Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Toscanini: A Monster on the podium!

If Brahms had known that this Monster would terrorize an entire orchestra in order to perform his (Brahms') second symphony "perfectly", I'm sure he would have never composed that symphony!

Elgar: Serenade for Strings, Op. 20

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Apocalypse: The Second World War

In my opinion, the best documentary series about the Second World War !

1. Aggression

2. The Crushing Defeat

3. Shock

4. The World Ablaze

5. The Great Landing

6. Inferno

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Forget Me Never (1999)

Mia Farrow gives a heartbreaking performance as an Alzheimer's patient, in a well-directed TV movie. Also starring Martin Sheen and Colm Feore. The music is by Lawrence Shragge.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Leonard Bernstein’s “Tristan”: A personal story

Back in the 1980s, I was doing my PhD in Physics at Brigham Young, in Utah. At the same time I was also taking composition lessons at the Music Department of BYU. I thus used to spend long hours at the music section of the BYU Bookstore.

One day I saw there a book written by Leonard Bernstein. In it there was a very impressive analysis of the Prelude of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”. I said to myself: “What a pity this great teacher has never conducted the full opera on record!” What I didn’t know at the time is that Bernstein had just completed a recording of the entire opera with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra!

I learned this several years later, when I discovered the recording of the opera on CD at a music store in Athens. Happily, the project also appears now on video, on YouTube. The quality of the recording isn’t great; nevertheless, you can still hear Bernstein’s unique approach to this opera. As Karl Böhm confessed, Leonard Bernstein's interpretation of “Tristan” was the closest ever to the true Wagner spirit: “For the first time somebody dares to perform the music as Wagner wrote it. The rest of us never dared to!”

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ildebrando Pizzetti: Preludio per Fedra

Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968): Preludio per Fedra (1912)
Robert Schumann Philharmonic
Dir. Oleg Caetani