Tag Archives: Brian Long

Seeking Shostakovich: Revisiting the Fourth Symphony

Shostakovich after the première of the Fourth Symphony at the Moscow Conservatory

Shostakovich after the 1961 première of the Fourth Symphony at the Moscow Conservatory

This past week I spent a good bit of time with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Opus 43 (1935-36). For me, this wild ride of a symphony holds special appeal, so it’s been a pleasure to come back to it. In the process, I collected and augmented material I used when the symphony was first discussed in these pages. That, along with two of the myriad of open questions I have about the symphony, form the raison d’être for this post. Continue reading

Of Cabbages and Kings

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So much has passed through my mind this morning
That I can give you but a dim account of it
—John Ashbery, The Skaters

These lines from John Ashbery’s The Skaters are among my favorites, for good reason. I keep thinking to write about something among my several ongoing projects, when next I know, I’m on to something else. So, I’m afraid, this is a bit of a miscellany, likely of no interest to anyone but me, but an attempt, at least, to record some of the “dim account” before even that is lost. Continue reading

Early June in the Hudson Valley with the Dynamic Triptych of John Foulds

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[Foulds] had ideas no one else dared have and he brought them to life.
Sakari Oramo

In early June, I snapped several photographs at the Walkway over the Hudson and Innisfree Garden, and it seemed I ought to put them up somewhere. Along the way, several signs have pointed me to the music of John Foulds. First was a Proms concert to which I was (easily) lured by the promise of hearing Sakari Oramo conduct, among other works, Nielsen’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Sinfonia semplice.’  Tucked in ahead of the Nielsen was a small work by Foulds called April-England, about which David Nice provided a colorful description on The Arts Desk: Continue reading

“Less Is More” with Telemann, Debussy, Kodály, Anzoletti, Prokofiev, Berio, and . . .

1IMG_6714_edited-1The Great Composers Appreciation Society has been listening to music on the theme of “Less Is More” this month (4/15-5/14/15). The main selections for the month, chosen with typical perspicacity by our helmsman, Brian Long, include:

J. S Bach: Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009 (1720?)  (More information here.)

Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.45 in F-sharp minor, Hob.I:45 (“Farewell”) (1772)  (More information here.)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Duo for violin & viola No. 1 in G major, K. 423 (1783) (More information here.)

Claude Debussy: Syrinx (1913) (See below for more information.)

Edgar Varèse: Density 21.5 (1936, rev. 1946)  (More information here.)

Anton Webern: 5 pieces for orchestra op. 10 (1913)  (More information here.)

Benjamin Britten: Cello Suite No. 3, op. 87 (1971)  (More information here.)

Luciano Berio: Sequenzas 3 (for voice, 1965) and 5 (for trombone, 1966) (See below for more information.) Continue reading

Guest Post: Brian Long on the Art of Conducting

Susanna Mälkki, Chief Conductor-elect, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (2016-19), photograph courtesy MITO SettembreMusica

Susanna Mälkki, Chief Conductor-elect, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (2016-19), photograph courtesy MITO SettembreMusica

What have orchestra conductors ever done for us? Continue reading