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Joseph Silverstein, the old master who prefers our time

"Hilary Hahn or Frank Peter Zimmermann reached a level of virtuosity which is well beyond what preceded them" ResMusica: You have been the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1962 for 22 years, playing with conductors such as Charles Munch, Pierre Monteux, Erich Leinsdorf, Seiji Ozawa... For many music lover, this was a legendary time for the orchestra. Joseph Silverstein: The Boston Symphony Orchestra is phenomenal since I left! Musicians retired ...

Closing concert of the Anders Hillborg festival

One of the highlights of the Stockholm concert season is the annual composer festival organized by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the Stockholm Concert Hall. Each year's festival offers a series of concerts which focus almost exclusively on a single composer, giving audiences a unique opportunity to be fully immersed in the composer's universe. In its nearly 30 years of existence, the festival has featured some of the greatest composers ...
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ICMA Nomination List 2015 Is Available

The ICMA nomination list for 2015 is available. For the 2015 awards the Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) has nominated 248 audio and video productions from 85 labels. The final result with the winners will be published January 20, 2015. The Award Ceremony and Gala concert will take place March 28 in Ankara, Turkey, with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra conducted by Isin Metin
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The Leonard Bernstein Letters, a jubilant and luxuriant book

A work that is at once appealing, captivating, even fascinating andengaging, superabundant, made up of 650 letters, memos and notes, selected, prioritized, with detailed care and foresight, with thoughtful rigor and relevance by Nigel Simeone, drawn from Leonard Bernstein’s enormous body of correspondance (with a second volume to follow!) From the first letter, concise, imperious, sent by a young Lenny to Helen Coates, informing her quite simply, “I’ve decided to study ...
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All-Russian evening with the Helsinki Philharmonic

Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 is firmly established in the core repertoire of just about every cellist on the international circuit, and performances of this work are sufficiently frequent that one might take this masterpiece for granted. Perhaps this is the case, but it is likely that this work does strike at least some fear in the hearts of most cellists. Shostakovich demands near superhuman technical prowess and almost non-stop ...
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The Helsinki Philharmonic Choir celebrates Schnittke

The Russian composer Alfred Schnittke would have turned 80 this year, and several Helsinki-based musicians and ensembles have quietly acknowledged this anniversary. On this evening's concert, the Helsinki Philharmonic Choir performed Schnittke's Three Sacred Hymns and Requiem. The Three Sacred Hymns were apparently written in the course of a single evening after repeated requests from the conductor Valery Polyansky for a choral work. The music is clearly at home in ...
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Andrew Litton conducts all-Russian program with the Tampere Philharmonic

The American conductor Andrew Litton is known in the Nordic orchestral world through his work in Bergen, although he has not been engaged by the major Finnish orchestras, at least in recent years. This evening's program opened with Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila overture, the only light-hearted work on a mostly somber program. Immediately noticeable from the outset was the precision of the Tampere strings, who handled the vigorous opening with both ...
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Strauss’ Olympic Hymn with the Helsinki Philharmonic

Although Richard Strauss' reputation is firmly established in both the concert hall and the opera house, only a handful of the large number of works he wrote for orchestra are regularly performed. While it is debatable that Strauss' lesser-performed orchestral works are inferior to his more popular ones, it is nevertheless worthwhile for his neglected works to be performed at least occasionally. Such was the case with this evening's performance ...
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Aura Go explores four generations of Finnish piano music

Ever since Sibelius, the music of Finnish composers has been a constant presence in orchestral concerts worldwide. Sibelius, Rautavaara, Lindberg, and Salonen are all acknowledged for their mastery of the orchestra, but relatively little attention is given the rich and varied output for piano that these composers also wrote. In this program, the Australian pianist Aura Go continued her series of recitals focusing on the piano music of Rautavaara, while visiting ...
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Excellent, but necessary? Christian Tetzlaff plays Shostakovich’s Violin Concertos

The Finnish record label Ondine seems to be quite interested in Shostakovich right now. Since late 2013, Ondine has released four Shostakovich discs: two featuring vocal-orchestral works, and two featuring the string concertos, including the present release. While the former two discs feature relatively unknown works, the violin and cello concertos are firmly established in the repertoire and have been extensively recorded before. Given the multitude of available options, one ...
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Lindberg sets a new reference for Pettersson’s Symphonies No.4 and 16

Every release of Pettersson music under Christian Lindberg's guidance has set the new reference for each work in question. The Swedish composer Allan Pettersson wrote possibly the most physically, emotionally, and intellectually demanding symphonic music in the entire orchestral canon. While largely considered Sweden's most important symphonic composer, his music continues to struggle for wider recognition. In the early 1990s, the Finnish conductor/composer Leif Segerstam began a very promising symphony cycle ...
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The Radio Filharmonisch Orkest explores Maderna, Castiglioni, and Widmann

The sound worlds of Maderna, Castiglioni and Widmann at the Concertgebouw. The Dutch radio orchestras have had a difficult recent history. In 2010, the Dutch government threatened to completely defund the Radio Filhamonisch Orkest's (RFO) parent organization. While funding has since been partially restored, the RFO's chamber orchestra counterpart, the Radio Kamer Filharmonie, was recently disbanded. Under these demoralizing circumstances it was both impressive and heartening to see that the RFO ...
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Finnish RSO season opening concert

Hannu Lintu has enjoyed a long relationship with the Finnish RSO and this collaboration became a commitment during the 2013-2014 season, when Lintu became Chief Conductor of this ensemble. In this program, Lintu began his second full season in this capacity with a varied program of early 20th and 21st-century works. The program began with Sibelius' Symphony No. 5, a work familiar to Helsinki audiences. The opening chorale under Lintu's direction ...
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Karita Mattila sings Schönberg at the Helsinki Festival

The second program of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra at this year's Helsinki Festival was focused on Vienna: Mahler's final symphony. Guest conductor Susanna Mälkki provided three contrasting views on this theme, with the music of Mahler, Busoni, and Schönberg. Mahler's Symphony No. 10 was left unfinished at the time of the composer's death. The Adagio movement is considered to be the only performable movement written entirely by the composer. Despite ...
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Schloss Elmau, Alpine music

ResMusica: Schloss Elmau is a beautiful place.  Can you tell us a bit about its history? What are the links between Elmau and music? Silke Zimmerman:  Schloss Elmau was built in 1916, to offer a retreat into nature, away from the maddening crowd. It’s interesting to see that even in its first year, there were 100 concerts played in the wonderful hall of the Schloss, with its fabulous acoustics. So it ...
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Sibelius Academy Summer Young Talent Series: Elisa Rusi-Matero, violin

One of reasons why classical music continues to thrive in Finland is due to the steady stream of extraordinarily talented musicians trained at the Sibelius Academy. The Summer Young Talent Series provides these musicians a public forum for their artistry, which is particularly welcome during the relatively quiet Helsinki summer concert season. On this occasion the violinist Elisa Rusi-Matero presented a varied program of mostly 20th and 21st century works. The ...
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Philharmonia Orchestra on Tour in Salzburg

One, two, three women; ten, twenty, thirty… No doubt about it, the orchestra entering on the stage of the Grand Hall of the Salzburg was not the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which is still effectively opposed to any form of equality between men and women in its ranks. The Philharmonia, invited for a brief residence of two concerts in Salzburg, is considered a modern orchestra; where the Viennese seem to sort ...
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Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the Helsinki Festival

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, despite being one of Canada's flagship ensembles, has had a difficult recent history. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the orchestra struggled with financial difficulties, a musician's strike, poor attendance, and a seeming lack of public sympathy to the orchestra's situation. Some even wondered if the orchestra would survive. The fact that the ensemble has risen from the abyss and is now touring some of Europe's ...
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Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts all-Shostakovich at the Helsinki Festival

The Finnish musical world is rightly proud of its many conductors working on the international circuit, but there seems to be an extra layer of excitement and anticipation whenever Esa-Pekka Salonen is performing in Helsinki. In a YouTube video produced by the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Salonen calls Orango and the Symphony No. 4 as the "two sides of Shostakovich." Written within a few years of each other, both works display ...
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Sibelius Academy Summer Young Talent Series : Pinja Laine, cello

2014 marks the 80th birthday year of the great Russian composer Alfred Schnittke. Although Schnittke's first cello sonata and first cello concerto are starting to enter the repertoire, most of Schnittke's output featuring the cello is infrequently performed. The young cellist Pinja Laine has commemorated this major Schnittke year by performing his rarely-heard Sonata No. 2 for Cello and Piano, along with his more popular Suite in the Old Style. ...
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Award winners at the Verbier Festival

The Verbier Festival hosted two laureates of the 2014 International Classical Music Awards-- the conductor, Charles Dutoit, and the violinist, Daniel Hope. Charles Dutoit (Lifetime Achievement Award), conducted the Verbier Festival Orchestra in two concerts. In the first, the orchestra accompanied the legendary Martha Argerich in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. A few days later, maestro Dutoit led a concert performance of the Damnation of Faust by Hector Berlioz. During these ...

Young talent at the Helsinki Chamber Summer

Now in its tenth year, the Kamarikesä Festival (Helsinki Chamber Summer) was founded to serve as a platform for young and talented Finnish musicians to showcase their artistry in a formal concert setting. The first half of the opening program was focused on the cello, featuring the finalists from Finland's national cello competition. Two well-known works for cello ensemble from Villa-Lobos, as well as a more recent work from the Finnish ...
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Chantier Woyzeck Revisited

The title of Aurélien Dumont's opera, Chantier Woyzeck, which premiered at the Théâtre Jean-Vilar in Vitry-sur-Seine, has a triple meaning. First, it describes the setting: a neighborhood under reconstruction, a cité (housing development) being demolished, where the twelve characters, who comprise a community without normality or humanity, live on a piece of wasteland nicknamed “the plateau” because it overlooks the city. Chantier Woyzeck can also describe the state in which George ...
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Martin T:son Engström, the Verbier Festival director in high spirits

"If you want to make a career, you have to find a family who will adopt you." ResMusica: Last year, the Verbier Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary. What does the Festival  mean to you? Martin T:son Engström: After working as an agent in Paris for 12 years, I wanted to create something by myself. In that role, you're in the middle of the game. To earn your 10% commission, you must  keep ...
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Turandot Bangs a Gong in Montréal

The Opéra de Montréal closed its 34th season with Puccini's unfinished opera Turandot. Graeme Murphy’s production of Turandot, which originated in Australia twenty years ago (and which is also available on DVD), remains as attractive as ever. This staging’s undeniably greatest asset is the absence of any dead spots, any moments when the visual elements conflict with the ensemble’s spatial patterns or when their movements appear too studied or obviously choreographed—a powerful staging, galvanized by ...
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The 2014 edition of the ResMusica Summer Festivals Guide

The 2014 edition of the ResMusica Summer Festivals Guide The third edition of the ResMusica Summer Festivals Guide offers a selection of 60 European festivals of classical music and dance . As with  previous editions, this enhanced version uses the successful  downloadable-only  format. This selection of festivals is intentionally European (at a time when would-be soothsaying demagogues and pitchmen once again hope to build walls between people) because, as with all the ...
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Thaïs at Los Angeles with Domingo and Fournillier

Plácido Domingo offers American audiences his first Athanaël, already successfully honed in Europe, and about which there really is nothing to say or write…or very little. At 72, the General Director of the Los Angeles Opera, is still, despite everything, a 10, in the vocal and dramatic “force of nature” category! The breath is slightly shorter, the timbre slightly less colored. The movements have slowed down a bit, but this Athanaël, ...
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Hartmut Haenchen conducts the Helsinki Philharmonic

Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 may be one of the most performed pieces of orchestral music, and the first 2-4 measures of this work could be the most recognized musical excerpt of all of classical music. With a legacy consisting of literally countless recordings and interpretations, how does one approach this well-worn score and still make it sound vital and fresh? Based on this evening's performance, Haenchen's answer to this question appeared ...
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Hannu Lintu, chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

"The audience understood that contemporary music is a natural thing, not something that you should escape from" ResMusica: You are about to finish your first full season as Chief Conductor of the Finnish RSO. Please give us some impressions of your first season. Hannu Lintu: We have had an interesting season and some very good concerts. We have been talking a lot about sound; we are in middle of working with ...
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Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts the Finnish RSO in Dutilleux, Strauss, and Brahms

Jukka-Pekka Saraste is a familiar presence to Helsinki audiences, regularly conducting both the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. His interpretive style generally focuses on clarity, balance and transparency, while avoiding excesses such as bombast or effusive sentimentality. Such an approach led to mixed results in this program of Dutilleux, Strauss, and Brahms. Saraste is almost solely responsible for the regular performances of Dutilleux's orchestral music in Helsinki, and ...
 

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