2015 Spring Membership Drive Premium

rachel barton pine

Internationally acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine has put together a double-disc set album including all of Mozart’s violin concertos and the Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364, and we’re offering it to you with your sustaining membership of $15 or more (or a lump sum gift of $180).

For this album Ms. Barton Pine worked with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and conductor Sir Neville Marriner. She has been listening to Sir Marriner and the Academy play Mozart ever since she was a child. She grew up listening to them on LP records given to her by her mother. Collaborating with these musicians was a dream she fulfilled. You can hear the level of dedication and passion from her and the Academy when you listen to this record. She has a very fine understanding of Mozart and expresses his music dramatically. She and her collaborators were detailed and precise during the recording process and didn’t stop until they achieved the perfect sound.

You can receive a copy of her new album when you contribute $15 or more during our Spring Membership Drive, March 23-28, 2015. Call (502) 814-6565 or give online.

Check out a video of Ms. Pine performing the 2nd movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 below.

Bach is Still Hot

Bell Joshua Perf shot_PC Chris Lee

Classical 90.5 is giving away a copy of Joshua Bell’s latest release which is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Felix Mendelssohn is credited for putting Bach’s music back into popular culture. If the current list of new recordings are any indication, Bach is still grabbing listeners’ ears.

Violinist Lisa Batiashvili put out her own recording of Bach’s violin and orchestra works recently. The Georgian violinist paired the concertos with chamber works by Bach and his son Carl Philipp Emanuel.

Pianist Andrew Rangell released a 3-CD set of keyboard masterworks by Bach. The Steinway & Sons recording includes the Goldberg Variations and the six partitas. This 2013 set is a collection of previously released recordings by Mr. Rangell.

Pianist Igor Levit has created quite a stir in the the classical recording world with his fiery performances. That includes his Sony Classical release of the six partitas by Bach.

The six French Suites by Bach are performed by pianist Sergey Schepkin on a new 2-CD set by Steinway & Sons. The set includes Bach Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue and Fantasia & Fugue in A minor.

Giveaway: Joshua Bell “Bach”

Bell Joshua Perf shot_PC Chris Lee

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is known for its prolific recordings, mostly under the baton of Sir Neville Mariner. Violinist Joshua Bell became the ensemble’s music director in 2011, the first since Marriner, and almost immediately launched into recording with the group, starting with Beethoven symphonies 4 & 7, and in 2014 releasing an all-Bach disc.

Celebrate Bach’s birthday, coming up on March 21st, by entering to win a copy of Joshua Bell “Bach” from Classical 90.5.

Bourbon Baroque’s Dido and Aeneas

Bourbon Baroque

Louisville’s period instrument ensemble Bourbon Baroque will be presenting Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Kentucky Center’s Bomhard Theater on Saturday, March 14 at 8:00pm.

Co-artistic directors of Bourbon Baroque, Austin Clark and Nicolas Fortin sat down with Daniel Gilliam to discuss their upcoming production.

How this production of Dido and Aeneas is different from the rest

“This production of Dido and Aeneas is the quintessential example of what our mission is for Bourbon Baroque. We have gathered together a group of a variety of disciplines to create a visual concept for this production that includes contemporary dance, pantomime actors on mask, as well as of course the orchestra, the chorus, and minimalist costume and scenic design.”

How Bourbon Baroque puts on an opera without being an opera company

“I am a big fan of surrounding yourself with smarter people. I think it makes it so that you don’t feel like you have everything on your shoulders. Obviously with the opera form that is a whole contingency of collaboration…. Through my own personal musical work and musical theater direction, I have met many people in the theater community and through those projects and introductions I have formulated this wonderful Baroque dream team, a local group that is going to help us make this happen.”

On Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas

“It is based on the Aeneid by Virgil and retells the story of the sad and unfortunate fate of Dido getting betrayed by her lover Aeneas… It’s beautiful music, very intricate fast paced one hour opera with dance music. The characters are making the story in front our eyes, but always with short and compelling interjections of 24 piece chorus in our production.”

On working with the Youth Performing Arts School

“This program is great for us because the YPAS students are able to dedicate the time needed to make the music really speak. When I’m coaching young musicians, particularly singers, I’m like, well it’s one thing to learn the notes but it’s quite another to then add on that extra layer, all the gestures and the Baroque styling, which I am often equating to musical theater. Musical theater has their own little bitty ways of doing things and if you can understand that then you can understand that the Baroque music has it’s own toolbox of vocal techniques that makes things really sell.”

On the short orchestral suite to begin the evening

“There is a short 20 minuet orchestral suite that we’ve actually performed a handful of times before. It’a a piece that we really hold true to what we do with Bourbon Baroque and that’s of course the central component of collaboration. We are performing Georg Philipp Telemann’s La Putain.”

You can purchase your tickets to see Bourbon Baroque’s Dido and Aeneas here.

Review: Louisville Orchestra Offers Discovery in the Old and New

Abrams-Photo-by-Sam-English

Teddy Abrams continues to show that orchestra concerts don’t have to be formulaic, and that discovery manifest in different ways. This past Friday and Saturday evening, we discovered, for example, that a conductor doesn’t have to wear a tuxedo or black socks. We discovered that hearing a 5-7 minute harpsichord improvisation could be interesting and fun, if not a little too long. We discovered the 2014 Grawemeyer winner. Ultimately no one was harmed by these discoveries, that I’m aware of, and we are all the better for them.

First of the evening were selections from Jean-Baptiste Lully’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman), a comédie-ballet from the early Baroque. Teddy Abrams led from the harpsichord (not as Lully would have done, but as most of his contemporaries would have) and the orchestra moved through the score like a jazz band reading through charts. It felt informal, welcoming, unpretentious and fun.

Lack of rehearsal, due to last week’s snow storms, meant no Ravel. It also might explain a handful of messy entrances in the Lully and Vivaldi. Just starting a piece can be the hardest and most nerve-racking part of leading an ensemble. Add the layer of conducting almost entirely from the harpsichord and things get messy sometimes; though messy isn’t necessarily bad.

A welcome addition to this Louisville Orchestra season is a recent Grawemeyer winner, the 2014 awarded On the Guarding of the Heart by Djuro Zivkovich, a Serbian composer living in Sweden. He describes the work as an “instrumental cantata,” paying homage to Bach. Zivkovich’s 20-minute score is an exploration of sound and timbre; the fourteen musicians are frequently required to play outside their traditional sounds, including singing along with their instrument. Overall, the work is a delicate layering of harmony, shifting imperceptibly, showing off an inner beauty.

Though Abrams explained before the piece that structure in this new work is important and clear, to a new listener form and musical architecture are largely inaudible. We are naturally drawn to phrases and ideas that return. Here Zivkovich gives some ideas too little time to settle, while others are afforded too much time, including several insurmountable piano drones. While the Brown Theater was a better venue than Whitney Hall for On the Guarding of the Heart, an even smaller, more resonant hall would have better suited Zivkovich’s (and Lully and Vivaldi’s) music.

For the second half, Teddy Abrams brought in four student violinists from his alma mater, The Curtis Institute of Music, through “Curtis on Tour,” a program that puts students in professional settings around the world.

Each violinist took on one of the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, a set of concertos written in 1720 and part of a set of 12 concertos (op. 8). The fact that “Spring” (and all the seasons) are ubiquitous is all the more incredible when you consider that Vivaldi was virtually unknown until the early Twentieth century. Despite their over abundance in playlists and “Best Of” compilations, these seasonal vignettes are inventive and imaginative. The two cheerful seasons, “Spring” and “Autumn,” are contrasted with the more tumultuous “Summer” and “Winter.”

Eunice Kim played a light and fluid “Spring,” delicately bouncing through the score, and smiling the entire time. Dayna Anderson drew on the earthiness of “Summer,” giving her bow a rustic growl here and there. The most flamboyant soloist was Luosha Fang, mostly interested in a dialogue with the orchestra and the audience, moving around the stage like an actor. The “iceman” Nikki Chooi was calculated — each gesture focused and transparent. Chooi found every timbre available in “Winter,” from dark and guttural to airy and shimmering.

The orchestra, playing no small part in these finely crafted concertos, was colorful and sensitive to the score: never plodding and always attuned to the nuance of Vivaldi’s music. Seeing the conductor equally involved in the playing of music changes our level of involvement. We are drawn in closer. The implied barrier between us and them is no longer present, and the music is about all of us.