Letter V Classical Radio July 31

The second of two programs in our midsummer exploration of baroque music. In the second hour, music by Johann Sebastian Bach alongside works of two of his formative influences, his uncle, Johann Christoph Bach, and the Danish-German organ master Dieterich Buxtehude.

noon-3 p.m. EDT
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://wdce.net

Handel: Concerto grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5
Academy of Ancient Music/Andrew Manze
(Harmonia Mundi)

Georg Muffat: “Armonico tributo” – Sonata No. 2 in G minor
NZ Barok
(Atoll)

Johann Jakob Froberger: Suite No. 2 in D minor
Celine Frisch, harpsichord
(Alpha)

Corelli: Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 5, No. 12 (“ ‘Follia’ Variations”)
Stefano Montanari, violin
Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone
(Arts)

J.S. Bach: “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book 1 –
Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C major, BWV 846
Scott Ross, harpsichord
(Erato)

Past Masters:
Dieterich Buxtehude: Prelude, Fugue and Ciaccona in C major, BuxWV 137
Michel Chapuis, organ
(Valois/Naïve)
(recorded 1972)

Past Masters:
J.S. Bach: Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564
Michel Chapuis, organ
(United Archives)
(recorded 1967)

Johann Christoph Bach: Motet, “Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir”
Julia Doyle & Katherine Fuge, sopranos
Clare Wilkinson, contralto
James Gilchrist, Jeremy Budd & Nicholas Mulroy, tenors
Peter Harvey & Matthew Brook, basses
English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner
(Soli Deo Gloria)

J.S. Bach: Motet, “Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir,” BWV 228
Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe
(PHI)

J.S. Bach: “Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue” in D minor, BWV 903
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord
(Decca)

J.S. Bach: “The Art of Fugue,” BWV 1080 –
XV: Canon alla decima in contrapuncta all terza
XVI: Contrapunctus XIII, à 3
Marcin Świątkiewicz, harpsichord
Rachel Podger, violin & direction
Brecon Baroque
(Channel Classics)

Jean-Féry Rebel: “Symphonie nouvelle – Les Éléments”
Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall
(AliaVox)

Vivaldi: Concerto in D major, RV 428 (“Il gardellino”)
Jeremias Schwarzer, recorder
Holland Baroque
(Channel Classics)

Telemann: Overture in C major, TWV 55:C3 (“Hamburger Ebb und Fluth”)
Zefiro/Alfredo Bernardini
(Arcana)

Harada to lead Savannah Philharmonic

Keitaro Harada, the former associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony, has been named music and artistic director of the Savannah Philharmonic in Georgia. The Tokyo-born Harada succeeds Peter Shannon, who became the first conductor of the orchestra, organized in 2009, several years after the demise of the Savannah Orchestra.

Harada, who has been serving as associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops for the past four years, was added to a field of candidates to lead the Savannah Philharmonic after Shannon abruptly resigned in February, the Savannah Morning News’ Joshua Peacock reports:

http://www.savannahnow.com/news/20190723/baton-passes-savannah-philharmonic-orchestra-names-its-second-ever-music-and-artist-director

Letter V Classical Radio July 24

The first of two programs of baroque music, whose light textures, bright tone colors and vivid atmospheric effects are just right for dispelling midsummer doldrums. Those who assume that one baroque work sounds pretty much like another are in for many surprises.

noon-3 p.m. EDT
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://wdce.net

Marc-Antoine Charpentier:
“Fanfare à deux trompettes”
“Marche de Triomphe”
“Second Air de trumpette”
Musica Antiqua Köln/Reinhard Goebel
(DG Archiv)

Purcell: “Come, ye sons of art” (“Ode for the Birthday of Queen Mary”)
Jennifer Smith, soprano
Michael Chance & Timothy Wilson, counter-tenors
Stephen Richardson, bass
The English Concert & Choir/Trevor Pinnock
(DG Archiv)

Jean-Baptiste Lully: “Amour malade”
Sharla Nafziger, soprano
Aradia Baroque Ensemble/Kevin Mallon
(Naxos)

Handel: “Coronation Anthems” – III: “The king shall rejoice”
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Academy of Ancient Music/Stephen Cleobury
(Warner Classics)

Johann Georg Pisendel: Sonata in A minor for solo violin
Anton Steck, violin
(cpo)

Domenico Scarlatti:
Sonata in C minor, K. 84
Sonata in C major, K. 460
Sonata in D minor, K. 213
Sonata in D major, K. 119
Jean Rondeau, harpsichord
(Erato)

J.S. Bach: Sonata No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005, for solo violin
Christine Busch, violin
(PHI)

Telemann: Concerto in E minor, TWV 52:e1, for recorder and flute
Michael Schmidt-Casdorff, flute
Dorothee Oberlinger, recorder
Ensemble 1700
(Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

Rameau: “Les Boréades” (excerpts)
Jennifer Smith, soprano
John Aler & Philip Langridge, tenors
François Le Roux & Gilles Cachemaille, baritones
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner
(Erato)

Vivaldi: “The Four Seasons” – II: “Summer”
Giuliano Carmignola, violin
Venice Baroque Orchestra/Andrea Marcon
(Sony Classical)

Ben Johnston (1926-2019)

Ben Johnston, the American composer known for employing just intonation (even spacing of 12 notes within an octave) and producing works with numerous microtones (the near-infinity of tones spaced between the notes of the even-tempered scale), has died at 93.

Johnston was once described by The New York Times critic John Rockwell as “one of the best non-famous composers this country has to offer.”

Johnston, born in Macon, GA, grew up in Richmond (his father was my father’s boss at the Richmond Times-Dispatch), and earned degrees from the College of William and Mary and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He also studied with Darius Milhaud at Mills College and with American avant-gardists Harry Partch and John Cage.

Johnston taught composition, music theory and acoustics at the University of Illinois at Urbanna-Champaign for 35 years. After his retirement from the university in 1986, he continued teaching composition privately.

His most important works are 10 string quartets, in styles ranging from serial to microtonal to minimalist; the best-known of them is the Quartet No. 4, which features variations on the old hymn tune “Amazing Grace.” Among his other compositions are “Quintet for Groups,” for which he was awarded the Orchesterpreis der Donaueschingen Musiktage in Germany in 2008; “Sonnets of Desolation,” commissioned by the Swingle Singers; incidental music for Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla,” as staged by the LaMaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York; and a sonata and suite for microtonal piano.

Johnston won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1959 and an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his book “Maximum Clarity” in 2007.

Review: Richmond Symphony Summer Series

Adrian Pintea, violin
Russell Wilson, piano
July 18, Dominion Energy Center

Ardian Pintea, assistant concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony, and Russell Wilson, the orchestra’s pianist and a veteran performer and teacher at various institutions in the region, took on a succession of formidable technical and interpretive challenges in the second program of the symphony’s Summer Series, this year exploring chamber music by American composers.

The duo negotiated the almost constantly shifting terrain of John Corigliano’s Violin Sonata (1963), a work that the composer, now an esteemed elder of American music, wrote when he was 25 and audibly testing his capacities and those of performers. In introductory remarks, Pintea noted that Corigliano wrote the sonata for his father, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic (1943-66), who declined to play it unless another violinist of stature agreed to. The younger Corigliano sent the score to Jascha Heifetz, who tersely spurned it. (Corigliano Sr. relented, and recorded the piece in 1965.)

The outer movements of the Corigliano sonata are packed with vivid, elaborate displays of violin technique, often at extremes of the instrument’s register, vying with dense, angular piano accompaniment. The inner andantino and lento movements form a dark fantasy, the most expressive and musically coherent sections of the piece. Pintea and Wilson emphasized the lyricism and sonic atmospherics at the center of the sonata.

Wilson faced a comparable challenge in the first movement of George Walker’s Piano Sonata No. 1, written in 1953 and revised in 1991. The long-lived (1922-2018) composer, who also was an accomplished pianist, was one of the first African-Americans to establish himself in the mainstream of classical music in the US. Wilson observed that Walker’s references to black vernacular styles such as blues and jazz were subtle elements of a generally abstract musical language.

The sonata movement, marked allegro energico, is sternly neo-classical in style, with touches of impressionism in quieter passages. Wilson’s performance, appropriately, alternated between manic energy and moody reverie.

Pintea played two movements from Max Stern’s “Bedouin Impressions” (1989), a solo-violin album of sound-pictures of the composer’s time in Israel. The featured pieces, “Pastoral” and “Lament,” are finely spun and open-textured, calling for rarified tone production and sensitivity to silence as a musical element. The violinist proved to be a convincing advocate for Stern’s work.

Pintea and Wilson opened the program with four miniatures by Samuel Barber, nicely riding the lyrical flow of arrangements of “St. Ita’s Vision” and “The Desire for Hermitage” from the “Hermit Songs” cycle of 1953, and “Canzone (Elegy)” (1959), an alternate version of an arrangement for flute and piano of the slow movement of Barber’s Piano Concerto. The duo turned up the heat in “Gypsy Dance” (1922), written by the 12-year-old Barber for an unfinished opera, “Rose Tree.”

The Richmond Symphony Summer Series continues on July 25 with French horn player Dominic Rotella and pianist Ingrid Keller playing works by Bernstein, Gershwin, Alan Hovhaness, Robert Weirich, Carol Barnett and Paul Basler. The series presents hour-long chamber-music programs at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 15 in Gottwald Playhouse of Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets. Tickets: $20 (seating limited). Details: (804) 788-1212; http://www.richmondsymphony.com

National Philharmonic faces shutdown

The National Philharmonic, an orchestra of freelance professional musicians performing in Montgomery County, MD, a suburb of Washington, anticipates ceasing operations this summer. Its finances have been squeezed by decreased support from the county and increased fees at its principal venue, the Music Center at Strathmore.

The orchestra, whose annual operating budget is about $2 million, would need $150,000 to salvage its fall season, The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette reports:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/national-philharmonic-bows-out-abruptly/2019/07/16/8977dcd8-a810-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html

Letter V Classical Radio July 17

noon-3 p.m. EDT
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://wdce.net

Corelli: Concerto grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 7
Freiburg Baroque Orchestra/Gottfried von der Goltz
(Aparté)

Respighi: “Concerto all’antica”
Ingolf Turban, violin
English Chamber Orchestra/Marcello Viotti
(Claves)

Martinů: Concerto grosso for two pianos and chamber orchestra
Jaroslav Šaroun & Karel Růžička, pianos
Czech Philharmonic/Jiří Bělohlávek
(Supraphon)

Franz Berwald: “Grand Septet” in B flat major
Anima Eterna
(Alpha)

Louise Farrenc: Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 30
Schubert Ensemble
(ASV)

Beethoven: Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50
Katarina Andreasson, violin
Swedish Chamber Orchestra Örebro/Thomas Dausgaard
(Simax Classics)

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488
Richard Goode, piano
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
(Nonesuch)

Brahms: String Quintet in G major, Op. 111
(string-orchestra arrangement)
Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Candida Thompson
(Channel Classics)