Richmond Symphony & Molly Sharp reviewed

My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the opening concert of the Richmond Symphony’s Metro Collection series, featuring Molly Sharp, the orchestra’s principal violist, at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland:

http://www.richmond.com/entertainment/music/musical-balancing-act-still-produces-lyrical-moments-at-randolph-macon/article_2ec1d422-2918-5016-bc39-43a2456f0fbb.html

October calendar

Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult single-ticket prices are listed; senior, student/youth, group and other discounts may be offered.

* In and around Richmond: The Richmond Symphony’s principal violist, Molly Sharp, joins Steven Smith and the orchestra in the opening concert of its Metro Collection series, a program of works by Haydn, Beethoven, Rebecca Clarke and Peter Maxwell Davies, Oct. 1 at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. . . . Virginia Opera concludes its season-opening run of Saint-Saëns’ “Samson and Delilah,” Oct. 13 and 15 at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Arts Center, following performances earlier in the month in Norfolk and Fairfax. . . . The Emerson String Quartet plays Beethoven, Shostakovich and Purcell in the season-opener of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rennolds Chamber Concerts, Oct. 14 at Singleton Arts Center. . . . French organist Thomas Ospital plays Bach, Mozart, Franck, Vierne and more, Oct. 17 at St. Bridget Catholic Church. . . . Pianist Richard Goode performs in a program of Beethoven, Debussy, Bach and William Byrd, Oct. 20 at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center. . . . Canada’s Nathaniel Dett Chorale, named for the composer-chorusmaster who taught at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) from 1913 to 1932, sings original works and spiritual arrangements by Dett and others, including US premieres of three pieces by Brandon Waddles, Oct. 20 at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. . . . German organist Thierry Melcher plays Book 3 of Bach’s “Clavierübung,” also known as the “German Organ Mass,” Oct. 22 at River Road Church, Baptist. . . . Steven Smith and the symphony are joined by the classical-crossover string trio Time for Three in a Rush Hour concert on Oct. 27 and in Chris Brubeck’s “Travels in Time for Three,” on an Oct. 28 Masterworks program with works by Bartók and Steven Stucky, both at the Carpenter Theatre. . . . Baritone Thomas Meglioranza and pianist Reiko Uchida perform songs by Beethoven, Wolf, Fauré, Ives and others, Oct. 30 at UR’s Modlin Center.

* Noteworthy elsewhere: Charlottesville’s Tuesday Evening Concert series begins its season with pianist Vadym Kholodenko playing Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky on Oct. 3, and violinist Yevgeny Kutik and pianist Spencer Myer playing Mendelssohn, Bloch, Debussy, Franck and Ravel on Oct. 24, both at Old Cabell Hall of the University of Virginia. . . . Violinist Arabella Steinbacher plays Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Nathalie Stutzman and the National Symphony Orchestra, on a program also featuring music of Dvořák and Lalo, Oct. 5-7 at Washington’s Kennedy Center. . . . The Emerson and Dover quartets, pianist Joseph Kalichstein and others help reopen the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater in an Oct. 12 program of Mendelssohn, Schoenberg, Brahms and more. . . . Trio con Brio Copenhagen plays piano trios of Haydn, Smetana and Beethoven, Oct. 16 at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk. . . . Pianist Jonathan Biss joins Jun Märkl and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a program of Mozart, Saint-Saëns and Richard Strauss, Oct. 21 at Strathmore in the Maryland suburbs of DC. . . . Martha Argerich plays Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia of Rome, on a program also featuring works of Verdi and Respighi, Oct. 25 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Cellist Sol Gabetta plays Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo Variations” with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony, alongside works of Mendelssohn, Debussy and Richard Strauss, Oct. 28 at Strathmore. . . . The Orlando Consort samples vocal works from the Laborde Songbook, Oct. 30 at the Library of Congress in Washington.

Oct. 1 (2 p.m.)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Laurel Street at Floyd Avenue, Richmond
American Brass Quintet
English consort music by Thomas Morley, John Dowland, John Wilbye, William Brade
Russian works by Ludwig Maurer, Antoine Simon
Anders Hillborg: Brass Quintet
Joan Tower: “Copperwave”
canons by Josquin des Prés, Giovanni Palestrina, Johannes Martini
Eric Ewazen: “Colchester Fantasy”
free
(804) 359-5651
http://richmondcathedral.org/music

Oct. 1 (3 p.m.)
Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College, 205 Henry St., Ashland
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Beethoven: “Coriolan” Overture
Rebecca Clarke: Viola Concerto
Molly Sharp, viola
Peter Maxwell Davies: “Carolisima”
Haydn: Symphony No. 83 in G minor (“The Hen”)
$22
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

Oct. 1 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
John Bullard & Adam Larrabee, banjos
program TBA
$15
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events

Oct. 1 (2:30 p.m.)
Oct. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Opera
Adam Turner conducting
Saint-Saëns: “Samson and Delilah”
Derek Taylor (Samson)
Katharine Goeldner (Delilah)
Michael Chioldi (High Priest of Dagon)
Stefan Szkafarowsky (Old Hebrew)
Rubin Casas (Abimélech)
Bille Bruley (First Philistine)
Brandon Morales (Second Philistine)
Stephen Carroll (Philistine Messenger)
Paul Curran, stage director
in French, English captions
$31.82-$109.09
(866) 673-7282
http://vaopera.org

Oct. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Vadym Kholodenko, piano
J.S. Bach: four duets, BWV 802-805
Mozart: Sonata in A minor, K. 310
Beethoven: Sonata in A major, Op. 2, No. 2
Tchaikovsky: Sonata in G major, Op. 37
$12-$39
(434) 924-3376 (UVa arts box office)
http://tecs.org

Oct. 4 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Terry Austin directing
program TBA
$10
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events

Oct. 4 (noon)
St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg
Aaron Renninger, organ
“Music of France – Travel through the Centuries”
works TBA by Franck, Dupré, de Grigny, Messiaen, others
free
(757) 229-3631
http://www.bedeva.org/concerts

Oct. 5 (7 p.m.)
Oct. 6 (11:30 a.m.)
Oct. 7 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Nathalie Stutzmann conducting
Lalo: “Le Roi d’Ys” Overture
Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major
Arabella Steinbacher, violin
Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 in D minor
$15-$89
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

Oct. 6 (8 p.m.)
Roper Arts Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk
Virginia Symphony
Benjamin Rous conducting
“Voices of Veterans”
$9-$50
(757) 892-6366
http://virginiasymphony.org

Oct. 6 (8:15 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Markus Stenz conducting & speaking
“Off the Cuff: Wagner’s Quest”
$35-$75
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org

Oct. 7 (4 p.m.)
Westchester Commons, 201 Perimeter Drive, Richmond
Magnificent Midlothian Food Festival:
Richmond Symphony
conductor TBA
The Taters
program TBA
$25 (festival admission)
(804) 788-1212
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

Oct. 7 (8 p.m.)
Oct. 8 (2 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Virginia Opera
Adam Turner conducting
Saint-Saëns: “Samson and Delilah”
Derek Taylor (Samson)
Katharine Goeldner (Delilah)
Michael Chioldi (High Priest of Dagon)
Stefan Szkafarowsky (Old Hebrew)
Rubin Casas (Abimélech)
Bille Bruley (First Philistine)
Brandon Morales (Second Philistine)
Stephen Carroll (Philistine Messenger)
Paul Curran, stage director
in French, English captions
$54-$110
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
http://vaopera.org

Oct. 8 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Sonia Vlahcevic, piano
program TBA
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events

Oct. 8 (4 p.m.)
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
Second Sunday South of the James:
Jim Westlyn, guitar
Anne Carr Regan, piano
Silverleaf String Quartet
Westlyn: “Fantasia in Blue” for guitar and string quartet (premiere)
Westlyn: “Higher Ground” for piano and string quartet (premiere)
Westlyn: “Chesapeake” (excerpts)
donation requested
(804) 272-7514
http://bonairpc.org

Oct. 8 (7 p.m.)
Altria Theater, Main and Laurel streets, Richnmond
Richmond Symphony
conductor TBA
“Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions”
$31.50-$55.50
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

Oct. 8 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Kennedy Center Chamber Players
Jean-Marie Leclair: Sonata No. 3 in C major for two violins
Copland: Sonata for violin and piano
Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44
$36
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

Oct. 8 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Markus Stenz conducting
Mendelssohn: “Hebrides” Overture
Bruch: “Scottish Fantasy”
Jonathan Carney, violin
Wagner: “Parsifal” (excerpts)
$35-$89
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org

Oct. 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Perkinson Recital Hall, North Court, University of Richmond
Eunmi Ko, piano
works TBA by Isang Yun, others
free
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

Oct. 10 (8 p.m.)
Williamsburg Library Theater, 515 Scotland St.
Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg:
Ensemble 4.1 Piano Windtet
program TBA
$15 (waiting list)
(757) 258-8555
http://chambermusicwilliamsburg.org

Oct. 12 (8 p.m.)
Phi Beta Kappa Hall, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg
Oct. 14 (8 p.m.)
Regent University Theater, Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Respighi: “Trittico botticelliano”
Copland: Clarinet Concerto
Michael Byerly, clarinet
Brahms: Serenade No. 2 in A major
$25-$65
(757) 892-6366
http://virginiasymphony.org

Oct. 12 (7 p.m.)
Oct. 14 (8 p.m.)
Oct. 15 (3 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Juanjo Mena conducting
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor (“Pathétique”)
Mason Bates: “Auditorium”
Barber: Piano Concerto
Garrick Ohlsson, piano
$15-$89
(800) 444-1324
htpp://www.kennedy-center.org

Oct. 12 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Emerson String Quartet
Dover Quartet
Joseph Kalichstein & Lisa Emenheiser, piano
Brandon Eubank & Amy McCabe, trumpets
Stravinsky: “Fanfare for a New Theater” for two trumpets
Johann Vierdanck: “Capriccio a due Cornetti” for two trumpets
Dvořák: Slavonic dances TBA for piano four-hands
Brahms: Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25
Schoenberg: “Verklärte Nacht” (“Transfigured Night”) for string sextet
Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat major, Op. 20
$45
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

Oct. 13 (8 p.m.)
Oct. 15 (2:30 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Virginia Opera
Adam Turner conducting
Saint-Saëns: “Samson and Delilah”
Derek Taylor (Samson)
Katharine Goeldner (Delilah)
Michael Chioldi (High Priest of Dagon)
Stefan Szkafarowsky (Old Hebrew)
Rubin Casas (Abimélech)
Bille Bruley (First Philistine)
Brandon Morales (Second Philistine)
Stephen Carroll (Philistine Messenger)
Paul Curran, stage director
in French, English captions
$20-$120
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://vaopera.org

Oct. 13 (7 and 9 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Renée Fleming, soprano
Christian McBride, double-bass
program TBA
$69-$79
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

Oct. 14 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Rennolds Chamber Concerts:
Emerson String Quartet
Purcell: Chaconny
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 15 in E flat minor, Op. 144
Beethoven: Quartet in E flat major, Op. 127
$35
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events

Oct. 14 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Virginia Women’s Chorus
Katherine (KaeRenae) Mitchell directing
Madeline Holly-Sales, Stephanie Nakasian & Art Wheeler, guest stars
“Women Against Violence: Let There Be Peace”
$10
(434) 924-3376 (UVa arts box office)
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Oct. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Berglund Performing Arts Theatre, Orange Avenue at Williamson Road, Roanoke
Oct. 15 (3 p.m.)
Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg
Roanoke Symphony
David Stewart Wiley conducting
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major
Jeffrey Biegel, piano
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor
$25-$56
(540) 343-9127
http://rso.com

Oct. 14 (8 p.m.)
Oct. 15 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Piotr Gajewski conducting
Beethoven: “Egmont” Overture
Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor
Sarah Chang, violin
Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor (Oct. 14 only)
Zuill Bailey, cello
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor (Oct. 15 only)
Santiago Rodriguez, piano
$30-$82
(301) 581-5100
http://www.strathmore.org

Oct. 15 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Sphinx Virtuosi
Beethoven: “Grosse Fuge” (“Great Fugue”), Op. 113
Vivaldi: Concerto in B flat major, RV 547, for violin, cello, strings and continuo
Vaughan Williams: Concerto grosso
Jimmy López: “Guardian of the Horizon”
Michael Abels: “Delights & Dances”
$35
(202) 785-9727
http://washingtonperformingarts.org

Oct. 16 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU faculty musicians TBA
“The Crumb Connection”
works TBA by George Crumb, Debussy, Bartók
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events

Oct. 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Chrysler Museum of Art, 245 W. Olney Road, Norfolk
Feldman Chamber Music Series:
Trio con Brio Copenhagen
Haydn: Piano Trio in G major, Hob. XV:25 (“Gypsy”)
Smetana: Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15
Beethoven: Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 70, No. 2
$30
(757) 552-1630
http://feldmanchambermusic.org

Oct. 17 (7:30 p.m.)
Saint Bridget Catholic Church, 6006 Three Chopt Road, Richmond
Thomas Ospital, organist
Bach-Dupré: Sinfonia from Cantata 29
Mozart: Fantasia in F minor, K. 608
Franck: Cantabile
Vierne: “Naïades”
Liszt: “Funérailles”
Fauré-Robilliard: “Pélleas et Mélisande” – Sicilienne
Debussy-Hirsch: “Danse-tarantelle styrienne”
Duruflé: “Prélude et fugue sur le nom d’Alain”
improvisation on submitted themes
donation requested
(804) 282-9511
http://saintbridgetchurch.org/concerts

Oct. 18 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, East Capitol Street at First Street S.E., Washington
Ensemble Signal
Brad Lubman conducting
Steve Reich, composer
Reich: “Clapping Music”
Reich: Quartet
Reich: “Runner”
Reich: “Pulse”
Reich: Double Sextet
SOLD OUT (free rush tickets available at 6 p.m.)
(202) 785-9727
http://washingtonperformingarts.org

Oct. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Laurel Street at Floyd Avenue, Richmond
Nathaniel Dett Chorale
“He Is King of Kings: Songs for the Journey”
R. Nathaniel Dett: “The Ordering of Moses” – “Go Down Moses”
Stacey V. Gibbs & Richard Burchard: “Eternal Hope”
Diedre Robinson: “Steal Away”
R. Nathaniel Dett: “Let Us Cheer the Weary Traveler”
R. Nathaniel Dett: “Go Not Far from Me, O God”
Moses Hogan: “Hold On”
Brandon Waddles: “Sweet Jesus” (US premiere)
Brandon Waddles: “They Led My Lord Away” (US premiere)
Brandon Waddles: “Ride the Chariot” (US premiere)
Stacey V. Gibbs: “Way Over in Beulah Lan’ ”
Robert L. Morris: “Psalm Shout”
R. Nathaniel Dett: “The Ordering of Moses” – “He Is King of Kings”
free
(804) 359-5651
http://richmondcathedral.org/music

Oct. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Richard Goode, piano
William Byrd: “My Ladye Nevells Booke” – pavans, galliards TBA
J.S. Bach: “English” Suite No. 6 in D minor, BWV 811
Beethoven: Sonata in A major, Op. 101
Debussy: Préludes, Book 2
$40
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

Oct. 20 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Oct. 21 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
Oct. 22 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
narrator TBA
“The Best of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ Cycle”
$25-$110
(757) 892-6366
http://virginiasymphony.org

Oct. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
The Barns at Wolf Trap, Trap Road, Vienna
Lara St. John, violin
Matt Herskowitz, piano
program TBA
$45
(877) 965-3872 (Tickets.com)
http://www.wolftrap.org

Oct. 21 (11 a.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony LolliPops
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting
“A Superhero Halloween”
$20 (adult), $10 (child)
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

Oct. 21 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Ruth Smedina-Starke, piano
works TBA by Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt
free
(804) 646-7223
http://rvalibrary.org

Oct. 21 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Zimmerman conducting
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor
Claire Huangci, piano
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
$39-$65
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
http://www.fairfaxsymphony.org

Oct. 21 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Jun Märkl conducting
Saint-Saëns: “Danse macabre”
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467
Jonathan Biss, piano
Richard Strauss: “Don Quixote”
Dariusz Skoraczewski, cello
Lisa Steltenpohl, viola
$35-$99
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org

Oct. 22 (4 p.m.)
River Road Church, Baptist, 8000 River Road, Richmond
Thierry Melcher, organ
J.S. Bach: “Clavierübung,” Book 3 (“German Organ Mass”)
free
(804) 288-1131
http://rrcb.org

Oct. 22 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
UVa Chamber Music Series:
Rachel Duncan, trumpet
Shelby Sender, piano
Daniel Sender, violin
I-Jen Fang, percussion
J.S. Bach: Concerto in D major, BWV 972
Henri Tomasi: Trumpet Concerto
James Stephenson: “Vignettes for Trumpet and Percussion”
Eric Ewazen: Trio for trumpet, violin and piano
$15
(434) 924-3376 (UVa arts box office)
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Oct. 22 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra
conductor TBA
program TBA
$35-$105
(301) 581-5100
http://www.strathmore.org

Oct. 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Yevgeny Kutik, violin
Spencer Myer, piano
Mendelssohn: Sonata in F major
Bloch: “Baal Shem”
Debussy: “Beau soir”
Franck: Sonata in A major
Ravel: “Tzigane”
$12-$39
(434) 924-3376 (UVa arts box office)
http://tecs.org

Oct. 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Opera Lafayette
Ryan Brown conducting
Monteverdi: “Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda”
Lea Désandre, soprano
Thomas Dunford, lute
Jean Rondeau, harpsichord
other works TBA by Monteverdi
$25-$100
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

Oct. 25 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome
Antonio Pappano conducting
Verdi: “Aïda” Sinfonia
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3
Martha Argerich, piano
Respighi: “Fountains of Rome”
Respighi: “The Pines of Rome”
$45-$135
(202) 785-9727
http://washingtonperformingarts.org

Oct. 26 (7 p.m.)
Oct. 27 (8 p.m.)
Oct. 28 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Emil de Cou conducting
Pink Martini & China Forbes, guest stars
$24-$89
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

Oct. 27 (6:30 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony Rush Hour
Steven Smith conducting
Time for Three, string trio
program TBA
$15-$50
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

Oct. 27 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Oct. 28 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Symphony Pops
Benjamin Rous conducting
“Faithfully: a Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Journey to Classic Rock”
$25-$100
(757) 892-6366
http://virginiasymphony.org

Oct. 28 (8 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Steven Stucky: “Jeu de timbres”
Chris Brubeck: “Travels in Time for Three”
Time for Three, string trio
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
$10-$80
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

Oct. 28 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Mendelssohn: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Overture
Tchaikovsky: “Variations on a Rococo Theme”
Sol Gabetta, cello
Debussy: “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”
Richard Strauss: “Der Rosenkavalier” Suite
$35-$99
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org

Oct. 29 (3 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
UR Schola Cantorum & Women’s Chorale
Jeffrey Riehl & David Pedersen directing
program TBA
free
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

Oct. 29 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Kathy & David Robinson, classical guitars
program TBA
$15
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events

Oct. 29 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
David Sariti, violin
Katy Ambrose, French horn
Andrew Willis, piano
“Building Brahms”
Beethoven: Horn Sonata in F major, Op. 17
Schumann: Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 105
Mendelssohn: Variations in E flat major, Op. 82
Brahms: Horn Trio in E flat major, Op. 40
free
(434) 924-3376 (UVa arts box office)
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Oct. 30 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Percussion Ensemble
Blake Tyson, percussion
Tyson: “The Surface of the Sky”
other works TBA
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events

Oct. 30 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Thomas Meglioranza, baritone
Reiko Uchida, piano
Beethoven: Scottish and Irish folk songs TBA
Wolf: “Mörike Songbook” (excerpts)
works TBA by Fauré, Ives
American popular songs TBA
free; tickets required
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

Oct. 30 (6:30 p.m.)
College Lutheran Church, 210 S. College Ave., Salem
Roanoke Symphony Chorus
Roanoke Symphony Brass
“A Mighty Fortress: Musical Reformation”
program TBA
$40-$45
(540) 343-9127
http://rso.com

Oct. 30 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, East Capitol Street at First Street S.E., Washington
Orlando Consort
“The Composers of the Laborde Songbook”
Frye: “Ave regina”
Morton: “N’aray je jamais mieulx”
Ghizeghem: “De tous biens plaine”
Caron: “Corps contre corps”
Ockeghem: “Presque transi”
Busnois: “A une dame”
Busnois: “Ja que lui ne s’i attende”
anon.: “La plus grant chière”
Ghizeghem: “Allez regretz”
Compère: “Missa Alles regrets” – Gloria
Dufay: “Vostre bruit et vostre grant fame”
Dufay: “Malheureulx cuer, que vieulx tu faire?”
Dufay: “Se la face ay pale”
Dufay: “Missa Se la face ay pale” – Sanctus, Benedictus
Dufay or Binchois: “Je ne vis onques”
Molinet: “Tart ara mon cuer”
Ockeghem: “D’un autre amer”
Desprez: “Missa D’ung aultre amer” – Agnus Dei
Desprez: “Victimae paschali”/“ D’ung aultre amer”
free; tickets required via http://www.eventbrite.com
(202) 707-5502
http://www.loc.gov/concerts/

Zuzana Růžičková (1927-2017)

Zuzana Růžičková, the esteemed Czech harpsichordist, famed for her interpretations of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, has died at 90.

Born in Plzen (Pilsen) to a Jewish family, Růžičková was encouraged by her piano teacher to take up the harpsichord and planned to study with Wanda Landowska in Paris. Those plans were dashed by the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938-39.

In 1941, the 13-year-old Růžičková and her family were imprisoned at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where she was able to study with the composer Gideon Klein. She and her mother subsequently were sent to Auschwitz, worked as slave laborers in Hamburg and, shortly before the end of World War II, were sent to Bergen-Belsen, where they narrowly escaped extermination before the arrival of British and Canadian troops in April 1945.

Returning to Czechoslovakia, Růžičková studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and after earning a master’s degree became a member of its faculty. After the communist takeover of the country in 1948, she refused to join the party and was subject to close official scrutiny, as a Jew and potential dissident.

In 1952, she married the composer Victor Kalabis (1923-2006), who wrote a number of works for her.

Following her victory in the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 1956, she was allowed to tour throughout Europe. In 1962, Růžičková and the conductor Václav Neumann founded the Prague Chamber Soloists. She performed extensively in chamber music, playing with violinist Josef Suk, cellists Janos Starker and Pierre Fournier, flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and other leading musicians, and was for many years a featured soloist with the Czech Philharmonic.

Růžičková was a prominent artistic voice in the protests that led to the Velvet Revolution, the overthrow of the Czech communist regime in 1989.

In recent decades, widely lauded as “the first lady of the harpsichord,” Růžičková taught and conducted master classes in Prague, Bratislava, Zurich and other cities. She retired from public performance in 2006.

From 1965 to 1973, she recorded the complete harpsichord works of Bach in sessions in Prague and Paris. Those recordings were reissued last year by Erato.

An obituary by Emily Langer for The Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/zuzana-ruzickova-holocaust-survivor-who-rediscovered-lifes-beauty-in-bach-dies-at-90/2017/09/28/91147490-a459-11e7-ade1-76d061d56efa_story.html

Dressed for ‘Faust’

To mark its reopening after the (not yet completed) renovation of its theater, the Berlin State Opera has resurrected a relic of the previous millennium: the dress code.

For the first-night performance of Schumann’s “Scenes from Goethe’s ‘Faust’,” a concert work, not an opera – stage reconstruction is ongoing – journalists covering the event are advised to dress “festlich-elegant,” Norman Lebrecht reports on his Slipped Disc blog:

http://slippedisc.com/2017/09/strict-new-orders-for-journalists-attending-the-opera-house/

Festlich-elegant – literal translation: “festive-elegant” – apparently differs in some way from formal. It might mean what one would wear for an evening dinner date at a four-star restaurant, or what trend-conscious 30-somethings would wear at a dressy gallery opening. Or it might mean black tie with some colorfully quirky substitute for the black tie.

Most of the journalists I know, even those who cover highbrow fields, are not what you’d call fashion-forward. I expect that those assigned to cover the Berlin event will play it safe and wear some approximation of a tuxedo.

For dressy affairs, I keep an Italian-cut, double-breasted black suit that I can wear with a tuxedo shirt and black tie, and do without studs, suspenders, cummerbund and other nonsense appurtenances. If I’m feeling lazy or rebellious, I’ll wear the suit with a white turtleneck.

That seems to be festlich-elegant enough for Richmond. I can’t speak for Berlin.

Letter V Classical Radio Sept. 27

noon-3 p.m. EDT
1600-1900 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://wdce.org

John Marsh: Symphony No. 7 in E flat major (“La Chasse”)
London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert
(Chandos)

Brahms: Piano Trio in C major, Op. 87
Emanuel Ax, piano
Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
(Sony Classical)

Past Masters:
Mozart: Horn Quintet in E flat major, K. 407
Dennis Brain, French horn
English String Quartet
(BBC Legends)
(recorded 1957)

Beethoven: Trio in C major, Op. 87
Heinz Holliger & Hans Elhorst, oboes
Maurice Bourgue, English horn
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Dohnányi: Serenade in C major, Op. 10
(orchestration by Dmitry Sitkovetsky)
NES Chamber Orchestra/Dmitry Sitkovetsky
(Nonesuch)

Robert Ward: “Bath County Rhapsody”
Jane Hawkins, piano
Ciompi Quartet
(Albany)

Respighi: “Poema Autumnale”
Julia Fischer, violin
Monte Carlo Philharmonic/Yakov Kreizberg
(Decca)

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 in D major
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Vernon Handley
(EMI Eminence)

Reviews: Paley Festival

Alexander Paley has long favored cyclical performances of composers’ works.

To mark the 20th anniversary of his Richmond music festival, the pianist and his wife and duo and four-hands partner, Peiwen Chen, played the complete two-piano music of Sergei Rachmaninoff in the Sept. 22 opening concert. (Click the link on the preceding post, below, for my review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.)

Then, on Sept. 23, Paley and Daisuke Yamamoto, concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony, played Beethoven’s 10 sonatas for piano and violin in afternoon and evening concerts. Before the festival, Paley said that Yamamoto hesitated only briefly before agreeing to this day-long marathon.

The violinist seemed none the worse for wear in the second concert, not even after playing the mighty “Kreutzer” in A major, Op. 47, ninth of the sonatas, with one more to go – and that final sonata, the G major, Op. 96, is not exactly a cool-down, demanding from the violinist great lyricism at widely varied dynamic levels.

The evening began with the Sonata in A major, Op. 30, No. 1, highlighted by one of the most Mozartian movements Beethoven ever produced, a central adagio for violin with minimal piano accompaniment that could easily pass for a reverie by a heroine from one of Mozart’s operas. Yamamoto played it with a winning combination of ardor and restraint, letting the tune bloom at its own pace.

It was the first of many such moments in his performances, reminders that he’s a musician with the taste and judgment to let a composer speak without a lot of violinistic display or interpretative intervention. He summoned plenty of fire and speedy virtuosity when needed, but was most impressive technically in quieter passages, producing fine-spun tones that one hears too rarely from string players in Beethoven.

Yamamoto also showed an understanding of the difference between sentiment and sentimentality, essential in music such as the hymn-like adagio cantabile of the Sonata in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2, and the adagio-as-soliloquy of Op. 96.

Balance between piano and violin, always an issue when these instruments meet, was problematic in the loudest or most emphatic episodes, such as the opening movement of the C minor Sonata and the outer movements of the “Kreutzer.” Paley doesn’t hold back in stormy Beethoven, and the bright tone of Blüthner piano he was playing underscored the volume and impact of his performance.

The pianist was sensitive, though, to the greater prominence of the violin in the later sonatas, especially the last, in which the instrument assumes the first-among-equals role that it would play relative to the piano in the romantic and modern literature.

* * *

The festival’s finale, a matinee on Sept. 24, featured two prime, and markedly good-humored, pieces of Beethoven’s early chamber music, the Horn Sonata in F major, Op. 17, and Quintet in E flat major, Op. 16, for piano and winds, as well as Mozart’s Quintet in E flat major, K. 452, for piano and winds, the work that inspired Beethoven to write his quintet.

Paley was joined in the sonata by James Ferree, the Richmond Symphony’s principal French horn player, and in the quintets by Ferree and two colleagues from the orchestra – oboist Alexandra von der Embse and Thomas Schneider, the symphony’s principal bassoonist – along with clarinetist Charles West, a longtime member of the music faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University and a regular participant in this festival.

Vienna in the late-classical period (c. 1780-1820) was a hotbed of wind writing, both within orchestrations (notably, Mozart’s), in the wind octets known as Harmonie, and in other chamber-music configurations.

A smallish number of such chamber works survive in the active repertory – Mozart’s “Gran Partita,” Schubert’s Octet, some of Franz Danzi’s wind quintets; and some wind-octet arrangements (suites from Mozart and Rossini operas, Beethoven’s reduction of his Seventh Symphony) have been recorded and occasionally performed in concert.

The Mozart and Beethoven quintets are essentially the end of the line for this genre. Most composers of later eras have employed strings in their piano quintets.

That’s a pity, because a wind ensemble can maintain sonic parity readily with a modern piano, even when played by a pianist as assertive as Paley can be. In these performances, the instruments blended consistently, and no solo sounded reticent or recessed. Exchanges among the wind instruments were consistent in voicing and companionable in musical spirit.

All five musicians showed a fine grasp of Mozart’s idiom and Beethoven’s still somewhat tentative expansion on Viennese classical style. (His sonata and quintet carry opus numbers immediately preceding that of the first six string quartets; all date from the 1790s.)

The piano parts of the two quintets are not especiallly elaborate and, for Beethoven, rather understated, even delicate. Paley played accordingly, with crystalline clarity and generally with deference toward the winds.

Ferree, the most accomplished horn player the symphony has had in decades, was robustly declarative in the outer movements of the Beethoven sonata, and treated its slow movement to a songful reading with nicely varied shades of sonority.

The festival closed with an impromptu encore of “Happy Birthday,” closing with Ferree adding a jazzy flourish.

Letter V Classical Radio Sept. 20

A feast of piano music: In the second hour, we’ll hear performances by Alexander Paley as the pianist joins me in the studio to discuss his Richmond music festival, marking its 20th anniversary with four concerts from Sept. 22 to 24 at St. Luke Lutheran Church. And we’ll hear new and recent recordings by Krystian Zimerman, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Evgeny Kissin, Fazil Say, Arcadi Volodos, and the duo of Martha Argerich & Stephen Kovacevich.

noon-3 p.m. EDT
1600-1900 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://wdce.org

J.S. Bach: “French Suite” No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 815
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano
(Decca)

Brahms:
Capriccio in F sharp minor, Op. 76, No. 1
Capriccio in B minor, Op. 76, No. 2
Arcadi Volodos, piano
(Sony Classical)

Chopin:
Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. posth.
Nocturne in C minor, Op. posth.
Fazil Say, piano
(Warner Classics)

Beethoven: Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”)
Evgeny Kissin, piano
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Balakirev: “Islamey”
Alexander Paley, piano
(Brilliant Classics)

Dvořák: “From the Bohemian Forest” – “In the Spinning Room”
Alexander Paley & Peiwen Chen, piano four-hands
(Paley Festival)

Mozart: Fantasie in D minor, K. 397
Alexander Paley, piano
(Blüthner/Hänssler)

Debussy: “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”
(arrangement by Claude Debussy)
Martha Argerich & Stephen Kovacevich, pianos
(Warner Classics)

Schubert: Sonata in B flat major, D. 960
Krystian Zimerman, piano
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Brahms: Intermezzo in A major, Op. 118, No. 2
Arcardi Volodos, piano
(Sony Classical)

Reviews: The season begins

The opening concerts of Richmond’s 2017-18 classical season set some high standards, and suggested some artistic parameters for what we’ll be hearing in concerts to come.

The headline kickoff event, of course, was Joshua Bell’s appearance in the Richmond Symphony’s opening-night concert on Sept. 14 at Dominion Arts Center’s Carpenter Theatre.

The star violinist played to his strengths in Édouard Lalo’s “Symphonie espagnole,” a hybrid symphony-concerto in which the violin puts a brilliant gloss on five tuneful and rhythmically infectious movements. Bell, unsurprisingly, more than met the piece’s virtuosic demands, and looked to be as physically immersed as he was musically. As gratifying as his playing was in the splashy outer movements, I was at least as taken with his sensuous treatment of the central beguine.

Bell was joined by Yesong Sophie Lee, a teenage violinist from Seattle who won high honors in last year’s Menuhin Competition, in J.S. Bach’s Double Concerto in D minor, BWV 1043. Lee dug into the lower-riding, more technically intricate part, with Bell answering in semi-sweet high lines.

The orchestra seconded Bell colorfully in the Lalo, and a chamber-scale ensemble of strings and harpsichord gave warm backing to the violin duo in the Bach.

The orchestral showcase of the concert was Richard Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben” (“A Hero’s Life”), a grand-scale tone poem and musical roman à clef casting the composer himself as the heroic protagonist.

Running the better part of an hour and scored for an enormous orchestra – nine French horns, five trumpets, extra stands of woodwinds, full percussion battery, two harps – the work is a major challenge to the conductor as air traffic controller, maintaining sectional balances in massive tutti passages and allowing frequent solos and duos to be voiced with suitable prominence and character.

Steven Smith, the symphony’s music director, kept his forces in their assigned lanes, projected this music’s wide contours of volume and expression – intimate exchanges and violent outbursts, lushly romantic tunes and quirky asides – and sustained the piece’s narrative flow. Smith gave plenty of space to the solo voices, notably violinist Daisuke Yamamoto, and generally kept orchestra sections in balance.

Orchestral sound was remarkably consistent and refined, considering the number of substitute musicians an orchestra Richmond’s size must bring in for a work on the scale of “Heldenleben.”

Smith and the symphony opened the program with an assertively jaunty reading of Ulysses Kay’s “Theater Set (Overture) for Orchestra.”

* * *

The chamber-music season was launched with performances at the University of Richmond by the Escher Quartet with guitarist Jason Vieaux and the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia.

Opening the classical series of UR’s Modlin Arts Center on Sept. 10, the Escher – violinists Adam Barnett-Hart and Danbi Um, violist Pierre Lapointe and cellist Brook Speltz – delivered an account of Mozart’s “Hunt” Quartet in B flat major, K. 458, that landed solidly in the modern-instruments mainstream, and a vividly detailed and expressive treatment of “Arcadiana,” a 1994 work by Thomas Adès, a British composer whose modernist style is punctuated with evocations of earlier music (here, Mozart, Schubert and Elgar) as well as literary and visual-art references.

Vieaux, playing Richmond for the second time this year (he performed with the symphony last February), joined the Escher in an elegant-turned-rollicking reading of Luigi Boccherini’s Quintet in D major, known as the “Fandango” for its high-stepping dance finale, in which cellist Speltz traded his bow for castanets. The five players turned the corner nicely as the piece swerves from high-classicism to exuberantly gritty folksiness.

Vieaux preceded the Boccherini with a solo mini-recital of excerpts of J.S. Bach’s Lute Suite No. 1 in E minor, BWV 996, and arrangements of Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mode” and “A Felicidade” from Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Black Orpheus” film score. The guitarist’s technique was finely polished in the Bach; just as impressive was his range of mood-sculpting in his arrangement of the Ellington and Roland Dyens’ arrangement of the Jobim.

The cast recruited by cellist James Wilson, artistic director of the Chamber Music Society, for its season-opener, Sept. 17 at UR’s Perkinson Recital Hall, offered its audience a rare opportunity to hear mid-19th century romantic works by Mendelssohn and Schumann played on gut-string fiddles and a reproduction of an 1830 Graf piano.

The sonic and textural differences were striking in Mendelssohn’s Quartet in F minor, Op. 80, and Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44.

The quartet, arguably Mendelssohn’s most emotionally fraught composition (written in the aftermath of the death of his sister, Fanny), was played with high energy, vivid moodiness, strong accenting and a notable absence of standard-issue Mendelssohnian sweetness by violinists Aisslin Nosky and Guillaume Pirard, violist Max Mandel and cellist Wilson.

The string players, with Carsten Schmidt at the keyboard, gave an unusual perspective, almost inside-out, to the Schumann. The early piano, which has a more woodsy, less brilliant tone than a modern instrument, did not stand out in the ensemble. So, instead of piano with strings, we heard piano among strings.

Baritone Jonathan Woody joined Schmidt in a compelling traversal of “Dichterliebe” (“Poet’s Love”), Schumann’s cycle of 15 songs to texts of Heinrich Heine. These sometimes interconnected songs, some with extensive piano postludes, run the gamut of romantic mood and expression, emotional depth and surface bravado, and Woody realized their varied voices idiomatically and with spot-on diction.