Today's Classical Music Video

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chronological Survey of Beethoven Eroica Symphony Recordings

There have been dozens of recordings of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony made over the years. The first one dates from the 1920s. It would be a daunting task to listen to them all and make detailed comparisons. But someone has gone to the trouble of taking just the two opening chords and comparing performances of them in chronological order. No commentary is offered. You'll have to draw your own conclusions. What does it all mean? Probably very little. It would be foolish to compare performances of the Eroica Symphony, a work lasting about 45 minutes, just based on what the conductor does with the first two notes.

There are also technical problems with this survey. In several cases there is not enough time left between the examples to appreciate them properly. And some of the choices for the survey are quite arbitrary. Some of the best Eroicas are left out and some obscure ones are included.

You will also note that there are pitch variances. In most cases that has to do with the choice of a lower pitch by period instrument orchestras.

Another factor is the acoustics of the place where the recording was made, and this can greatly affect the length of the notes. In the Mengelberg example, the resonance of the Concertgebouw makes the notes ring forever.

My thanks to Michael Vincent for bringing this video to my attention.


Paul E. Robinson


Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Dallas Symphony and JFK

It was 50 years ago, November 22, 1963, that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Dallas remembers that terrible day with commemorative events throughout November this year. Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony are presenting special concerts for the occasion. In this video conductor Jaap van Zweden talks about what the tribute means to him and to Dallas. He also discusses a new work written for these concerts by Conrad Tao.

Paul E. Robinson

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

On the Road Again With the NY Philharmonic

Principal Trumpet Philip Smith of the NY Philharmonic recently announced that he was stepping down from his post at the end of this season. Smith is renowned as one of the great trumpeters of his generation, and has been one of the glories of the NY Philharmonic for decades. The man who sits beside him in the orchestra, Joseph Alessi, the principal trombone player, is equally celebrated. The two of them are good friends and share the same sense of humour. In this video we see them on tour with the orchestra in Vienna, and they are trying to find a way to practice in their hotel rooms without disturbing other guests. Their solutions will certainly be of interest to all brass players.

Paul E. Robinson


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Alexander Shelley Conducts Sibelius

The National Arts Centre Orchestra has a new conductor. Pinchas Zukerman is stepping down and Alexander Shelley is taking over. Shelley is not a household name but he has built a respectable career, mostly in Germany. He was born in London in 1979 and takes the reins of the NACO starting in September, 2015.

In this video Shelley conducts Gustavo Dudamel's Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Venezuela, in an excerpt from the Symphony No. 2 by Sibelius.

Paul E. Robinson

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