Listening: The ghosts of Wagners future and past hover over Gluck, Elgar and Schoenberg

Susan Graham starred in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Iphigénie en Tauride, desolately staged by expat Torontonian Robert Carsen.

Grabbing the heart with text and music takes many forms. This weekend, we have a chance to sample opera reduced to its essence, and two very operatic ways of crafting oratorio and cantata.

The first comes via CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, which broadcasts the Canadian Opera Company’s critically praised production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 1779 masterpiece, Iphigénie en Tauride, featuring American mezzo Susan Graham in the title role. Continue reading

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J.S. Bach: One composer whose greatness no one has to argue, but not many people perform

There’s a nice hour-long documentary on J.S. Bach from the BBC, below. It waxes almost fulsome on his merits. But it’s a strange paradox how, out of all the Classical Greats, Bach is, it’s safe to say, the least performed to a mass audience. Continue reading

Pianist Adras Schiff premieres long-lost Albumblatt by Johannes Brahms (updated)

It is very familiar-sounding Brahms: A long-lost sketch of a piano piece by the great composer, perhaps a study for the “Trio” section of his Op. 40 Horn Trio.

Hear Andras Schiff play snippets and discuss the piece with the BBC’s Tom Service and conductor Christopher Hogwood:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/emp/external/player.swf

The full piece was part of an Andras Schiff recital presented on BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters, captured on this YouTube clip:

Plus, you can download the sheet music for free at PianoStreet.com.

NOTE:

In the “comments” section below, an antiquarian disputes Hogwood’s “discovery” story, with just cause. The extra information adds a bit of historical background, which made me smile with the remote Toronto connection: Violinist and Brahms mentor Edouard Remenyi’s direct descendants own Remenyi House of Music across from the ROM on Bloor St. W.

John Terauds