Monday, February 27, 2017
From our weekly diarist Anthea Kreston: “What’s in my bag?” I always think those little articles, “What’s in my purse” in magazines are hilarious. But (and here I must pat myself on the back a little), I must admit that I feel somewhat of an expert – a packing process which has developed into a fine-tuned machine this year. I remember, on my first of 3 summer camping/backpacking trips to Europe as a young adult, how my huge backpack (sleeping bag and tent tied above and below) gradually became smaller as the summer progressed. I started with a hand towel and a toothbrush, and ended up trimming the towel smaller and smaller until I had a Kleenex-sized towel, and even sawed off my toothbrush (thanks to the guys at the Harley Davidson campground in Toulouse), leaving only a thumb-nail sized brush. And, lost along the way was also the top of my bikini (oh, to be 19 again….sigh). So – here I am on my way to London (Wigmore Hall tonight), then to Brussels, Vienna, and Paris. At the beginning of my time with the Artemis Quartet, I would check a suitcase (just like everyone else), and carry only my violin on board. But, I began to realize how much I was spending, checking that one bag (checked luggage here is much more expensive than in the States). A person can often fly quite cheaply here – I flew my entire family, round-trip, to Florence the other week for €150. But – with luggage it would have been quadruple. I thought to myself, 8 months ago, if I can just pare down my packing, I could be saving €75 per leg of my journey – imagine how many croissants and hot chocolates that is for the girls! So – I began to bring only a messenger bag, and to utilize my coat pockets and any violin pockets. Here is my list: Toiletries: toothbrush, paste, flossers, hair gel, deodorant, razor, bandaids, neosporin, needle and thread, small scissors and nail clipper, emergency medicine (ibuprofen, tums, Claritin, sudafed, hard-core cold medicine, Vitamine c and echinacea, ear and nose drops) – all fits in a ziplock Clothes: concert clothes (rollable), one underclothes per day (3 maximum, then wash in sink if longer tour), one slip shirt per day (goes over tank top, under day-jacket I wear on plane, 3 maximum) Wear on plane: dark jeans and shoes that can walk and also look ok for post-concert parties, light jacket, winter jacket (in pocket are wallet, passport and phone, gloves), big scarf (can double as pillow on plane) Entertainment, etc.: noise-cancelling earphones, podcasts updated on phone (TED Radio Hour, Coffee Break German, The Daily (NYT) and BBC News, Wait…..Wait, Don’t Tell Me), blank notebook, three books (one fiction, one music-related, one non-fiction), iPhone and cord, extra teeny foldable backpack, snacks (chocolate and veggies, rice cakes) Music: folder with music for concerts, music to practice for the future, scores for study (hole punched and in folder), pencil and highlighters, stand Today I bring my Trinity Violin Case on its maiden voyage. This is an exciting new case, with three interconnected segments. The first, a snuggle fitting backpack case, just the size of a violin (small pouch under the neck holds my rosin, hotel mute, and makeup (which is chapstick)). The second is a bow case, which either straps on to the violin, goes separately to for a rehair, or forms the deceptive handle for the rolling backpack. The third (which I did not purchase, but my first violinists travels with always) part is a rollable suitcase, in which the violin case nestles at an angle, is the right dimension for a carry-on – clothes are packed around violin, and the bow case is the handle (which unclips for storage). Brilliant! Just got called for boarding – concerts are packed this week – the program (Beethoven, Bartok, Schumann Quintet) is a total pleasure. Until next week!
Skrowaczewski conducted major orchestras in England, Japan and other countries. His last concerts were with the Minnesota Orchestra in October 2016, conducting works by Anton Bruckner, his specialty.Skrowaczewski was born in Lwów (then in Poland, now in Ukraine). As a child, he studied piano and violin; displaying talent on the piano at an early age, he made his public debut playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor. A hand injury ended his piano career. After World War II, Skrowaczewski graduated from the Academy of Music in Kraków (in the composition class of Roman Palester and conducting class of Walerian Bierdiajew) and soon, in 1946, became the music director of the Wrocław Philharmonic, then the Katowice Philharmonic, the Kraków Philharmonic and finally the Warsaw National Orchestra. He studied composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. In 1956 he won the Santa Cecilia Competition for Conductors. At the invitation of George Szell, Skrowaczewski conducted the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1960 he was appointed music director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (later renamed the Minnesota Orchestra under his tenure in 1968), a position he held until 1979 when he became conductor laureate. In 1981 the American Composers Forum commissioned the Clarinet Concerto which Skrowaczewski wrote for Minnesota Orchestra principal clarinetist Joe Longo, who premiered it in 1981.WIKIPEDIA
Over the years, several performers have waited for further musical maturity before they played certain compositions. Some deferred playing certain Beethoven sonatas. Others have delayed playing particular music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Recently I learned that pianist David Fray has not played any of Chopin’s music for the past 15 years. As such. I was interested in a recent new recording by David Fray in which he performs a collection of Impromptus, Mazurkas, Nocturnes, and a Waltz by Chopin. I especially like the diversity of the pieces, because I generally do not enjoy hearing 14 waltzes in a row, or 7 Impromptus, if there are that many. This collection includes just one waltz! Here is Mr. Fray in an amazing performance of the Chopin Nocturne Opus 48, number 1:
Stanisław Skrowaczewski died on 21 February 2017, at the age of 93. In a long and well-loved career, he was principal conductor of the Hall Orchestra and music director in Minneapolis, where he returned every season until this year. Official biography follows. Born in 1923 in Lwów, Poland, Skrowaczewski began piano and violin studies at the age of four and composed his first symphonic work at seven. He played and conducted Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto at the age of 13. Despite severe artistic censorship from the first Soviet occupation (1939-41), Skrowaczewski enjoyed Lwów’s flourishing cultural scene during his formative years, and immersed himself in the city’s musical life. During this period, Skrowaczewski learned English and followed the progress of the Second World War by listening secretly to the BBC. In 1941 he suffered a hand injury from a bomb explosion during the Nazi assault on the city which ended his keyboard career, at which point he decided to focus on composing and conducting. Following the war, Skrowaczewski moved to Kraków, the new musical centre of Poland, and through his conducting and compositions was hailed a future star by the most prominent Polish composers of the time, including Andrzej Panufnik and Witold Lutosławski (whose Concerto for Orchestra he conducted in its U.S. premiere in 1958). In 1946 he became Music Director of the Wrocław (Breslau) Philharmonic, and then Music Director of the Silesian State Philharmonic of Katowice (1949-54), the Kraków Philharmonic (1954-56), and permanent conductor of the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra (1956-59). In the 1940s Skrowaczewski studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, during which time he joined the avant-garde composer’s organization Groupe Zodiaque. In 1948 he conducted the Paris premiere of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony with L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. A few years later Shostakovich heard a Skrowaczewski performance of the Fifth Symphony and he praised the young maestro’s interpretation. After many years working in isolated communist Poland, a breakthrough came in 1956 when Skrowaczewski won the Santa Cecilia Competition for Conductors in Rome. This award led to an invitation by conductor George Szell to conduct the Cleveland Orchestra in 1958, a significant moment which marked the next chapter of Skrowacewski’s international career. Engagements with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra amongst others followed and in 1960, at the age of 36, he became Music Director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra), a position he held for 19 years. It was at this point that he left Poland to become a U.S. citizen, having lived through the Second World War and three occupations of Lwów. During the 1960s Skrowaczewski made many debuts with major orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras, as well as with the Vienna State Opera and Metropolitan Opera (New York). In particular, he became a regular guest-conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra, where he returned most recently in 2015 and the Berlin Philharmonic, where he returned most recently in 2011. From 1984 to 1991 Skrowaczewski was Principal Conductor of The Hallé in Manchester with whom he toured Europe and the U.S. and recorded extensively, working with them regularly thereafter. In 2007 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan and conducted them every year since, most recently as their Honorary Conductor Laureate. From 1979 he served as Conductor Laureate for the Minnesota Orchestra, conducting them annually for 56 seasons, an unprecedented length in the history of major American orchestras. In 2015 he was made Conductor Laureate of the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern, following a long relationship and many celebrated recordings, including the complete Bruckner, Brahms, Schumann and Beethoven symphonies for Arte Nova Classics (now Oehms Classics). These received enormous critical acclaim and joined an extensive discography with other orchestras including the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony for Columbia Records, NHK Symphony, Minnesota, Royal Concertgebouw, London Philharmonic, London Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre National de France, Philharmonique de Radio France and The Hallé. Skrowaczewski’s compositions have been performed and recorded widely and have received critical acclaim, with his Concerto for Orchestra (1985) and Passacaglia Immaginaria (1995) both being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Recent compositions include the widely performed Music for Winds (2009) and King Lynn and His 3 Naughty Kobolds (2014) for cellist Lynn Harrell. During the last year of his life he was composing a requiem for orchestra and chorus. The recipient of numerous accolades, Skrowaczewski was awarded the Knight’s Cross of Polonia Restituta, one of Poland’s highest decorations, and has six Honorary Doctorates, awarded most recently by the universities of Minnesota and Wrocław, the New England Conservatory of Music and the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, Katowice. He is also the recipient of the Bruckner Society of America’s Kilenyi Medal of Honor and the Gold Medal of the Mahler-Bruckner Society, as well as five ASCAP Awards for his programming of contemporary music. A comprehensive account of Skrowaczewski’s life and work can be found in Seeking the Infinite: The Musical Life of Stanisław Skrowaczewski , by Frederick Harris, Jr.
Venue: David Geffen Hall, New York, New York Dates: Wednesday, 22 February 2017 – 7:30 PM Friday, 24 February 2017 – 11:00 AM Saturday, 25 February 2017 – 8:00 PM Presenter: New York Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Herbert Blomstedt Program: Beethoven: Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 Beethoven Symphony number 7 in A major, Op. 92 Here is the late Carlos Kleiber, conducting the Symphony number 7:
Barbican, London The pianist was always in gracious dialogue with the orchestra in this second concert from the classiest of double actsThe first concert in Murray Perahia’s Beethoven cycle with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, back in November, set the bar for the remainder in the series ferociously high. Yet the second instalment – weighted towards Beethoven’s middle period – brought new opportunities for this classiest of double acts.The Coriolan Overture energetically showcased the demands of the mature composer. Led by Tomo Keller, the strings tore into its opening gestures. Bow hairs were broken at the back of the first violins; timpani strokes sounded like gunshots; the ensemble was as tight as a coiled spring. Continue reading...
Great composers of classical music