Tag Archives: Classical Music

Passport Austria – Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf

Willkommen in Österreich! Welcome to Austria – home of great skiing, Lippizaner Stallions, and a huge variety of music which is so diverse, from yodeling (yes, I like “The Lonely Goatherd,” too!) to Alpine Punk to Death Metal (Belphegor, anyone?) to the Vienna Boys Choir (which sings on Sundays at the Habsburg Palace) to the Vienna Philharmonic.

Throughout its centuries-long history, music has always been a center point of Austria’s culture. Its capital city, Vienna, catapulted to an arts and cultural center beginning in the 1600s thanks to traffic brought on by trade along the Danube and an influx of travelers from near and far. It is in the 1800s however, that Austria had made itself known as the premier city in Europe for the highest caliber of music.

If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere

A couple of centuries earlier and Frank Sinatra would have sung those lyrics about Vienna.

Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Castle – Salzburg, Austria

Perhaps a lesser-known composer (at least to those of us who never actually studied music in school) is Vienna native, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf. I first heard his music a few months ago on my local classical music station, Classical 101. I also have to admit, I had fun just saying his name. (Go ahead and say it out loud. See? Told you!)

Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739-1799)

Hometown: Vienna, Austria

Played: Violin

Known for: Some of everything – concertos, symphonies, operas, chamber music and sacred music.

He was also a silvologist! Don’t worry if you had to look that up – I did, too. That just means that in addition to composing and playing the violin, Carl Ditters was also an environmentalist. He was a student of nature, forests and their ecosystems. Can you imagine a nicer setting for some of his music?

356x237

Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, courtesy Google Images

Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf composed a little bit of everything, but he also did a lot of performing. He spent several occasions playing in a string quartet with one of his composition students, Johann Baptist Wanhal, Franz Josef Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Hayden played 2nd violin, Ditters played 1st, Mozart played the viola and Wanhal the cello. How’s that for an impressive quartet?!

Unfortunately I don’t remember the pieces of his I heard on the radio, but I do remember that I enjoyed them all.

Keep in mind he wrote a little of everything, such as this beautiful Harp concerto, played by Jana Bouskova with the Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Vladislav Czarnecki conducting. It’s great fun to listen to, though I’d love to hear Jude Mollenhauer play it live with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (hint hint!)

How about his String Quartet No. 1 in D-Major. Can’t you just imagine seeing him with Haydn, Mozart and Wanhal? Wow!

Or Symphony No. 4 in F-Major – also known as “Die Rettung der Andromeda durch Perseus” (The Rescuing of Andromeda by Perseus).

He composed some rather wonderful music, don’t you agree? I hope you took a moment to listen to them – especially the harp concerto! My next profile will be later this month when we travel to Monaco!

 

 

 

 

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

My Dad and I had fun at the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra concert this past weekend. Thanks to my Peace Corps friend, Dorothy – who also happens to serve on the Sustaining Board with ProMusica, we were treated to a pair of complimentary tickets to last Saturday’s performance at the Southern Theatre.

Here’s what was on the program.

AUERBACH Eterniday (Homage to W.A .Mozart) for Bass Drum, Celesta, and Strings

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 20

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 1

Under the direction of Maestro David Danzmayr – who is a fun and animated conductor to watch – the program started with an introduction to Ms. Lera Auerbach herself who was both the composer of the first piece and the soloist for the Mozart Piano concerto.

Eterniday

I don’t know of much music that’s been composed by women, so it was cool to hear her music. She seemed quite likable. I’m almost sorry I didn’t like her music at all. Auerbach and Maestro Danzmayr took a few minutes to discuss the first piece with the audience, called Eterniday, which was written as an homage to Mozart.

There was nothing in it – even after the explanation of the piece itself – that made me think of Mozart. It was a bunch of hard, dissonent, glissando-filled music that – according to a friend of mine who was also there on Saturday – just sounded angry. She couldn’t figure out how it was an homage to Mozart either.

That said, the concertmaster, Katherin McLin, was absolutely incredible and did an amazing job with the many solos throughout the piece. The principal double bass, cello and viola did some impressive playing, too, but the violin! Wow! I swear that piece had her playing the absolute full range of the instrument.

One interesting tidbit about this piece is that it was written twice. Auerbach had written it and was traveling when an electrical fire started in her music studio burning down everything from the piano to her newly-written manuscript. I don’t care if you like something or not. That’s just the worst thing that could happen to a composer. Imagine how much music has been lost throughout history because of fires or floods or other such disasters. It’s just heartbreaking.

Speaking of Mozart

The Mozart piece was nice – Piano Concerto #20. The soloist (also the composer of the 1st piece) had a rather heavy touch on the keys – like I do when I play that same piece, though quite honestly, I only play the second movement. The heavy touch is one thing I don’t really like about my own playing! I don’t know – maybe I’m pickier on this piece even knowing that she still played it better than I ever could, but it just didn’t seem like her performance was polished. It was as if playing the piano solo were an afterthought, a side gig to the performing of her own music that was played that same evening.

As for the cadenzas – bleck. I absolutely did not care for them. We were playing Mozart now – she already had a chance to show her 21st century tastes. They don’t belong in 18th century music.

We were in a concert hall, not an SCA event, so they didn’t fit. I did not like them one bit. It’s as if we were listening to this lovely 18th century music and then BAM! We were yanked right out of it for no reason. When I go to a concert to hear a piano concerto by Mozart, I expect to hear a piano concerto by Mozart. I know that traditionally, pianists can create their own cadenzas, but this was billed as Mozart, not Mozart with a twist of Boulez or Lindberg.

She did say that she added that cadenza, which had originally been written for another pianist, to be more introspective and meditative so she could give it a 21st century perspective.

My line of thinking is this: Please save the 21st century perspective for 21st century music.

Maybe I’m a purist – I like original Hershey’s chocolate and I think our National Anthem should be sung as written, but I also love classical era music. So – don’t mess with Mozart!

Which leads me to the Beethoven

This was the absolute best piece of the evening – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1! ProMusica musicians – you outdid yourselves. OMG – WOW!

Obviously his earliest symphony as it’s Symphony No 1, it wasn’t as obviously recognizable as Beethoven. It was kind of Beethoven before he was Beethoven. You could definitely pick out parts here and there that were reminiscent, as it were, of his later works, but this was music of a man perhaps still figuring out his own style and it was just gorgeous.

This symphony was the greatest part of the entire concert and Maestro Danzmayr had to have been having so much fun. He was bouncing around and dancing the whole time – totally getting into it. His enjoyment was infectious. I would love to have seen his face while he conducted! For my part, THIS piece deserved the standing ovation it received from a very enthusiastic audience!

WELL DONE ProMusica! Thank you for an evening of great music!

Classical Music All Day, Every Day

Our local classical music station here in Columbus, Ohio, Classical 101 (WOSA 101.1), is currently holding its spring fund drive to raise money for operations and the programming it provides to the listeners here and all over.

Classical 101 is public radio. It survives only thanks to the financial support of its listeners. Our local symphony survives the same way – 70% of its operations are financed by donations. Classical 101 however, doesn’t have that 30% funded by ticket sales. For some reason, they don’t sell tickets to the public to watch the on-air personalities, or hosts, while they’re actually on air! :-) That means, it’s up to us to keep them in business. It’s up to us to keep the music on our radios.

Sure we can’t buy tickets to see them on the job, (perhaps they like it that way?!) but we here in Columbus still have plenty of opportunities to see them live and in person, though I’ve only seen three of the four so far. These are fun people and they’re super smart. They know so very much about classical music. I learn a ton while listening!

* Jennifer Hambrick – shown below at a Westerville Symphony concert last summer, but who also writes the reviews for the CSO concerts for the Columbus Dispatch

Jennifer Hambrick

Jennifer Hambrick speaking before a Westerville Symphony Orchestra concert.

* Christopher Purdy – who always talks to us at his pre-concert chats before Columbus Symphony Orchestra concerts and who I will see again a week from Saturday for Mozart’s Requiem with the CSO

Christopher Purdy

Christopher Purdy at a pre-concert chat with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

* Boyce Lancaster who talks to us after ProMusica Chamber Orchestra concerts and – who I will see again this Saturday at the Southern Theatre after I see their concert with Beethoven Symphony No 1 and a Mozart Piano Concerto (No 20).

Boyce Lancaster

David Danzmayr – Philippe Quint – Boyce Lancaster after a ProMusica Chamber Orchestra concert

These chats before and after concerts last about a half hour or so – give or take – and all members of the audience who attend are most welcome to ask questions or just sit back and enjoy. Inevitably, humor is added in as well. Heck – even my (then 10-year old) nephew commented that he really enjoyed it and got a lot out of one of Mr. Purdy’s pre-concert chats! It’s always just enough to teach us something about the composer and the music so we all have a better appreciation of what we’re about to hear.

That’s what Classical 101 does for us. They play classical music all day every day – that’s their tag line. The actual live times though are, I think, during the week / during the day – from 6am through the Symphony at 7 with John Rittmeyer. They play an opera every Saturday afternoon, American and guitar music on Saturday nights and replay CSO and Ohio State University concerts on Sunday afternoons. Of course, Sundays always start with Sunday Baroque. Love that! Sunday nights are filled with organ music as well as Musica Sacra – sacred church music written through the centuries. (That’s how I discovered William Byrd several years back – beautiful music!) Heck – they even take requests on Fridays AND guarantee us some Mozart every day during the week at 12 noon for the Amadeus Deli.

You just can’t go wrong with Mozart!

Support them if you can

I’m a sustaining donor in that I’m set up to automatically donate $5 to them every month. See? You don’t have to donate a huge amount. (though I’m sure they won’t turn it down) You’re welcome to call in and donate whatever you want and / or whatever you can afford. It’s entirely up to you and it’s all appreciated! And it all adds up! If every listener were to jump in with $5, they’d probably be set! Every listener doesn’t call in – only a few call in. It’s tough.

I listen to Classical 101 via my iTunes radio listing on my laptop as well as on my phone with their app. You can download it from here.

Classical 101 - iTunes

My iTunes radio playlist – so far!

Remember when the jazz station in town changed its format to 80s music? Which has since changed a bit beyond that as well? Well – that change caused us to lose our only jazz station in town. (That I know of at this stage) Sure you can get a little jazz on Sundays on NPR, but you’re pretty much on your own after that. 103.5 / 104.3 – two stations – do they both have to be the same? Couldn’t one at least be jazz? That’s why you see, in the above picture, that my second station there is a jazz station – out of Toronto. Shouldn’t we have a station here in Columbus?

Don’t let something like that happen to our classical music!

You can support Classical 101 by calling them during the day at 866-485-1011 or by placing a donation online. So many cities don’t have what we have. Please join me in supporting this great music! :-)

 

Passport Switzerland – Heinrich Sutermeister

Welcome to Switzerland – land of great skiing, yodeling, neutrality, chocolate and gorgeous mountains. (I highly recommend taking a train ride through the Alps at sunset. It’s absolutely breathtaking!)

It’s also land to the latest composer in my passport series: Heinrich Sutermeister. He’s a 20th century composer who is probably best known for his operas and choral works.

Sutermeister 2

Heinrich Sutermeister

Heinrich Sutermeister (1910-1995)

Hometown: Feuerthalen (near Zurich) Switzerland

Alma Mater: Staatliche Akademie der Tonkunst (State Academy of Music), Munich, Germany

Known for: Operas, choral pieces

Sutermeister studied in Munich under Carl Orff (Carmina Burana) whose music influenced him throughout his life. Early in his musical career, he had a one-year apprenticeship at the Berne City Theatre. It’s perhaps thanks to his time there that he gained a lot of support by way of several commissions and play time on the Berne Radio.

I love that he even made it onto a Swiss postage stamp!

Sutermeister 1

Heinrich Sutermeister stamp

This is a performance of his Capriccio for unaccompanied Clarinet in A (1947). I especially like the playful section about a minute and a half in. It just sounds fun to me. There are other fun parts, too – particularly around the 4-minute mark. Take a listen and enjoy!

I hope you’ll listen to this lovely choral piece, Schilflieder, sung by the German a cappella group, Quartonal. It’s a relaxing piece that is beautifully sung. I don’t understand a word since my German really stinks, but regardless of how much you do or do not understand, it’s worth listening to the entire 5-1/2 minutes.

Sutermeister originally wrote works for the radio, but later turned to television opera, loosely converting stories such as Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Exit the King by Eugene Ionesco to small scale operas.

He also wrote the libretto and music for a two-act opera Romeo and Julia after Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The video below allows you to listen to some excerpts from that particular opera.

Thanks for reading this! I hope you were able to take some time to listen to Sutermeister’s music and get to know him a little better like I did. Prior to starting this series, I’d never heard of him before, so I’m excited to try something new.

The next composer I’ll be writing about is from Italy: Giovanni Pergolesi.

Watershed Distillery

Last fall, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra put on its first Happy Hour Concert at the Ohio Theatre downtown. Welcoming all with free admission and even free appetizers, the CSO offered up some wonderful, mid-week concerts with the goal of bringing in new concert-goers right after work or who might not otherwise be able to enjoy a concert over the weekend.

Kudos to CSO marketing because these concerts are a fantastic idea for which they deserve nothing but praise. Not only do they present it in a far more informal setting, but they also get to introduce amazing music to a whole new audience. It brings in all kind of people to those dressed up for a fancy night out to people with baggy pants and ball caps. Oh yeah – and everything in between as well!

web_ohio

Watershed Distillery Logo – courtesy http://www.watersheddistillery.com

I heard that they were expecting 3-400 people at the first concert and ended up welcoming nearly 1,200! WOW! I’m sure the second concert had just as many because the best seats filled up quickly! Putting on any concert – especially a free one – isn’t easy. And I’m sure it certainly doesn’t come cheap which is why it’s so important to get the community involved. Fortunately, the CSO is on top of that. And, though more are always welcome, there are people and businesses out there doing exactly that: getting involved.

Enter Watershed Distillery.

Watershed spirits

Watershed spirits – photo courtesy http://www.watersheddistillery.com

Watershed Distillery is a locally owned and operated distillery of world-class spirits right here in Columbus. Located in Grandview (Columbus’ best neighborhood), it was founded in 2010 by owners Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo who liked the concept of locally owned and produced spirits. With that in mind, they put their heads together to make that a reality. Seven years later, they have Watershed Distillery – home to Vodka, Bourbon and two kinds of Gin.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Dave Rigo between tours to talk about Watershed Distillery and its support of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Here’s our conversation.

Dave Rigo in front of Watershed's stills

Dave Rigo in front of Watershed’s stills

How did you end up supporting the Happy Hour Concerts? The CSO contacted us about happy hour concerts. It’s the right thing to do – to support the arts. We have an upscale brand and in our minds, we think that’s a good fit for the CSO.

Why support the Symphony? I personally think that with a 2 & 3-year old, there are so many things – whether its music or painting – that…it just is part of a cultural thing you have to have in order to balance out with everything else in the world. It makes you a better, well-rounded person. There’s so much that is a distraction (e.g. Smart phones) it’s nice to see someone more creative than me, to see what they’re able to produce. We can sit back and relax to forget about the world we live in sometimes.

Did you attend concerts prior to the Happy Hour Concerts? Oh yeah.

Vodka Line

Vodka and Four Peel Gin

What are your thoughts on the success of these concerts? Wow! We’d like to take some of the credit, but we didn’t think we’d have so many people. We obviously love the exposure to a totally different customer base that we sometimes don’t get in front of, so it’s a win-win. In talking to the CSO, they said they’d like to start appealing to a younger demographic. We’re a younger brand and we already appeal to the young professional.

Is this something you’ll continue into next season? Yeah – I think so! We’ve got one more left this year. If they ask us to be a part of it again, we’ll definitely do it.

So who’s your favorite composer? No idea! I like going, but, by no means am I able to answer that question! I could listen to anything – such a wide range of music. Country, rap, rock and everything in between! With young kids, I’ve been listening to a lot of Frozen lately! Rock / Grunge in high school to Country in college because the truck I had for my landscaping job would only get one station and that was country!

Watershed - bottles and barrels

Empty bottles and barrels at Watershed

Take a tour

Prior to the first Happy Hour concert, I’d never heard of Watershed before, despite the fact that I live walking distance from their distillery! That’s OK – I’m pretty much a teetotaler, so that’s not too surprising. That said, I was interested in learning more about them. Fortunately that was made easy because they offer tours! For $10, you can take a tour and learn all about the process as well as sample each of the four spirits they make. Either Greg or Dave will talk about the distilling process, show you around, answer any questions you may have and then treat you to a tasting at the end. While you’re there, pick up a bottle or two. I took my tour before Christmas, so I know they  make great gifts!

The next Happy Hour concert is this Wednesday, March 26 at the Ohio theatre at 6:30 pm. (Bar opens at 5:30 pm!). Look for Greg and Dave while you’re there!

Watershed Distillery products can be found in 700 bars and restaurants all over Ohio as well as in six other states! To learn more about Watershed Distillery and their world-class spirits, please visit their website and like them on Facebook. To read the rest of my interview with Dave as well as a Cliff’s Notes version of distilling (and more pictures!), check out my post Grandview: Watershed Distillery on my blog, Itinerant Knitter.

Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra

Last summer, after learning that my friend, Holly Mulcahy, had been selected to be the Concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, I promised her that I’d do whatever I could to make it down there at least once to hear her play. So I looked to see what was on the schedule.  There were lots of concerts to choose from – Masterworks, concerts at the VW plant (which would be awesome since I drive a Jetta!) and Chamber music concerts.

My favorite music is anything Beethoven and earlier, so I found a great Chamber concert that featured Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. Perfect! Also on the program were a flute trio (my mom would have loved it!), Casterede’s Flutes en Vacances and a Trumpet Concerto by Vivaldi. I wasn’t familiar with the Casterede piece, but with classical and baroque on the same program? I was totally set.

I arrived at the Sheraton Read Ballroom and bought my ticket. Greeting us at the door was Executive Director, Molly Sasse. We’d Emailed a few times before so it was great to meet her in person. It was funny because I introduced myself and after the briefest of hesitations, she smiled really big and said – “oh – you’re the Itinerant Knitter!”  Yep – that’s me! Had to giggle at that!

She immediately told me she wanted to introduce me to someone and walked me into the ballroom where the concert was to be performed. She introduced me to one of the donors, Mr. Franklin McCallie, and told him he needed to take me under his wings because I’d traveled all the way to Chattanooga from Columbus, OH! Thanks, Molly! Mr. McCallie was a super nice guy and a lot of fun to talk to! I had the pleasure of meeting his wife, too – along with a handful of other people – a short while later.

Hall of Mirrors

Now, let me tell you about the setting. Imagine walking into a large, white ballroom with walls covered with huge mirrors reflecting the sparkle of the silver highlights and detailed molding. Located in the center were the chairs set up for the orchestra. Fanning out from each side of the orchestra were seats for the patrons. It was beautiful!

CSO-TN Tuning

Concertmaster, Holly Mulcahy, tuning the orchestra before the performance.

I was excited to finally be able to hear the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra perform! I’m quite happy to say they did not disappoint! Under the direction of Music Director, Kayoko Dan, the CSO-TN played the following were three pieces:

CASTEREDE: Flutes en Vacances
VIVALDI: Concerto for Two Trumpets in C Major
MOZART: Symphony No. 40

I wasn’t already familiar with the Casterede piece, but I enjoyed listening to it. It’s a flute trio played by Principal flautist, Kristen Holritz, Kayoko Dan and Nora Kile. As Kristen told us during her introduction, it was a happy piece. After all – it’s called Flutes on Vacation. You can’t go wrong! In four parts, Pastorales, Joyeuses, Reveuses and Legeres, (Pastoral, Joyous, Dreamy, Light) the piece was a happy, upbeat tune that was beautifully played.

Kayoko Dan

CSO-TN Music Director, Kayoko Dan

The concert actually opened with the Vivaldi Concerto in C major for 2 Trumpets and Strings, RV 537. Sure I chose this weekend’s concert because of the Mozart, but this was clearly my favorite piece of the whole day. Trumpet players Brian Roberts and Principal David Hobbs did a magnificent job with this piece. I just loved it – especially the third movement, the Allegro. Wow! I was taken aback at the clarity in their tone as it was so crisp and clear. I seriously could have listened to this about three more times as encores, it was so amazingly well-played. Well done!

Intermission was fun because I was introduced to a handful of musicians and donors. I was really given the star treatment while I was there!

The 2nd half of the program was dedicated to the Mozart piece: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K 550. One of two minor symphonies that Mozart wrote, (the other’s being his Symphony No. 25 – listen to the opening of Amadeus – you’ll recognize it!) this is probably my favorite of the two, though they’re both terrific.

CSOTN program

Concert program – including my notes! While I had permission to take pictures of the performance, it would have distracted me from the music itself. That’s why we were all there, right? :-)

It was for this piece that I really wish the concert set up were different. I was sitting off to the side of the orchestra and not in front of it, so the sound wasn’t as well-blended as I would have liked, but all things considered though, it sounded great and definitely made me happy! I probably had this goofy grin on my face the whole time, too. It was just so nice to get lost in the music – especially of my favorite composer! That’s why we go to concerts – to kick back, relax and enjoy fabulous music by wonderfully talented musicians.

Fortunately, there was no shortage of talent at this concert. The Mozart piece was just lovely. It started with all the intensity you’d expect from the Molto Allegro and then calmed down for the Andante. Things started ramping up for the Menuetto, but Maestro Dan saved the best part for last. The Allegro Assai was exciting! Remember the goofy grin I had? This movement is why I had it. What a great ending! Sure it’s the last movement – of course it’s the end – but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ok – along with the three additional playings of the Vivaldi Trumpet concerto for my handpicked encore, perhaps they can add in the Allegro Assai movement of the Mozart? Symphonies take requests, right?

Well – whether or not they do, it was a wonderful concert. I’m so glad I chose this one. Hmm…so which concert should I choose for next year’s road trip to Chattanooga? Yo-Yo Ma? OK – that would be incredible. Tribute to Boston Pops? Pirates of Penzance in November? I missed it here in Columbus. Basically Baroque Chamber concert in January? Jennifer Higdon’s violin concerto in March?

So many concerts. So little time.

Post-concert Mexican food

During my trip to Tennessee, I somehow ended up eating at three different Mexican restaurants. I thought Tennessee was known for its barbecued ribs or something. Who knew it had so much delicious Mexican food? Mas Tacos Por favor in Nashville on my way down and Taqueria Jalisco (Great tacos!) with Kayoko on Friday before going to the Aquarium and now Poblanos with more fun musicians! Oh well – last time I went to Mexico, I had Chinese food at a place called Palacio Hunan. Go figure. (It was really good) Anyway, after the concert I hung out with some of the musicians for some relaxing down time. We talked about Josh’s PhD (My offer to proof your paper still stands, Josh! – signed the language/grammar geek from Ohio!), all sorts of music and fundraising.

CSO-TN Musicians

Concertmaster Holly Mulcahy, 1st Violin Josh Holritz, Principal Flute Kristen Holritz, Principal Double Bass Taylor Brown.

What fun people. I’m so glad I had a chance to meet them. It was interesting getting their take on the challenges of fundraising. I wish I could do more to help out (Why yes – I do love the thought of working in the non-profit world. Someday!!) though attending concerts is important – and obviously my favorite part. That said, as I know from reading annual reports here in Columbus, ticket sales account for about 30-40% (TOPS!) of an orchestra’s annual budget. There’s a lot of talent in our cities which is why it’s so important that we support them to ensure their continued existence. The arts, good music, professional orchestras are an integral part of our culture and helping out a great organization like the Chattanooga Symphony takes about 2-3 minutes. Seriously – click here and see for yourself how insanely easy it is.

Anyway, I couldn’t have had a nicer day! I had a wonderful day full of great music and great company. Thank you for your hospitality, Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra! I look forward to seeing and hearing you again!

It’s Holly Mulcahy’s fault, I mean, * thanks to * Holly Mulcahy that I went to the Rite of Spring concert here in Columbus because she was the guest concertmaster for that performance. Yes – because of her, Stravinsky is growing on me. But – in case you missed it here in Columbus – which was really cool because the dancers of Ballet Met Columbus performed to it as well – you should plan a trip to Chattanooga next month. On April 24, the CSO-TN will be performing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Check it out!

Funny Orchestra

A friend posted this on Facebook and I couldn’t resist sharing this with you. It’ll make you smile, I promise you!

This is the Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of Rainer Hersch at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

See? I told you you’d smile! :-)

Music Groups on Facebook

So many people use Facebook and for those of you who don’t, well…I applaud you all! But since most of us do, you should know that there are some fun music groups to be found there. Here are some I like. If you know of others like these, by all means, let me know via a comment below.

I won’t include links on my first two suggestions because they’ll be different for everyone.

Your local or regional Symphony Orchestra. Follow them. Like them. Share their posts, help spread the word that great music is being played.

Your local musicians. Friend them. Like them. Talk to them. These people work hard and are very talented. If I thought people would be interested in hearing about the world of exports, I’d create a page for me, too, but they’re probably not. So in the meantime, let’s stick to the talented musicians who work their butts off to entertain us at concerts!

OK – here are some fun groups you may wish to follow on Facebook.

Classical Musicians - This group shares info about music from all sources, but also a lot of great pictures that are fun to share.

CM Pic 1

The painter wasn’t cited, but maybe you know who it is? Click on it for the original FB link.

Classical Music Jokes – I never get sick of these! I just don’t.

CMJ Pic 1

Nope. Never gets old!

Band Geeks - Hey – I was in marching band through college. Don’t knock it!

So this one time, at band camp…

Just kidding. Not going there. (I really need to watch that movie someday though!)

BG pic 1

I don’t really mean to pick on trombones…

Classical Music Humor - Hee hee! You’ve just gotta love a combination of J.R.R. Tolkien and classical music, right? Right. (Right?)

CMH pic Boromir

I love Tolkien!

I’m sure there are plenty more out there, but these are among my favorites.  Enjoy!

 

Passport Germany – Clara Schumann

Welcome to Germany for my 4th composer profile: Composer and pianist, Clara Schumann.

Gendarmenmarkt 5

Gendarmenmarkt – Berlin, Germany

Germany has provided the world with just tons of amazing composers such as Johann Sebastien Bach, Ludwig von Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Johannes Brahms, among many others. For this profile, I opted for Clara Schumann because I pretty much knew nothing about her. I knew she played the piano and was married to Robert Schumann who wrote a great Concert Piece for Four Horns, among much more wonderful music.

What I learned is that she was an amazingly talented woman who was known for being an incredible solo pianist and composer.

Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann

(née Clara Josephine Wieck; 13 September 1819 – 20 May 1896)

Hometown: Leipzig, Germany

Known primarily for piano pieces

It’s only truly been since WWII that many careers opened up as possibilities for women. And even then, it started because we got a taste for the outside-the-home working world while the men were off fighting the war.

So what about Clara herself? What about a contemporary of Mozart, composer and violinist Maddalena Laura Lombardini Sirmen? Even in today’s world, we don’t hear that much about women composers. Although, the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra will perform Jennifer Higdon‘s Violin Concerto next season, something which has an additional “coolness” factor. It’s music by a female composer being performed by a female concertmaster in an orchestra led by a female conductor.

Traditionally, women were not a part of the musician rosters of orchestras. They’ve not traditionally led orchestras. They’ve not traditionally written the music played by orchestras. Fortunately, this is changing, but for now, hats off to Composer Jennifer Higdon, Concertmaster Holly Mulcahy and Music Director, Maestro Kayoko Dan, for performing this music.

About composing, Clara Schumann said,

Composing gives me great pleasure… there is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound.

Clara Schumann was quite a progressive woman. She juggled it all. She was very well-established as a soloist on the piano, already touring extensively around Europe before she married Robert Schumann. Even after their marriage, she continued touring and teaching – all while giving birth to eight children, of whom she outlived four.

Of his wife, Robert Schumann said this:

Clara has composed a series of small pieces, which show a musical and tender ingenuity such as she has never attained before. But to have children, and a husband who is always living in the realm of imagination, does not go together with composing. She cannot work at it regularly, and I am often disturbed to think how many profound ideas are lost because she cannot work them out.

Last weekend I was the Columbus Symphony Orchestra play Robert Schumann’s 2nd Symphony. At the pre-concert chat, we learned that Clara worked as a second breadwinner in her family, still performing while raising their children. A big reason for that is that Robert Schumann could write some beautiful music for the piano, but he wasn’t that great of a pianist himself. Clara – was a virtuoso so she performed them. She also assisted him in some of his composing, helping him to fine tune some things. Her husband also spent many years in and out of mental institutions including his final two-plus year stay after a suicide attempt before dying at the young age of only 46.

With six other mouths to feed, Clara continued composing, performing and teaching. She did rather well at it – working off her husband’s debts and raising her children well. We learned last weekend that she did so well that she “played herself into a happy grave.”

Listen to this piano concerto. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

In an era where women either stayed at home or else worked in boarding houses, as teachers or as nurses, Clara Schumann definitely stood a world apart from other women creating beautiful music along the way.

Thanks for reading this today! Coming in March will be two composers from Switzerland and Italy: Heinrich Sutermeister (1910-1995) and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736). I hope to see you then!

Passport France – Jean-Féry Rebel

Welcome to the 3rd in my Passport series about composers around the world. I first traveled to France for my senior year in college (I’ll leave out the year!), so my latest composer is a French baroque composer named Jean-Féry Rebel. I first discovered his music last year at a concert with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra titled “In Nature’s Realm” at which Rossini’s William Tell Overture and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony were also being played. Yeah – I bought my ticket for the William Tell, but was pleasantly surprised by the Rebel piece. So much so, that I went back the next day to watch the entire concert again. Yeah – it was that awesome!

Everyone: meet Maestro Rebel!

Versailles Salle

Check out the harpsichord inside the Palace of Versailles

Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747) was considered a prodigy on the violin. He was the son of Jean Rébel, a tenor in the choir of the Louis XIV’s private chapel. He eventually came to study under the Royal Composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully, who had been working as Court Composer for instrumental music under the king.

Jean-Féry Rébel

Jean-Féry Rébel

Considered quite a prestigious ensemble, Jean-Féry earned a spot in the Vingt-quatre Violons du Roy, the 24 Violins of the King, where he played until becoming the Chamber Composer to Louis XIV. Eventually, he wrote a tribute to his teacher called, Le Tombeau de Lully (The Tribute to Lully).

One of Rébel’s most famous works is a piece called Les Elemens, or The Elements. Check out the super funky (i.e. dissonant) chord at the beginning of this piece from the first movement of this work called “Le Cahos,” or the aptly named “Chaos.”

This kind of chord was the first of its kind – something not really heard again until the Romantic era by (I think) Shostakovich because it was so unusual. In my humble opinion, part of the beauty of baroque and classical era music is that it resolves and is symmetrical in sound, but in his day, Rebel was ahead of his time.

Principal bassoonist, Betsy Sturdevant, went into more detail about this piece in her blog before the Columbus Symphony Orchestra performed it last season.

Thanks for reading about Maestro Rebel! Next up will be Clara Schumann, a composer who is certainly not unknown, but her composing is typically overshadowed by that of her husband. I’m looking forward to learning more about her and hope you are as well!  

Running Sunflower

Living life one pair of running shoes at a time.

Tour de Bruyère

I'm Heather, a.k.a. Bruyère, and I'm training to run a marathon. No really. I am! This is my journey.

natatnote's Music Talk

My WordPress blog is a music talk area

The Well-Tempered Ear

Made possible by the Wisconsin Union Theater’s Concert Series.

Rose Colored Photography

Come see the world through my rose colored lens

Save Our Symphony Minnesota

Save Our Symphony; End The Lockout

Odd Pavarotti Blog

Pavarotti! Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing will be off-limit!

Georgia Odette

15 year old classical crossover singer.

where are we now?

classical and contemporary music in the new millenium

What I Reckon

Musings about things that matter (and some that might not)

Mask of the Flower Prince

The nonsensical ravings of a singing archaeologist. Really.

History Of The Ancient World

Look back over the past with its changing empires that rose and fell,and you can foresee the future too -Marcus Aurelius-

this man's journey

my past , present and dreams for the future.

The Arting Artist

The artwork, practices, and resources from Daric Gill Studios

Giocosity

a fun blog about classical music

chamber music blog

on what chamber music is really all about

Song of the Lark

Music, melodies, mutterings

Michael Lorenz

a fun blog about classical music

Adaptistration

Drew McManus on the orchestra business

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 293 other followers

%d bloggers like this: