RPO

the mediator


Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
- Ludwig van Beethoven

Update: Due to a technical error during the broadcast, WXXI will re-air this concert Sunday afternoon, June 29th at 1:00 p.m.

Hear Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony (Symphony No. 6) played by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Monday at 8:00 p.m. on Classical 91.5 FM, 90.3 or streaming.

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Deus ex Machina

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!

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Weekend Update


Monday night, June 9th, the RPO plays Métaboles (Metamorphoses) by the living French composer Henri Dutilleux.

“In the conception of this work,” Dutilleux wrote, “the composer never ceased to dream of the mysterious and compelling realm of eternal metamorphosis. The spirit and the form of the music find their origins in an intense contemplation of nature.”

Hear it Monday at 8:00 p.m. on Classical 91.5 FM, 90.3 or streaming.

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Total Re-Carmina

I was just delivered a copy of the RPO’s performance of Carmina Burana! I’m almost afraid to listen to it.

RPO principal flutist Rebecca Gilbert once told me she put off hearing recordings of herself in live performances, especially ones that went well. Said she’d rather hold onto her memory.

I think I know what she means. But I'll listen anyway and report back.

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A Sea Symphony

When soprano Jane Eaglen and baritone Dean Elzinga walked out onto the stage of Eastman Theatre last October, I expected to be dazzled by Eaglen’s powerhouse, Wagnerian voice. But Elzinga was a surprise, equally forceful in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, based on Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” Elzinga delivered a warm, rich tone similar to that of Bryn Terfel, but with a mournful aspect. He was, in a word, spooky.

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RPO's first downloadable album ever

Jeff Tyzik, speaking with Julia Figueras, just announced that the RPO’s new CD, HONOR: Portraits of America, will be downloadable. That's a first for the orchestra.

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Right Down the Fairway

In an earlier post, I wondered if the RPO’s Carmina Burana would have the proper impact, given the acoustics of the Eastman. Well, I’m pleased to report that it was loud enough, at least it was in the center of the 11th row. During the week leading up to the show, I wanted to find out more about the work so I went online. Brenda Tremblay’s interview with Christopher Seaman was great, but Alex Ross was less helpful. I searched his blog and unfortunately clicked on a link he provided to a “toweringly brilliant” English translation.

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The Sound and the Fury

O Fortuna! Kodak’s ten million dollar gift earmarked for renovations to Eastman Theatre have sparked two debates. The first has to do with the future renaming of the space “Kodak Hall.” The second centers on whether renovations, scheduled for this summer and next, will actually improve the sound of music.

The morning after the Rochester Philharmonic and Oratorio Society performed Carmina Burana, two rather technical e-mails on the subject landed in my box. They are reprinted below the line.

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“This film should be played loud!”

That instruction precedes The Last Waltz, a concert movie documenting the star-studded swan song of The Band. It’s good advice. You can’t fully appreciate the crackle of Robbie Robertson’s guitar or the wallop of drummer Levon Helm with the sound down low. Same goes for the guest singers. The growl of Muddy Waters, the moan of Emmylou Harris and the yawp of Dylan all benefit from volume.

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Party like it's 1499

Sex is yummy, drinking is fun, and we’re all gonna die, so party like it’s 1499. That’s the basic message in Orff’s Carmina Burana. Since it comes wrapped in Latin, you get a veneer of respectability. Click here to hear conductor Christopher Seaman talk about Carmina and the womanizer that inspired composer Richard Strauss. You’ll also hear Christopher's advice for the pure of heart attending next week’s exciting, final RPO concert of the season.

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