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Thread: Classical, etc music

  1. #151
    old school orbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    The next live music I see should be the Ring Cycle at the Met, starting next Saturday!
    I'm so excited for this. I wish I could watch these at the Met but their live broadcasts at my local movie theater do the job for now. i watched Manon last month and I think Anna Netrebko did a pretty good job. I liked her better in Anna Bolena back in February though.

    Back with Wagner, the Dallas Opera did Tristan & Isolde two months ago. Wagner's superhuman demands were very well met by a very talented cast. It was incredible. i'm seeing la Traviata on Sunday and The Magic Flute next Friday.

  2. #152
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I really wanted to see Manon but I didn't get drawn for cheap seats and with Coachella and all I was unable to go anyway. I would also love to see Tristan, though I shouldn't complain what with the Ring I'm seeing now and François Girard's production of Parsifal next season.

    I saw the first installment last night, Das Rheingold. I was really impressed by how The Machine worked as the set, I was impressed by how varied the stage could be with just the one set piece, and I am excited to see what else they do with it.

    In reviews I've seen more than a few complaints about the literalness of the production but, with this shifting machine of 24 planks the setting is suggested more than presented. There are no trees, there are planks. There are no rocky outcroppings, there are planks.

    The Met Orchestra played well, there was only really one place early on where there seemed to be real problems but there was enough going on that intruiged me (what with a two and a half hour show with no intermission) that I can't remember when that was, even. The prelude was gorgeous, and the closing march into Valhalla appropriately triumphant.

    Of the 14 named cast members Robert Brubaker stood out, singing a well characterized Mime, and Stephanie Blythe was impressive as Fricka. Bryn Terfel had the power for Wotan, though I'm looking forward to Sigfried when he will be in disguise, hopefully not wearing the silly plastic armor.

    These photos are Met publicity stills, from the first stand-alone performance (it opened last season), not my pics.







    It isn't clear in the photo but this last one the stairs are all askew and they've got ropes around their waist so they don't plummet to the stage floor, 20 or 30 feet below.
    Last edited by mountmccabe; 05-07-2012 at 09:03 AM.
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  3. #153
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Ah, that notorious set. Read a lot about that one. I guess the question is, as impressive as it is, does it detract (or distract from?) the actual opera? I've never seen a Wagner opera. Might be going to LA Opera's new Flying Dutchman later this year. I think it premiered at SF Opera.

    I'm really excited about this LA Phil concert in September. Dudamel conducts Ravel: Pavane pour une infante defunte, a world premiere symphony from Steven Stucky and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. I actually don't know Stucky's work. Any recommendations?

  4. #154
    Coachella Junkie Alchemy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Have you guys used Spotify's Classify app? It's been pretty handy in opening up the world of classical music for me.
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  5. #155
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Quote Originally Posted by RageAgainstTheAoki View Post
    Ah, that notorious set. Read a lot about that one. I guess the question is, as impressive as it is, does it detract (or distract from?) the actual opera?
    I can't say it has been a problem thus far.

    I guess my seats are in the back of the orchestra but I can't hear much creaking as The Machine shifts around; maybe they're oiling it better now?

    Some people may be expecting standard backdrops, like for most operas (as well as plays and musicals) of buildings and various other structures around... but such sets often aren't photorealistic anyway, they are suggestions in their own way and they can often look silly/cheesy in their approximations of reality. So really I am going to say at this point that the non-literal set is a plus.

    I have also read complaints about The Machine taking up too much space, not leaving the singers much room to move... but this is the Met, there isn't going to be much regietheater anyway. The singers are going to park and bark no matter how much room you leave them.

    Since the Rheinmaidens are in mermaid costumes they can't move very much, so when Alberich is trying to catch them it comes off as ridiculous (it could have been played for laughs with a bit more physicality on Alberich's part - Richard Paul Fink was our Alberich and I know he could play this up after seeing his Henry Kissinger in Nixon In China from the Met - but maybe it was just too dangerous up on The Machine like that.

    Other than that my biggest issues were the silly plastic-looking breastplates and that Alberich turning himself into a giant snake got laughs due to how silly the tail and head looked (the ribs of his body was one of the most impressive uses of The Machine, I thought)... but that snake head, etc would've been used anyway.


    (I'll note that it looks kind of reasonable in this photo, but you can't see the head and tail bobbing around, or the stagehands holding the head.)

    Die Walküre starts in just over 3 hours, I should be able to say more tonight!
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  6. #156
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I sit in the center of this cavernous building. I mean, it was really built to hold the 7th NY Militia Regiment. For this concert there are three sets of bleachers, three stages for orchestras, a balcony and standing room walkways along the top edge. I have a seat very near the center of it all and am surrounded by space, people and music.

    They open with an unlisted chorale played by three 5-person brass quintets spread around the room. As it ends the distant tones dissipate, shrinking back to the corners of the room.

    The next piece is for Bruno Maderna by Pierre Boulez. It is for 8 ensembles led by Alan Gilbert conducting in the center. The music dances around the room, it approaches from all directions. The piece does little for me but it is nonetheless thrilling to hear. (This also fits in nicely as at the premiere of Gruppen the three conductors were Stockhausen, Boulez and Maderna).

    Even more amazing is the last several scenes from Act 1 of Don Giovanni. Fancy ladies in all white with giant white wigs parade around, meeting up with fancy gentlemen in sharp black suits. Then the principles start standing up from amongst us singing their lines and chasing each other/running away as they act out their parts. The on-stage bands (in the opera) are spread about the room; their dances intertwining. When the singers are distant and not facing you they can be difficult to hear but everything converges on the center as they confront the Don. This was stunning to be in the middle of, to be surrounded by the cast.

    After intermission the central podium was gone and three orchestras were set up on the stages for Stockhausen's Gruppen. The orchestras work quasi-independently, each with their own conductor, today Alan Gilbert, Magnus Lindberg and Matthias Pintscher. Lindberg's orchestra started, full of tension and nervous energy. And then Linberg motions to Gilbert - as he would to a clarinettist to signal an important entrance - and the second orchestra starts in. The music is jarring and difficult enough that I don't quite pick up separate characters from the orchestra (as with say the simultaneous competing dances in Don Giovanni) but there are sections that are more clear and attention is still drawn all around (or, in my case, 70, 190 and 310 degrees.)

    The evening closes with The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives. The strings from the three orchestras play slow, quiet chords in a near-drone and a solo trumpet - at the far end of the Armory, maybe 40 feet above the ground - plays a short, beautiful, mournful figure - the titular question - and four flutes - centered - try to answer playing a sort of variation on the question. This repeats, the strings continue unchanged and the trumpet asks the same question in the same way but the attempted answer from the flutes grows more atonal, less coherent. The final question is asked by no answer is attempted and the chords from the strings slowly fade away.

    This was an exciting, beautiful evening. I can think of little I've seen that compares.

    This was the New York Philharmonic at Park Avenue Armory, June 30, 2012. Michael Counts was the director and designer.
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  7. #157
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I'm very jealous of the Charles Ives performance. That sounds great.
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  8. #158
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Video of the whole thing can be streamed from Medici.tv for the next 90 days, starting 2 pm EST today.

    And starting July 10 audio will be available on-demand through Q2, one of WQXR's web stations.
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  9. #159
    Coachella Junkie Aurgasm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    love this thread. great stuff
    Rhythm is a dancer.

  10. #160
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    First: PBS is showing the productions of the Ring I saw at the Met next week, preceded by Wagner's Dream, a documentary on the production of the cycle. If you can only catch one I def recommend tuning in Wednesday for Die Walkure as that one works best on its own.

    Second: David T Little wrote an opera based on a Judy Budnitz short story, Dog Days*. The world premiere staged production happens in a couple weeks at Montclair State University. I need to figure out how I can see this; that short story is amazing and it is even more amazing that someone made it into an opera.




    * Link is to the entire short story; that link lists it as Chapter One of Flying Leap whereas it is really just the first short story in the collection.
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  11. #161
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I spent Saturday night with a hot-blooded Venezuelan who set my heart racing, left me breathless and sent chills down my spine. Finally saw Gustavo "the Dud" Dudamel conduct the LA Phil at Disney Hall. And what a concert. The first half gave us a gorgeous, lush Pavane pour une infante defunte from Ravel and then a stunner of a symphony (and world premiere) from Stephen Stucky which served as the perfect prelude to the main event, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. This was the first time Dudamel had conducted the Rite of Spring with the Phil and it was magnificent. It's amazing to me that a piece written in 1912 and which I've heard hundreds of times still has the power to startle with its awesome power. Even better, we were seated up in the Terrace and at intermission this man approached us and said he and his son had to leave early and offered us his seats. We ended up dead center in the front row for the Rite of Spring. You could literally feel the those massive wallops of sound reverberate off the orchestra. Such a thrill.

    This same concert is being performed today and is streaming on NPR Music's site here: http://www.npr.org/event/music/16147...world-premiere

  12. #162
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    This is pretty cool. It's called Slonimsky's Earbox by John Adams




    From inside the orchestra
    Last edited by VigoTheCarpathian; 02-01-2013 at 06:06 PM.

  13. #163
    Lurker nellsonic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Anybody going to (or been to) the Ojai Festival? It takes place outside of LA, but to the west of it. I've never really thought of it as such before now, but you could make it case for it as the Coachella of the classical world, just much more intimate.
    == Coachella '09, '10, '12 (wk1), '13 (wk2) ==


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  14. #164
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    I did not know about the Ojai Festival but if I were still in the west I would certainly consider it! A lot of John Luther Adams and Lou Harrison sounds good to me!
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  15. #165
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    But I came in here to post about Parsifal. Which y'all should see at the Live in HD broadcast in a couple weeks.

    On Friday I went to the Met to see the premiere of the new production by François Girard (The Red Violin, 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould) and it was absolutely beautiful. It was a symbolic production that avoided many of the Christian related trappings of the opera. I was particularly entranced by the third act; the first scene of which forgo the crowd of extras used in every other scene bringing the focus on Gurnemanz, Kundry and Parsifal. The extras worked in the other scenes just as well as their absence worked here.

    The cast is amazing. René Pape held the piece together as Gurnemanz, Jonas Kaufmann seemed to start off tentatively as Parsifal but that may have been part of the characterization as his voice seemed to grow as Parsifal came into his own. I really liked Evgeny Nikitin's Klingsor but maybe that's just because he's the counter to all the piety.

    Dress rehearsal footage of Parsifal waking up.



    There is an interesting review in the New York Times, though the reviewer seems to have missed that Parsifal is a Fisher King story even though this production could hardly have made it more clear that the earth was Amfortas. There is also this interesting review, though I have no snark to add.

    This was the best thing I've seen at the Met this season; I am definitely going to enter the lottery to try for tickets for March 2nd and if I don't win I'm seriously considering seeing the Live In HD broadcast of that performance, which y'all can do to. Which I totally recommend.

    Well, OK, maybe not everyone. Not everyone wants to see four and a half hours of Wagner starting at noon ET. And there were certainly attendees, etc. were upset that it wasn't a super-traditional production; folks like to talk about being literal about what Wagner wrote... ignoring the fact that if we were doing that we would only be staging Parsifal at Bayreuth. Though those folks would likely be unhappy with that festival's current production by Herheim, a multi-layered, subversive deconstruction of the opera.

    Last edited by mountmccabe; 02-19-2013 at 04:15 PM.
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  16. #166
    The Encyclopedia bmack86's Avatar
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    I wanted to go to Ojai the year they had both Steve Reich and Terry Riley. It sounded great.
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  17. #167
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    It was awesome hanging out with Steve Reich and getting psychedelic in the sunshine during the performance of Drumming!
    == Coachella '09, '10, '12 (wk1), '13 (wk2) ==


    Stone Roses, Lou Reed, Modest Mouse, Grinderman, Bassnectar, Beach House, How to Destroy Angels, etc.

    Phoenix, Grizzly Bear, Puscifer, New Order, Spiritualized, Moby, Benny Benassi, etc.

    Tame Impala, Dead Can Dance, Nick Cave, OMD, Wu-Tang Clan, Parov Stelar Band, Pretty Lights, etc,


    2013 Highlights: Coachella, Ojai Festival, Einstein on the Beach

  18. #168
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    This was just on the radio. Perfect sunny Sunday listening

    Last edited by VigoTheCarpathian; 03-10-2013 at 04:22 PM.

  19. #169
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    A little night music


  20. #170
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    The theme you'll recognize is at 2:50

    Last edited by VigoTheCarpathian; 03-11-2013 at 07:40 PM.

  21. #171
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    Last edited by VigoTheCarpathian; 03-12-2013 at 06:42 PM.

  22. #172
    VigoTheCarpathian
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  23. #173
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I love Fantasia on a Time-Lapse.

    We are seeing the New York Philharmonic playing Bach's B-minor Mass tomorrow night. I am quite excited. Alan Gilbert is conducting and the soloists include Eric Owens, Steve Davislim, Annie Sofie van Otter and Dorothea Röschmann. This will be my first NYPO concert this season.
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  24. #174
    VigoTheCarpathian
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  25. #175
    VigoTheCarpathian
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  26. #176
    VigoTheCarpathian
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  27. #177
    VigoTheCarpathian
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  28. #178
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    Wish Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov a happy 169th Birthday, Bitchez



    Last edited by VigoTheCarpathian; 03-18-2013 at 04:41 PM.

  29. #179
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  30. #180
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I am going to work the "etc" part now. Does anyone want to rep for some Medieval composers? Or, for the future, anyone from the Renaissance?
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
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