by Daniel Hathaway
After a summer of intensive planning, Oberlin Conservatory’s large ensembles are back in the business of rehearsing and performing with reduced numbers and physical distancing. They’re recording a series of programs in Warner Concert Hall and Finney Chapel to be streamed on Saturday evenings on Oberlin Stage Left, beginning on September 26 at 8:30 pm. Details in Erich Burnett’s article, “The Show Must Go On — Online, That Is.”
WHAT’S ON TODAY (IN-PERSON AND VIRTUAL):
ENCORE Chamber Music moves outdoors on a fine early autumn evening to bring an engaging 6:00 pm program to the banks of the Chagrin River. Jinjoo Cho and Kiarra Saito-Beckman, violins, Eric Wong, viola, and Maya Enstad, cello, play Scandinavian folk tunes, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Florence Price, and American popular and movie tunes in Chagrin Falls’ Riverside Park. Bring lawn chairs & picnic blankets. Masks required, and social distancing enforced.
Indoors, CityMusic Cleveland begins its all-chamber music season at 7:00 pm at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus with music by Jennifer Higdon, Amy Beach, Libby Larsen, Shelley Washington, and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Reservations, masks, and social distancing are required for the performance, which features Minju Kim and Mari Sato violins, Esther Nahm, viola, Nataliya Pshenychna, cello, Dan Gilbert, clarinet, and Donna Lee, piano
And online, the Jupiter and Jasper String Quartets meet up electronically at 7:30 pm for a concert recorded at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana (Jupiters) and in Syracuse (Jaspers) for the Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music. The program includes Beethoven’s Quartet Op. 73 (”Harp,”, Jupiters), music by Lera Auerbach and Joan Tower (Jaspers), and Mendelssohn’s Octet (Jaspers with local Syracuse musicians. There’s a ticket fee for this one.
On this date in 1849, Austrian composer Johann Strauss Sr. died in Vienna at the age of 45. Founder of the Strauss waltz dynasty, Johann Sr. is best known for his Radetzky March, his Op. 228 (!) which you can enjoy being played here by the Vienna Philharmonic on its New Year’s Concert 2011, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst.
On September 25, 1927, English conductor Colin Davis was born in Weybridge, Surrey. Sir Colin returned to conduct The Cleveland Orchestra in April, 2009, after a hiatus of 25 years. As reported in a Plain Dealer preview, his reappearance came at the urging of pianist Mitsuko Uchida. “She told me, ‘You’ve got to get back,’” recalled Davis, 82, by phone from his home in London, where Uchida also resides. “And I thought, ‘If she told me to do it, I’d better do it.’”
That concert in 2009 included the Second Symphony of Jean Sibelius, a composer whose music was a Davis specialty. In this video, he conducts the finale with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester at the 2008 BBC Proms.
And on this date in 1932, Canadian pianist Glenn Gould was born in Toronto. One of the great keyboard personalities of the 20th century, Gould was also among the most eccentric, demanding special conditions for his recitals and recordings and eventually giving up live performances entirely in favor of studio recordings over which he could exercise precise control.
Although Gould was most revered for his interpretations of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, many listeners also cherish his recording of Bach’s Partita No. 6. Watch a video here.
Gould soloed with George Szell and The Cleveland Orchestra, leading to a famous outburst on the part of the conductor. As related in the New York Times, the pianist “wasted more than an hour of orchestral rehearsal time turning the screws on the special chair he uses, explaining that he could not get it at just the right height. Szell finally exploded and told Gould in very explicit terms what he could do with the screws.”
Another conductorial tiff had Leonard Bernstein officially distancing himself from Gould’s tempo decisions in the First Brahms Concerto. Listen to Bernstein’s extraordinary pre-concert announcement to the audience here.