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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Listening



If there were ever a Bravo TV show called Classical Music CD Hoarders I could easily be the star, only because lately I can't see my phone of the filthy, sticky, coffee ringed desktop for the piles of CD awaiting...what? This must be ADD-a compulsion to listen to all of these, and to keep adding to the pile through trips to a down the hall immense CD library. OK, its part of my job to be "up" on this stuff. It's actually part of my job to blog CD reviews as well, as to at least pretend to know what I'm talking about. In the past few days I've done some rather eclectic listening. It's true, I've had to multi -task, but here's a sample of today's listening:

Handel: FARAMONDO, an opera from 1738 that went unperformed for 260 years. Now its coming to Ohio state, with performances later this month. I'm putting it on the air May 15 and have been asked to do pre- curtain talks for it the OSU production, which will be the American staged premiere. I know Handel and I know some Handel operas, but only today I've made some headway to the first Act of Faramondo. Its a plot to defeat Jerry Springer, as is most baroque opera-with gorgeous music. Thank God-I guess-there's only one recording, and that only one year old-of music by Handel!-so I don't feel compelled to wade through comparisons.

Tchaikovsky: Symphony 4, Philadelphia Orchestra, cond. Riccardo Muti. I suggest you not read heavy-in all senses- biographies of Tchaikovsky on the StairMaster. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I have a Doctorate in Music and I'm supposed to be right at home with pages and pages (and pages) of musical analysis of ALL of this composer's music. (I skip over those pages, nearly all of them to get to the juicy personal bits, which are actually very depressing, all the while StairMaster-ing away) But the author went on so enthusiastically about the 4th symphony--I'm only up to 1877-that I wanted to hear it again. I'm glad I did.

Joseph Schwantner: AFTERTONES OF INFINITY JS is coming in to do some interviews. He's in town for the local premiere of his new work, Chasing the Light. I like what I've seen of him on youtube, and he sounds like a nice guy over the phone. No recording yet of Chasing the Light, so I went through what we have. Lots of flute. Not very good for me or my nerves, but Aftertone of Infinity makes we want to know more about Schwantner and his music.

Tchaikovsky: LITURGY OF ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM seem above, with the reference to the StairMaster.

Wagner: DIE MEISTERSINGER. God forgive me, I just don't get it. I really try. I listened to Act I because I'm airing the whole opera-over TWO Saturdays, and its being performed in Cincinnati this summer. I'll be going. Why not? It's so seldom given and I need to get with the Wagner message (I love Lohengrin, Parsifal and Tannhauser)

BENITA VALENTE, soprano, Schubert, Handel, Obradors, Brahms, Wolf. Gorgeous. Wonderful. Perfect. Beautiful. Thank God.

STILL ON THE PILE

Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tsar's Bride...I want to get into some Russian opera. Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans, too.

Brahms: Piano concerto 1--CSO performances next week, the last of the season. I'm doing the talks. Gotta bone up. I'm listening to Peter Serkin, who is playing it here.

Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra...see above. REALLY bone up. Have one of the Karajan Berlin Phil recordings (How many did he do? Twelve? Thirteen?) This will be fun to talk up, playing up the Koussevitsky connection..
OH and today I ordered from AMAZON "Carmen" with Anna Moffo and Franco Corelli (I know, I know. Horrified fascination) "Fidelio" with Gwyneth Jones, James King and Karl Bohm -I wore out the LPS I had as a kid-and Joyce Di Donato's Salute to Isabella Colbran. And the new Orhpee et Euridice with Juan Diego Florez is already here...somewhere.

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