Sunday, May 31, 2020

Project 366 - Dates on the Musical Calendar for June 2020

Project 366 continues in 2019 with "Dates on the Musical Calendar". Read more here.


  • 2-Jun     Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (OTD 1953) [Guide # 254]
  • 17-Jun   HB Igor Stravinsky (* 1882) [Guide #297]
  • 20-Jun   Father's Day (North America) [Guide # 345]
  • 21-Jun   Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere) [Guide # 346]
  • 24-Jun Fête Nationale du Québec (St-Jean-Baptiste) [Guide #347]

Filler listener guides for June revisit posts from the Modern era and the piano concertos of Wolfgang Mozart. Two new operas are also added to our series: Maskarade (Nielsen, Guides # 343 & 344) and Louise (Charpentier, Guides # 348 & 349)

Your Listener Guides

Listener Guides # 343 & 344 - Maskarade (Nielsen)

Any opera lover worth his or her salt will see right through the plot of this opera: Leander is something of a party animal, which displeases his father Jeronimus to no end. Jeronimus has struck a gentleman’s agreement with Leonard (a well-to-do Copenhagen resident) that Leander will marry Leonard’s daughter Leonora. Leander, meanwhile, has met a wonderful girl at a masquerade ball, and is determined to marry her and not Leonora (whom he’s not formally met). At Leonard’s house, the mirror-image of the story is revealed. Now, one has to wonder who it is that both of these young people have met – as if you don’t know, but why spoil the antics that will invariably ensue… (Once or Twice a Fortnight - Feb 7 2013)

[L/G # 343 - Acts 1 &2, L/G #344 - Act 3]

Listener Guide # 345 - Father's Day

I don;t know if it;s just me, but why is it that composers, writers and other artists seem to have strained relationships with their fathers? Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart, Johan Strauss (father and son), Alexandre Dumas (father and son), Emile and David Nelligan, Richard and Franz Strauss (no relation with the other ones) (ITYWLTMT Montage #10 - June 17, 2011)

Listener Guide # 346 - Summer

All across Canada, French Canadians express their cultural pride and rich heritage through colourful parades and lively parties on June 24 marking Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. These festivities combine the ancient rites of the summer solstice - a period of light and hope - with the traditional celebration in honour of the Patron Saint of French Canadians. So, we mark the Summer Solstice with a podcast montage dedicated to “everything Summer" with a few selections from French Canada to also mark "La Saint-Jean".  (ITYWLTMT Montage #11 - June 24, 2011)

Listener Guide # 347 - Québec sait chanter

The title of today’s post, Québec sait chanter (loosely translated as Quebec can sing), makes reference to an old television show from my youth, where host Yoland Guérard would welcome great operatic voices, share anecdotes and would feature their voices in studio. Names like Raoul Jobin, Robert Savoie, André Turp, Huguette Tourangeau and the husband and wife duo of Pierrette Alarie and Léopold Simoneau – most of whom featured today – had their turn on television with Mr. Guérard. (ITYWLTMT Montage #315 - June 28, 2019)

Listener Guides # 348 & 349 - Luoise (Charpentoer)

Paul Dukas once wrote of Louise: "The first and last acts are those of a master; the other two are those of an artist; the whole is the work of a man." Louise is an opera that may be known today as a work with only one hit "Depuis le jour" to its credit, but at one time it was a staple at the great opera houses of the world and was reputed to be a favorite of the Metropolitan Opera's Sir Rudolf Bing who could never remember its name and referred to it as "the one with the girls and the sewing machines." (Once or Twice a Fortnight - June 15, 2014)

[L/G # 348 - Acts 1 &2, L/G #349 - Acts 3 & 4]

Friday, May 29, 2020

This Day in Music History 29-05-1913

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from May 29, 2013. It can be found in our archives at


Today's stroll into the Podcast Vault takes us back seven years, as we larked the centenary of an important milestone in music history, the then-controversial premiere of The Rite of Spring, at a regular ballet recital in Paris.

Much like the equally (yet less celebrated) Skandalkonzert held in Vienna two months earlier, the riotous atmosphere of the evening stands out in contemporaneous accounts. Either evening, however, can be thought of as the inflexion point where old traditions give way to new ideas in music making.

Though mostly familiar as a musical score, we tend to forget that the Rite of Spring is after all a ballet, and that the reaction of the audience that night could have been directed to the dance performance... The rhythmic intensity of the score, the script and the choreography undoubtedly caused the spectators to be moved. In the context of the rest of the recital (traditional numbers of classical ballet, all included in this podcast), one can well imagine why! After the premiere, during a meal with his composer and choreographer, Diaghilev said of the sensational reaction that "this is exactly what I was looking for".

After a series of nine performances, the ballet is put aside, and will not be danced again until seven years later (same scenic concept, but under a choreography by Leonide Massine). There are few vestiges of Nijinsky's original choreography, however, even a handful of notes and photos. It is from these documents as well as sketches left by Roerich that Millicent Hodson, Kenneth Archer and Robert Joffrey try to recreate everything in 1987.

As our bonus track, I retained the 1919 suite of Stravinsky's earlier Diaghilev ballet, The Firebird. We shared a different (more elaborate) version of this suite from 1947 last year, however the shorter 1919 version is more familiar. The performance is by the Toronto Symphony.

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Liszt, Ivan Davis , Royal Philharmonic, Edward Downes ‎– Piano Concertos #1 & 2

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

This week’s edition of Vinyl’s revenge features a coupling of the two Liszt piano concertos featuring American pianist Ivan Davis (1932-2018).

As a teenager, Franz Liszt created at least two virtuosic concertos for piano and orchestra, scores which are now lost. The two numbered concertos were composed during the 1830's when Liszt’s career as a young, travelling virtuoso was at its height. Liszt revised them extensively before letting them be published some 25 years after their conception.

Ivan Davis, who studied under Silvio Scionti, Carlo Zecchi and Vladimir Horowitz, won the Franz Liszt Competition in New York City in April 1960. He recorded for London Records in the 1970s. From 1965, Davis was a professor of music at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

Sir Edward Downes (1924 –2009) was an English conductor, specialising in opera. He was associated with the Royal Opera House from 1952, and with Opera Australia from 1970. He was also well known for his long working relationship with the BBC Philharmonic and for working with the Netherlands Radio Orchestra.

Happy listening.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886)

Piano Concerto No.1 In E Flat Minor S.124
Piano Concerto No.2 In A Major S. 125

Orchestra – The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Piano – Ivan Davis
Conductor – Edward Downes

Label: Decca ‎– VIV 11
Series: Decca Viva!
Format: Vinyl, LP, Reissue

Released: 1982 (Canada)

Discogs -

Internet Archive

Friday, May 22, 2020

Georg Tintner (1917-1999)

No. 339  of the ongoing  ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at


Mozart and Bruckner are on the menu for today’s Friday Blog and Podcast, both under the baton of the late Austrian-born conductor Gerog Tintner, who was for many year the music director of Symphony Nova Scotia.

As a child Tintner was a singer in the Vienna Boys' Choir, and later, at the Vienna State Academy, he studied composition with Joseph Marx and conducting with Felix Weingartner. Soon he was assistant conductor of the Vienna Volksoper.

Due to the persecution of Jews, Tintner moved out of Vienna in 1938, arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1940. There, he conducted a church choir until after the war, when he took over the Auckland Choral Society in 1947, and the Auckland String Players in 1948. He became a New Zealand citizen in 1946. In 1954, he went to Australia and worked with many local opera companies well into the 1970’s . Tintner is credited with pioneering televised opera in Australia.

Founded in 1983 and based in Halifax, Symphony Nova Scotia’s orchestral lineage dates back to the late 19th century. When the Halifax Symphony Orchestra and New Brunswick Symphony Orchestra were both disbanded in 1968, the Atlantic provinces created the 48-member Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, a regional orchestra designed to tour the four provinces. When the ASO declared bankruptcy in 1983, SNS raised from its ashes.

Tintner served as Symphony Nova Scotia’s principal conductor until 1994, and as Conductor Laureate until his death in 1999. Under his leadership, Symphony Nova Scotia made six recordings, toured to Ontario and Quebec, and initiated several community outreach programs, including a production of The Nutcracker in collaboration with Halifax Dance and Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.

In 1778, Leopold Mozart’s happy memories of their stays in Paris between 1763 and 1766 made him decide to pack his son off there to try his luck. After all, Paris was a cosmopolitan city to which many German musicians flocked. Accompanied by his mother, Wolfgang arrived in the French capital on 23 March, at a time when the concert season was in full swing. He became friendly with Jean-Georges Noverre, the Paris Opera’s ballet master. Though this final stay in Paris was a disappointment professionally, at the request of Noverre, however, Mozart composed a score for the ballet Les Petits Riens (Little Nothings). Symphony Nova Scotia’s modest size makes it ideal for the classical repertoire, as demonstrated by this fine recording Mozart’s ballet.

Tintner was described as "one of the greatest living Bruckner conductors." He recorded a much-praised complete cycle of Bruckner symphonies for the Naxos CD label shortly before the end of his life (recording sessions: 1995-98). From that set, I retained Bruckner’s Sixth symphony, performed with the (much larger) New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Sibelius & Prokofiev Symphonies no. 5

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from May 23, 2014. It can be found in our archives at


This week’s encore podcast looks at a pair of symphonies we originally sampled in 2011 in our World Wars montages, and provided in complete for as a pair in 2014. The original post reminds us that, at the time, we were looking at three commemorations: the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion and the 75th anniversary if the start of Word War II.

Six years later – and a week late – we turn to the end of hostilities in the European theatre of World War II, and the liberation of many occupied countries. For Canada in particular, the liberation of the Netherlands, and Ottawa’s long association with the Dutch Royal Family exemplified by our yearly Tulip festival which (COVID-19 oblige) has turned essentially “virtual” this year as lingering foot visitors are discouraged.

The two works featured this week were both composed in wartime: Sibelius’s Fifth in the midst of Workd War I, and Prokofiev’s Fifth in seclusion during World War II. Though I don’t consider them programmatic, they are soaked in the atmosphere of the times, and both offer moments of despair and optimism in their respective finales.

As filler this week, I added another Fifth symphony composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams in the midst of World War II.

I think you will still love this music too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Vladimir Ashkenazy ‎– Piano Sonatas Moonlight / Appassionata / Waldstein

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

This month’s Cover 2 Cover starts a three-part arc on our #Beethoven2020 series focused on works for solo piano.

The chief contribution Beethoven made to the solo piano repertoire are his 32 piano sonatas. Composed between 1795 and 1822, they span the entirety of his career, and allow us to witness Beethoven’s evolution as a composer. Although originally not intended to be a meaningful whole, as a set they compose one of the most important collections of works in the history of music.

The first pianist to make a complete recording of the Beethoven sonatas was Artur Schnabel, who recorded them for HMV between 1932 and 1935. Glenn Gould, Vladimir Horowitz, Sviatoslav Richter, and Rudolf Serkin recorded selected sonatas, but never recorded the complete series.
So many pianists, of different performance traditions have recorded the entire corpus, some of them are probably favorites of yours. In my record collection, I have two – the mono set by Wilhelm Kempff and the stereo/analog set by Vladimur Ashkenazy.

Every master pianist brings something slightly different to the fore in rendering Beethoven's work, and in Ashkenazy it is the striking amplitude changes and rhythmic power of the works that take center stage. This said, his work on such lyric movements as the first in the Moonlight Sonata, and the middle in the Appassionata are well done.

Ashkenazy’s complete cycle was recorded through the 1970’s. He later provided isolated “programs” recorded digitally in the 1980’s. Today’s share has the advantage of being available in both media – as digitally remastered and digitally recorded. The three sonatas are the Moonlight (no. 14), Waldstein (no. 21) and Appasionata (no. 23). The digitally remastered set was issued on bargain price CDs under numerous pressings.

Happy Listening

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Sonata No.14 In C Sharp Minor, Op.27 No.2 'Moonlight'
Sonata No.23 In F Minor, Op.57 'Appassionata'
Sonata No.21 In C Major, Op.53 'Waldstein'

Piano – Vladimir Ashkenazy
1970, 1973 and 1977 recordings
Decca ‎– 417 732-2

Internet Archive
Complete Cycle on YouTube

Friday, May 8, 2020


No. 338 of the ongoing  ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at

Western culture romanticizes outlaws – think of Robin Hood and Bonnie and Clyde. Pirates, the outlaws of the High Seas, are portrayed as "swashbucklers" and "plunderers." They are shown on ships, often wearing eyepatches or peg legs, saying phrases like "Arr, matey" .Pirates have retained their image through pirate-themed tourist attractions, film, toys, books and plays.

Today’s montage is a collection of works from the concert hall, stage and screen that explore pirates mostly as “bad bpys” rather as the “evil men” they are… One such work, the lively overture to Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance; concerns Frederic, who is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. Bellini’s opera Il Pirata follows the melodramatic storyline of the “bad boy” Pirate and the woman he once loved, whose husband has a mission to capture him. Although the title can translate as The Pirate or The Buccaneer, César Cui’s lyric comedy Le flibustier is no swashbuckling action-drama, but an idyllic domestic comedy of mistaken identity.

A sizable portion of this week’s podcast is dedicated to the original soundtrack for Captain Blood, the 1935 Errol Flynn classic, composed and conducted by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The film chronicles the 17th-century adventures of Peter Blood, the physician-turned-pirate. Captain Blood became an immediate hit, with an Oscar nomination for the score. As Korngold's first fully symphonic film score, it marked a milestone in his career; Korngold would score six more films starring Flynn.

The Red Rover is a novel by American writer James Fenimore Cooper. The novel follows the activities of the sailor Dick Fid, free black sailor Scipio Africanus and Royal Navy officer James Wilder as they encounter the famous pirate, "The Red Rover". To close, Hector Berlioz was a great admirer of James Fenimore Cooper and commemorated Cooper’s death by renaming one of his overtures Le corsaire rouge, translated from the French as “Red Rover” — the overture is better known in its shorter form as  “Le Corsaire”.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Project 366 - Dates on the Musical Calendar for May 2020

Project 366 continues in 2019 with "Dates on the Musical Calendar". Read more here.


  • 1-May   May Day [Guide #337]
  • 2-May   Judicial hanging of Florence Lassandro in Fort Saskatchewan, AB (OTD 1923) [Guides # 338 & 339]
  • 4-May   Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be With You”) [Guide # 60]
  • 7-May   FP of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (OTD, 1824) [Guide# 260]
  • 10-May Mother's Day (North America) [Guide #340]
  • 12-May Prague Spring Music Festival Opening Concert (OTD, 1990) [Guide # 341]
  • 22-May HB Richard Wagner (* 1813) [Guide # 34]
  • 24-May Eid-al-Fitr [Guide # 214]
  • 29-May FP of The Rite of Spring (OTD, 1913) [Guide # 58]

As you can see, the musical calendar for May is quite full! We are filling the calendar with listener guides from the late Romantic and early modern, including a pair of symphonies by Rachmaninov, Carl Nielsen Sibelius and Prokofiev (Guide # 342).

Your Listener Guides

Listener Guide #337 – Sousa & Suppé
When I think of a parade, I tghink Marching Band. When I think of Marching Bands, I think Sousa. I programmed for this listener guide are bonbons, sweet, tasty works for orchestra (or band) by probably two of the great masters of the genre: John Philip Sousa and Franz von Suppé. (ITYWLTMT Podcast # 121 - 06 Sep, 2013)

Listener Guides #338 & 339 – Filumena (Estacio)
In 1920’s Alberta,  many entrepreneurial individuals had a hand in smuggling liquor across provincial lines. Chief among them was “Emperor Pic”, Emilio Picariello, who had befriended an innkeeper and his wife, Florence Lassandro. Bootlegging was a “family business” for the Picariellos, and Emilio’s son Steven would make runs through the Crowsnest Pass between BC and Alberta. During one of these runs, he was intercepted by the Provincial Police, and Picariello believed he had been killed in the process. The story is sketchy, but it is undeniable that Florence and Emilio were at the APP barracks in Coleman, Alberta when APP Corporal Stephen Lawson was shot and killed in front of this building on September 21, 1922. Both Lassandro and Picariello were tried and convicted of capital murder, and subsequently hanged at the penitentiary at Fort Saskatchewan om May 2nd, 1923. (Once Upon a Fortnight - 2 May 2012)
[L/G 338 - Act 1, L/G 339 - Act 2]

Listener Guide #340 – A Gift of Flowers for Mother’s Day
I have put together music from several composers revolving around “flowers”: Chrysanthemums, lilacs, sunflowers, and just plain flowers. You will recognize a couple of nice ones in there, including Delibes’ Flower Duet from Lakme among them. As a feature work, I chose “Nights in the Gardens of Spain”. Three symphonic "impressions" about gardens and the mood of the composer as he walks through them. (ITYWLTMT Podcast #5 - May 6, 2011)

Listener Guide #341 – Opening Concert Of 1990 Prague Spring Festival
Rafael Kubelik suffered from near-debilitating arthritis, and he was forced into retirement in the mid-1980's. Then, there were radical political changes in Eastern Europe, and Czechoslovakia was transformed. In 1990 (as Prague was undergoing these changes) Kuubelik was invited by his old orchestra to come and conduct the opening concert of that year's Spring Festival - this memorable performance was recorded for posterity, and we should be glad that it was! (Tuesday Blog - 26 Dec 2011)

Listener Guide #342 – Prokofiev & Sibelius Symphonies no. 5
The year 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II and the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, so it is appropriate to consider two symphonies composed during the First and Second World Wars. (ITYWLTMT Podcast # 157 - 23 May 2014)

Sousa & Suppé

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from September 6, 2013. It can be found in our archives at


When I think of May Day, I think of parades.
When I think of parades, I think of marching bands.
When I think pf Marching Bands, I think of John Philip Sousa.

This is the connection that gets us to today's visit into the Podcast Vault, and retrieve this montage featuring wind bands playing Sousa, and as a fitting co-conspirator, Franz von Suppe.

Many of these works are touchstones of the "pop concert" repertoire, and don't need much introduction.

As our bonus feature, I should remind that I relied on a couple of disks in particulra when I pit this montage together a few years ago. One was an all-Suppe disk featuring Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony that we featured earlier this year on a Tuesday Vinyl's Revenge post. The other is an old CD by the Eastman Wind Ensemble and their then music director, Donald Hunsberger. Here them is the entire disk, from a YouTube playlist.

I think you will (still) love yhos music too!