Friday, October 19, 2007

Old New Classical Music And Current New Classical Music In The Nation's Capital -- A Quick Glimpse At The Facts On The Ground

The National Symphony Orchestra, last night, offered beautiful performances of William Schuman's Prayer in Time of War, and Ralph Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 6 in E minor. Both works are from the 1940's; and both deserve to be shared more widely by the NSO and public radio WETA/WGMS-FM with the Greater Washington region.

I had never heard the Schuman work. I had only heard the Vaughan Williams's work once before, under the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and Harold Farberman, 35 years ago in the Spring of 1972. Last night, I remembered a fairly good deal of the work from that early (or earlier) listenings.

While N. and I both thoroughly enjoyed Lviv, Ukraine-born Emmanuel Ax's performance, under Slatkin, of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83 [WETA/WGMS-FM will be broadcasting a recording of the work tonight at 9 PM; for those who can't make or afford the NSO concert]; I somewhat wished that I could have heard either the Friday or Saturday performances, when ensemble work was even further fine-tuned. [I performed in the work, as a violinist, in the summer of 1976, in Berkeley, under Jonathan Khuner, and with __ as the soloist.]

Given that he hopes now to be able to record more American music, let us hope that the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will afford Mr. Slatkin the opportunity to record the heart-felt William Schuman work, as well as much more American repertoire. [Mr. Slatkin has already recorded the Vaughan Williams with a London orchestra.]


Moving on to current new classical music, be sure to check out tonight's performance, at the Library of Congress, of the San Francisco-based Del Sol Quartet with Stephen Kent, didgeridoo, performing a new work by the Grawemeyer Award-winner Chinary Ung, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation, plus works by Kui Dong, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Peter Sculthorpe’s Quartet no. 16 for string quartet and didgeridoo. L of C Senior Music curator Steven Soderberg leads a pre-concert discussion with Chinary Ung and members of Del Sol Quartet at 6:15 PM.

Photo credit: (c) Jim Block. All rights reserved. Via the Library of Congress Music Concerts site. With thanks.



Del Sol String Quartet, Hevel and La Familia Peña-Govea on KQED'S Spark, Art and Culture Television Program [San Francisco, California].

[Original Airdate: Wed, Apr 11, 2007]

'Hear [and watch] the Del Sol String Quartet rehearse and debut the work of contemporary chamber composers.'

Tue, Oct 23, 2007 -- 2:30am [Pacific Time].


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