Gil Shaham's 1930s Violin Concertos - Friday, April 18, 2014



Gil Shaham performs Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2 here at the Segerstrom Concert Hall on April 26th, a piece composed during a time of great fascination for the renowned violinist. In March 2014, Shaham released an album of violin concertos on his record label, Canary Classics, with all of the pieces dating to the 1930s. 1930s Violin Concertos, Volume 1 is the first of two volumes for this project, four years in the making thus far.

During a February interview on NPR’s All Things Considered, Shaham described the 1930s as “a fascinating time, and for musicians especially, because there was this explosion of different styles, different techniques. The world got much smaller, much quicker.” Shaham explores the transformative drama of an era that was marked by political and economic catastrophes – the Great Depression and the start of World War II, most notably – but whose artists continued, undeterred, to produce some of the greatest works of the 20th century.

1930s Violin Concertos, Vol. 1:
CD 1
Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto (New York Philharmonic / David Robertson)
Alban Berg: Violin Concerto (Staatskapelle Dresden / David Robertson)
Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Concerto funèbre (Sejong / Gil Shaham)

CD 2
Igor Stravinsky: Violin Concerto (BBC Symphony Orchestra / David Robertson)
Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto (Boston Symphony Orchestra / Juanjo Men

The album is currently available on Amazon.com, and worth a look for any aficionado of violin concertos.

0 Comments | Add Comment



We Need Your Help! - Wednesday, April 16, 2014



Philharmonic family members, we want to hear from you! Dean's recently published book, Beethoven: The Late Great -- 33 Personal Variations is up on Amazon.com, and we'd love to hear your feedback.

Please help us out by posting a review of Dean's book on Amazon. Did you love it? Hate it? Did it make you laugh? Cry? Feel inspired? Tell us all about it! Just click the image of the book to the right, which will take you to the book page on Amazon, and post your review there.

Still need a copy but don't know where to get one? Beethoven: The Late Great -- 33 Personal Variations is available for purchase by calling our Patron Services Department at (949) 553-2422, or at the Bowers Museum Bookstore. Books cost $15.

NOTE FOR CURRENT SEASON SERIES SUBSCRIBERS:
Subscribers, if you haven't already picked up your complimentary copy of Dean's book, we'll have a table set up at our final two concerts of the season: LA Phil with Gil Shaham & the Beethoven's Ninth Finale concert. Be sure to stop by and get your FREE copy! Thank you for supporting classical music with your passion and participation. See you at the concerts!

0 Comments | Add Comment



Out with the Old, In with the New? - Thursday, April 10, 2014



Here’s something that might surprise a lot of classical music fans: according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, musicians in a blind test chose brand-new violins over Stradivarius violins as the better instruments.

According to the study, 6 of the 10 violin soloists in the study chose a new instrument as the violin they would use to replace their own during a performance, and a single new violin was easily the most-preferred out of all 12 violins.

Blind test or not, the idea that a Stradivarius violin is the best is a cherished belief among musicians, so we wonder what kind of waves this news will make in the classical music world.

More info available at the Associated Press.

0 Comments | Add Comment



Following The Ninth: In The Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony - Wednesday, April 09, 2014



Part of our ongoing Beethoven: The Late Great celebration is a film screening at the 2014 Newport Beach Film Festival of Kerry Candaele's recent documentary Following the Ninth. The film will have its Orange County premiere on Sunday, April 27, 3pm, at Triangle Square Cinemas in Costa Mesa. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Join us!

Candaele describes Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as "the international anthem of hope." In his film, he shows clips of student-led protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, where Beethoven's Ninth rallied the protestors when one of the protest leaders hooked up a makeshift broadcasting system to blast the "Ode to Joy" to counter the music and speeches of the Communist Party. He traveled to Chile under the Pinochet regime, where the Ninth Symphony provided solace to those struggling for freedom. The film shows the universality of music and how Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has touched the lives of billions of people.

A Note from the Director:
I fell in love with the Ninth not as a film maker, but as a human being. The music came to me first, and I lived with the Ninth for years before I discovered that the symphony had a grand history in our time. Following The Ninth tells the story of Beethoven and his struggle to create his final symphony, and the resonance of the Ninth as it traveled across the globe, inspiring, challenging, and repairing people as it went, for over 180 years. Here are some highlights of the film.

* When the Chinese military invaded Tiananmen Square in 1989, the students there were playing the Ode To Joy as their anthem of liberation. In the same year, Leonard Bernstein conducted the Ninth at the Berlin Wall, where people were in the process of dismantling this symbol of oppression of the human will for freedom.

*In Chile women marched in the streets under the threat of death during the Pinochet dictatorship, singing their version of the Ninth (Himno a la Alegria The Hymn of Happiness) at the walls of torture prisons. Inside, men and women without hope heard them and knew they were not alone.

* In Japan the Ninth has become a symbol of rejuvenation and national celebration. Performed hundreds of times in December, the Ninth (Daiku) often features 10,000 singers in the chorus, people who have struggled for six months to master the German choral section that Beethoven used for the first time in the history of symphonic writing. And Japan is the only place where one can choose the Ninth in a karaoke room.

* In London the pop/punk artist Billy Bragg (the Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger of England) has been charged with writing an English version of the Ninth’s “Ode To Joy” for our time. And, his version of the Ninth will be performed before the Queen by the London Philharmonic. High meets low, pop sensibility meets the Monarchy in Bragg’s new version of the world’s most famous symphonic music. Bragg will change forever the way the Ninth will be received by a younger generation who will embrace the first “rock star” of the nineteenth century.

0 Comments | Add Comment



Trittico Botticelliano - Monday, April 07, 2014



Next Wednesday, April 9th, The Myriad Trio comes to the Irvine Barclay Theatre to perform pieces written for harp, viola, and flute--a rare and beautiful instrumental combination. As part of their repertoire, they’ll perform Ottorino Respighi’s tone poem “Trittico Botticelliano,” based on artwork by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli. The original three paintings are not part of a single triptych, but instead are each masterworks in their own right: Spring, The Adoration of the Magi, and The Birth of Venus.

The first movement is based on Botticelli’s untitled painting from c. 1482, commonly called “Primavera,” which art critics believe to be a mythical allegory of springtime fertility – various interpretations exist as to which mythological figures exactly are portrayed in the painting, aside from Venus, who stands in a myrtle bush under her cherub son Cupid.



The second movement is based on “The Adoration of the Magi,” painted in 1475, and portrays a common scene in European art: the Three Kings visiting the newly-born Jesus of Nazareth, presenting their gifts and paying their respects to the Messiah.



The third and final movement is “The Birth of Venus,” a painting that stands out as one of the definitive masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance: it depicts the goddess Venus at the moment of her birth, the wind Zephyr blowing her ashore, one of the three Graces clothing her in welcome.


0 Comments | Add Comment



$15 Advance Rush for The Myriad Trio - Friday, April 04, 2014



We’re offering advance public rush tickets for the great price of $15 for The Myriad Trio (Wednesday, April 9th). Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear a chamber ensemble of rare and gorgeous instrumentation (flute, harp, and viola) perform works by Debussy, Respighi, and more.

Speak directly to a Patron Services representative to pick your seats in advance and pay with credit card. And if you miss this chance, a public rush will begin at the Irvine Barclay Theatre’s box office at 7pm on the night of the concert, Wednesday, April 9. Seats will be randomly selected from best available at time of purchase. Please note that day-of rush purchases will be CASH ONLY.

Purchasing $15 Advance Public Rush Tickets
$15 advance public rush tickets for The Myriad Trio are available only through the Philharmonic Society's box office by calling (949) 553-2422, ext. 1. You must mention promo code "RUSH."

Regularly priced tickets ($35-$45) for The Myriad Trio are also available at PhilharmonicSociety.org.

0 Comments | Add Comment



In Memory of Priscilla Morgan - Thursday, April 03, 2014



A dear friend to the arts has passed away. Priscilla Morgan passed away Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 94. A longtime supporter of the arts, she was responsible for setting up many connections between artists, spurring on these artists' careers to great heights.

In 1967, she took a chance on then-unknown composer Philip Glass by presenting him at the Festival of the Two Worlds in Italy (popularly known as Spoleto, of which she was a longtime official).

She essentially discovered theater composer Jerry Herman, who went on to write the music and lyrics for “Hello, Dolly!,” “Mame” and “La Cage aux Folles.” She set up the introductions between Mr. Herman and producer Gerard Oestreicher and writer Don Appell, which resulted in Mr. Herman's first Broadway hit "Milk and Honey" in 1961.

Priscilla was also the longtime lover of artist Isamu Noguchi, whom she met in 1959, and their relationship lasted until his death in 1988.

She was a close friend of Henry and Elizabeth Segerstrom and often visited Orange County. She was here for the opening of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, and also the Philharmonic Society's China Festival and Japan Festival, co-presented with Carnegie Hall. She became a great friend of Dean's.

Priscilla was a brilliant and dear lady, and she will be missed.

0 Comments | Add Comment



Filmmaker Kerry Candaele's TEDx Talk - Wednesday, April 02, 2014



Filmmaker Kerry Candaele, whose latest film "Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony" will be screened at the 2014 Newport Beach Film Festival as part of our ongoing Beethoven: The Late Great celebration, recently gave a TEDx talk at Purdue University about his journey in creating the film.

Candaele speaks about the universality of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and traveling to different places where it was used in meaningful and/or interesting situations. He traveled to Chile under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, where the Ninth was sung by the women at the torture prisons; Germany, where it was played when the Berlin Wall fell; Japan, where it's sung every year in instances with thousands of chorus members; and more.

The film will have its Orange County premiere during the Newport Beach Film Festival. Details to be announced. For more information about the film, visit www.followingtheninth.com.

Kerry Candaele has produced and directed several documentaries whose production credits include "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price", and "Iraq For Sale for Brave New Films". He has also collaborated with his brother on the documentary, "A League of Their Own", about their mother's experience in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. This documentary was later turned into a blockbuster hit by Columbia Pictures with the same title starring Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Geena Davis. His latest film is "Following the Ninth: In The Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony", which follows the impact of the Ninth across the globe.

Here is the video of Candaele's TEDx talk. Enjoy!


0 Comments | Add Comment



Happy birthday, Bach! - Monday, March 31, 2014



Today is the birthday of the one and only Johann Sebastian Bach, born on this date in 1685 in Eisenach, Saxe-Eisenach (what is now central Germany.) His contributions to classical music canon need no introduction– this is the man who gave us the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565, the Well-Tempered Clavier BWV 846–893, and the Mass in B Minor.

In honor of his birthday, we present a YouTube video of famed classical pianist Glenn Gould playing Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846.


0 Comments | Add Comment



Composers' Favorite Keys - Friday, March 28, 2014



We found this great infographic about composers' favorite keys. No surprises for some of them (Mozart loved C major, Beethoven E-flat major), but some other composers were all over the map--both Brahms and Dvorak didn't seem to favor any key. It’s easy to see that C major is the most popular key; G# minor is the least popular.

The bottom half of the key represents major keys and the top half of a key represents minor keys. N is the number of compositions analyzed for that composer, and the percentage is for the key used most often.

For a more thorough analysis of this graphic, you can click through to the original webpage.

0 Comments | Add Comment