By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
ON THE SMALL SCREEN
Orchestral music gets a healthy dose of television prime-time exposure during the next week with three major programs scheduled on some local public broadcast stations. They’ll also be streamed on the Web after the telecasts.
• At 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, PBSSoCal (formerly KOCE), will telecast the “Live from Lincoln Center” New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve concert, which features music by George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein under the baton of Music Director Alan Gilbert. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will be the soloist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F. The orchestra will also play Bernstein’s Candide Overture and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Information: www.pbs.org
BTW: Thibaudet will join with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall on January 5, 6, 7 and 8 as soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Former LAPO Associate Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya will also lead Dvorak’s Hussite Overture and Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 (Organ). There’s an interesting tie, as John Henken writes in his program note for the symphony. Saint-Saëns dedicated the piece (which, in addition to its organ part, is scored for piano four-hands) to Liszt, who died in 1886, the year the symphony was composed. Information: www.laphil.com
• On January 1 at 6 p.m., PBSSoCal will air the “Great Performances” telecast of the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Concert. Mariss Jansons will lead the orchestra in the city’s famed Musikverein with a frothy program of music by the Strausses (Johann, Johann Sr. and Edward), Tchaikovsky and others. Julie Andrews will be the host. Information (with the complete program listing): www.pbs.org
• PBSSoCal comes back on January 6 at 9 p.m. with a “Great Performances” telecast of the L.A. Phil’s gala concert that opened the 2011-2012 Disney Hall season last September. The program is all-Gershwin: An American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue, with jazz legend Herbie Hancock as the soloist. The TV schedule says that the program will also include one of the two improvisations on Gershwin tunes (Someone to Watch Over Me) that Hancock performed in September. Apparently the one-hour telecast will not include the Cuban Overture that opened the gala or the other improv (Embraceable You) that Hancock played that night. Information: www.pbs.org
Following the concert telecast, PBSSoCal will repeat an interview between Tavis Smiley and Dudamel.
DUDAMEL ON VINYL?
Norman Lebrecht is reporting on his Blog, Slipped Disc, (LINK) that Gustavo Dudamel’s next recording on the Deutsche Grammophon label will be a vinyl pressing, scheduled for release in May, of the Venezuelan maestro conducting the Vienna Philharmonic as it plays Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (Scottish. It should also be noted that neither DGG nor Dudamel have officially commented on the subject (at least that I can discover).
In Lebrecht’s comment section, there are predictably joyous reactions from those who love vinyl recordings as opposed to CDs, although as some responders point out there are questions as to the recording format to be used. I wonder (a) are there enough vinyl lovers in the world to make this commercially viable or will be there also be CD and iTunes versions available; (b) how many people can really tell the difference in recording formats; and (c) if they can, will they be willing to invest in the high-quality equipment necessary to make the difference audible? (My answers are “I doubt it,” “relatively few,” and “I can’t afford it.”). Stay tuned … so to speak.
The thing that interested me about this recording is that the Scottish Symphony will (if you judge by the cover Lebrecht posted) be the only piece on the LP. When Dudamel and the L.A. Phil played it last October, the symphony clocked in at about 40 minutes, which seems pretty short for a record.
Anne is the Washington Post’s classical music critic and her Blog, The Classical Beat, is one of my favorite reads. However, her last Blog post was Nov. 1 and I wondered whether that newspaper had joined the list of publications to deep-six their classical music reviews or whether she was ill. Neither, fortunately, is the case. She’s on maternity leave and will be back on the “beat” in mid-January. Good for her and for us, too.
This isn’t exactly news — CBS News released it on Dec. 15 — but I’m not on its distribution list so I just caught up with it via a post on Peter Dobrin’s Blog (LINK). Trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis has been named Cultural Correspondent for CBS News, appearing on CBS This Morning and CBS Sunday Morning. His first CBS News gig will be on Monday, Jan. 16 (natch) — the day that the nation observes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. A link to the media release is HERE.
(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.