Sunday, May 29, 2016
Fascinating article by the Telegraph’s deputy finance editor on how Georg Frideric Handel played the London markets during the boom years of the South Sea Bubble and after. Apparently, Handel performed much better than Sir Isaac Newton, achieving a thousandfold return on his initial investment. Handel’s investing career took a perhaps familiar course: after an initial, highly risky foray into the stock market, he decided to stick to safer assets that paid a steady income. In fact the shares he chose to buy in the early days were in the notorious South Sea Company, which ruined many investors, including Sir Isaac Newton. The German-born composer, however, was luckier and appears to have liquidated his holding in the enterprise by 1719 – just a year before the share price suffered its notorious, spectacular collapse. Read on here.
“Handel’s investing career took a perhaps familiar course: after an initial, highly risky foray into the stock market, he decided to stick to safer assets that paid a steady income. In fact the shares he chose to buy in the early days were in the notorious South Sea Company, which ruined many investors, including Sir Isaac Newton.” (Handel, as it happens, got out in time.)
From the archive, 23 April 1827: Following the death of Beethoven, the Observer publishes a personal account of the eccentric and prodigiously talented composer5 February 1827 BEETHOVEN: We regret to learn, that the greatest musical genius of the present age, Ludowig Von Beethoven [sic], is, by this time, probably no more. He has just completed his 56th year. It appears that a Mr. Stumpff, of Vienna, from a noble desire to testify the high esteem he entertains for him, procured, at a very great expense, the entire Works of Handel, in forty volumes folio, Arnold’s excellent edition, handsomely bound, and sent them as a present to Beethoven. They were delivered to him free of any expense; but Beethoven at the time was laid up with dropsy in the abdomen, and though the operation of tapping had been performed, his physicians have pronounced him to be in extreme danger; he pointed his finger to Handel’s Works, and said, with feeling and emphasis – “That is the true thing.” He signed his name very legibly to the document, acknowledging the receipt of Handel’s Works.23 April 1827 We find, in Russell’s Tour in Germany, the following account of the celebrated musical composer, Beethoven, whose recent death, in circumstances of poverty and distress, alleviated only by English charity, has attracted so much notice. The author seems to have met with him in 1822: Continue reading...
A cri-de-coeur from the French harpsichordist Orhan Memed: I’m one of the many students of Huguette Dreyfus whom Jory Vinikour mentions in his touching tribute and who finds himself utterly at a loss to imagine the musical world without her presence. I feel compelled to write to point out with regret how few of her recordings have been reissued. A quick search on the ‘net brings up very little, with only the Bartok and the Bach Partitas released in the last 10 years. I am probably one of the few who has in his possession the list that Huguette kept of her complete discography and I wanted to share it with you…in the hope that readers would see not only how extensive but also how varied it is… and alas how unlucky we are not to have the opportunity to hear these recordings. The Haydn Trios with Eduard Melkus, for example, are gems and I know how much Huguette cherished them as well. Years ago, with her permission, I sought to track down what happened to the old Valois recordings. I found out that the stock (and rights) had been bought by Naive and when I approached them I was sent a polite e-mail to say that the stock was in a warehouse and no one had taken the time to organise and therefore impossible to retrieve. A more recent attempt back in 2014 was met with a similar response. Would it be inappropriate to encourage readers to make their desire to have these recordings re-released known to Naive, Denon, etc.? DISCOGRAPHIE H U G U E T T E D R E Y F U S Chez DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON – POLYDOR : J. HAYDN : Concerto pour clavecin et orchestre en sol majeur avec l’orchestre de chambre Paul KUENTZ. (Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros 1971) Collection ARCHIV PRODUKTION : H. I. BIBER : “Sonates du Rosaire” pour violon et continuo avec Eduard MELKUS. F. COUPERIN : Apothéose de Lully et de Corelli J.M. LECLAIR Sonate “Le Tombeau” pour violon et continuo avec Eduard MELKUS. A.VIVALDI : “Il Pastor Fido”, pour divers instruments et continuo. A. CORELLI : Opus V : 12 Sonates pour violon et continuo, avec Eduard MELKUS. En deux disques. Réédité en C.D. J.S. BACH : Les Six Suites Françaises pour clavecin. “Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo”. En deux disques. Réédité en C.D. J.S. BACH : Les Six Suites Anglaises pour clavecin. En trois disques. Réédité en C.D. J.S. BACH : Les Six Sonates pour violon et clavecin, avec Eduard MELKUS. En deux disques. C.PH.E. BACH : Sonates – Rondos – Fantaisies – jouées sur un Hammerflügel. Chez VALOIS : J.PH. RAMEAU : Pièces de clavecin (Intégrale en trois disques). J.PH. RAMEAU : Pièces de clavecin en concerts, avec Christian LARDE (flûte) et Jean LAMY (viole de gambe). (Grand Prix de l’Académie du Disque Français 1964) (Grand Prix des Discophiles 1964). F. COUPERIN : Sixième et Onzième Ordres F. COUPERIN : Anthologie de l’oeuvre pour clavecin en quatre disques (Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros 1962). comprenant 9 Ordres et les 8 Préludes de” l’Art de Toucher le Clavecin”. (Grand Prix de l’Académie du Disque Français 1970). D.SCARLATTI : Anthologie chronologique de 70 Sonates. Coffret de quatre disques. J.S.BACH : Quatre Toccatas pour clavecin. J.S.BACH : La Musique de Chambre: Enregistrement des Sonates pour violon, pour viole de gambe et des oeuvres pour flûte avec le clavecin ou la basse continue, avec G.F. HAENDEL (violon), Christian LARDE (flûte), Jean LAMY (viole de gambe),Michel DEBOST (flûte) et Claude MAISONNEUVE (hautbois). Coffret de six disques. J.M. LECLAIR : Les 9 Sonates pour flûte et continuo en deux disques, avec Christian LARDE (flûte) et Jean LAMY (viole de gambe). (Grand Prix de l’Académie du Disque Français 1968). J. HAYDN : Seize Trios pour Hammerflügel (Pianoforte), violon et violoncelle (sur instruments anciens) avec Eduard MELKUS et E. VOGT. Coffret de quatre disques. (Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros 1972). Chez ERATO : Père Coelestin HARST : Pièeces de clavecin : le Troisième Ordre. (Série Châteaux et Cathédrales : Strasbourg). C.PH.E. BACH : Concerto en fa majeur pour clavecin et pianoforte avec Robert VEYRON-LACROIX et l’Orchestre de Chambre de la Radiodiffusion Sarroise dirigé par Karl RISTENPART. J.S. BACH : Participation à l’enregistrement intégral de “l’Art de la Fugue” avec R. VEYRON-LACROIX et l’Orchestre de Chambre de la Radiodiffusion Sarroise dirigé par Karl RISTENPART. J.S. BACH W.F. BACH : Quatre concertos pour deux clavecins J.CH. BACH avec Luciano SGRIZZI. J.I. KREBS J.S. BACH : Les douze concertos pour clavecins et orchestre avec Luciano SGRIZZI, Luigi-Ferdinando TAGLIAVINI, Yannick LE GAILLARD et l’Ensemble Baroque de DROTTNINGHOLM. Chez MUSIFRANCE : (Une collection ERATO/RADIO FRANCE pour la musique française) : Henri DUTILLEUX : “LES CITATIONS” avec Maurice BOURGUE, hautbois, Bernard CAZAURAN, contrebasse et Bernard BALET, percussion. (Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque 1994) Chez CRITERE : J.S. BACH : Participation à l’intégrale des concertos pour clavecin avec Ruggero GERLIN et le Collegium Musicum de Paris dirigé par Roland DOUATTE. Chez PHILIPS : Carlos SEIXAS : 14 Sonates pour clavecin (sous les auspices de la Fondation GULBENKIAN). J. HAYDN W.A. MOZART : Sonates pour violon et clavecin avec Claire BERNARD. Chez BARENREITER-MUSICAPHON : Hugo DISTLER : Concerto pour clavecin et orchestre avec les Deutsche BACHSOLISTEN. Chez HARMONIA MUNDI : Bela BARTOK : Extraits de “Mikrokosmos” au clavecin, en un disque. (Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros 1970); Chez DENON – NIPPON COLUMBIA : W.A. MOZART : Les Six Sonates pour flûte et clavecin KV 10-KV15, avec Andras ADORJAN. C.PH.E. BACH : Quatre Sonates pour flûte et clavecin, avec Andras ADORJAN. J. S. BACH : Quatre Sonates pour flûte et clavecin et Trois Sonates pour flûte et basse continue, avec Andras ADORJAN (flûte), et Joachim RABE (viole de gambe). J.S. BACH : Trois Sonates pour viole de gambe et clavecin, avec Johannes FINK (viole de gambe). J.S. BACH : Musique de clavecin : Concerto Italien en fa majeur BWV 971 Fantaisie chromatique et fugue en ré mineur BWV 903 Fantaisie en ut mineur BWV 906 Prélude et fugue en la mineur BWV 894 J.S. BACH : Inventions et Sinfonies BWV 772/786. D. SCARLATTI : 14 Sonates pour clavecin. J.CH. BACH : 3 Concertos pour clavecin et orchestre avec les TOKYO SOLISTEN. F. COUPERIN : 11e et 13 e Ordres. W.A. MOZART : Concerto pour trois clavecins et orchestre KV 107 avec Georges KISS et Olivier BAUMONT. Deux concertos pour clavecin et orchestre avec la Capella Academica de VIENNE dirigée par Eduard MELKUS. J.S. BACH : Concerto en la mineur pour flûte, violon, clavecin et orchestre BWV 1044 avec Andras ADORJAN (flûte) et Jean-Jacques KANTOROW (violon) et le NETHERLANDS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA dirigé par Kees BAKELS. J.S. BACH : Six Partitas pour clavecin BWV 825/830 en trois C.D. J.S. BACH : Ouverture à la Française – Prélude , Fugue et Allegro en mi bémol majeur – Quatre duetti. F. COUPERIN : Septième et Huitième Ordres. C.PH.E. BACH : Deux sonates pour violon et clavecin Fantaisie en fa dièse mineur pour violon et pianoforte. W. FRIEDEMANN BACH : 9 Fantaisies pour clavier. J.S. BACH : Les “Variations Goldberg” BWV 988 J.S. BACH : 16 transcriptions pour le clavecin de concertos de compositeurs variés BWV 972/987. 2 C.D. W.A. MOZART : Sonates et fantaisies sur fortepiano. 2 C.D. J.S. BACH : Le “Clavier bien Tempéré” Volume 1 BWV 846/869. 2 C.D. J.S. BACH : Le “Clavier bien Tempéré” Volume 2 BWV 870/893 2 C.D. PRIX DU DISQUE GRAND PRIX DU DISQUE DE L’ACADEMIE CHARLES CROS : 1962 : F. COUPERIN : 6è et 11è Ordres (Valois) 1970 : B. Bartok : Mikrokosmos au clavecin (Harmonia Mundi) 1971 : J. HAYDN : Concerto pour clavecin et orchestre en sol majeur avec l’orchestre de chambre Paul Kuentz (Deutsche Grammophon-Polydor). 1972 : J. HAYDN : Seize trios pour Hammerflügel (Pianoforte), violon et violoncelle (sur instruments anciens) avec E. Melkus et E. Vogt. (Coffret de 4 disques) – (Valois). 1985 : PRIX DU PRESIDENT DE LA REPUBLIQUE J.S. BACH : Cinq disques (Archiv Produktion-Deutsche J.S. BACH : Un disque (Denon-Nippon Columbia) D. Scarlatti : Un disque (Denon-Nippon Columbia) Grammophon) GRAND PRIX DE L’ACADEMIE DU DISQUE FRANCAIS 1964 : J.PH. RAMEAU : Pièces de clavecin en concerts, avec Christian Lardé (flûte) et Jean Lamy (viole de gambe – (Valois). 1968 : J.M.LECLAIR : Les 9 Sonates pour flûte et continuo en deux disques, avec Christian Lardé (flûte) et Jean Lamy (viole de gambe). 1970 : F. COUPERIN : Anthologie de l’oeuvre pour clavecin en 4 disques comprenant 9 Ordres et les 8 Préludes de “l’Art de Toucher le Clavecin” (Valois). GRAND PRIX DES DISCOPHILES 1964 : J.PH. RAMEAU : Pièces de clavecin en concerts avec Christian Lardé (flûte) et Jean Lamy (viole de gambe) – (Valois) PRIX DE LA NOUVELLE ACADEMIE DU DISQUE 1994 : HENRI DUTILLEUX : Participation au coffret de Musique de Chambre avec “Les Citations” avec Maurice BOURGUE (hautbois), Bernard CAZAURAN (contrebasse) et Bernard BALET (percussion). DISCOGRAPHIE Parmi de nombreux enregistrements notons: Chez D.G.G. Archiv Produktion: Suites françaises et anglaises de J.S.BACH Chez Valois : l’oeuvre pour clavecin de J.Ph.RAMEAU Chez Harmonia Mundi : un disque de Mikrokosmos de B.Bartok Chez DENON-NIPPON COLUMBIA : des oeuvres de J.S.BACH, C.Ph.E.BACH, W.Friedemann BACH, J.C.BACH, F.COUPERIN, D.SCARLATTI. Les disques les plus récemment parus sont : J.S.BACH: Le Clavier bien Tempéré (Vol.I et II) (DENON-NIPPON COLUMBIA) H. DUTILLEUX : “Les Citations” pour hautbois, clavecin, percussions et contrebasse (MUSIFRANCE. Collection ERATO-RADIO FRANCE)
The are bringing back a well-worn production to fit a new star. Full details of La Scala’s new season, announced this morning, below: ALEXANDER PEREIRA: THE 2016/2017 SEASON The opening of the 2016/2017 Season with the first version of Madame Butterfly, in the wake of Turandot and La fanciulla del West, marks a vital step in the Puccini project that is so dear to Riccardo Chailly, who on 1 January 2017 will take up his appointment as Music Director, confirming the plan to bring back to Piermarini’s Theatre the works that had their first ever performances here. It is directed by Alvis Hermanis, who is familiar to La Scala fans for two magnificent and very different shows, Die Soldaten and I due Foscari, and the leading lady Maria José Siri is a new and extraordinarily talented voice alongside Bryan Hymel’s Pinkerton. The televising of the event marks 40 years of collaboration between La Scala and the RAI since their partnership in 1976 with Otello conducted by Carlos Kleiber. 2017 opens with three major Verdi productions. Don Carlo returns in the version in five acts that has not been performed at La Scala since the edition conducted by Claudio Abbado 40 years ago. Myung-Whun Chung, a noted authority on Verdi, will conduct a fine cast, of whom we have to mention at least Ferruccio Furlanetto, Krassimira Stoyanova and Francesco Meli. Directed most efficaciously by the great Peter Stein, it translates all the dryness of the signature dramaturgy. Zubin Mehta will conduct Falstaff in the staging by Damiano Michieletto set in Casa Verdi: a decidedly Milanese production with Ambrogio Maestri in the role he is by now synonymous with. La Traviata will be back in March with the lavish staging designed by Liliana Cavani in 1990, with an exceptional protagonist, Anna Netrebko, in the prime of her artistic and interpretative maturity. And it will be the first time conducting Verdi at La Scala for Nello Santi, repository and custodian of the most authentic traditions of Italian melodrama: in October he will also be conducting the revival of Nabucco in Daniele Abbado’s show. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Wagner sets us off on a journey through the musical culture of German Romanticism, which pops up during the Season with two other titles: Hänsel und Gretel and Der Freischütz. Directed by Harry Kupfer, an artist who is woven into the tapestry of German theatre, with Daniele Gatti on the podium, who has already conducted two productions with this title to great acclaim. Michael Volle is simply the finest living interpreter of Sachs. While in 2016, with La cena delle beffe, we brought Verismo back to La Scala, our mission to re-appropriate the Italian repertoire continues now with bel canto. April will see the staging of Anna Bolena with a very young leading lady who comes from our Academy, Federica Lombardi, conducted by Bruno Campanella, who knows Italian melodrama of the early 1800s better than most. And in 1817 Rossini presented The thieving Magpie at La Scala: a masterpiece of the semiseria genre that returns with a great Rossini conductor, Riccardo Chailly, the debut at La Scala of the Oscar-winning director Gabriele Salvatores, and a perfect cast of actor-singers. One of the finest baritones of our time, Thomas Hampson, plays a Don Giovanni torn between vitality and disillusionment in the revival of the staging by Robert Carsen, conducted by Paavo Järvi, whose Mozart interpretation won me over in Vienna. The revival of Franco Zeffirelli’s historic Bohème, then, is the occasion of a La Scala debut for one of the soprano revelations of recent years, Sonya Yoncheva. On the podium will be Evelino Pidò, who comes from our orchestra, but despite his brilliant international career has conducted only a performance of Rigoletto at La Scala before now. The twentieth anniversary of the death of Giorgio Strehler will be marked by performing one of his most magical shows, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by the person who held him at his baptism in Salzburg in 1965: Zubin Mehta. Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel is the Academy project this year: conductor Marc Albrecht and director Sven-Eric Bechtolf will work together for months with the young artists to create a performance that is up to La Scala standards in all respects. One of the most cherished programmes the Orchestra is engaged in is the formation of an ensemble playing historical instruments: the latest step on this path is Handel’s Tamerlano, which brings one of Italy’s finest directors, Davide Livermore, to La Scala for the first time, with extraordinary singers such as Plácido Domingo and Bejun Mehta. Another important date with directing is Der Freischütz, staged by Matthias Hartmann, the former director of the Burgtheater in Vienna, and conducted by Myung-Whun Chung. To conclude the Season, we are presenting the world premiere of the new opera by Salvatore Sciarrino, Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo, directed by Jürgen Flimm, who is bound to the Italian composer by a friendship that strengthens their artistic affinity. It is conducted by the young Maxime Pascal, founder of an orchestra dedicated to contemporary music in Paris. The Ballet Season, which is the first one for Director Mauro Bigonzetti, is the first step along a path of progression for the Corps de Ballet of La Scala. The titles increase from six to seven, in addition to the Ballet School show, and for the second year in a row, Opening Night brings another first, Coppélia by Bigonzetti with Roberto Bolle. The historical choreographies of Balanchine, Fokin, Tetley and MacMillan are bolstered by the innovation of Eugenio Scigliano, and for the first time a piece choreographed by artists from the Corps de Ballet, who are engaged in an unprecedented challenge. Also returning is Swan Lake by Alexei Ratmansky, an artistic reconstruction of the choreography of Petipa and Ivanov. There is a considerable element of pride in the quality of the music: the ballets will be conducted by maestros such as Zubin Mehta, Paavo Järvi, Michail Jurowski, Patrick Fournillier, Felix Korobov and David Coleman. The concert programme includes the greatest living conductors. Riccardo Chailly will be on the podium for two evenings of the Symphony Season, Verdi’s Requiem in October, and the concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arturo Toscanini on 25 March 1867. The Symphony Season also sees the return of legends such as Christoph von Dohnányi (who also conducts the Christmas Concert), Georges Prêtre and Bernard Haitink; while for the Extraordinary Concerts, we will listen to Mariss Jansons with the Bayerischer Rundfunk. Finally, we are delighted to welcome Riccardo Muti back to La Scala. He returns with two concerts with the Chicago Symphony, to conduct once again in the Theatre that he was Musical Director of for 19 years. Completing the programme are singing recitals, including some of the most celebrated voices on the international scene. One of the projects dearest to my heart is the “Great Shows for Children” programme, which next year, too, will bring tens of thousands of kids and their parents to La Scala to discover operas of the great repertoire in shortened form and featuring the musicians of the Academy. Added to the revival of Cinderella for Children is Il ratto dal serraglio (The Abduction from the Seraglio) by Mozart, in Italian and coinciding with the complete edition in the Opera Season, and five concerts preceded by an introduction for children. See you in your Theatre. Alexander Pereira
Four years ago a mezzosoprano well-known to the New York Met´s public gave recitals for the Mozarteum Argentino´s two subscription series at the Colón and was an immediate success. Joyce Di Donato had conquered Buenos Aires with her vocal talent and easy communication. She came back in 2014 and now she punctually returned after another two years. She is one of the few undisputed stars that has made it a point of visiting us regularly. Her recitals always include bel canto arias, for she is a specialist in the fine art of expressive roulades of enormous difficulty. This season she sings at the Met Donizetti´s "Maria Stuarda" and Rossini´s "La Donna del Lago": an aria from the latter closed her B.A. recitals. She brought along a splendid pianist: Craig Terry (debut). Throughout he displayed not only an infallible technique but an exquisite ability to play very softly; and unexpectedly he showed his capacity as a jazz player (more on it later). There was a problem: with the exception of three songs by Granados and one by Strauss (an encore), which are legitimately for voice and piano, all the rest were arrangements. Of course, if you include zarzuela and opera, this is inevitable. But I can´t help feeling that Ravel´s "Shéhérazade" loses a lot (even if the arrangement is by the composer) without its sumptuous, perceptive orchestration. Joyce, beautifully dressed (she changed after the interval), has a commanding presence, and talks to the public in Italian, a bit of Spanish and some English and French. There´s people that like this sort of communication, others think that the music speaks for itself and you have the information in the hand programme. And that the personality of the singer should only exude from the music she interprets. Her first selection was a famous fragment from a zarzuela: "De España vengo", from Pablo Luna´s "El niño judío". The voice wasn´t quite settled in it, with some incisive tones and not completely accurate florid singing. She said that she felt very Spanish but curiously she was immediately much more convincing in "Shéhérazade", that delicious suite of Oriental songs that Ravel composed on texts by the poet with the Wagnerian pseudonym Tristan Klingsor. Her French is very accurate, and after a couple of fixed notes she found her voice, which can be quite powerful but also be subtle, soft and insinuating. The very long "Asie" goes through various moods and is in fact a narrative rather than a song; "The enchanted flute" and "The indifferent" are sensual portraits of girls attracted by men. Di Donato conveyed all this with great art and Terry almost (not quite) made me forget the orchestration. And now, Rossini: "Bel raggio lusinghier" from "Semiramide" was as expected dazzling; in this music, ornaments are the melody and the fluidity with which she accomplished it is the necessary and rarely heard condition to fully appreciate the Rossinian style. I love the tonadillas of Enrique Granados but they require a fully idiomatic acquaintance which seems to elude non-Spanish singers: "La maja dolorosa" in its three parts was sung in correct Spanish and let us hear Di Donato´s deep lows, but something was missing: the Spanishness of Berganza or De los Ángeles. Di Donato was splendid in that stately and noble aria from Händel´s "Rinaldo": "Lascia ch´io pianga"; her Baroque style is impeccable and the ornaments were all the right ones. Now we come to a moot point: three "arie antiche" from Parisotti´s famous recopilation (1885-8) which still are the way the Baroque is learnt by students, notwithstanding its Romanticized harmony: Giordani, "Caro mio ben"; Pergolesi, "Se tu m´ami"; and attributed to Salvator Rosa, "Star vicino". Most of the audience, I presume, were set to hear them from a great professional singer: what they got was very different (no warning in the programme). After a few seconds, jazzy sounds came from the piano, and from then on we had an excursion into a popular Twentieth-Century style; it was fun of its kind but many would have preferred the first option. Finally, more Rossini: from "La donna del lago", based con Scott´s "The Lady of the Lake", the scintillating final rondo in which Ellen expresses her joy, for the benevolence of the King allows her to celebrate her reunion with Malcolm (the man she loves) and her father Douglas. Three reflexions: the splendid version with Di Donato of the whole opera was offered last year by the Met and I commented it on the Herald; this is the same Ellen that sings her prayer in the famous Schubert Ave Maria; and both "La Donna del Lago" and "Semiramide" should be considered for future seasons of the Colón: neither has been ever done there, which is a shame. Encores: Irving Berlin´s "I love a piano" comes from the film "Easter Parade" and was originally sung by Judy Garland; it is an unabashed romp and was done to a T by singer and pianist. Then, in total and lovely contrast, Richard Strauss´ dreamy "Morgen", so ecstatically sung and played that I was sorry they didn´t include more Lieder. Finally, another Garland standard, Arlen´s "Over the rainbow" from the film "The Wizard of Oz", in the nicest of performances. To complete the mezzosoprano Heaven it would be wonderful to have in the future the visit of Elina Garança. For Buenos Aires Herald
Great composers of classical music