Jan 27

Mahler 5 in Los Angeles

Mahler’s Fifth symphony performed by the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel was greeted with a standing ovation more familiar to football matches than classical music concerts. Grey haired matrons whistled loudly, waved tee-shirts with the word ‘Venezuela’ imprinted on them, and shouted encouragement to the young musicians on stage below them.

Prior to the concert Norman Lebrecht discussed the Adagietto from the fifth movement famous from its use in the Visconti film ‘Death in Venice’ with an enthusiastic audience of 600, with standing room only, in the igloo shaped BP Hall.

The SBSO represents the top 200 young musicians from El Sistema which has 380,000 young Venezuelans learning to play instruments after school and providing them with the opportunity to make careers in the many orchestras now flourishing in Venezuela. Marshall Marcus who has been involved with El Sistema since its inception in Venezuela described how El Sistema reaches all groups in society but in particular its aim is to reach the street kids and engage them. Classical music in Venezuela does not come with the elite baggage that is part of the European experience. Two of the violinist in figure-hugging black evening dresses sway to the music as they wait for their cue to come in, the drummer taps his feet to Mahler – surely this must have been how Mahler would have wanted his music to be played in the future.

Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra at last year's BBC Proms

Jan 27

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

Lebrecht Music & Arts has had a first hand opportunity this week to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall
in action during the Gustavo Dudamel Mahler cycle.

The exterior is more like an abstract sculpture than the normal shoe box design of classic concert halls. The interior is designed in the round with the stage surrounded on all sides by the audience.

The exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall on South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, USA

The interior shapes curve and are reminiscent of the concave sides of a boat. All the surfaces are covered in a light coloured wood with a flash of deep blue at the farthest point of the ceiling, reminding the audience that they are sitting in the Sunshine State. The consequences of this organic design are an acoustic that is very clear and gives an orchestra a very different sound from other venues.

The grand interior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall with a view of the organ

The master architect behind this transcendent experience is Frank Gehry . And he attended the Mahler cycle concerts this week.

Jan 27

Gustavo Dudamel and Mahler 3

Lebrecht Music & Arts are attending the Gustavo Dudamel Mahler cycle at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Mahler’s third Symphony was performed on Tuesday 24th January by the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra with incredible verve and passion. The oldest member of the orchestra is 28 years old and this is reflected in the amount of energy that went into the performance. Soloists were world class, in particular the off-stage flugelhorn player. Gustavo Dudamel conducted this very long symphony with great panache.

Tonight (Thursday) Mahler 5 will be performed by the LA Philharmonic Orchestra under the conductorship of Dudamel.

Jan 26

Obituary images of Finnish conductor, Paavo Berglund, 14 April 1929 – 25 January 2012

Lebrecht Music & Arts represents performance shots and portraits of the Finnish conductor, who died yesterday aged 82. Search online at www.lebrecht.co.uk for a full range of images.

Jan 25

Ukrainian ballet dancer, Sergei Polunin, in shock resignation from the Royal Ballet

Search online at www.lebrech.co.uk for a full range of images of the 21-year-old principal dancer.

Jan 10

Anniversaries for 2012 in Music, Arts, Literature & Culture

2012 is a particularly strong year for musical anniversaries, including the 450th anniversary of the birth of John Bull  English composer (the exact date is unknown). Please see below for a full list of this year’s anniversaries, from historical events to the births and deaths of literary figures, artists, musicians and composers  .

JANUARY

Dieterich Buxtehude –  375th anniversary of the German-Danish organist and composer.

2 January -  175th birth anniversary of Russian composer  Mili Balakirev

5 January – 90th anniversary of the death of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Irish-born British Antarctic explorer

6 January 600th anniversary of the Birth of Joan of Arc, French martyr, saint and national heroine.

8 January – 200th Anniversary of the birth of Sigismond Thalberg . Piano virtuoso and composer.

16 January – 70th anniversary of the death of  Carole Lombard, American actress.

24 January – 300th Anniversary of the birth of Friedrich II der Grosse (Frederick the Great), (1740–1772) and  King of Prussia  (1772–1786). He was also Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire and Elector of Brandenburg.

25 January   – 65th anniversary of the death of Al Capone, a notorious American gangster.

28 January – 125th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Rubinstein, Polish-born American virtuoso pianist.

29 January – 150th Anniversary of the birth of Frederick Delius, a British composer.

29 January – 50th anniversary of the death of  Fritz Kreisler, an Austrian-born violinist and composer  Performed and premiered Edward Elgar’s violin concerto in 1910.

30 January – 30th anniversary of the death of Stanley Holloway, British actor, comedian and singer (‘My Fair Lady’, and many others).

31 January – 75th birthday of  Philip Glass, American composer.

 

FEBRUARY

1 February – 150th anniversary of Julia Ward Howe‘s poem ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’. It was first published in ‘The Atlantic Monthly’. Set to the music of ‘John Brown’s Body’, it became a popular Union song during the American Civil War.

4 February – 25th anniversary of the death of Liberace, flamboyant American pianist and entertainer.

5 February – 50th anniversary of the death of Jacques Ibert, a French composer.

5February – 125th anniversary of the first performance of Verdi’s opera ‘Otello‘ at La Scala, Milan, Italy.

6 February – 100th anniversary of the birth of Eva Braun, German mistress and (briefly) wife of Adolf Hitler.

6 February – 60th anniversary of the death of King George VI of England.

7 February – 200th anniverary of the birth of Charles Dickens.

9 February – 10th anniversary of the death of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, member of the British royal family, sister of Queen Elizabeth II.

10 February – 175th anniversary of the death of Alexander Pushkin, Russian poet, novelist and dramatist.

17 February – 150th Anniversary of the birth of Sir Edward German, a British musician and composer of Welsh descent.

17 February – 50th anniversary of the death of Bruno Walter, a German-born conductor.

17 February – 30th anniversary of the death of Lee Strasberg, Austria-Hungarian-born American actor, theatre director and teacher. The chief proponent of method acting in the USA.

21 February – 10thanniversary of the death of John Thaw, British actor (‘The Sweeney’, ‘Inspector Morse’, ‘Kavanagh QC’, and many others).

22 February – 25th anniversary of the death of Andy Warhol, American ‘Pop’ artist and filmmaker.

22 February – 500th anniversary of the death of Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian merchant, explorer, navigator and cartographer. America is generally believed to have been named after him.

27February – 10th anniversary of the death of Spike Milligan. An Indian-born Irish comedian and writer, member of The Goons, noted for his anarchic sense of absurdity.

 

MARCH

3 March – 30th anniversary of the opening of the Barbican centre in London. Opened by the Queen. It is the largest arts and conference venue in Europe.

3 March – 25th anniversary of the death of Danny Kaye, American actor, comedian, singer and humanitarian (‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, ‘Hans Christian Andersen’, ‘White Christmas’, and many others).

4 March – 125th anniversary of German engineer Gottlieb Daimler unveiling the first four-wheeled motor vehicle, the ‘benzin motor carriage’, which he took on its first test run from Esslingen to Cannstatt.

5 March – 500th anniversary of the birth of Gerardus Mercator, Flemish cartographer, best known for the Mercator projection world map.

6 March – 30th anniversary of the death of Ayn Rand, Russian-born American philosopher and writer, best known for the novels ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and for developing the philosophy of Objectivism.

11 March – 100th anniversary of Xavier Montsalvatge, a Catalan composer and music critic. Studied violin and composition at the Barcelona Conservatory.

11 March – 60th anniversary of the birth of Douglas Adams, British comedy writer and dramatist, best known for ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.

16 March – 100th anniversary of the death of Lawrence Oates, a British Antarctic explorer, a member of Scott’s ill-fated expedition, who famously said ‘I am just going outside and may be some time’ as he walked into a blizzard where he faced certain death.

17 March – 150th anniversary of the death of Jacques-François Halévy, a French composer. His most famous work is the opera La Juive.

19 March – 80th anniversary of the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.

19 March – 50th anniversary of American folk-rock singer Bob Dylan releasing his debut album.

20 March – 200th anniversary of the death of Jan Ladislav Dussek, a Czech virtuoso pianist and composer.

22 March 125th anniversary of the birth of Chico Marx, American comedian, member of the Marx Brothers.

23 March – 125th anniversary of the birth of Juan Gris, Spanish Synthetic Cubism artist.

24 March – 50th anniversary of the death of Auguste Piccard, Swiss physicist who explored the upper atmosphere by balloon and the depths of the sea by bathyscaphe, both of which he designed himself.

27 March – 10th anniversary of the death of Billy Wilder, Academy Award-winning Austrian-born American film director and producer (‘Double Indemnity’, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, ‘The Lost Weekend’, ‘The Seven Year Itch’, ‘Some Like It Hot’, and others).

28 March – 25th anniversary of the death of Patrick Troughton, British actor (played the second Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’ from 1966 to 1969).

28 March – 150th anniversary of the birth of Aristide Briand, Prime Minister of France several times between 1909 and 1929, joint winner of the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize.

29 March – 30th anniversary of the death of Carl Orff, a German composer, best known for ‘Carmina Burana’. He also developed a system of music education for children which was widely adopted.

31 March – 175th anniversary of the death of John Constable, a British landscape artist.

 

APRIL

April / May – 450 Anniversary of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck ‘s  birth. Dutch organist and composer, renowned particularly for his advanced contrapuntal keyboard works.

2 April – 25th anniversary of the death of Buddy Rich, American jazz drummer and bandleader, considered the greatest jazz drummer of all time.

3 April – 90 years since Joseph Stalin was elected as the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

6 April – 200th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Herzen, Russian political thinker, activist and writer, known as the ‘father of Russian socialism’. His work led to the emancipation of the serfs.

7 April – 65th anniversary of the death of Henry Ford, American industrialist, car manufacturer and inventor, founder of the Ford Motor Company.

10 April – 50th anniversary of the death of Stuart Sutcliffe, a British bass guitarist (The Beatles).

14 April – 100th anniversary of the sinking of the British liner ‘RMS Titanic‘ in the Atlantic after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage to New York. More than 1,500 people were killed.

16 April – 90th anniversary of the birth of Kingsley Amis, British novelist, poet, critic and teacher, known for his novel ‘Lucky Jim’; father of novelist Martin Amis. (Died 1995).

16 April – 150 years since U.S. President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in the District of Columbia.

18 April – 10th anniversary of the death of Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian explorer and adventurer, best known for the ‘Kon-Tiki’ and ‘Ra’ expeditions which were intended to prove that earlier civilisations could have crossed the oceans.

20 April – 100th anniversary of the death of Bram Stoker, Irish novelist and short story writer, best known for his novel ‘Dracula’.

21 April – 60th anniversary of the death of Sir (Richard) Stafford Cripps, British politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1947-50), known for his harsh policies which rescued the country from economic crisis.

22 April – 100th anniversary of the birth of Kathleen Ferrier, a British singer. Contralto.

22 April – 100 years since ‘Pravda’, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was first published. (Ceased publication 1996).

25 April – 30 anniversary of the death of Celia Johnson, British stage, film and television actress (‘Brief Encounter’, ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’, and many other roles).

26 April – 200th anniversary of the birth of Friedrich Flotow, German composer, best known for his opera Martha.

30 April – 350th anniversary of the birth of Queen Mary II of England, Scotland and Ireland.

30 April – 60th anniversary of the publication of the diary of Anne Frank ‘ a Jewish girl who died during the Holocaust’. It was published in English as ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’.

 

MAY

April / May – 450 Anniversary of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck ‘s  birth. Dutch organist and composer, renowned particularly for his advanced contrapuntal keyboard works.

7 May – 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Browning, British poet

12 May – 200th anniversary of the birth of Edward Lear, British landscape artist and illustrator, best known as a writer of nonsense verse and limericks

12 May – 75th anniversary of the Coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom

14 May – 25th anniversary of the death of Rita Hayworth, American film actress and dancer, one of the most successful and glamorous stars of her era

15 May – 150th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian playwright and novelist

22 May – 40th anniversary of the death of Dame Margaret Rutherford, British stage and film actress. Best known as Miss Marple in several films based on Agatha Christie’s novels.

23 May – 100 Anniversary of the birth of Jean Françaix, a French pianist and composer.

24 May – 400th anniversary of the death of Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, English statesman

28 May – 75th anniversary of Neville Chamberlain becoming British Prime Minister

28 May – 40th anniversary of the death of Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII

30 May – 100th anniversary of the death of Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer (Wright brothers)

 

JUNE

7 June – 75th anniversary of the death of Jean Harlow, American film actress, the original ‘blonde bombshell’ considered one of the greatest movie stars of all time

8 June – 400th anniversary of the death of Hans Leo Hassler, a German composer and organist of the late Renaissance / early Baroque.

10 June – 90th anniversary of the birth of Judy Garland, American actress and singer, best known for the films ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’. (Died 1969)

12 June – 50 anniversary of the death of John Ireland, an English composer.

13 June – 50 anniversary of the death of Sir Eugene Goossens, an English composer and conductor.

19 June – 75th anniversary of the death of J.M. Barrie, Scottish dramatist and novelist who created ‘Peter Pan’

22 June – 25th anniversary of the death of Fred Astaire, American stage and film dancer, actor, singer and choreographer, best known for his roles in musicals and his partnership with Ginger Rogers

28 June – 300th anniversary of the birth of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, influential Swiss-French philosopher. His political philosophy inspired the French Revolution

 

JULY

4 July – 150th anniversary of British writer Lewis Carroll making up the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to entertain Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boat trip. He later wrote it down, and it was published to become a classic children’s story.

7 July – 125th anniversary of the birth of Marc Chagall, Russian-born French artist and designer .

11 July – 75th anniversary of the death of George Gershwin, popular American composer and pianist who wrote Broadway musicals in collaboration with his brother Ira, as well as orchestral pieces such as ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.

14 July – 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Klimt, prominent Austrian artist, a founder of the Vienna Secession movement.

17 July – 100th anniversary of the death of Henri Poincaré, important French mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher who made significant innovations in geometry and differential equations.

17 July – 250th anniversary of the death of Peter III, Tsar of Russia, killed in a conspiracy led by his wife, who succeeded him as Catherine II.

20 July – 175th anniversary of the opening of Euston Station in London. It was London’s first inter-city station.

20 July – 75th anniversary of the death of Guglielmo Marconi, Italian physicist who made major contributions to modern long-distance radio communication, joint winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize for Physics for development.

July 22 – 100anniversary of the birth of Igor Markevitch, a Ukrainian pianist, composer and conductor.

26 July – 60th anniversary of the death of Eva Peron (‘Evita’), revered First Lady of Argentina (1946-52)

 

AUGUST

1 August – 25th anniversary of the death of Pola Negri, Polish silent film actress. (?)

2 August – 90th anniversary of the death of Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born American audiologist and inventor, credited with developing the first practical telephone.

3 August – 125th anniversary of the birth of Rupert Brooke, British poet

5 August – 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe, iconic American film actress, model and singer

9 August – 50th anniversary of the death of Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss novelist and poet, winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize for Literature

12 August – 250th anniversary of the birth of King George IV of the United Kingdom and Hanover

13 August   – 100 anniversary of the death of Jules Massenet, a French composer best known for his operas.

20 August – 1812 Overture   written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1880 to commemorate Russia’s defense of Moscow against   at the Battle of Borodino in 1812. The overture  was first performed in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on August 20.

20 August – 100th anniversary of the death of William Booth, British founder of the Salvation Army

22 August – 150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy, prominent French composer

29 August – 30th anniversary of the death of Ingrid Bergman, Swedish film actress (‘Casablanca’, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, ‘Gaslight’, ‘Spellbound’, ‘Notorious’, and many others)

 

SEPTEMBER

1 September – 100 year anniversary of the death of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, an English composer.

2 September – 150 Anniversary of Dutch composer and conductor Alphons Diepenbrock. Self trained as a composer, Diepenbrock studied Classics at university.

5 September – 100 anniversary of the birth of avant-garde composer John Cage.Known also as a theorist and writer.

6 September – 50 anniversary of the death of Hanns Eisler, an Austrian composer.

22 September – 150th anniversary of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, ordering the freeing of slaves in the Confederate-held territories from 1st January 1863

 

OCTOBER

3 October  – 130th birth anniversary of Karol Szymanowski, Polish composer

5 October – 300th anniversary of the birth of Francesco Guardi, Italian landscape artist

6 October – 125th anniversary of the birth of Le Corbusier, Swiss-born French architect and city planner

13 October – 100 anniversary of the birth of Hugo Weisgall, an American composer and conductor who specialised in Opera and vocal music. Originally from Moravia.

21 October – 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Georg Solti, Hungarian-born British conductor

27 October – 100 anniversary of the birth of Conlon Nancarrow, innovative American composer

30 October – 80th anniversary of the birth of Louis Malle, French film director. (Died 1995)

31October – 90th anniversary of Benito Mussolini becoming Prime Minister of Italy

 

NOVEMBER

1 November – 500th anniversary of Michelangelo finishing painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome and the work was exhibited to the public for the first time

1 November – 125th anniversary of the birth of L.S. Lowry, British artist, known for his bleak industrial landscapes of northern England

15 November – 70th birthday of Daniel Barenboim, Argentinian-Israeli pianist and conductor

21 November – 100th anniversary of the birth of Eleanor Powell, American film actress and dancer, best known for her powerful tap-dancing style (?)

23 November – 125th anniversary of the birth of Boris Karloff, British horror film actor, best known for his role as Frankenstein’s monster in a series of movies

26 November – 70th anniversary of the Premiere of the movie ‘Casablanca‘ starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, New York City

27 November – 70th anniversary of the birth of Jimi Hendrix, American guitarist, singer and songwriter. (Died 1970)

 

DECEMBER

7 December – 450 anniversary of the death of Adriaan Willaert. An early composer of the Venetian school. Known for his polyphonic writing.

14 December – 65th anniversary of the death of Stanley Baldwin, British Prime Minister (1923-24, 1924-29, 1935-37)

15 December – 50th anniversary of the death of Charles Laughton, British-born American stage and film actor

17 December – 150 anniversary of the birth of Moriz Rosenthal (also Moritz / Maurycy). Polish virtuoso pianist and pupil of Franz Liszt.

24 December – 90th anniversary of the birth of Ava Gardner, American film actress (‘Mogambo’, ‘The Barefoot Contessa’, ‘The Night of the Iguana’, and many others). (Died 1990)

26 December – 40th anniversary of the death of Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States

27 December – 80th anniversary of Radio City Music Hall in New York City, USA being opened to the public

28 December – 75th anniversary of the death of Maurice Ravel, French composer, best known for ‘Bolero’

 

 

Jan 05

Eastman Kodak preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy according to WSJ

Eastman Kodak is preparing to file  for Chapter 11 bankruptcy  in the coming weeks should efforts to sell a trove of digital patents fall through, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company was founded by  George Eastman  in 1892.   Eastman Kodak  has long been known

 

for its wide range of photographic film products but this has declined in recent years as the photographic industry has been transformed by the rise of digital photography.