Three engrossing treats: Live piano recital; Juno-nominated CD; and New York Phil archives
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC ARCHIVAL TREASURES ON THE WEB
I've spent far too much time flipping through the new digital archives of the New York Philharmonic. The first batch of documents and scores from the organization's long and glorious history are online, and they are among the most exciting, covering 1943-1970, the years between Leonard Bernstein's first concert with the NY Phil (as a last-minute substitute) to his final one as music director.
The lover of backroom stuff can find memos and meeting minutes and telegrams. The wannabe conductor can check out nearly every score that Bernstein marked up, as well as check out its performance history.
One of my biggest surprises? To see how much Bach was in the orchestra's repertoire back then.
PIANIST DANIEL WNUKOWSKI GIVES GLENN GOULD STUDIO RECITAL TONIGHT
The full program is:
-Frederic Chopin: Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38; 3 Waltzes Op. 34
-Karol Szymanowski: Masks, Op. 34
-Franz Liszt: Petrarcan Sonnet No. 2 in E major; Sancta Dorothea; In Festo Transfigurationis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi; Unstern! Sinistre, disastro; and Après une lecture de Dante (Fantasia quasi Sonata)
Here is Wnukowski playing a bit of Schumann, "In de Nacht" from the Op. 12 Fantasiestücke:
BERNARD LABADIE'S BONBONS ON CD AN UNEXPECTED TREAT
I'd been sitting on my copy of Bonbons, the latest CD by Quebec's Les Violons du Roy and their music director, Bernard Labadie, for a couple of months. Since it was nominated this week for a Juno award in the classical, large-ensemble category, I gave it a listen, and was enchanted by the sound and interpretations.
I had to remind myself that it was through pieces like these Greatest Hits of Baroque and Classical Music that, as a young teenager I was led to explore further and fall in love with orchestral music of the 18th century. For anyone who might be hearing pieces like Pachelbel's Canon or the G-Major Serenade from Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for the first time, these are probably the finest performances we can offer, at this point.
You can check out the album details here.
The lesson for me in this album was that even the most hackneyed pieces can still work their magic spell when they are as beautifully performed as at the hands of these musicians. If the pieces can seem boring on occasion, it's not because they have suddenly grown old; it's that the interpretations lack lustre.
Here is ATMA's promotional video for the disc: