Categories
announcements concerts performances vocal performances

Symphony concert not to be missed – Mozart’s Requiem

On November 21, 2019 and November 23, 2019, the Louisiana Philharmonic will be performing Mozart’s Requiem, and I highly encourage everyone, even those who are rare symphony-goers to attend.

You see, a work of this size requires a full orchestra, a full choir, and a set of opera singers for its success. That’s a lot more musicians on the stage collaborating than in your typical symphony concert where you’d have a full orchestra playing with a soloist and then just a full orchestra. And it is something to be appreciated.

Also, works like Mozart’s Requiem are particularly soul-stirring in my opinion. This work was one of the last works that Mozart composed before his death – he worked on it in the second half of 1791 and died in December 1791, leaving the work unfinished (ultimately finished by a student of his, named Franz Xaver Sussmayr). Parts of the requiem were performed for Mozart’s own funeral mass. The history of the work has been enshrouded by myths and untruths by scholarship since its inception – a most recent example is the film Amadeus, so the work itself has some spectre surrounding it. But even without knowing any of that, it is sublime to hear, see, feel, and experience. It touches my soul.

You can read more about the history of the work in Michael Steinburg’s excellent Choral Masterworks: a Listeners Guide. Oxford University Press, 2005 (pp. 219-229).

IF you can’t make the concert, add it to your future events to look out for (along with all great choral masterworks). If you’d like to hear a performance from youtube, please see below and enjoy!

Categories
concerts performances

Announcement: Hosting my very first Groupmuse concert

For those of you who haven’t yet heard of Groupmuse, it is platform designed to pair people who want to perform classical music with people willing to host their performance and people wanting to attend.  It’s basically a classical music house party.  The event is different from your average classical music concert in that it is much more casual; events are often BYOB and offer floor seating.  It’s also different in that it tends to bring together a particular community of all ages (classical music lovers) and encourages them to engage with one another socially.   You can read more about Groupmuse here or learn about them straight from the source at groupmuse.com.

At the first Groupmuse I attended here in New Orleans, I ran into musicians I knew, met some members of the local orchestra I didn’t know, met the President of the New Orleans Opera, and many more interesting classical fans. And, I got to hear some great chamber music.  What could be better?

My event is long in the planning – I first heard of Groupmuse years ago, but it had not yet made it to New Orleans, so I had to wait patiently.  Finally, my patience was rewarded and I am thrilled.  This movement will bring new life to the New Orleans classical scene and encourage more performances of solo and chamber works.

If you are in New Orleans and would like to attend, the event starts at 7:30.  You can get all the details by following this link.

Hope to see some of you there!  If not, please check out and support Groupmuse in your area or plan to attend the next one in New Orleans which is on May 31, 2017.

IMG_4970_Moment.jpg

Categories
performances

Happy Friday! Watch this 6 year old play Boogie Woogie with Count Basie

As a Capitol Records recording artist, circa 1950. (via wikipedia)

Sadly, he is not one of New Orleans’ native sons. But you can’t win ’em all. Quite a talent though!

From Wikipedia:

Frank Isaac Robinson (born December 28, 1938),[1] known in his early career as a musician as Sugar Chile Robinson, is anAmericanblues and boogie-woogie pianist, singer, and later psychologist, whose career began as a child prodigy.

Robinson was born in Detroit, Michigan. At an early age he showed unusual gifts singing the blues and accompanying himself on the piano. According to contemporary newsreels he was self-taught, and he managed to use techniques including slapping the keys with elbows and fists.[2] He won a talent show at the Paradise Theatre in Detroit at the age of three, and in 1945 played guest spots at the theatre with Lionel Hampton, who was prevented by child protection legislation from taking him on tour with him. However, he performed on radio with Hampton and Harry “The Hipster” Gibson, and also appeared as himself in theHollywood film No Leave, No Love, starring Van Johnson and Keenan Wynn.

In 1946, he played for PresidentHarry S. Truman at the White House, shouting out “How’m I Doin’, Mr President?” – which became his catchphrase – during his performance of “Caldonia“. He began touring major theatres, setting box office records in Detroit and California. In 1949 he was given special permission to join the American Federation of Musicians and record, his first releases on Capitol Records, “Numbers Boogie” and “Caldonia”, both reaching the BillboardR&B chart. In 1950, he toured and appeared on television with Count Basie, and appeared in a short film ‘Sugar Chile’ Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet. The following year, he toured the UK, appearing at the London Palladium. He stopped recording in 1952, later explaining:[1]

“I wanted to go to school… I wanted some school background in me and I asked my Dad if I could stop, and I went to school because I honestly wanted my college diploma.”

Until 1956 he continued to make occasional appearances as a jazz musician, billed as Frank Robinson, and performed on one occasion with Gerry Mulligan, but then gave up his musical career entirely. Continuing his academic studies, he earned a degree in history from Olivet College and one in psychology from the Detroit Institute of Technology. In the 1960s, he worked for WGPR-TV, and also helped set up small record labels in Detroit and opened a recording studio.[1]

In recent years he has made a comeback as a musician with the help of the American Music Research Foundation. In 2002, he appeared at a special concert celebrating Detroit music, and in 2007 he traveled to Britain to appear at a rock and roll weekend festival.[1] In the last Dr Boogie show of 2013, Sugar Chile Robinson was the featured artist, with four of his classic hits showcasing amid biographical sketches of his early career.[3]

Here’s a lagniappe video:

Categories
performances printables

It’s Mardi Gras! Check out this awesome free sheet music for a New Orleans piano classic..

I’ve been obsessed with Allen Toussaint’s version of Tipitina and Me off of the post-Katrina compilation Our New Orleans

It’s a really refreshingly different version of the piece.  For reference, I’m going to link to a few famous versions first:

Professor Longhair:

Dr. John

James Booker

(Randomly, Hugh Laurie)

So, here’s the Allen Toussaint version that just blew me away for being such a refreshingly different take on this New Orleans classic:

Tipitina and MeAnd, here’s what you really came for, the sheet music.  This version has been, thankfully, transcribed (for free!) by Steve Castallano on his website.  As far as I know, it’s not available anywhere else.  A word of warning, this is an advanced piano piece that could probably be turned into a real mess by a less-than-discerning performer.

Allen Toussaint
Allen Toussaint

Categories
humor performances

Elephant plays piano

Categories
performances

Daft Pianists

Watch five people play one piano! Really creative use of their instrument

Categories
humor performances

Masterpiece

Singers singing the names of famous western classical composers in their styles.

The Beethoven is especially funny.  And I love when they start doing the Strauss waltz and count “Ein, Zwei, drei” and then just say German nonsense. . . oh and Wagner, oh nevermind it’s all great.  Watch it!

Categories
music history performances

Van Cliburn, RIP

van cliburn

Van Cliburn died this morning of bone cancer.  He is most well known for winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the age of 23 (in 1958) at the height of the Cold War.

Here he is performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1:

Here is the media coverage of his 1958 win of the competition:

Here is news coverage of Van Cliburn playing at the Reagan whitehouse for Mikhail Gorbachev:

Categories
music history performances

Stream Purcell’s The Fairy Queen for free!

Here’s the link.  Streaming is available for free from now until August 17!

http://gu.com/p/392nk

From Glyndebourne’s website:

Purcell’s intoxicating combination of words and music alternates elements of the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a variety of musical interludes. A magical brew has been concocted by director Jonathan Kent in inventive collaboration with designer Paul Brown.

The glass-fronted cases of a 17th-century cabinet of curiosities disgorge the black-winged inhabitants of a fairy world who make it their business to daze and confuse the poor humans who have accidentally strayed into their kingdom. The mixture is quintessentially English – one moment pastoral and elegiac, the next pure end-of-the-pier slapstick.

Baroque specialist Laurence Cummings will lead the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from the harpsichord in this revival of a production that enchanted audiences on its first outing in 2009. The Daily Telegraph called it ‘an absolute riot, but executed with taste and style’ while The Observer said that ‘it is hard to imagine a more brilliantly creative approach to the work’.

When it was first produced at the Dorset Gardens Theatre in London in 1692,The Fairy Queen featured stage effects that nearly bankrupted the theatre. There were elaborate costumes, swans gliding over lakes, grottoes, woods and 12-foot high fountains. At Glyndebourne there will be dazzling singing and dancing, flamboyant cross-dressing, a flying horse and a warren full of rampant rabbits!

A revival of the 2009 Festival production

Sung in English with English supertitles

Co-Production with Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique

Supported by The Fairy Queen Syndicate

New edition for The Purcell Society by Bruce Wood and Andrew Pinnock. Performed by arrangement with Stainer & Bell.

Categories
performances

Happy Friday! Some misheard lyrics

A friend just sent me this video via facebook and it was exactly what I needed to perk me up after the afternoon I’ve had. I hope you enjoy.  (Choir nerd alert!)