Preview: Florence Price arrives at the Pacific Symphony

Florence Price Rightfully Finds Her Place Next to Gershwin at the Pacific Symphony. Voice of OC, Nov. 13, 2019.

Poll: Preview or Review?

The program below looks like a pretty good one to me. Take a look and then answer the poll question.

Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Aaron Diehl, piano
Pacific Symphony

GEORGE CHADWICK: “Jubilee” from “Symphonic Sketches”
FLORENCE PRICE: “Dances in the Canebrakes”
FLORENCE PRICE: Piano Concerto in One Movement
GEORGE GERSHWIN: “Rhapsody in Blue”
GEORGE GERSHWIN: “An American in Paris”

My question is … Would you rather read a preview of this concert or a review (and which would you more likely click on to read)? Both would be ideal, I’m sure, but you can only pick one or the other. Assume that both are equally well written.

Great moments in American musicals: Compare and contrast ‘Till There Was You’

Three version of “Till There Was You” from Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.”

Shirley Jones:

The Beatles:

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Favorites (1): Tennstedt’s ‘Ride’

I always enjoyed Tennstedt’s Wagner. We used to play him doing this at closing time at Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. I remember vacuuming the store to it.


Review: Pacific Symphony performs Beethoven’s 9th at Christ Cathedral

Review: Christ Cathedral Underwhelms as a Classical Music Venue. Voice of OC, Aug. 2, 2019.

Interview: Pierre Boulez (2003)

[Music man: Provocative composer and master conductor Pierre Boulez defies category. By TIMOTHY MANGAN, The Orange County Register, May 18, 2003]

Pierre Boulez is on the line from Paris, affable but also to the point. He is an interviewer’s dream, listening to a question, then diving in and answering the actual question asked, in neat paragraphs, no evading. When finished, there is a full stop and a pause as he waits for the next question. He seems perfectly willing to go on like this for as long as it takes.

The effect is at once friendly and businesslike. It’s the kind of balancing act one might expect from Pierre Boulez. The 78-year-old French musician, one of the most influential composers of the post-World War II era and among the most richly gifted conductors ever to stand on a podium, makes a practice of such balancing acts. Much of his art, in fact, depends on them.

“There is a piece by (Denis) Diderot which is called ‘The Paradox of the Comedian,’ ” says Boulez, mentioning the 18th-century French philosophe by way of shedding light on his own performing aesthetic. “And he says that a good comedian is one who imposes a certain distance between emotion and what he can do. He transmits this emotion in a much stronger way when he has this kind of distance.

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Interview: Alfred Brendel (2002)

[A poet of the keyboard. By Timothy Mangan, The Orange County Register, March 31, 2002.]

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Alfred Brendel when you reach him on the phone is that the man, in person or at least in voice, is so jovial.

Little about his public image would lead you to believe this. Not the way he hunkers down over a piano, or the way he acknowledges applause, as if in slight distaste.

Not the way he will glare at a misbehaving audience member (he’s been known to stop playing to do so).

Not the thick, horned-rimmed glasses and mad scientist hair, or the quizzical, sometimes pained expressions he wears in photos.

Not the crisply magisterial essays he writes for publications such as The New York Review of Books and collects in books such as “Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts,” and “Music Sounded Out.”

And definitely not his musical interpretations themselves, which seem to dispense with all extraneous nonsense (such as rubato) in their search for the true heart of a work.

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Sousa for two violins

Bruce Dukov, concertmaster of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, plays his own arrangement for two violins (a la Wieniawski) of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Summertime is Sousatime

Sousa in Atlantic City, 1927. Library of Congress

For Summertime Patriotism, Nothing Beats Sousa. Voice of OC, July 4, 2019.

Review: Salonen, LA Phil, Respighi

The Mature Salonen Takes on Standard Rep, to ‘Spectacular’ End.

By TIMOTHY MANGAN, Musical America, April 30, 2019.

For the fourth program out of five that he’ll conduct during his three-week residency with the Los Angeles Philharmonic this season, Esa-Pekka Salonen, now conductor laureate, chose a program that seemed aimed to please. Not that it lacked sophistication, but it turned out that all of the pieces on offer, save the contemporary one (and in the end that proved good company too), fell comfortably into the category of orchestral showpiece, something that Salonen didn’t do much of when he was music director here. The concert’s finale, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, would have raised the eyebrows of a young Salonen, simply because he never would have conducted it. Too vulgar.

But the Finnish conductor/composer, once a firebrand of the avant-garde, mellowed considerably over the years; we all watched him do it. Saturday’s performance was a matter of hearing how Pines fared under his baton, but in hindsight there coul be little surprise. It was, in a word, spectacular.

The first movement, “The Pines of the Villa Borghese,” a depiction of children at their games, was played at quite a clip, but without losing that rollicking lilt so necessary to its charm. The dazzle of the orchestration congealed into a buzz of electricity. Salonen and the orchestra luxuriated in the next two movements, “The Pines Near a Catacomb” and “The Pines of the Janiculum,” basking in the sumptuous warmth of the scoring, but never losing the arc, both blooming wonderfully.

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