Saturday, August 27, 2016
At 0935 yesterday the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic were informed that their Proms soloist Truls Mork was sick. At 1529 his replacement Alexey Stadler flew into Heathrow, little-known and 25 years old. At 1640 he was rehearsing on stage. At 1930 he made his Proms debut. No announcement was made to the audience. So how did he do? Ariane Todes was there: …This was an intelligent performance of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, with long lines and beautiful phrasing. If it was under-rehearsed, there was little evidence … Stadler holds his cello quite low, reminiscent of Rostropovich, but as yet he lacks the weight of sound and depth of vibrato of that master. There might have been a little more ugliness and anger in the characters of Shostakovich’s acerbic concerto, but no doubt that will come with age. Indeed, the Bach (the Sarabande from the Suite no.2) suited him better, beautifully conceived, simple and unmannered, but expressive and meaningful. It certainly made me want to hear more from him, and I’m sure we will. Read the full review here. photo: Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht
First Graham Parker quit as general manager of New York’s WQXR to head Universal’s classical labels in the US. Now Steve Robinson has quit Chicago’s outstanding WFMT after 16 years. Here’s the official version: photo: Todd Rosenberg, at Andrew Patner’s memorial CHICAGO – August 8, 2016 – WFMT, Chicago’s classical and fine arts radio station, today announced that Executive Vice President and General Manager STEVE ROBINSON will depart from WFMT, effective October 1, 2016. His last day at the station will be Friday, September 30. “It is with great regret that we bid farewell to an indispensable member of our WFMT family,” said President and CEO Dan Schmidt of WFMT and WTTW. “It is difficult to imagine the station without his unflagging energy, endless creativity, and deep knowledge of classical music and radio operations. He will be greatly missed, and I know I speak for all of us when I wish him success in his future endeavors.” “Working at WFMT and the WFMT Radio Network has been the greatest privilege and challenge of my career,” said Robinson. “When people ask, ‘Oh, you run WFMT?’ I always say, ‘No, I run after it.’ And that’s because everyone at WFMT is immensely creative, knowledgeable, and passionate about their work, and all I’ve really done is try to harness this incredible talent to move the station forward. If it has progressed at all in the 16 years I’ve been there, it’s because of them, and I will always be grateful.” Steve has led WFMT and the WFMT Radio Network since 2000. Under his leadership, WFMT diversified its programming and increased its member base, and the Network became a leading producer and syndicator of music and spoken word programs. In 2002, Steve brought to the WFMT Radio Network a live broadcast of Princess Magogo, the first indigenous South African opera and the first with a libretto in the Zulu language. Steve hosted, and the opera was heard by more than four million listeners throughout the U.S. and Europe. Steve created Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin in 2003, a daily series heard by more than 400,000 listeners a week, and he also instituted a comprehensive subscription website. Other popular WFMT series and programs created during Steve’s tenure include include Impromptu, a daytime showcase for local and visiting artists; Introductions, a unique weekly series that features promising young pre-college musician; and the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, which was launched in 2015 in partnership with Chicago History Museum. Last year, at Steve’s direction, the Network began exporting classical music radio concerts by American ensembles for broadcast in China and importing Chinese music performances for broadcast in the West, marking the first time a cultural exchange of this kind had happened between America and China. In 2007, the Chicago Tribune named Steve a “Chicagoan of the Year” in the arts. His many other honors include two Peter Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism; the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award; two Westbury Awards from the Red Cross of Greater Chicago for coordinating fundraising efforts among the city’s television and radio stations in the wake of the 2004 tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake; an Award of Excellence from the Chicago Sinfonietta; a special award from the Illinois Philharmonic; the first Champion Award from the Merit School of Music; and, with Bill McGlaughlin, Dushkin Award from the Music Institute of Chicago– previous winners have included Sir George Solti, Daniel Barenboim, Placido Domingo, Yo Yo Ma, Midori, Leon Fleischer, Sir Andrew Davis, and Mstislav Rostropovich. Steve currently serves on the boards of Cedille Records, the Merit School of Music, the Chicago College of Performing Arts and the Rush Hour Concerts. His past board service includes the Grant Park Orchestra, Chicago Children’s Choir, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and Music in the Loft. Previously, Steve worked at WBUR, WGBH, WCRB, KPFA, WVPR, WBGO, and Nebraska Public Radio.
Alan Wilkinson, who founded Music in Country Churches in 1989, has died at the age of 86. An English gentleman of the old school, unfailingly courteous and polite, and backed by a formidable knowledge of music and musicians, over 27 years he arranged an annual series of high class concert weekends in some of the finest English rural churches. Names such as Bartoli, te Kanawa, Brendel, Rostropovich, Zukerman, Perahia, Lang Lang, Marriner, Kissin, Pires and von Otter, together with equally fine orchestras and ensembles, were drawn in by Wilkinson’s charm and persistence, and ensured a loyal and knowledgeable audience, raising along the way well in excess of half a million pounds to support the upkeep of English rural churches. The series will continue, but English music has lost a unique and much-loved figure.
(Sony) (2 CDs)This is exactly what it says: selected highlights from 125 years of performance history at New York’s great concert hall, which opened on 5 May 1891. The choice may look like a box of bonbons – it is – but it’s fascinating as a swift if slightly jerky gallop through performance styles and big stars of the past (mainly) half century. The earliest track, from 1943, is the last movement of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1, conducted by Arturo Toscanini with Vladimir Horowitz as soloist. Other big names include Bernstein, Bolet, Van Cliburn, Richter, Menuhin, Fischer-Dieskau, Rostropovich. Sample them and, if the names are new to you, see what the fuss was about. Also available in a deluxe 43-CD box set. Continue reading...
“One of the wildest moments she said she remembers of her tenure was the day in 1981 when she got home, turned on her television and learned that Maxim and Dmitri Shostakovich, the composer’s son and grandson, had defected. Rostropovich was due back in the office the following Tuesday, but on the Monday, “I opened the door to his office,” she recounts, “and Maxim Shostakovich was staring me in the face. There was Dmitri; there was Slava. Slava said, ‘I think you see what we need.’ ”
'The way of cowardice is to embed ourselves in a cocoon, in which we perpetuate our habitual patterns. When we are constantly recreating our basic patterns of habits and thought, we never have to leap into fresh air or onto fresh ground' - Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambala: The Sacred Path of the WarriorThe fresh ground in Warner's super-budget 9 CD Rostropovich box includes Cristóbal Halffter's Cello Concerto No. 2, André Jolivet's Cello Concerto No.2, Norbert Moret's Cello Concerto, Darius Milhaud's Cello Concerto No. 1, Alun Hoddinott's Noctis Equi, Krzysztof Penderecki's Cello Concerto No. 2, Arthur Honegger's Cello Concerto, and works by Renaud Gagneux, Rodion Shchedrin, Marcel Landowski and Alexander Knaifel. No review samples used in this post. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.