What the Winds Brought In
I really wasn’t expecting a message saying: “Sorry. We’ve run out.” I did begin to wonder at one point. But even though there haven’t been live concerts over the past months, there have been new recordings.
A new release featuring the Dutch bassoonist Bram van Sambeek with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra led by Alexei Ogringchouk includes the famous concertos by Mozart and Weber (Bis 246). It also boasts the world premiere recording of a concerto by the Beethoven contemporary Edouard Du Puy (c.1770-1822). Du Puy was a violinist, conductor, singer, teacher, and composer. He wrote the concerto around 1812 for one of the three bassoon-playing Preumayr brothers.
In the program booklet, Bram van Sambeek tells the story that he requested a copy of the manuscript of a bassoon quintet by Du Puy and was sent the concerto by mistake. He didn’t even know that the concerto existed. The finale of the work features an amusing set of variations on a tune by Du Puy.
Another recording introduces two other wind players who have come together to perform concertos by Franz Joseph Haydn and Carl Stamitz. Ana de la Vega is a flutist from Australia. Her family roots are Argentinian and British. It’s not her first recording, but this one also features oboist Ramón Ortega Quero. He’s from Spain and is currently principal oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They’re joined by the Trondheim Soloists from Norway (Pentatone 5186823).
The Haydn concertos were written originally for two lire organizzate. The instrument combines a hurdy-gurdy – a string instrument bowed by turning a crank – and a portable organ. It was a favorite of King Ferdinand of Naples, who commissioned Haydn to write music for it. The recording features the flute and oboe version of two of the concertos by Haydn. Also included is a flute concerto by Stamitz as well as one that he wrote for flute and oboe.
Pianist Frederic Chiu has a new recording of Beethoven’s 5th and 7th Symphonies in the piano transcriptions of Franz Liszt (Centaur 3758). Years ago, when Chiu recorded the complete piano music of Sergei Prokofiev, he included the composer’s transcriptions of some of his orchestral works. Chiu added some of his own as well.
In the days before recordings and radio, listening to symphonic music at home meant playing piano versions of those works. When I introduced Frederic Chiu’s new recording on Classic Mornings, I was hoping that the opening of the famous “Fifth” might have inspired someone to get to know it at the keyboard beyond the first 8 notes.
Branford Marsalis celebrated his 60th birthday last Wednesday (August 26), and I went searching for any hints about a birthday celebration for the saxophonist. It’s funny that his participation in the concert celebrating Sting’s 60th birthday pops up all over the place online. But there’s not even a hint about Branford’s.
I did notice his tribute to his late father, Ellis Marsalis, Jr. The jazz pianist, music educator, and patriarch of the famous Marsalis musical family passed away on April 1.
There are upcoming live performances scheduled for Marsalis. He has a tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra planned for November, as well as events for the Branford Marsalis Quartet in early 2021. I’m guessing that the prospect of a live event actually taking place would be a welcome all-occasion gift for any performer these days.
Itzhak Perlman can’t wait to get back to the concert hall. That’s what the violinist’s wife Toby told Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune. Perlman’s 75th birthday was this past Monday (August 31). As far as being 75, it seems as if he’s indeed grateful. He told Reich: “Things are still working.”
Seiji Ozawa is still working with the Saito Kinen Orchestra, which he founded in 1984. Ozawa turned 85 on Tuesday (September 1). In celebration of the milestone birthday, there’s a new recording of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and Leonora Overture No. 3 with Ozawa conducting that orchestra in festival performances from 2016 and 2017.
And we’re still bringing you classical music on the radio in central Illinois. Can you believe it has been four months since we had a successful Spring Fund Drive and two months since listeners helped us meet the fiscal year-end goal on June 30?
We’re well into the new fiscal year. Hopefully, you haven’t even been thinking about that while you’ve been enjoying the music. We have a week-long Fall Fund Drive coming up in just over a week. If you’re able to lend a bit of support at that time, we would appreciate it! You can make a gift by calling 217-244-9455 or at willgive.org.
In the meantime, join us for Classic Mornings! Tune in Monday through Friday from 9-noon on FM 90.9 or online at will.illinois.edu.