by Daniel Hathaway
ON THE LOCAL SCENE:
The Cleveland Orchestra announces “TCO Classics,” a new project curated by chief artistic officer Mark Williams that explores six decades of audio archives and includes performances that have never been broadcast before. The initial series, “The Art of Leadership,” presents excerpts from concerts conducted by music directors Franz Welser-Möst, Christoph von Dohnányi, Lorin Maazel, and George Szell, and former principal guest conductor Pierre Boulez. See the program listings and listen here. A new series will be released on the third Thursday of each month.
The Orchestra has also released episode 10 in its “On a Personal Note” podcast series. Click here to listen to “Remembering Pierre Boulez,” where principal trumpet Michael Sachs reflects on his experience with “one of the most influential figures in modern classical music — and the lasting legacy of Boulez in Cleveland.”
In order to bring a message of hope and encouragement to his adopted community, Cleveland Orchestra cellist Alan Harrell, now celebrating his 25th anniversary with the ensemble, has traveled around Cleveland playing the Prelude to Bach’s First Cello Suite, a journey that has been documented by CIM student Katarina Davies. The video attracted more than 40,000 views in less than 48 hours on Facebook. Harrell writes, “Music may not be able to solve the world’s problems, but I believe it can, as Lincoln said, ‘bind up the nation’s wounds.’” Watch the video here.
Apollo’s Fire artistic director Jeannette Sorrell announces the ensemble’s new season in a video, and comments on AF’s innovative, “no risk” subscription plan. Watch here.
THIS WEEKEND’S STREAMS:
Welcome to Summer, which officially began online with a 4:30 am live edition of Paul Winter’s Summer Solstice translated from New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine to the saxophonist’s barn in Connecticut. If you weren’t up with the birds at that hour, you can watch on demand later.
Other streams feature archived radio broadcasts of The Cleveland Orchestra as well as a live audience-restricted performance from Vienna’s Musikverein conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, opera from near and far — both live or previously recorded — and a Make Music Day with the Chicago Symphony that you can spend most of Sunday watching. Details in our Concert Listings.
This weekend’s dates to remember in classical music history all have to do with 20th century composers.
On June 20 of 1940, French composer Jehan Alain was killed in action in World War II in Petit-Puy. Mostly famous for his organ music (listen here to his Trois Danses played by recent Cleveland Museum of Art recitalist Vincent Dubois at the cathedrals of Soissons and Reims), his choral music is unjustly neglected. Here are four of those pieces, performed by two different French ensembles.
On June 21 of 1899, Czech composer Pavel Haas was born in Brno, and died at the hands of the Nazis 45 years later at Auschwitz. Watch a video of Hass’s A Study for Strings that includes documentary images of his life and the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Another video features the string quartet that bears his name in a performance of his Quartet No. 2, “From the Monkey Mountains,” Op. 7 (1925, the version with percussion).
June 21 marks the death of the super-prolific Armenian American composer Alan Hovhaness in Seattle. Cleveland harpist Yolanda Kondonassis has recorded an entire CD of his works, many of which aren’t widely known. Fans of Hovhaness will already treasure his Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain,” played here by Gerard Schwarz and the All-Star Orchestra, and his brief but moving Prayer of St. Gregory (click here to hear a performance by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis).
And on this date in 2015, multi-faceted composer and musician Gunther Schuller died in Boston at 89. Formerly president of the New England Conservatory, he brought that experience to bear on his commencement address at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2015. His lifelong campaign to bridge the gap classical music and jazz is symbolized in his 1987 concert with the New England Ragtime Ensemble at Wolf Trap, and his purely classical side is represented by his orchestral work, Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee, discussed and then performed here.