Monday, March 30, 2009

Some Material And Immaterial Remains Of A Recent Stay ...

Although I am trying, generally, to not "collect" CDs, at this point of my "career", my inability to find time to attend live performances on my recent 10-day trip to Berkeley led me to purchase three CDs/CD sets; two of which I have listened to: a 30 minute textless, 'spectral' work for two sopranos and orchestra by Gerard Grisey on a disc also featuring Rameau, Mozart, and Berlioz [$6]; John Blackwood McEwen's early twentieth century Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, which was recommended by Bob Shingleton on his On an Overgrown Path blog (as I had been reviewing my old college John Milton volume) [$9]; and the four-CD set of Egon Wellesz's nine Symphonies -- all composed starting when the former Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern colleague was in his sixties and living and working productively, in exile, in Oxford, United Kingdom (like Stravinsky and Schoenberg in, respectively, Hollywood and Pacific Palisades, California) [$28].

While I heard some of Egon Wellesz's fascinating piano music at the Austrian Cultural Forum, in Washington, D.C., and have been attempting to find time for Wellesz's trail-blazing history of Byzantine music that I found on an earlier Berkeley home-stay [$12]; I haven't yet found time or inclination to begin listening to the fascinating and promising Wellesz cycle, although I have been studying the program notes. There are three mid-career choral-orchestral works by Wellesz that I also plan to investigate. (I must also relisten to the Wellesz opera based upon Euripides that I have in my collection.)

This past weekend's high-light was attendence at an excellent performance, by the Washington National Opera, of Peter Grimes (almost 33 years after I heard Jon Vickers perform the work in San Francisco]. Classical WETA-FM also broadcast a very satisfying program last night of a Bach motet, Poulenc's Four Penitential Psalms, and Rameau's Pygmalian opera-ballet. On Wednesday, the public radio station will fulfill a proper role by rebroadcasting the National Symphony Orchestra performance, under Ivan Fischer, of Mahler's Symphony #3, recorded at the Kennedy Center last autumn.

In Berkeley, my mother and I listened to one-half of a fine, but a bit strange, delayed broadcast by the San Francisco Symphony: Liszt's early Tasso tone poem and Ravel's Concerto for Piano in G with Martha Argerich. (Will the SFS really be reprising the Liszt Tasso next season?) My mother hopes to hear Leila Josefowicz rehearse Thomas Ades's Violin Concerto with the SFS this Wednesday morning. I heard the work, conducted by Mr Ades, in North Bethesda, Maryland, last season, performed by the Baltimore Symphony. I hope to hear Ms Josefowicz perform the Oliver Knussen Violin Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra in May.


What American operas do readers here think the Washington National Opera should be exploring in future years?


Header credits: (c) National Symphony Orchestra web-site; and Asian Art Museum of San Francisco web-site [The Dragon's Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan]. Copyright controlled. With thanks.


“E. M. W. Tillyard contrasts John Milton's sonnet on his dead wife "Methought I saw my late espoused saint" with John Donne's self-absorbed "Since she whome I lov'd," noting that Milton focuses on his deceased wife rather than on himself. The deep personal sadness of Milton's sonnet is indisputable; as Barbara Lewalski asserts, "It is one of the great love poems in the language, displaying what is not elsewhere evident: Milton's capacity to love a woman deeply and respond to her love."

Milton's purgatorio by Theresa M. DiPasquale


[Cleaned the Washington house for a National Gallery of Art curator's visit on Thursday evening to see a Oleg Kudryashov figurative drawing/painting/etching; and N.'s return from her six-week home-leave on Friday.]


Post a Comment

<< Home