Thursday, December 31, 2020

For Your Listening Pleasure - January to April 2021 Programming


Below is our programming calendar for January, February, March and April. A few points of note 

  • Items that were part of Project 366 are identified, to help identify items that have ot been "recycled" yet
  • Items with yellow marks are part of a thematic arc

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Day and Year In Review (2020)

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from December 25, 2015. It can be found in our archives at


Today isn’t a usual Podcast Vault post, as I am not proposing a new take or a filler YouTube clip.  I will refer you back to what I provided as commentary when I originally issued the montage.

What I will do instead is use this opportunity to do my “Year in Review”.

We will all agree that 2020 is a forgettable year, dominated by the pandemic, the public health emergency and the socio-economic impacts that followed. Speaking for myself, I was fortunate that I could work from home, and that my immediate family has (so far) avoided contracting the ‘Rona.

As far as our activities are concerned, I kept going in the hope that my posts and shares could serve as a momentary distraction to our daily concerns. In 2020, we completed our Project 366 and launched with another daily podcast series, this time focused on our Friday Blogs ad Podcasts. We are now nearly a third of the way through that series, and are on track to publishing our 350th montage next week (as we traditionally do for milestones, it will be an extended montage that blows past our self-imposed 90-minute limit).

The series will conclude on Tuesday August 31st with Montage #365, a “Fifth Tuesday” quarterly release which will introduce our “anniversary series” for the Tuesday Blog. Look for more on that when we get close!

The pace at which we have been publishing new podcasts has been somewhat unpredictable ; we have 16 montages planned between now and late August, which maps out to about 2 a month, though the timing is interweaved with our greater calendar. Please consult the calendar (or subscribe to our podcasts) so you don’t miss anything!

As for the Tuesday Blog, we will continue to publish them fortnightly with both YouTube and Pod-O-Matic shares. As this year will be our 10th anniversary of the Tuesday Blog, I plan to resurrect “classic” music link/YouTube playlist shares and will interleave them with our Vinyl’s Revenge and Cover 2 Cover series.

In the Fall, we resumed providing some content on OperaLively – mostly in the form of “Short Stories” that are coupled to already planned Daily Podcasts. I plan to keep to that formula until the Fall, where we may provide more Opera programming – as our collaboration with Luiz and his forum are also nearing the 10 year mark.

Before sharing our “video favourites” (a running playlist of most of the single clips we used throughout the year), I wanted to again thank our friends and followers for their continued support and (too few) comments against our material. I’d love to see more of you subscribe to our Podcasting channel, though I’m always pleased to see you subscribe to our YouTube channel…

Happy Holidays to all


Video Favourites Playlist -

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Mozart, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra ‎– Symphonies No. 40, 41, Marriage Of Figaro

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

My final Tuesday Blog for 2020 features a CD I acquired in the early 2000’s, from an early set of self-produced discs by the Royal Philharmonic under their own label. These disks, distributed in North America by Intersound, spanned the repertoire from Mozart to Leonard Bernstein.

According to Discogs, this album was originally released in 1993 and features the Royal Philharmonic under guest conductor Jane Glover in a coupling of Mozart’s final two numbered symphonies (40 and 41) with the overture to The Marriage of Figaro as filler.

According to her website, Jane Glover made her professional debut at the Wexford Festival in 1975, conducting her own edition of Cavalli’s LʼEritrea. She joined Glyndebourne in 1979 and was music director of Glyndebourne Touring Opera from 1981 until 1985. She was artistic director of the London Mozart Players from 1984 to 1991, and has also held principal conductorships of both the Huddersfield and the London Choral Societies. From 2009 until 2016 she was Director of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music where she is now the Felix Mendelssohn Visiting Professor. She was recently Visiting Professor of Opera at the University of Oxford, her alma mater.

Jane Glover has conducted all the major symphony and chamber orchestras in Britain, as well as orchestras in Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia. In recent seasons she has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Sydney, Cincinnati, and Toronto symphony orchestras, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Bamberg Symphony.

The works themselves don’t need any introduction. As a period instrument scholar, Mrs Glover manages to convey a sense of lilt and urgency in her interpretations, which are in general respectful of the composer’s wishes and quite easy to the ear.

Happy Listening

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Overture to Le nozze di Figaro, K.492
Symphony No.40 in G Minor, K.550
Symphony No.41 in C Major, K.551 ('Jupiter')

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Jane Glover , conducting
Recorded October 1993 at All Saints Church, Petersham, Surray

Tring International PLC ‎– TRP004
RPO Records – 204404-201
Original Issue - 1993



Friday, December 18, 2020

Beethoven Takes the Stage

No. 349 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at


For this second December montage feeding Beethoven @ 250, we carry on with the theme begun with yesterday’s daily podcast featuring the incidental music to King Stephan.

Though he was unfavourably reviewed by critics – many of whom saw his work as immoral – German dramatist and writer August von Kotzebue was one of the most popular writers of his time. IHe was politically conservative and cosmopolitan in outlook and spoke out against the antisemitism of student nationalists.

He was approached in 1812 by Beethoven, who suggested that Kotzebue write the libretto for an opera about Attila, which was never written. Beethoven did, however, produce incidental music for two of Kotzebue's plays, The Ruins of Athens (Beethoven's opus 113) and King Stephen (opus 117).

Beethoven write few works for the stage; in addition to his only opera (Fidelio) and the incidental music to the aforementioned incidental music to Kotzebue’s two plays, he left us his overture to Heinrich Joseph von Collin's tragedy Coriolan, his ballet music The Creatures of Prometheus and the incidental music to Goethe’s tragedy Egmont.

Today’s montage features the music from Egmont and the Ruins of Athens, both featuring sung numbers, as well as displaying some of Beethoven’s flair for pace and drama.

Beethoven wrote the incidental music for Egmont between October 1809 and June 1810. Composed during the Napoleonic Wars when the First French Empire had extended its domination over vast swathes of Europe, Beethoven had famously expressed his great outrage over Napoleon Bonaparte's decision to crown himself Emperor in 1804, furiously scratching out his name in the dedication of the Eroica Symphony. In the music for Egmont, Beethoven expressed his own political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a valiant stand against oppression. The overture to Egmont is well known, and so are som of the sung passages, Die Trommel gerühret and Freudvoll und leidvoll.

The Ruins of Athens was a play commissioned to August von Kotzebue for the dedication of a new theatre at Pest. Perhaps the best-known music from The Ruins of Athens is the Turkish March, a theme that has claimed a place in popular culture. The overture and the Turkish March are often performed separately, and the other pieces of this set are not often heard.

In 1822 the play was revived for the reopening of Vienna's Theater in der Josefstadt with a revised libretto by Carl Meisl, for which Beethoven wrote a new overture, now known as The Consecration of the House, Op. 124, and added a chorus "Wo sich die Pulse" (WoO 98).

The music for The Ruins of Athens was reworked in 1924 by Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal in 1926.

I think you will love this music too!

Friday, December 11, 2020

7 and 11


This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from June 8, 2012. It can be found in our archives at


This week’s we take out a montage from the podcast vault that dates from early 2012 that features a work by our birthday boy, Ludwig van Beethoven.

The Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97, was completed in 1811. It is commonly referred to as the Archduke Trio, because it was dedicated to Archduke Rudolph of Austria, himself an amateur pianist and a patron, friend, and composition student of Beethoven. Beethoven dedicated a total of fourteen compositions to the Archduke, who dedicated one of his own to Beethoven in return.

Although the "Archduke Trio" is sometimes numbered as "No. 7", the numbering of Beethoven's twelve piano trios is not standardized, so that in some  sources the Op. 97 trio may be shown as having a different number, if any.

The use of the number 7 is significant today, as all the works on the playlist harbor number 7 or 11 – a reference to games of chance and spirituality.

The fundamental bet in craps is the pass line bet, which is a bet for the shooter to win. If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the bet wins. But there’s more…

The number 7 symbolizes spirituality and spiritual evolving, spiritual awakening and enlightenment. This number also symbolizes knowledge, faith, education, learning, studying, teaching, deep understanding of things, psychic abilities, healing, inner guidance and wisdom, intuition, empathic abilities, philosophy and mysticism.

The number 1 symbolizes initiative, beginning point, new beginnings, new projects, new endeavors, success, intuition, progress, moving forward, ambition, pursuing your goals, inspiration, determination, confidence, leadership, and making your reality with your thoughts and expectations.

Eleven is made up of two ones, but also the Master Number 11 symbolizes illumination and enlightenment, teaching, idealism, consciousness, mysticism, prophesy, visions, enthusiasm, creativity and inspiration.

And you thought we were shooting craps!

As filler today, keeping to the 7-11 theme, a concerto grosso by Giuseppe Valentini – his opus 7, number 11.

I think you will (still) love this music too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Rachmaninov - Andrei Gavrilov ‎– Piano Concerto Number 3

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

December’s Vinyl’s Revenge post is a record I acquired when I was a member of the Columbia Record and Tape Club. It is a performance of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto featuring Andrei Gavrilov as soloist. The disc was originally released in the Soviet Union under its flagship Melodiya label, but reissued by CBS Masterworks.

Melodiya was established in 1964 as the "All-Union Gramophone Record Firm of the USSR Ministry of Culture Melodiya". By 1973, Melodiya released some 1,200 gramophone records with a total circulation of 190-200 million per year, in addition to 1 million cassettes per year, was exporting its production to more than 70 countries.

The label's production was dominated by classical music, music by Soviet composers and musicians, performances by Soviet theatre actors, and fairy tales for children. For example, Melodiya notably released performances of works by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Melodiya recordings of classical and folk music appeared on the Melodiya/Angel (USA) and Melodiya/HMV labels as the result of an exclusive contract with EMI, the owner of both labels. A smaller number of recordings were distributed on other labels, particularly after 1989, before Melodiya granted exclusive rights to BMG in 1994. After expiry of the BMG contract in 2003, the company re-opened under new management and in 2006 started re-releasing recordings through its own label.

Andrei Gavrilov was born into a family of artists in Moscow; his mother was the Armenian pianist Assanetta Eguiserian (December 20, 1925 – November 29, 2006), who had studied with Heinrich Neuhaus and gave Gavrilov his first piano lessons at age 2. By the age of 18, after one semester at the conservatory, he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1974 and rose to international fame when, at the Salzburg Festival the same year, he substituted for Sviatoslav Richter. Until 1979, Gavrilov performed in all the major music centers of the world performing up to 90 concerts a year, while continuing his studies at the university.

There are some intriguing bits about this 1976 recording. Reissued by EMI, Eurodisc and distributed elsewhere by Neodiya, the orchestra’s name changes from the Moscow Philharmonic, to USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra to USSR Symphony Orchestra… As recordings and performances go, this is solid and quite enjoyable.

In 1979, at the first peak of Gavrilov's career, Herbert von Karajan, who had heard him in Tchaikovsky's First Concerto in Berlin, offered recordings of all the Rachmaninoff concertos, despite the fact that Karajan only rarely conducted them. In December 1979, recordings were scheduled in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic for the 2nd concerto, but Gavrilov did not appear for the rehearsals. It was discovered that due to his critical remarks about the Soviet regime, the USSR had seized Gavrilov's passport.

Wonder how that would have sounded…

Happy listening!

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Concerto No. 3 In D Minor for Piano And Orchestra, Op. 30
Recorded At – Grand Hall Of The Moscow Conservatoire, April 1976

Andrei Gavrilov, Piano
USSR State Academic Orchestra
Alexander Lazarev, conducting

Label: CBS Masterworks ‎– M 36685
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1981
(Original Melodiya release, 1976)

Discogs -


Friday, December 4, 2020

Beethoven 1-2-3

No. 348 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at

Most of our programming this month is dedicated to Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and the tewo Friday podcasts are indeed part of that mix. This week, we turn to Beethoven’s ample contributions to the chamber repertoire, with three works, which follow the sequence 1, 2 and 3.

The Beethoven catalogue has many trio combinations: string trios (violin, viola and cello), wind trios (two oboes and cor anglais), trios for piano, clarinet and cello but the most well known are for the standard piano trio (piano, violin and cello). For that specific combination, he composed at least seven trios, two series of variations as well as a few stand-alone movements. From his first collection (his opus 1), I retained is trio no. 1, from the original configuration of the Beaux Arts Trio.

The ten Beethoven sonatas represent the most important body of work for violin and piano. The Beethoven violin sonatas do not quite span his whole life’s work, as do the piano sonatas or string quartets for instance. His last example is from 1812, whist he was still just managing to perform in public and a full 15 years before his death. As always with this unique genius, the standard across the cycle is unwaveringly superb, often touching absolute greatness. There is no weak sonata – but then we would be amazed were we to find one. They give a particular insight into Beethoven as a young man, full of confidence as composer and pianist, and blazing a trail for a new way forward. I retained the sonata no. 2, performed by Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer.

Beethoven inherited the string-quartet tradition from his predecessors and shaped it into something unsurpassed in virtuosity, invention, and expressiveness. He wrote 16 string quartets, and they reveal his evolution as a composer and a man. It’s all there: earthy wit (yes, Beethoven could crack a joke), volatile temper (his fury was state of the art), and personal sorrow (he had plenty to weep about). On today’s montage, I retained no. 3, performed by the 1950’s lineup of the Budapest String Quartet.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, November 27, 2020

In Memoriam: Mario Bernardi (1930 - 2013)

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from November 8, 2013. It can be found in our archives at


As we close out the month of November (already!), we have one last Friday Podcast Vault selection that feeds our ongoing “In November we remember” series, with this revisit of our homage to the late great Canadian conductor Mario Bernardi.

Mario Bernardi was a national figure who played a seminal role in the life of classical music in Canada. He was born in Kirkland Lake, Ont. in 1930, not a hotbed of classical music in the early years of the Great Depression. He displayed talent at the piano and he moved to Italy when he was six years old with his mother to foster a musical career. He would study at the Venice Conservatory. After graduating in 1945, his family returned to Canada where he finished his studies at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He then was a concert pianist.

In 1957 he conducted the Canadian Opera Company, and in 1963 was coach and assistant conductor at the Sadler's Wells Opera Company (now the English National Opera). 

Bernardi was hired by the late Hamilton Southam to move to Ottawa in 1968 to build the 45-member orchestra for the new National Arts Centre. Virtually from scratch, Mario Bernardi built an orchestra that was considered the finest of its kind in the world, and began a tradition of excellence that continues today with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

One of the rules in establishing the ensemble was that NACO was not allowed to poach players away from other orchestras. Even with that limitation, they were able to find players in Canada, in the U.S. and Europe, and even one from South Africa. He left the orchestra in the early 1980’s, but returned regularly as a guest conductor and became the NACO's conductor laureate in 1997.

After his tenure in Ottawa, he led the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra from 1984 until 1992. From 1983 until 2006 he was the principal conductor of the CBC Radio Orchestra, based out of Vancouver. 

The montage features Bernardi with all three ensembles, on a large swath of compositions from the standard and the Canadian repertoire.

As we are approaching the Holidays, I thought that for a filler I would share a 1964 complete performance of Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel sung in English by the Sadler’s Wells Opera, with Mario Bernardi conducting.

Album details -

YouTube link - 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 (Weingartner) (1935)


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

To conclude our #Beethoven2020 series on the Tuesday Blog, we consider Beethoven’s Choral Symphony and Consecration of the House overture, which were both premiered at the same concert, on 7 May 1824.

The recording I selected today is a historic recording featuring Felix Weingartner, a contemporary to Mahler and Toscanini in one of the earliest available recordings of this seminal work . Weingartner was respected as much for his musical scholarship as his conducting. In 1906, he proposed a monograph on the performance of Beethoven symphonies that in some respects became the progenitor of new editorial research on the composer leading to the radical quests of period instrument performance in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Weingartner’s mastery of instrumental balance is expertly demonstrated in the brief processional march following the opening ceremonies of the overture The Consecration of the House. Weaving through emphatic chordal interjections, the chattering bassoon commentary that is so often garbled or lost within the texture altogether, here very audibly urges the rest of the orchestra on towards the main Allegro. The conductor transforms a passage of potential idiosyncrasy into something both apposite and wickedly jaunty. Composed to introduce a revised version of The Ruins of Athens incidental music for the opening of the Josephstadt Theater in 1822, not long before work began in earnest on the Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony, it is dressed by Weingartner in suitably festive colours with much élan.

Weingartner's 1935 Vienna recording of the Choral Symphony is without doubt one of the highlights of the recorded canon. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is showing all the signs both of its long heritage and also of becoming a well-disciplined modern orchestra in the new era of full orchestral recordings that began just ten years earlier with the first use of the microphone in the electrical recording method. The Vienna State Opera Choir is of course superb, as is the almost ideal quartet of soloists heard here.

Sonically this is without doubt a mid-1930s recording. Worse than that, the final movement was recorded separately and sounded completely different in its tonal balance to the rest of the recording. Audio emgineers post-processed the masters, both to resurrect the overall sound quality, counteracting the multiple discrepancies introduced by 1930's recording methods, and also to bring the finale closer in tone to the rest of the recording.

Happy Listening!

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Die Weihe des Hauses Overture, Op. 124
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded 7th October 1938 in EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London
Matrices: CAX 8354-1, 8355-1 and 8356-1
First issued on Columbia LX 811 and 812

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 “Choral”:
Luise Helletsgruber, Soprano
Rosette Anday, Contralto
Georg Maikl, Tenor
Richard Mayr, Bass
Vienna State Opera Chorus
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded 2nd - 4th February 1935 in the Mittlerer Konzerthaussaal, Vienna
Matrices: CHAX 61-3A, 62-3A, 63-3A, 64-3A, 65-1A, 66-2A, 67-2A,
68-2A, 69-2, 70-2A, 71-4A, 72-3A, 73-2, 74-1, 75-2, 76-2A
First issued on Columbia LX 413 through 420
Conductor Felix Weingartner
Label: Naxos Historical
Catalogue No: 8.110863

See Naxos Page -

Friday, November 20, 2020

In Memoriam - Lynn Harrell (1944-2020)

No. 347 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at


Our second of two new montages this month, in our “In November we remember” series, showcases performances by cellist Lynn Harrell, who passed away on April 27.

According to his obituary in the Washington Poet, Mr. Harrell was convinced that the cello had more direct appeal to an audience than any other instrument, and compared it to the human voice. “The cello covers all vocal ranges — soprano, alto, tenor and bass,” he told the New York Times in 1982. “Besides that, there is the visual appeal.”

Lynn Morris Harrell was born in 1944 to a musical family. His mother, Marjorie Fulton Harrell, was a violinist, and his father, Mack Harrell, was a baritone who sang for many years with the Metropolitan Opera. Later, the family moved to Dallas, where his father taught at Southern Methodist University and his mother gave private lessons. Most summers were spent in Colorado, where Mack Harrell was one of the founders and then the second director of the Aspen Music Festival and School. He started on piano at 8 and was an unenthusiastic student. But when his parents presented an evening of chamber music at the family home, he became fascinated by the cello and became a pupil of Lev Aronson, principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony. The fiercely exacting George Szell hired him for the Cleveland Orchestra’s cello section while Mr. Harrell was still a teenager and made him principal cellist at 20. He went on play solo recitals, chamber music concerts and solo appearances with orchestra.

His complete discography spans more than two dozen other recordings, and his repertoire spanned from Bach to a new concerto by composer Augusta Read Thomas. The three works I chose for today’s podcast are emblematic of his broad repertoire; he recorded both of Victor Herbert’s cello concerti, and his performance of the Schumann cello concerto is a go-to reference. To complete the programme, I opted for a quaint duo for cello and violin by Zoltan Kodaly.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Britten: War Requiem

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from November 14, 2014. It can be found in our archives at


This week’s throwback montage concludes our week-long “War and Peace” series with a complete performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem; a work that was also featured (in part) in our World War II montage yesterday.

Britten was an avowed pacifist, and even registered as a conscientious objector in his homeland when he returned from a prolonged self-exile in 1942. Still, including his Ballad of Heroes we featured in our Remembrance Day montage, he left a number of works dedicated to the theme of war, but mostly on the human cost of war, and the War Requiem us his most enduring and brilliant example – as I noted in the original musing from 2014.

Our bonus track is a work from the early days of World War II, during the period Britten and his longtime companion Peter Pears found refuge (from homophobic persecution and the war in Britain) in North America. This Canadian Carnival (in French, Kermesse Canadienne) is a work that is intended as a playful concert overture, with tinges of French-Canadian folklore and I’d argue sounds a lot like Copland’s Salon Mexico.

I think you will (still) love this music too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Igor Stravinsky, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein ‎– Symphony In Three Movements • Symphony In C


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

We usually take time in November to remember great artists we have lost, and it is in that context that we remember the thirtieth anniversary of the passing of Leonard Bernstein.

Further, this is also “Remembrance Week” (tomorrow being Remembrance Day) and the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. It is in that context that I am sharing a pair of works by Igor Stravinsky that were composed during the 1939-45 timeframe.

Stravinsky wrote a symphony at the very beginning of his career—it’s his op. 1—but he quickly became famous as the composer ballet scores, and he spent the next few years composing for the theater and the opera house. When, in 1920, he finally returned to writing music for an orchestra on the concert stage, he composed the Symphonies of Wind Instruments, which omits strings entirely and is no symphony in the conventional sense of the word. Throughout the ’20s, Stravinsky began to put his personal stamp on the traditional forms of orchestral music—these scores are the earliest of his so-called neoclassical period.

Stravinsky began the Symphony in C in Paris in the autumn of 1938 and completed the score on August 19, 1940, in Beverly Hills, California. Stravinsky admitted that he had scores of Haydn’s and Beethoven’s symphonies at his side when he began his own. Stravinsky’s understanding of symphonic style is very much his own. As he told a Boston interviewer:

My new symphony is going to be classical in spirit, more concise in its form than Beethoven […] Instead of all the chords gravitating toward one final tonic chord, all notes gravitate toward a single note. Thus this symphony will be neither a symphony in C major nor a symphony in C minor but simply a symphony in C.
The Symphony in Three Movements is considered as Stravinsky's first major composition after emigrating to the United States. It uses material written by Stravinsky for aborted film projects. Stravinsky, who rarely acknowledged extramusical inspirations for his music, referred to the composition as his 'war symphony'. He claimed the symphony as a direct response to events of the Second World War in both Europe and Asia. The first movement was inspired by a documentary on Japanese scorched earth tactics in China. The third movement deals with footage of German soldiers goosestepping and the Allied forces' mounting success.

Bernstein recorded extensively from the mid-1940s until just a few months before his death. His typical pattern of recording at that time was to record major works in the studio immediately after they were presented in the orchestra's subscription concerts. He recorded primarily for Columbia Masterworks Records, especially when he was music director of the New York Philharmonic between 1958 and 1971; his later recordings (starting with Bizet's Carmen in 1972) were mostly made for Deutsche Grammophon. Unlike his studio recordings for Columbia Masterworks, most of his later DGG recordings were taken from live concerts (or edited together from several concerts with additional sessions to correct errors). Today’s 1985 recording of the two Stravinsky symphonies follows that pattern, featuring the Israel Philharmonic.

Happy Listening!

Igor STRAVINSKY (1880 - 1971)

Symphony In C (1940)
Symphony In Three Movements (1945)

Orchestra – Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor – Leonard Bernstein
(Live recordings)

Deutsche Grammophon ‎– 415 128-1
Format: Vinyl, LP, Stereo (ADD)
Released: 1985


Friday, November 6, 2020

Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014)

No. 346 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at

All through November on our daily podcasts, we are showcasing titles from our In Memoriam series, many of which discussed the contemporaneous loss of a composer or an artist. We have two new podcasts lined up for our Friday series, one (later this month) will showcase an artist we lost earlier this year, but today’s is a long-overdue tribute to a conductor we lost six years ago, Christopher Hogwood.

Quoting from Hogwood’s obituary, at its height in the 1980s, the early music revival was regarded by many as virtually synonymous with the Academy of Ancient Music and Christopher Hogwood. Established in 1973 with instruments of the baroque period, under Hogwood's direction the AAM examined aspects of historical performance practice with scholarly rigour, paving the way for the achievements of other contemporaries such as Roger Norrington, John Eliot Gardiner and Trevor Pinnock. The AAM was at this time one of the most frequently recorded period ensembles, soon moving from the baroque era into the classical, to record the complete symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven, the complete Mozart piano concertos (with Robert Levin) and a wide range of other music.

Hogwood's philosophy with the orchestra, and indeed in all his projects, was to attempt to understand and recreate the composer's intentions, in terms of both notation and performance. To this end he would return to the original sources, correct publishing errors and evaluate textual alterations in subsequent editions. Much of the repertoire the orchestra performed was given in editions prepared by Hogwood himself.

By the 1980s Hogwood achieved superstar status in the classical sphere, dubbed "the Karajan of early music" on coming third in the 1983 Billboard chart, behind Plácido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa but ahead of any other conductor.

The three works I retained for this homage podcast are from the baroque – two of Johann Sebastian Bach’s less heard orchestral suites (numbers 1 and 4) and a work with vocal soloists, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936)

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from April 20, 2018. It can be found in our archives at


A few weeks ago, we spent a weekend exploring the music of The Mighty Five, the group of Nationalist composers that reshaped Russian music. Today’s throwback post revisits the music of one of their disciples, Alexander Glazunov.

In many ways, Glazunov was a transitional figure in Russian – later Soviet – music; not so much in terms of a late romantic to modern transition (that was more left to Stravinsky and Scriabin) but in terms of a nationalist transition. 

Glazunov was not supportive of the modern direction Stravinsky's music took. He was not alone in this prejudice—their mutual teacher Rimsky-Korsakov was as profoundly conservative by the end of his life, wedded to the academic process he helped instill at the Conservatory. Unlike Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov was not anxious about the potential dead end Russian music might reach by following academia strictly, nor did he share Rimsky-Korsakov's grudging respect for new ideas and techniques. 

Stravinsky was not the only composer whose modernist tendencies Glazunov disliked. Shostakovich mentioned Glazunov's attacks against the "recherché cacophonists"—the elder composer's term for the newer generation of Western composers, beginning with Debussy. Once, while looking at a score of Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, he commented, "It's orchestrated with great taste.... And he knows his work.... Could it be that Rimsky and I influenced the orchestration of all these contemporary degenerates?"

Both Glazunov and Rachmaninoff, whose first symphony Glazunov supposedly had conducted so poorly at its premiere (according to the composer), were considered "old-fashioned" in their later years. In recent years, reception of Glazunov's music has become more favorable.

Glazunov served as director of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory between 1905 and 1928 and was instrumental in the reorganization of the institute into the Petrograd Conservatory, then the Leningrad Conservatory, following the Bolshevik Revolution. The best-known student under his tenure during the early Soviet years was Dmitri Shostakovich.

Glazunov toured Europe and the United States in 1928, and settled in Paris by 1929. He always claimed that the reason for his continued absence from Russia was "ill health"; this enabled him to remain a respected composer in the Soviet Union, unlike Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff, who had left for other reasons. 

In 1934, he wrote one of his final works; a virtuoso and lyrical concerto for the alto saxophone. This is our filler work for today.

I think you will (still) love this music too

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Beethoven Two-For: Overtures and Emperor Concerto

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

This month's installment of our #Beethoven2020 series (the penultimate installment) shares two vinyl albums from my collection - one of them completes the "piano concerto" cycle we undertook when er launched this series earlier this year.

Let's start there - Rudolf Serkin recorded all of the Beethoven concertos - some of them more than once, under Eugene Ormandy, Bruno Walter and Leonard Bernstein, The Bernstein collaboration on the Emperor concerto was reissued several times, including under the "Great Performances" series, which is how I acquired it.

Manu conductors have recorded the Beethoven overtures - either as filler for their symphony cycles like Bernstein, von Dohnanyi and Leibowitz did or as stand-alone releases. This "Resonance" reissue combines overtures recorded by Karl Böhm with the Vienna Philharmonic with a pair of Fidelio overtures from his landmark recording of the opera with Staatskapelle Dresden.

Happy Listening!

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Overture To Goethe's Tragedy "Egmont", Op. 84
Overture To H.J. V. Collin's Tragedy "Coriolanus", Op. 62
Overture To The Ballet "The Creatures Of Prometheus", Op. 43
Wiener Philharmoniker
Overture "Fidelio", Op. 72b
Overture "Leonora No. 3", Op. 72a
Staatskapelle Dresden
Conductor – Karl Böhm
Deutsche Grammophon ‎ Resonance – 2535 135
Format: Vinyl, LP, Reissue

Concerto No. 5 In E-Flat Major For Piano & Orchestra, Op. 73 "Emperor"
Piano – Rudolf Serkin
Orchestra –New York Philharmonic
Conductor – Leonard Bernstein

CBS Great Performances ‎– MY 37223
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album

Friday, October 23, 2020

Back to Bach – Orgelwerke

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from October 18, 2013. It can be found in our archives at


For a few years, we used to feature Podcast Vault podcasts on the Tuesday Blog, and this week's selection was indeed redone in March of 2014. The title I used at that time was "Three Organs and Three Organists" and though the bulk of the musing essentially repeated the original Friday musing, there was a notable exception and let me recycle iy here:

Seeing all these colonnades of bone so methodically ranged about, would you not think you were inside of the great Haarlem organ, and gazing upon its thousand pipes?

This description of the mouth of a whale, quoted from the Melville novel Moby Dick makes a direct reference to the historic Christiaan Müller organ of the St.-Bavokerk in the Dutch city of Haarlem. It is one of the world's most historically important organs, whose original construction dates back 1735-38, thus contemporary to Bach’s lifetime. Dutch organist and composer Piet Kee performs eight short preludes and fugues for organ (BWV 553-560) on this venerable instrument.

Our two other organists - and organs - come from different parts of the Globe; Ian Tracey performs the Passacaglia and Fugue BWV 582 in this montage on the grand Blancfort organ at Our Lady of Incarnation church in Marbella, Spain. Glenn Gould plays selections from The ARt of the Fugue on the Casavant organ at All Saints' Kingsway Anglican Church in Toronto.

The original post (under my old bilingual format) proposed two YouTube clips (on in the French commentary, the other in the English commentary). Today's filler is an altogether different performance of the Art of the Fugue, this one on the Ahrend & Brunzema organ, , Kirche St. Johann, Bremen-Oberneuland by Herbert Tachezi.

I think you will (still) love this music too.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Arthur Fiedler (1894 - 1979)

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from February 7, 2014. It can be found in our archives at


In order to complete our series of podcasts entrusted to “memorable conductors”, this week's throwback montage cedes the podium to the late Arthur Fiedler, associated with the current of “popular concerts” in the United States (and elsewhere) where we program works from the repertoire to others we don’t usually hear during symphonic concerts.

A seriously trained musician and member of the Boston Symphony (as was his father for that matter), in 1924 he created the Boston Sinfonietta, with which he began a series of concerts outside of his duties at the BSO. This orchestra - which would later become the Fieldler Sinfonietta on record – stuck to the traditional repertoire. In 1930 he was hired as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, where he held musical direction for nearly half a century. Under Fiedler's direction, the "Pops" have made more recordings than any orchestra in the world, selling over 50 million records and cassettes. In addition, Fiedler collaborated for 26 seasons with the San Francisco Pops Orchestra, and occasionally conducted other orchestras around the world.

The montage explores the more or less “typical” content for Fiedler and his “Pops”. Our bonus clips feature more Fieldler and the Pops. The album title (Evening at Pops) refers to his decade of television concerts produced WGBH fir PBS.

I think you will (still) love this music too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Mozart, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, Henryk Szeryng ‎– The Violin Concertos


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

This week's Tuesday Blog is a near-COver2Cover share of Henryk Szeryng's complete Mozart Violin Concerto cycle.

Back in February of 2016, I shared in these pages a vinyl pressing of two of these concerti - numbers 3 and 5. Today, we share the remaining tracks from that cycle, including three short concerto movements.

As I wrote back then, Szeryng's noble tone, flawless technique, and eloquent expressivity are wonderfully well-suited to Mozart's youthful concertos, and his lyrical yet playful interpretations touch the elegant impetuosity at the heart of the music.

Also worth noting, the fine backdrop offered by Sir Alexander Gibson and the New Philharmonia orchestra.


Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto #1 In B Flat, K. 207
Violin Concerto #2 In D, K. 211
Adagio In E, K. 261
Violin Concerto #4 In D, K. 218
Rondo In B Flat, K. 269
Rondo In C, K. 373

Conductor – Alexander Gibson
Orchestra – New Philharmonia Orchestra
Violin – Henryk Szeryng
Philips ‎ Silver Line Classics – 422 256-2


Friday, October 9, 2020

Saint-Saëns‘ cello

No. 345 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at


Today marks Camille Saint-Saëns' birthday )born OTD in 1835) and to celebrate, I created a montage of works he composed for Cello and orchestra.

Saint-Saëns was a pianist and organist or renown, but he did compose worls for violin and for cello at different times during a career that spanned into the earky 20th century.

The First Cello Concerto has long been one of Saint- Saëns’s most popular pieces,; although officially written in one continuous movement, such a description is misleading in that the music follows concerto convention by dividing the music into three distinct sections, with a fast-slow-fast structure. It is only in one movement inasmuch as each movement continues without a pause. The performance chosen  here today, featuring canadian cellist Shauna Rolston, was the one remaining work from a CBC recording she made with the Calgary Philharmonic under Mario Bernardi (the other works on the album were featured in past montages).

While the First Cello Concerto was written during a period of post-war social readjustment, the Second—composed three decades later in 1902—came at a time of significant upheavals in the French musical landscape. This was the year that saw the premiere of Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande, a work that was not to the taste of Saint-Saëns, nor to many other critics of the time. Saint-Saëns’ new cello concerto was even less successful, with one critic denouncing it after its premiere on 5 February 1905 as ‘bad music well written’—a phrase that plagued the composer’s music for years. A principle objection was the physical demands made of the soloist. Joseph Hollman (1852–1926), was an energetic, muscular player, and Saint-Saëns sought to exploit these characteristics, but to the detriment of its reception. Although performances and recordings of the Second Cello Concerto have become more frequent in recent years, it is still greatly overshadowed by the First, and this is in no small part due to the music’s considerable technical difficulties with many solo passages, huge leaps, and runs that require two staves to accommodate them.

Remaining pieces on the album are shorter concertante works, inclusing the Swan from the Carnival of the Animals. The exception is the Suite in D minor, originally conceived for cello and piano, but was revised and orchestrated in 1919 (Saint-Saëns wrote two new movements for the orchestral version, the Gavotte and the Tarentelle).

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Opera on Broadway

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from October 31, 2014. It can be found in our archives at


Our Podcast Vault selection this week feeds a thematic arc on our podcasting channel this week which I called “Operation Opera”.

Two of the titles released this week featured works by George Gershwin, a composer who is usually associated with musicals and with the famous New York theater district, Broadway.

One of the works we shared - Blue Monday - was included in a revue and the other, Porgy and Bess, was a daring attempt to put on a "grand opera". Even though Porgy is now staged by major operatic companies, its premiere was on Broadway, not the Met.

The post that originally accompanied today's share explored the opera phenomenon in the context of accessibility, and the pair of operas composed in the mid-1940s by Menotti are fine examples of this attempt to bring together the medium of opera and access to an audience that is less familiar with the same medium.

The bonus clip, another short opera by the same composer, attempts the same experiment with the radio audience. The Old Maid and the Thief is a short 14-scene opera composed expressly for radio, exploring a contemporary theme, in a language familiar to listeners. The chosen performance is the original feed from the NBC company, with the introduction (and synopsis) of the time.

I think you will (still) love this music too.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Franz Schubert Dressed to the Nines

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from September 26, 2014. It can be found in our archives at


Our Podcast Vault montage this week come from our “Dressed to the Nines” series of 2014, this time focused on Schubert’s Great C Major Symphony.

We’ve done quite a number of Schubert musings over the years, considering many aspects of his output – lieder, chamber music and his orchestral music. In fairness, his orchestral output can be characterized as modest when compared to other aspects of his production, but some of these works – this ninth symphony more specifically – is noteworthy dues to its clear “late romantic” atmosphere.

The other feature work on the montage – selections from his music for Rosamunde. By all accounts the 1820 production of the play Die Zauberharfe was a flop. There were, however, positive things to say about Schubert’s musical prowess; scholars have noted that Schubert takes many steps here towards his mature style, tempering both his lyrical genius and displaying masterful motivic development.

Schubert did not write an overture to his drama Rosamunde, which premiered on December 20, 1823, and he instead used a variety of overtures, including at one point, the Act I Overture from Die Zauberharfe. A more explicit connection between these two dramas comes from a piano forte duet, purportedly arranged by Schubert in 1825 with an explicit description “Overture to the play ‘Rosamunde’.” Whether the association is correct or not, the reception history of Die Zauberharfe has been unquestionably attached to the later production.

Our filler clip today, keeping with the “nines” is Schubert’s piano sonata no. 9, performed in its entirety here by Alfred Brendel.

I thin you will (still) love this music too.