Over the first weekend of October, nearly 8,000 people experienced Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Rochester Oratorio Society in the newly-renovated Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. One patron blogged about what she saw and heard, and she inspired me to share this clip with you.
After a long hiatus, I'm back, writing about music and arts in Rochester, New York.
The big excitement in my life is the prospect of seeing Christopher Seaman conduct Haydn's Creation this weekend.
It's an oratorio telling the biblical story of the creation of the world, the animals, and Adam and Eve, who promptly fall in love and avoid the snakes. Splendid! Someone who heard the first performance in 1798 wrote in a letter to the editor of a Vienna newspaper,
"Already three days have passed since that happy evening, and it still sounds in my ears and heart, and my breast is constricted by many emotions even thinking of it."
Coinidentally, the big Rochester garden show opened last weekend with a Garden of Eden theme. I missed it, but eyewitnesses reported fewer blooms than usual and lots of snakes.
Christopher Seaman will conduct the Eastman-Rochester Chorus, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano Barbara Shirvis, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Stephen Powell. WXXI-FM will broadcast/stream the concert on Classical 91.5, 90.3 and wxxi.org on Wednesday, June 10th at 8:00 p.m.
Being able to take constructive criticism well is a gift.Especially in publishing and broadcasting, feedback often feels personal, and no matter how reasonably it’s delivered it can reduce one to a quivering, gelatinous mass .
In the radio business, the general rule is every single comment from a listener probably represents what hundreds of others think, too.Good and bad.For the most part, the radio program managers I know take listeners pretty seriously.
Criticism from peers sounds even more loudly.So when the Public Radio Program Directors Association released contest judges’ reactions to a piece I produced, I braced myself.
"In order to create there must be a dynamic force, and what force is more potent than love?" - Igor Stravinsky
Hear the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra perform "The Rite of Spring" under Christopher Seaman. Also on the show: Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music.
Hear it streaming during the broadcast Monday night at 8:00 p.m. on Classical 91.5.
My score of Carmina Burana is pretty gross. Coffee-stained, marked up, dog-eared. Once I left it on the kitchen counter and made enchiladas, so it even sports a few tomato stains. I’ve been using it for about a decade, and I think I’ve performed Carl Orff's work about eight times.
Maybe I’ll trade it in someday and start with a fresh copy. But for now, this one is a well-loved map of a favorite country. A smutronstalle. A wild strawberry place.
I sang Carmina Burana with the Rochester Phil and Rochester Oratorio Society last May, and that concert will air on Monday, September 1st at 8:00 p.m. on Classical 91.5 FM.
Being a radiohead, I love the sound of sound, you know? Recorded sound. In this case, I admit the broadcast has nothing on the live experience. But it’s still worth a listen.
Music by black and Latino composers accounts for less than one percent of the music performed by American orchestras each year. The Sphinx Commissioning Consortium aims to boost that percentage. Last week, it announced that Puerto Rican-born Roberto Sierra has been selected to compose the first work commissioned by twelve American orchestras, including the RPO.
BTW, Monday night, June 16th at 8:00 p.m. the RPO plays the Rochester premiere of different a piece it co-commissioned in 2007, Deus ex Machina. It's not a game. Click here for a preview!
There’s a cartoon I want to show you, and I can’t find it, so I’ll just have to describe it. A single panel shows a child slumped at the dinner table, his face cupped in his hands, a portrait of utter dejection. His mother hovers over him, patting his shoulder and saying, “I’m sorry, dear! I remember when I met my first radio deejay, too.”
Twice this weekend, I zipped up my black boots for the drive to Eastman Theatre to sing Handel’s Messiah with the Rochester Oratorio Society and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. I could go on at length about the wit and drama in conductor Christopher Seaman’s interpretation, what a pleasure it is to sing for him, and how, for me, the oratorio gets better each year like a vintage bottle of wine.
It wasn’t earth shattering, but it was mildly surprising.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra switched the positions of the cellos and violas the other night. The cellos are now sitting in the center of the orchestra between the violins and violas, and the violas are closest to the audience on the conductor’s right side.
“[Pinchas] Zukerman had the Orchestra sit that way when he guest-conducted here,” Music Director Christopher Seaman explained via e-mail. “The string principals and I thought it would be worth trying again. The Cleveland Orchestra sits that way (I think), [and so does] the Baltimore Symphony, the Melbourne Symphony (Australia), Columbus Symphony, and many others.”
Seaman added, “No seating is perfect for every section or all repertory.”