Friday, December 2, 2016
On this day in 1951 Benjamin Britten‘s Billy Budd premiered in London. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJGz09z1biI Born on this day in 1823 composer Ernest Reyer who wrote the “other” Ring opera. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYFfsSjmsi0 Born on this day in 1877 composer Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych (who wrote something other than a familiar Ukrainian Christmas carol.) //www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XQyRRcBDX0 Born on this day in 1932 mezzo-soprano Heather Begg. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8gRVRWsixM On this day in 1956 Leonard Bernstein’s Candide opened on Broadway. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgXMxhMhYm4 On this day in 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song opened on Broadway. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p5MRGQP5e4 Happy 56th birthday soprano Leontina Vaduva. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_jwv8c4nfA On this day in 1968 Burt Bacharach-Hal David’s Promises Promises opened on Broadway. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=15S4M5EAG8Y
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Temporal Variations / Two Insect Pieces for oboe and piano Six Metamorphoses after Ovid op.49 for oboe Phantasy Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello op.2 Suite n. 1 for solo cello op.72 Ensemble Contrastes: Eric Speller oboe, Olivier Peyrebrune piano, Ophélie Gaillard cello, Stephanie-Marie Degand violin, Agathe Blondel viola Ambroisie AMB 9909 (2001) [flac, cue, log, scans]
The stuff of legend since his retirement from the concert stage in 1965, the distinguished countertenor died in New York City on November 26, 2016 at the age of 88. Russell Oberlin’s legacy will long endure in the recordings he made and musicians he mentored and inspired. One such shares his personal tribute. His beautiful, otherworldly, almost inhuman voice then epitomized the early music movement. In the 50s, when I was a junior or senior at Brown, the chamber music series at the School of Design Auditorium had brought in Noah Greenberg’s New York Pro Musica for a double bill: Flemish Renaissance music on the first half, Spanish Renaissance on the second. Although I had sung Renaissance partsongs in high school choir, and played a few lute transcriptions on my classical guitar, this concert delivered my very first hearing of an entire program of early music. By the end, I knew that performing this stuff was what I wanted to do. A vocation was born. And that sense of being called had quite a bit to do with Oberlin’s voice that evening. Was it a man’s sound, or a woman’s? It was supported all the way up, without a break, and without resorting to falsetto. Magical, compelling. It was full, with continuous vibrato, dead accurate as to pitch and rhythm. There was something sexless or androgynous in the timbre, verging on metallic, as though an angel were singing from on high, in some celestial tongue unknown to man. Oberlin’s voice did not make you feel warm and cuddly; rather, it gave you some sort of cosmic, strangely delightful chill. As I discovered later, listening to his other recordings, across several repertoires, it really did not matter much what language he was singing in, nor what style. If memory serves me, Oberlin made solo recordings of medieval English monodies, of 13th-century Spanish Cantigas, of English consort songs, of Buxtehude. He sang Oberlin in Britten’s opera of Midsummer Night’s Dream (a career-ending overstretch of his instrument, as rumor had it). Leonard Bernstein hired him and NYPM colleague, tenor Charles Bressler, to sing the “Et misericordia” duet from the Bach Magnificat on network TV. Was he also the Evangelist in a Bernstein TV special about the Bach St. Matthew Passion? I believe so. None of those performances, as I recall, had much in the way of style-specific nuance, or text-inflected phrasing, or localized, in-the-moment emotional commitment. It was, always, about that incredible sound. Oberlin’s way was my gold standard. Still an undergrad student, I recall meeting an Alfred Deller maven at a Manhattan bohemian party circa 1962. The Dellerite praised his countertenor hero’s nuance, delicacy, and infinite sensitivity to text. I criticized Deller’s falsetto technique, his preciosity, his lack of power and punch compared to the supernal Oberlin. I guess that it was, in a nutshell, a debate between old Europe versus young America. And I suppose we debaters were both right, in our way. But, at the time, I had trouble recognizing the legitimacy of my opponent’s viewpoint and musical values. Things change. Now, several lifetimes later, I still listen with pleasure to Deller’s old recordings; only rarely do I choose to hear something with Oberlin. Yet that first shock of encounter with Oberlin’s artistry remains, and I am grateful for that experience, and for the ensuing vocation that it triggered. I wrote about that moment for a magazine about a decade ago, and, after the article had appeared in print, was surprised to receive a handwritten, carefully calligraphed note from Oberlin in acknowledgement. I’m quite sorry now that we did not communicate further at that point ten years back, and only wish that there was more to this memoir of sound than a final, irrevocable silence. Well, perhaps there is, as we all, each in succession, stumble ascending to Helicon, bearing our humble, imperfect offerings to the Muse. The post Russell Oberlin: 1928 – 2016 appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .
He was the first male alto to make a solo career in the U.S.; in the 1950s and '60s he was at the forefront of the early music revival, singing everything from 12th-century English music through Bach and Handel (not to mention Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream). And he didn't use falsetto; alto was his natural range.
On this day in 1898 Pietro Mascagni’s Iris premiered in Rome. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X_5a2CPBsA On this day in 1831 Giacomo Meyerbeer‘s Robert le Diable premiered in Paris. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_5lKaK7U6Q Born on this day in 1913 baritone Jacques Jansen. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sca-MWuvw0M Also born on this day in 1913 composer Benjamin Britten. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2kdwGS-05A Born on this day in 1921 bass Günter Reich. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu2p6fqlmVw Happy 86th birthday director Peter Hall. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UCqKrkv2do Happy 75th birthday tenor Jerome Pruett. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nbrxaZdgg4 Happy 67th birthday mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Laurence. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkGLCU6w34Y Happy 65th birthday conductor Kent Nagano. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G7TTjV9jzc Happy 54th birthday soprano Sumi Jo. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=08xsZ0vtZyw
On this recording we get to enjoy the following: Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis Britten: Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 Elgar: Introduction & Allegro for strings, Op. 47 All performed by the LSO String Ensemble, Roman Simovic conducting. The LSO Has some excellent orchestral players among its members, and many of its principals are renowned soloists in their own right. They have developed new ensembles within the Orchestra to exhibit their incredible musicianship in different ways: from recent recordings of Reich by the LSO Percussion Ensemble to unique chamber performances of Stravinsky’s ‘The Soldier’s Tale’ and Mozart’s ‘Gran Partita’. The LSO String Ensemble, directed by Orchestra Leader Roman Simovic, are a key example of this practice, showcasing the wealth of talent that the London Symphony Orchestra has to offer. The LSO String Ensemble continues on LSO Live with three English masterpieces: Vaughan Williams’ ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis’, a visionary fusion of folksong and sacred music; Britten’s ‘Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge’, a challenging landmark of 20th-century string writing, here in a virtuosic performance; and Elgar’s ‘Introduction and Allegro’, a work beloved of the LSO, having been composed for and premiered by the Orchestra. Here is the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis:
Benjamin Britten (22 November 1913 - 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. Showing prodigious talent from an early age he composed his Quatre Chansons françaises for soprano and orchestra at the age of fourteen he first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945 Britten leapt to international fame, and for the next fifteen years he devoted much of his compositional attention to writing operas, several of which now appear regularly on international stages. Britten's interests as a composer were wide-ranging; he produced important music in such varied genres as orchestral, choral, solo vocal (much of it written for the tenor Peter Pears), chamber and instrumental, as well as film music. Britten also took a great interest in writing music for children and amateur performers, and was considered a fine pianist and conductor.
Great composers of classical music