
John Galsworthy (1867-1933)
Russell Baker (1925)
Danielle Steel (1947)
Gary Larson (1950)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Sir George Grove (1820-1900)
John Ireland (1879-1962)
Luis Mariano (1914-1970)
George Shearing (1919-2011)
Louis Frémaux (1921)
Don Ho (1930-2007)
Sheila Armstrong (1942)
Kathleen Battle (1948)
Gregory Vajda (1973)

and

Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)
Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-1690)
Heinrich Biber (1644-1704)
Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1929)
Porter Wagoner (1927-2007)
Buck Owens (1929-2006)
Huguette Tourangeau (1940)
David Munrow (1942-1976)
Pat Metheny (1954)
Stuart MacRae (1976)

and

Robert Southey (1773-1843)
Edith Hamilton (1867–1963)
Cecil B. DeMille (1881–1959)
Donald Justice (1925-2004)
William Goldman (1931)
Anthony Swofford (1970)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Today's Birthdays

J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954)
Ginette Neveu (1919-1949)
Raymond Leppard (1927)
Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008)
Tamás Vásáry (1933)

and

Louise Brogan (1897-1970)
Alex Haley (1921-1992)
Andre Dubus (1936-1999)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936)
Douglas Moore (1893-1969)
Leo Fender (1909-1991)
Marie-Claire Alain (1926-2013)
Edwin Carr (1926-2003)
John Aldis (1929-2010)
Alexander Goehr (1932)
Giya Kancheli (1935)
Bobby Hatfield (1940-2003)
Dmitri Alexeev (1947)
Eliot Fisk (1958)

and

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
Joyce Sutphen (1949)
Mark Doty (1953)
Suzanne Collins (1962)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947)
Solomon Cutner (1902-1988)

and

Izaak Walton (1593-1683)
John Dryden (1631-1700)
P. L. Travers (1899-1966)
Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944)
Adolf Busch (1891-1952)
André Jolivet (1905-1974)
Benny Carter (1907-2003)
Josef Suk (1929-2011)
Jacques Hétu (1938-2010)

and

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953)
Valerie Sayers (1952)
Elizabeth Tallent (1954)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Today's' Birthdays

Henry Litolff (1818-1891)
Sir Granville Bantock (1868-1946)
Karel Husa (1921)
Felice Bryant (1925-2003)
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1936-1977)
Garrison Keillor (1942)
Ian Hobson (1952)
Christian Altenburger (1957)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677)
Mary Carr Moore (1873-1957)
Karl Ulrich Schnabel (1909-2001)
Udo Reinemann (1942-2013)

and

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Marc Antonio Cesti (1623-1669)
Leonardo Leo (1694-1744)
Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896)
Hans Gál (1890-1987)
Erich Kleiber (1890-1956)
Betsy Jolas (1926)
Stoika Milanova (1945)
Mark O'Connor (1961)

and

Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)
Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)
Wendell Berry (1934)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1978, the citizens of Patowan, Utah, decided to name a local mountain Mr. Messiaen, in honor of the French composer, Olivier Messiaen, who spent a month in Utah in 1973 an composed a symphonic work, "Des canyons aux etoiles" (From the canyons to the stars), which glorified the natural beauty of the region

Friday, August 4, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Henry Berger (1844-1929)
Italo Montemezzi (1875-1952)
Albert W. Ketèlbey (1875-1959)
Louie "Satchmo" Armstrong (1901-1971)
William Schuman (1910-1992)
David Raksin (1912-2004)
Arthur Butterworth (1923-2014)
Jess Thomas (1927-1993)
David Bedford (1937-2011)
Simon Preston (1938)
Deborah Voigt (1960)
Olga Neuwirth (1968)

and

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
Raoul Wallenberg (1912-1947?)
Robert Hayden (1913-1980)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1705, in Arnstadt, J.S. Bach and a bassoonist named Johann Heinrich Geyersbach cross paths late a night and an argument ensues. Geyerbach threatens Bach with a stick and Bach draws his sword. Both are hauled up before the city magistrate and reprimanded for their behavior

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Louis Gruenberg (1884-1964)
Antonio Lauro (1917-1986)
Tony Bennett (1926)
James Tyler (1940-2010)
Simon Keenlyside (1959)

and

Juliana Horatia Ewing (1841-1885)
Ernie Pyle (1900-1944)
P. D. James (1920-2014)
Hayden Carruth (1921-2008)
Diane Wakoski (1937)
Marvin Bell (1937)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this date in 1668, German composer Dietrich Buxtehude marries the daughter of Franz Tunder, retiring organist at St. Mary's Church in Lübeck, as a condition to succeed Tunder in his position at St. Mary's. It is thought that both Handel and J.S. Bach were both interested in the position - but not in Tunder's daughter.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Portland Opera posts uneven double bill of works by David Lang

Photo by Cory Weaver
Portland Opera’s presentation of two works by David Lang was an uneven affair on opening night (July 28) at the Newmark Theatre. While Jerry Mouawad’s direction of “The Little Match Girl Passion” was convincing and enhanced the music and communicated the story brilliantly, his staging of “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field” ran into a rut that didn’t elevate Lang’s repetitious score. Both productions benefited from high-caliber singing that would have been more effective if it weren’t for the very dry acoustic of the hall.

Based on a short story by Hans Christian Andersen, “The Little Match Girl Passion” tells how a girl, dies on the street during a cold New Year’s Eve after not being able to sell matches to support her family. Before dying she wonderful visions of her grandmother, warmth, plenty to eat, and a Christmas tree. Interspersed with the story line is reflective text that functions as commentary in much the same way that the chorales in Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion.”

Mouawad’s vision realized the story with the Little Match Girl (Max Young) as the center of attention with four spirits or angels (Lisa Williamson, Hannah Penn, Martin Bakari, and Christian Zaremba) nearby and four more (Cree Carrico, Nicole Mitchell, Ernest Jackson Jr., and Damien Geter) with two stationed on either side at the front of the stage where they periodically played percussion instruments. To play the townspeople and family members, Mouawad effectively used an ensemble of “movers” who pantomimed from the sides and whose shadows were projected on a very large sheet.

Designed by Shana Targosz, the costuming featured women singers in opulent robes and tiaras that reminded me a little of the Statue of Liberty. The male singers looked more medieval in their robes, probably because of the hoods. The singers evoked the mystical in contrast to the movers who wore traditional Nineteenth Century garb.

The singing was lusher and more radiant than I had expected – given the sparseness of the Lang’s score and the dryness of the hall. Conductor Hal France cued everything with grace, and the glorious ringing of the glockenspiel enhanced the image of the Little Match Girl joining her grandmother in a better place.
Photo by Cory Weave
Inspired by Ambrose Bierce’s one-page story set in the Antebellum South, “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field” offered a curious mixture of sung and spoken text to the accompaniment of a string quartet consisting of players from the Portland Opera Orchestra. The story concerns the disappearance of Mr. Williamson (Michael Streeter) while crossing a field in plain view of his family, neighbors, and slaves.

The libretto by Mac Wellman expanded upon the situation to relate how the witnesses understood (or not) what they saw. Mrs. Williamson (Hannah Penn) gradually lost her mind. Her daughter – the Williamson Girl (Cree Carrico) seemed to go even further by repeatedly asking about the mystery of the place where they live (Selma, Alabama). The Magistrate (Todd Van Voris) dismissed the testimony of Armour Wren (Allen Nause) and endured the demonstrative statements of overseer Andrew (Christian Zaremba). Boy Sam (Martin Bakari) became overwrought by the incident, but Virginia Creeper (Lisa Williamson), Old Woman (Nicole Mitchell), and the other slaves (Laila Murphy, Ernest Jackson Jr, and Damien Geter) felt that Mr. Williamson just entered another dimension (“It goes into a dark hole into the bottom of the sea”).

Wrapped up in the story were references to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and John C. Calhoun’s guidelines for how to brutally control slaves. There were repetitive lines about building a nation and an erasure (perhaps of slavery though that was not exactly stated). The Williamson Girl seemed to want to erase everything when she repeated denounced all of the “crap” that people said.

The singers made a strong case for each of their arias, but their words didn’t gain profundity each time they were repeated. The repetitive musical lines from the string quartet, which played very well, were not all that compelling either. Mouawad’s directions had the performers walking slowly around and back and forth across a sparse stage that consisted of a raised platform and chairs. The whole enterprise seemed to sink under its own weight despite the most energetic gestures of conductor Hal France.
Photo by Cory Weave
It should be noted that Penn used her considerable acting talent and rich mezzo to give her role as much depth as was possible. Bakari had several fine moments as well. Unfortunately, the acclaimed versatility of Carrico’s voice was stunted by the incredibly dry acoustic of the theater.

Bottom line: both pieces exposed the thin veneer of civilization, but “The Little Match Girl Passion” was much more effective in doing so than “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.”

Today's Birthdays

Arthur Bliss (1891-1975)
Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963)
Marvin David Levy (1932-2015)
Anthony Payne (1936)
Gundula Janowitz (1937)
Richard Einhorn (1952)
Angel Lam (1978)

and

Irving Babbitt (1865-1933)
James Baldwin (1924-1987)
Isabel Allende (1942)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)
Hans Rott (1858-1884)
Morris Stoloff (1898-1980)
William Steinberg (1899-1978)
Jerome Moross (1913-1983)
Lionel Bart (1930-1999)
Ramblin' Jack Elliott (1931)
Jordi Savall (1941)
André Gagnon (1942)
Jerry Garcia (1942-1995)

and

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889)
Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Ernst Jandl (1925-2000)
Madison Smartt Bell (1957)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739)
Robert Planquette (1848-1903)
Norman Del Mar (1919-1994)
Steuart Bedford (1939)
Reinhard Goebel (1952)
Randall Davidson (1953)

and

Mary Harris Jones, or "Mother Jones" (1837-1930)
Primo Levi (1919-1987)
Kim Addonizio (1954)
J. K. Rowling (1965)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Gerald Moore (1899-1987)
Meredith Davies (1922-2005)
Moshe Atzmon (1931)
Buddy Guy (1936)
Paul Anka (1941)
Teresa Cahill (1944)
Alexina Louie (1949)
Christopher Warren-Green (1955)

and

Emily Brontë (1818-1848)
Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929)
Henry Moore (1898-1986)
William Gass (1924)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Sigmund Romberg (1887-1951)
Frank Loesser (1910-1969)
Charles Farncombe (1919-2006)
Avet Terterian (1929-1994)
Mikis Theodorakis (1925)
Peter Schreier (1935)
Bernd Weikl (1942)
Olga Borodina (1963)

and

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
Don Marquis (1878-1937)
Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006)
Paul Taylor (1930)
T.J. Stiles (1964)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Today's Birthdays

Rued Langgaard (1893-)
Rudy Vallée (1901-1986)
Kenneth Alwyn (1925)
Riccardo Muti (1941)

and

Ludwig A Feuerbach (1804-1872)
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Beatrix Potter (1866-1843)
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957)
John Ashbery (1927)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Oregon Symphony reports its most successful finanacial season ever

From the press release:

(PORTLAND, OR) – President Scott Showalter announced today the results of the 2016/17 Season, his third as Oregon Symphony President. Titled “Like Never Before” for its groundbreaking SoundSights series, the season set all-time records in virtually every category, including number of concerts, audience attendance, subscription revenue, single ticket sales, the number of sold-out concerts, percentage of first-time ticket buyers, the amount raised at the annual Gala, total number of donors, total number of new donors, and the amount of overall contributions. These high-water marks resulted in the Symphony’s eighth consecutive balanced budget.

These numbers were propelled by a season that saw a 20% increase in the number of classical performances, three trailblazing SoundSights concerts (Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle with glass sets by Dale Chihuly; Messaien’s Turangalîla with animation by Rose Bond; and Stravinsky’s Persephone with puppetry and staging by Michael Curry), and the broadest-ever range of Special Concerts, from Boyz II Men and DeVotchKa to Renée Fleming and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The season additionally reached 1.3 million radio broadcast listeners via All Classical Portland as well as American Public Media’s SymphonyCast and Performance Today, and included two commissioned world premieres.

Artistic highlights included:
· The release of Haydn Symphonies, the fourth CD under Music Director Carlos Kalmar on the Pentatone label.
· The second year of percussionist Colin Currie’s three-year appointment as the Oregon Symphony’s Artist-in-Residence.
· Commissioned works – and their world premieres – from Kenji Bunch and Chris Rogerson.
·  A 20% increase in the number of classical performances.
The season drew historic attendance and ticket revenue:
· Total seats sold: 182,242 (up 18% over previous year and 38% over last five seasons).
· Total ticket revenue: $9,228,060 (up 21% over previous year and 59% over last five seasons).
· Total subscription revenue up 4% over previous year and 15% over last five seasons.
· Total single ticket revenue up 29% over 15/16 and 91% over last five years. 
· Classical attendance up 14% over previous year.
· Classical ticket revenue up 13% over previous year and 24% over last five seasons.
· 28 sold-out concerts, 30% of the season’s concerts.
· 26% of all tickets sold were to first-time buyers, a 12% increase over the previous year.

It also saw multiple records for contributed revenue:
  
· Highest-ever contributed revenue of $8,504,799.
· The annual gala broke the “glass ceiling” of $1 million, a 15% increase over last year’s record.
· More than $2 million in contributions from the Oregon Symphony Association and Foundation Boards.
· Support from more than 38 foundations and 30 corporations, including the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Brookby Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, Collins Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Umpqua Bank, FamilyCare Health, Globe Foundation, Jay and Diane Zidell Charitable Foundation, Irwin & Renee Holzman Foundation, Richard & Janet Geary Foundation, and Wells Fargo Foundation.

The Oregon Symphony expanded its education and community engagement efforts, increasing the number of programs staged throughout the year by 4% and reaching 19% more people throughout the community:

·         The annual free Waterfront Concert drew 15,000 attendees, and featured more than a dozen performing ensembles, including BRAVO Youth Orchestras, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Portland Youth Philharmonic, and Portland Taiko. The Oregon Symphony’s performance reached additional listeners worldwide via broadcast by All Classical Portland.
·         An expanded musicNOW program – which sees Symphony musicians and therapists from Earthtones Music Therapy team up to bring music-making and movement to those living with age-related cognitive loss – engaged 240 residents, family members, and caregivers at two senior residences.
·         Artist-in-Residence Colin Currie reached 1,400 community members through nine free events, which included master classes with Metropolitan Youth Symphony and Portland Youth Philharmonic, and concerts at St. Mary’s Home for Boys, Newberg’s Chehalem Cultural Center, and Nordia House. The performance at Nordia House, featuring Symphony percussionists, highlighted innovative wearable technology developed by Intel.
·         As part of the SoundSights series, explorative discussion panels with artists and arts leaders reached an in-person audience of more than 500, with 7,200 additional viewers participating via Facebook Live.
·         14 Symphony Storytimes, 36 Kinderkonzerts, and 6 Young People’s Concerts reached a combined 18,200 K-8 students and family members.
·         The annual Gala included a free community concert for an audience of 2,500.
·         The Oregon Symphony’s brass ensemble returned to Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, where the CCCF choir joined them in a holiday performance for 235 inmates and staff.
·         Soloists Wynton Marsalis, Alban Gerhardt, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Harriet Krijgh coached three area youth orchestras, as did Music Director Carlos Kalmar and Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik.
·         An expanded Link Up program saw 5,400 elementary students – double the participation over last season – making music alongside the Oregon Symphony, using curriculum provided by Carnegie Hall.

Additionally, 22,000 of the K-12 students reached throughout the season – about 60% of the total – participated for free, based on enrollment in the federal free and reduced lunch program. The Symphony also provided free bus transportation to the concert hall for Title I schools. 

Today's Birthdays

Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829)
Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Ernő Dohnanyi (1877-1960)
Harl McDonald (1899-1955)
Igor Markevitch (1912-1983)
Mario del Monaco (1915-1982)
Leonard Rose (1918-1984)
Carol Vaness (1952)

and

Joseph Mitchell (1908-1996)
Elizabeth Hardwick (1916-2007)
Bharati Mukherjee (1940)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1966, Alfred Hitchcock's thriller "Torn Curtain" opens in New York — without the film score that Bernard Herrmann had composed for it. The famous director fired Herrmann during the score's first recording sessions when Hitchcock discovered Herrmann had composed a "symphonic" score and not the "pop" score that Hitchcock had specifically requested.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Today's Birthdays

John Field (1782-1837)
Franz Xaver Mozart (1791-1844)
Francesco Cilea (1866-1950)
Serge Koussevitsky (1874-1951)
Ernest Schelling (1876-1939)
Georges Favre (1905-1993)
Tadeusz Baird (1928-1981)
Alexis Weissenberg (1929-2012)
Anthony Gilbert (1934)
Roger Smalley (1943-2015)
Mick Jagger (1943)
Kevin Volans (1949)
Angela Hewitt (1958)

and

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Carl Jung (1875-1961)
Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
Jean Shepherd (1921-1999)
Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

CMNW presents Mozart and a surprising Surprise by Haydn

Tuesday July 18th saw the Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival present performances by the Brentano and Calidore String Quartets, and guest musicians as well. The concert at the performance space in Portland State's Lincoln Hall consisted of works by Mozart and Haydn.

Mozart's Quartet for Flute and Strings in C Major, K 285b, opened the first half. Tara Helen O'Connor was the flutist, playing together with Mark Steinberg, violin, Misha Amory, viola, and Nina Lee, cello, all members of the Brentano Quartet. O'Connor played in a classic, dulcet Mozartian timbre, varying her sound and bringing out a husky aspiration in the lower register.  Crisp and spritely, O'Connor navigated her way through tricky sections with amazingly agile octave jumps. As an ensemble the group played with an incredibly light and airy blend, yet always with respect for the integrity of the composition. Lee took front and center in the Andantino with soaring bass lines, and Amory played the marvelous solo lines for the viola with a delicate poco saltando.

The String Quartet No 16 in E-flat Major, K 428 was next, and Serena Canin joined on violin. There were interaction issues on the more sparse, thinner passages; the playing felt almost too polite at times. The phrasing and dynamic shifts were somewhat predictable, and pitchiness kept cropping up as an issue. During the final allegro vivace the group rallied for a powerful, exuberant attack, and the phrasing became more engaging.

The second half saw the Calidore Quartet (Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan violin, Jeremy Berry, viola, and Estelle Choi, cello) joined by O'Connor and Andrea Lam on piano, to present a scaled-down version by Johann Peter Salomon of Haydn's Symphony in G Major, Hob I:94 'Surprise.' 

There was clear and concise execution from the first violin in the Andante, and a mellifluous cantabile.  In the Allegro Molto the violins balanced perfectly during the counterpoint, and throughout O'Connor continued to impress by balancing numerous roles--whether as soloist, accentuator, or stand-in for the entire wind band, she was always in control, keenly aware of the tricky place she occupied however rapidly the roles shifted. 

It was fascinating to hear this chestnut stripped down to such a spare ensemble. The group did not make the mistake of trying to convince the audience that they were a full-sized orchestra for this work--rather the impression they imparted was that just maybe this work was composed for a small chamber ensemble, and a fine and accurate impression it was. 

Today's Birthdays

Alfredo Casella (1883-1947)
Maureen Forrester (1930-2010)

and

Eric Hoffer (1898-1983)
Elias Canetti (1905-1994)

and from The Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1788 that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart entered into his catalog the completion of one of his most beloved works, Symphony Number 40 in G Minor (sometimes called “The Great G Minor Symphony”). It was written in the final years of Mozart’s life, when things were not going well. An infant daughter had died a few weeks earlier, he had moved into a cheaper apartment, and he was begging friends and acquaintances for loans. But in the summer of 1788, he wrote his last three symphonies: Symphony Number 39 in E-Flat, Symphony in G Minor, and the Jupiter symphony. It is not known for sure whether Mozart ever heard any of these symphonies performed

Monday, July 24, 2017

Article in The Oregonian about Portland Opera double bill

The Oregonian printed my article online about the upcoming David Lang one-act works that will be presented by Portland Opera this weekend. The printed version will appear later this week.

Today's Birthdays

Adolphe Charles Adam (1803-1856)
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
Robert Farnon (1917-2005)
Ruggiero Ricci (1918-2012)
Guiseppe de Stefano (1921-2008)
Wilfred Josephs (1927-1997)
Peter Serkin (1947)
Philippe Hurel (1955)

and

Jonathan Newton (1725-1807)
Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)
Frank Wedekind (1864-1918)
Robert Graves (1895-1985)
John D. McDonald (1916-1986)