Today's Classical Music Video

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gergiev Conducts Tchaikovsky

For years now the busiest conductor in the world has been Valery Gergiev. And he still is. He is currently conducting a run of performances of Eugen Onegin at the Met in New York with Anna Netrebko, and soon he will be leading a North American tour with his Mariinsky Orchestra. The tour includes a stop in Montreal with an all-Rachmaninov program.

His critics say that Gergiev can't possibly be prepared for all the performances he gives and that is probably true. At the same time, few conductors anywhere bring as much mastery and involvement to a performance as Gergiev. Like anyone else I am sure he has off days but generally his performances are poetic and exciting. In this video he brings unusual grace and nuance to the second movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 with the Mariinsky Orchestra. The performance was given in Paris 3 years ago.

Paul E. Robinson


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Berlin Philharmonic Horn Section Plays Bruckner

The symphonies of Bruckner are a challenge for any orchestra, especially for the horn section. In several of the later symphonies four of the horn players have to switch to Wagner tubas. The Berlin Philharmonic has a long and proud tradition of playing Bruckner under Furtwaengler, Karajan, Boehm, Jochum and others but it doesn't take its authority lightly in this repertoire. In this recent video you will see the members of the BPO horn section preparing for a Bruckner performance with meticulous rehearsal and discussion.

The Montreal Symphony plays Bruckner's Third Symphony this week under music director Kent Nagano.

Paul E. Robinson


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lotfi Mansouri: In Memoriam

Lotfi Mansouri was the right man at the right time for the Canadian Opera Company. He was the man who made the organization a major force in Toronto's musical life, and through his international connections he was able to bring the best singers to the city. He also deserves enormous credit for bringing opera to many more people through the use of surtitles. Finally, North American audiences could get the jokes and appreciate the nuances of the text.

These were genuine achievements and they catapulted him to the leadership of an even more important company, the San Francisco Opera.

His greatest qualities were personal. He was not an imaginative stage director but he had a love of opera and a smile and an enthusiasm that was irresistible.

In Toronto his biggest disappointment was undoubtedly not being able to take the company out of the O'Keefe Centre and into a new house. There were lots of false starts and near-misses but it never happened. It was nothing less than a disgrace. The O'Keefe Centre was totally inadequate as an opera house, particularly for the singers and the orchestra and certainly held back the development of the company. Lotfi knew it but did everything he could then moved on.

In this video done 3 years ago he talks about his early life and career.

Video Link: Here

Paul E. Robinson