Saturday, August 18, 2012
Kraus was born in Germany and moved to Stockholm, Sweden in 1778, where King Gustav III was busy putting an end to the Age of Liberty, a period when the monarchy was minimized and power entrusted to a parliament. Gustav promoted instead the benevolent monarchy, enacting economic and social reforms, and spending lavishly on the arts. Kraus benefited from the King's artistic bent and began composing for the Swedish court. His symphonies were written during his employment there. Many of the symphonies are either lost or mis-attributed. The ones that survive are mostly three-movement works—another difference with Mozart, whose most famous symphonies have four movements—and are not widely known.
I'm on a mission to introduce more classical music fans to the music of Joseph Martin Kraus. Petter Sundkvist and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra have recorded a dozen of Kraus's symphonies, and I will be featuring them in episodes of Dead White Guys that I host on a rotating basis.
Friday, June 8, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
No media available for this one, but my Wii reference in the last post came true! RMM had strapped to each arm a Wii controller, used to modify sounds played on and in the piano, through the microphone, and brass singing bowl.
Check out their website, which includes video, at http://www.themindensemble.com/. This particular performance does deserve a description, especially for its spectacular projection work, but later.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The conference is all day Monday-Wednesday, May 21-23, largely held on U-M's North Campus with concerts at the Lydia Mendelssohn theater.I’ll leave you with links to the website and some videos of NIMEs past.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Sahar Nouri, recently performed her final recital at the University of Michigan School of Music on April 7th at 2pm in Britton Recital Hall in the Moore Building, and I was privileged enough, not only to watch it streaming on Ustream (which you can watch here), but also to obtain a beautiful recording of it, which I fully intend to leave at WCBN for everyone to share for our listeners.
The emotional sweep through which Sahar led the audience sparked my imagination again and again during the concert. I could hear the plinking of rain, the burbling streams, the howling winds, and the hooves of racing horses so clearly, without needing her to explain a thing. Listening to Sahar play, I was impressed by the simultaneous control of the music, and the openness expressed through her playing. The subtlety with which Sahar controlled the balance and followed the singers was so comforting; as an educated audience member, I never had to worry about what I was hearing, and could truly relax, which is a rarer occurrence than you would think. And, I admit, sometimes my mind has drifted during concerts, but during Sahar's recital I felt completely enthralled every moment.
Although I wasn't able to attend the concert in-person, the live-stream made it totally accessible, and it is something that I encourage any classical musician to do for their recital or performance.
Sahar's program was very well-planned, and I was absolutely delighted to see the singers with whom she collaborated. Here's the program:
- Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
- Auf Flügeln des Gesanges
- Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich
- Die Liebende schreibt
- Neue Liebe
- Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
- Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
- Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
- Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne
- Wenn ich in deine Augen seh'
- Ich will meine Seele tauchen
- Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome
- Ich grolle nicht
- Und wüßten's die Blumen, die kleinen
- Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen
- Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen
- Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen
- Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
- Ich hab' im Traum geweinet
- Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich
- Aus alten Märchen winkt es
- Die alten, bösen Lieder
- Der Wanderer an den Mond
- Die Taubenpost
- Wandrers Nachtlied
- Auf der Bruck
- No word from Tom...Quietly, Night (from The Rake's Progress)
- Toothbrush Time
If I had a choose a favorite set (which oh my goodness is really hard), I'd have to say that hearing the entirety of the Dichterliebe played with such sensitivity, and such nuance in regards to baritone Jean Bernard Cerin was a very special experience, and not something that a lot people are willing to commit the time and emotional energy to.
The Schubert set, sung by baritone Jonathon Lasch, was the first from which I had heard most of the songs, and "Auf der Bruck" especially was positively explosive. The amount of sensitivity to articulation that Sahar achieved, even within a single run of notes, was mind-blowing.
The aria from The Rake's Progress, sung by soprano Anne Jennifer Nash, popped out the texture brilliantly, and it was evident that Sahar had the piece firmly in her body as she played it. Over the winter semester, Sahar was the coach and pianist for the University's production of 'The Rake's Progress'.
The Bolcom set that Sahar played with mezzo-soprano Sarah Davis, was not only fun to listen to, but fun to watch. Both the singer and pianist seemed to simply be having fun up on stage, and they were able to engage the audience completely.
If I could say one thing about this concert, it would be about how tangible the energy of the performance was, both via the internet, and in the audio recording. Sahar and each singer created a beautiful sense of intimacy with the audience, very much like how I imagine Schumann and his band of friends would have when the Dichterliebe would have been performed. I never felt like she and the singers were performing for themselves, but they were truly performing for their audience, to share something special with the audience, and to give an absolutely professional recital. I can't wait to share this recording with others.
Very soon you will get a complete transcript/audio of an interview that I conducted with Sahar, as well, where we really get down to what it means to collaborate, and what the most important aspects of being a performer really are. Watch for more concert reviews and interviews on my own show, and "Dead White Guys" as well. Stay tuned!
Heidi Madagame, mezzo-soprano, BM Performance from University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Why did you call it Dead White Guys? What kind of name is that?
Take a look at the demographic for classical music composers. Most are white males that have been dead for at least a century. Thus the name.
What kind of classical music do you play?
Literally anything. In the spirit of WCBN's freeform policy, we pride ourselves in finding underrated classical music, and forcing your ears upon it. The hosts of the show all have vastly different tastes as well, so you'll get a well-balanced diet of classical music over the course of a few shows.
How do you play the music?
Any and all formats. Mostly CDs and vinyl, with an occasional raid of the internet, and our personal libraries. We try to give you the highest quality possible though, at all times.
Why should I listen to you? You sound lame.
Well, if you like WCBN, then you'll probably like us, even if you think you don't classical music. If it makes you feel better, sometimes we hate classical music too, but there's too much good classical music for you to miss it, so just listen, OK?
OK, so what if I wanted to. How do I listen?
Easy, just listen to WCBN (88.3), or go to WCBN and listen live from 6-9am every Sunday morning. And you can even call in at (734) 763-3500 to give us suggestions on what we should play, so now you have no excuse.
|Let's party like it's 1769.|