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Marc ROGER

The XXth-century US at the Folle Journée de Nantes

The audience’s rejuvenation is a direct consequence of the program, which was built around four axes: the musical roots of the new continent (traditional songs and the European legacy, with works by Foster, Ives, and Gershwin, and then Bernstein, Cage, Reich, Glass, and Adams), the United States as a land of hope (with works by European musicians who crossed the Atlantic as refugees or immigrants, such as Dvořák, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, ...
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The Ring in Geneva : a crescendo in aesthetics

With its perfect narration of the legend, the depth of its direction, and an aesthetic sometimes deliberately distressed by a Brechtian desire to expose the seams, the beautiful Die Walküre imagined by Dieter Dorn for the Grand Théâtre de Genève last November was captivating from beginning to end and created a certain eagerness for its sequel. That eagerness was fully satisfied throughout the wonderful Siegfried staged by the German director ...
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Oslo Philharmonic plays Mahler’s sixth symphony in Helsinki

Jukka-Pekka Saraste is a familiar presence in the Helsinki music scene, regularly guest conducting both the Helsinki Philharmonic and Finnish RSO. On this evening's concert, however, Saraste was not on the podium with a local band but instead brought the Oslo Philharmonic, showcasing the results of his recently concluded tenure with this ensemble. This orchestra is sometimes called the best in the Nordic countries, and the music-making on display this evening ...

Interview with Philip Glass

ResMusica : In 1976, Einstein on the Beach, and in 2013, The Lost. Mr. Glass, when composing your first opera, did you know that twenty-four others would follow? Philip Glass: (Laughs.) No. No, no . . . And there soon will be another one! In 2013, The Lost (Spur der Verrirten) was premiered, but so was The Perfect American. I composed those two operas at the same time. (Laughs.) One was ...

Gustavo Dudamel conducts Berlioz’s Requiem in Notre-Dame de Paris

A performance of Berlioz’s Requiem is always a special occasion, because of the number of people involved (almost four hundred), the space required for effective spatialization of the four different brass orchestras, and the expressiveness of the score, which was written a few years after the Symphonie Fantastique by a thirty-four-year-old visionary genius. In the choir at Notre-Dame de Paris, genius conductor Gustavo Dudamel mastered the venue’s acoustics while leading ...

Alexander Raskatov’s A Dog’s Heart in Lyon

In the interview he gave to ResMusica about his opera A Dog's Heart, Alexander Raskatov insisted on two things: its (pessimistic) message about our civilization's evolution, and its refusal—unusual in France—of working on musical language as an end in itself. The choice of a fantastic, satirical short story by Mikhail Bulgakov and of the atmosphere of 1920s USSR immediately relates Cœur de chien to Shostakovich’s The Nose, but this is ...
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Alexander Kniazev performs Miaskovsky’s Cello Concerto

The mid-twentieth century cello concerto is dominated by two great Russian works: the Sinfonia Concertante of Prokofiev and the first cello concerto of Shostakovich. Both works feature fiendishly difficult solo parts and place the soloist in the traditional concerto role of hero or protagonist. On this concert, the Russian cellist Alexander Kniazev presented the infrequently performed cello concerto of Miaskovsky, demonstrating its worthiness as a viable alternative to the Prokofiev ...
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Opera in America, a cultural history

Opera in America, a cultural history, by John Dizikes, can be read simultaneously as a pictorial work (simply because its numerous illustrations play a fundamental role in the text, are integral to it, and thereby make details stand out); as a work of fiction (because very often, the narrative and its photos take over the discussion); as an economic, social, and cultural study of America over the course of its ...
Pehr Henrik Nordgren

Pehr Henrik Nordgren at 70

Pehr Henrik Nordgren (1944-2008) was a unique voice in Finnish music. Influenced by both Japanese and Finnish folk music, as well as Shostakovich, Nordgren never achieved the same international recognition as his younger Finnish colleagues, such as Aho, Saariaho, Salonen, and Lindberg. In honor of Nordgren’s 70th birthday, the Finnish RSO organized both a chamber music and orchestral concert featuring his music. The chamber music program began with the Ritornello for ...
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Sebastian Fagerlund, composer

ResMusica: What was your first encounter with classical music? Sebastian Fagerlund: I was born in a small archipelago town in the southwest of Finland called Pargas. There was not much classical music or high culture present in the city, but in my family classical music was often listened to and discussed. My parents took me from a very early age to symphony concerts, for example in the nearest larger town called Turku. ...
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Accessible Magnus Lindberg, the New York edition

Magnus Lindberg raised some eyebrows when he was appointed composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic for the seasons 2009-11 (extended to 2012). This move was interpreted by many that the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert would now take new music seriously, which was arguably neglected under the relatively conservative tenures of Kurt Masur and Lorin Maazel.  The three works featured on this disc are a document of the Lindberg-NY ...
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A sea journey with Leif Segerstam

With a population of just over 5 million, Finland can boast of having a disproportionately large number of orchestras with international reputations. This includes the orchestras of Tampere and Lahti, as well as the three full-time bands found in Helsinki. While the former capital city of Turku also has a full-time symphony orchestra, this group does not enjoy the same visibility and recognition as its peers. The Finnish conductor and ...
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Chamber Music Week in Elmau

Located in Bavaria near the Austrian border, the Castle of Elmau is well- known in the world of classical music. Since the 1950s, it has become a famous concert hall, due to the renowned quality of its acoustics. Passing through the region, Benjamin Britten discovered and instantly fell in love with the site and in 1959, with his partner Peter Pears, he founded a British-German Chamber Music festival there. In ...
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Lintu conducts Sibelius’ Symphonies 6 and 7

For the major Finnish orchestras, all the seven symphonies of Sibelius appear to be held in equal regard, as opposed to say nos. 2 and 5 which may be preferred over the others elsewhere in the world. This evening's program featured the new music director of the Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu, and his interpretation of Sibelius' final two completed symphonies. The program opened with Lindberg's Era, a recent high-profile commission from ...
Kari Kriikku Photo: Marco Borggreve

Kari Kriikku plays Saariaho’s clarinet concerto

For such a small country, Finland can easily boast having at least four living composers with major international careers: Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, Salonen, and Aho. Of these, Saariaho is arguably the most widely performed throughout the world. Saariaho's clarinet concerto "D'om le vrai sens" was premiered in 2010 with the Finnish RSO in the acoustically inferior Finlandia Hall, and this evening's concert gave Helsinki audiences another chance to sample this ...
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ICMA 2014 : The winners

The Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) announced the Awards for 2014. Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, 78, is honored with our Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the most eminent fortepianists of our time, Andreas Staier, is ‘Artist of the Year’. the young French viola player Adrien Boisseau is ICMA’s ‘Young Artist of the Year ». In total seven Special Awards are listed, among them the one for the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden ...
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Splendid Stigmatized by James Conlon

These “Stigmatized” (Die Gezeichneten) by Franz Schreker, Jew-lovers and degenerates (entartete musik) for Hitler’s Reich, disappear quickly from the repertoire in 1930. The opera debuted in Frankfurt on April 25, 1918, (a triumph, with Else Gentner-Fischer, Karl Ziegler, Robert vom Scheidt, and Walter Schneider, under the baton of Ludwig Rottenberg), six years after the enormous success of Schreker’s FERNE KLANG, with a libretto by the composer. After Zemlinsky had been approached, ...
Alexander Raskarov - © Philippe Gontier

Alexander Raskatov about his opera A Dog’s Heart

“The world is so pitiless, we became all tough to each other” ResMusica: Your opera A Dog’s Heart and The Nose by Dimitri Shostakovich are both satirical works which met a great success at the same time. Do you think that you benefited from the recent appreciation of The Nose? Alexander Raskatov : This is an interesting question, I never thought about it. I like The Nose very much, but still ...
VOEUX 2014 An

Happy New Year

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Grisey’s Les Espaces Acoustiques at the Cité de la Musique

A concert presenting the full cycle of Gérard Grisey’s Les Espaces Acoustiques is a rare event. The project had not been performed by the Ensemble Intercontemporain for a decade. The strong forces of the Conservatoire National de Paris were also needed in order to perform the last three pieces, written for orchestra. Grisey initiated, with his colleague and friend Tristan Murail, the “spectral music” movement, of which Les Espaces Acoustiques, a ...
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Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s debut in Lyon

The Orchestre National de Lyon likes Finnish conductors: after Hannu Lintu and before Osmo Vänskä and Susanna Mälkki, Jukka-Pekka Saraste was the one in charge that night. Saraste is well-known in France. He has been heard conducting the Toulouse and Paris orchestras, the Orchestre National de France and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, of whom he is a regular guest. He is also a specialist of French music: his Debussy ...
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Dialogues of the Carmelites in Paris, The ladies’ Delight

This is the fourth important production of Dialogues of the Carmelites premiered this season in France, after the ones in Toulon, Bordeaux/Nantes and Lyon. This work, commissioned exactly sixty years ago by the director of the Ricordi book house and premiered in Italian at La Scala, Milan in 1957, can be considered as Poulenc’s magnum opus and has never been that much put forward in France before. The Théâtre des ...
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Gita Kadambi, General Manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

"We are not restricting our “search” for our future conductor to Finland only" ResMusica: You have just recently been appointed general manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Please tell us a little about your background and how you ended up in this position. Gita Kadambi: I’ve done my Masters in Music both in Helsinki and London (Music Education, Sibelius Academy, Music Performance, London College of Music). I started my career as a ...
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BIS records at 40 years: a brief conversation with Robert von Bahr

"The obvious ones: The Sibelius Edition. The Bach Cantatas. Schnittke, Aho, Christian Lindberg, Sharon Bezaly, Martin Fröst, Ronald Brautigam and Yevgeny Sudbin". ResMusica: Robert, congratulations! BIS has turned 40 years old. What were the major challenges that you faced when BIS was in its infancy? Robert von Bahr: Distribution, especially international distribution.  It was only with the recording of a Lieder record with the top soprano of the day, Birgit Nilsson, that ...
Anna-Maria Helsing

Anna-Maria Helsing conducts Webern, Mahler, Berg, and Hartmann

Classical music as we know it today would be quite different if it were not for early twentieth century Vienna. Mahler was taking the late-romantic symphony to almost every extreme possible, while Schönberg and his disciples developed musical systems independent of tonality. Anna-Maria Helsing, yet another gifted Finnish conductor with a steadily rising career, presented an intelligent survey of this music, along with a symphony from Karl Amadeus Hartmann. Webern's Passacaglia ...
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Allan Pettersson’s 9th by Lindberg : enlightening

When accused of composing out of self-pity, the Swedish composer Allan Pettersson (1911-80) angrily responded by saying that his music conveyed not self-pity but “pure information.” The circumstances of Pettersson’s life has allowed, perhaps too readily, interpretations of his music informed by the composer’s difficult childhood and constant battle against illness as an adult. Christian Lindberg has taken a different approach to Pettersson, conveying the music’s “pure information.” On the ...
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Warsaw celebrates Krzysztof Penderecki’s 80th birthday

Poland has been celebrating the 80th birthday of its most famous composer, Krzysztof Penderecki. It is not often that contemporary composers are extolled with such splendor: the National Bank of Poland created a special banknote; the Polish mail service produced a stamp with his portrait; a box set including all his symphonies was published under his direction on the Dux label; there were two exhibitions in the hall of the ...
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The Cleveland Orchestra in Paris : an event in itself

The Cleveland Orchestra has a prominent place, both among the greatest American orchestras and in music-lovers’ hearts. It is indeed legitimately considered one of the famous “Big Five,” with some of the best conductors of the twentieth century, such as George Szell, Lorin Maazel, and Christoph van Dohnanyi, having conducted it. Its chief conductor has been Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Möst for a decade now. The orchestra is in great shape, and ...
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Stockhausen night at the Festival d’Automne

For this concert of the Festival d’Automne, a banner was hung up at the entrance of the Cité de la Musique building. It warned the incoming audience that the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra is in dire situation. Indeed, the German orchestra, which was performing that night under the baton of François-Xavier Roth, celebrating one of Germany’s national geniuses, namely Karlheinz Stockhausen, could very well disappear soon. Roth also spoke ...

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