Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catching Up

Concerts, links, etc.
  • Molly Sheridan, blogger! Read her new ArtsJournal Blog, Mind the Gap.

  • I went to the Alan Gilbert program at SFS a few weeks ago. What do you know - Marc Geelhoed's suggestion, The Great Nielsenist, turned out to be exactly right. The Steven Stucky curtain-raiser, Son et Lumiere, was pleasant but insubstantial. Richard Goode's account of a Mozart piano concerto (no. 17?) was competently uninteresting. The Nielsen, Symphony No. 2, The Four Temperaments, blew everything else away, with Nielsen's characteristic energy and wit. It's good to have gotten a look at Gilbert in more repertory. So far, I've liked him in late 19th c. through 21st c. music, though I have found almost everyone else I've heard in that repertory more interesting an exciting, including MTT, Robertson, Alsop, and Foster.

  • I also saw Dutoit's Don Quixote program. I'll go along with everyone who loved the Strauss, principal cellist Michael Grebanier, and acting principal violist Yun Jie Liu. I have to part company with both Georgia Rowe and Joshua Kosman on the subject of Manuel de Falla's Master Peter's Puppet Show. I loved the acerbic wit and dry orchestration of the piece and think it suffered rather badly in concert presentation. The Symphony didn't project supertitles or, annoyingly, keep the lights up enough for us to read the libretto in the program booklet. I suspect it's quite funny when there's an actual puppet theater on stage. This program also reminded me that I need to read a biography of the notorious Princess de Polignac (nee Winaretta Singer, 20th child of sewing machine zillionaire Isaac Singer, a famous lesbian, etc., etc.).

  • Bernard Labadie conducts an all-Haydn concert this week at San Francisco Symphony, including Symphony 100 ("Military") and two choral masterpieces, the Te Deum and the "Mass in Time of War."

  • I have in hand a press release about the launch of HDtracks.com, described as "the world's first high resolution digital music site offering DRM-free music in multiple formats, as well as cover art and complete liner notes." It's from David and Norman Chesky, who brought you the excellent audiophile label Chesky. Stereophile covers the launch here.

  • Plácido Domingo celebrates the 40th anniversary of his LA Opera debut on May 11 - Mother's Day - with a gala concert. Don't worry - James Conlon conducts. And if you don't hapopen to be in Los Angeles, you can catch the program on the silver screen. Go to Landmark Theaters for details.

  • If you'd rather see a live performance on May 11, try the San Francisco Bach Choir's Venetian Brilliance, a program of music in the round by Gabrieli, Monteverdi, Schuetz, and Willaert. The prgram is being given twice: Saturday, May 10, 8 PM and Sunday, May 11, 4 PM, at Trinity Episcopal Church, Gough & Bush, SF. Prices are $28/$24 ($15 Student) in advance, $35/$30 ($20 Student) at the door.


pjwv said...

Thanks for the links to the de Falla reviews, not that I've had a chance to check them out yet. I missed Kosman's in the paper -- maybe it appeared on a weekend? I'll post about the concert myself, but I agree with you on performance and presentation. I loved the piece but thought the surprising lack of surtitles didn't do it any favors. OK, I plan to re-use this joke in my own entry, but I did wonder if the dim lighting was so we wouldn't notice the very odd dye job on Maestro Dutoit's hair.

Is there a biography of the Princess de Polignac? You may have read this already, but if you haven't and enjoy reading about that milieu, check out Wild Heart about Natalie Barney. All that and Gertrude and Alice as well -- I swear, early 20th century Paris was like the Citadel of Sublimely Fabulous Sapphists.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Kosman's review appeared last Saturday, I believe. You're absolutely right about Paris in the 20s. I haven't read the Natalie Barney bio, but I read an essay about her in some famous lesbians book or another in 1979 or 1980.

There are two bios of the Princess de Polignac. See the Wikipedia article about her. I especially love this: "Winnaretta was married at the age of 22 to Prince Louis de Scey-Montbéliard. The marriage was annulled in 1892 by the Catholic church, five years after a wedding night that reportedly included the bride's climbing atop an armoire and threatening to kill the groom if he came near her." A woman of spirit, obviously.

Empiricus said...


(whispering) Good job on the lack of comments on the next post.


(If it's not what you meant, then your comments have been turned off.)


Lisa Hirsch said...