Thursday, October 22, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

I'm looking forward to the concert this week, Simply Classical. Louis Langree will be our guest conductor. He conducted us in the Mozart Requiem a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed him then. One of the interesting parts of our job is to be able to experience the inspiration of guest artists, both conductors and soloists. They come from all over the world to make music here in Baltimore and at Strathmore (and occasionally, like this week, in Wye Mills on the eastern shore.)

Simone Dinnerstein will make her BSO debut with us, playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23. I have heard that her playing is wonderful. By the way, she also happens to be a beautiful young woman. Today she has an interview on WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi show at 1:30 pm. Listen live at! Should be very interesting.

We will also perform Haydn's Symphony No. 44 and Beethoven's 4th Symphony. I love the 4th: it isn't performed as frequently as many of Beethoven's others, but it is a great piece. The outer movements are lots of fun, and the slow movement is gorgeous! Coincidentally, my son Stephen, a student a Yale University and an aspiring conductor, will be conducting a student orchestra in Beethoven's 4th Symphony this Saturday evening, too. We will be comparing notes, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The BSO and -State Your Name Here-

Have you ever fantasized about playing alongside Emily Skala on flute, or perhaps thought about sharing some nice harmonic support with Chris Dudley in the brass section? Well, here's your chance, but you'll need to sign up early on November 2.

The BSO is auditioning "Rusty Musicians" to play the fourth movement of the Tchaik 4. I've seen this kind of publicity before, but not with such a top tier symphony orchestra. This should be interesting...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reflections on Bartok

Last week we recorded Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, a 20th Century masterpiece. Bartok used folk elements in his music; he combined them with an amazing mathematical sense for structure. Bartok is rarely "easy listening." The first time I heard a Bartok string quartet I thought it was noise. The music becomes intelligible when the listener can grasp some of the unusual harmonies through repeated hearing. Marin showed Bartok's connection to Eastern European folk music and its harmonic language by having the group Harmonia perform on stage before the BSO played the Bartok.

The Concerto, like most music Bartok wrote, is a very difficult piece. I think that, with lots of good practice and four performances, we were able to do it justice. In June we will record another piece by Bartok, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste. Eventually we will release those two pieces together on a CD.

This week Jack Everly returns for his always entertaining Pops programs. The program this week is "Hollywood: The Epics," and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society will be performing with us.

Come have fun with Jack and us this weekend!